CWC quarterback Brenden Pelster stretches across for a touchdown against Humphrey St. Francis in the Class D-2 Title game.
*(photo courtesy of Journal-Star)
*Class D-2 All-State Team with Capsules*
And now here are the reasons why I chose these young men for All-State honors.
*Class D-2 (8-Man) - Offense*
*QB - Brenden Pelster - Chambers/Wheeler Central (CWC) - 5-10, 196, Senior
Led CWC, who suited up only 15 players, to the D-2 Title game. The dual threat QB completed 65% of his passes for 1,547 yards and 24 TDs with only 6 INTs. Also rushed for 1,436 yards and an unimaginable 38 scores. Ultimate Do-It-All player.
*RB - Cody Stratman - Wynot - 5-8, 160, Senior
Could very well be the best back in D-2 football. Ran for 1,814 yards and 36 TDs after rushing for 1,934 yards and 30 scores a year ago. Slippery, elusive runner with great vision and the ability to spin off tackles. One step away from breaking it every time he touched the ball.
*RB - Kyle Wemhoff - Humphrey St. Francis - 5-10, 160, Senior
St. Francis 160 pound Iron Man, who carried the Flyers all the way to the D-2 Championship this season. Majority of Wemhoff's carries were right into the heart of the best defenses in Class D-2. The durable Wemhoff rushed for 1,904 yards in 13 games and toted the ball 47 times in a quarterfinal win over Falls City Sacred Heart. Could have made all-state on defense with his 85 stops and 6 quarterback sacks.
*RB - Matt McCarthy - Garden County - 5-9, 160, Senior
Argubaly the finest 8-Man Running Back in the Western Nebraska. Renaissance Man of D-2 with his 1,711 yard rushing and 29 TDs, plus 273 receiving yards and 5 more TDs. McCarthy, whose 160 pound listed weight is probably generous, also returned 2 kick-offs and a punt for a touchdowns in 2015 and was a force on defense with his 74 tackles. Had 1,205 yards rushing a year ago with 26 TDs.
*WR - Brett Good - Giltner - 6-0, 175, Senior
Good was simply one ina long line of great receivers for Coach Jeff Ashby at Giltner. Caught 57 passes, "good" for 819 yards and 13 TDs while Giltner was breaking in a sophomore QB. Good was also a tremendous stopper from his cornerback slot, recoding 74 tackles and pirating 2 passes.
*OL - Reggie Johansen - Falls City Sacred Heart - 6-4, 265, Senior
Big, tough dude who cleared the way for Sacred Heart QB Baily Witt and RB Christian Harring. Also a very good pass blocker when Witt chose to throw. All-District a year ago.
*OL - Carsen Woodman - Kenesaw - 6-4, 235, Senior
Another one of those outstanding linemen for Coach Craig Schnitzler at Kenesaw. Paved the way for QB Preston Schnitzler and often times looked like a man against boys. Praised by so many D-2 coaches around the state.
*OL - Corey Hoelk - Giltner - 6-3, 260, Senior
Almost a penciled in All-State selection before the season even began. Saw double teams all season and last I heard, accepted a scholarship to play at UNK. Very difficult to move.
*PK - Preston Schnitzler - Kenesaw - 5-8, 183, Senior
Last in a line of 3 great Schnitzler brothers at Kenesaw. Preston missed his entire sophomore season with a terrible injury, or otherwise would have easily cracked the 5,000 yard career rushing mark. Ran for 1,521 yards and 33 scores this year and 4,329 yards in his, all to brief 29 game/4 year career. Tough as they come.
*Class D-2 (8-Man) - Defense*
*DL - Cory Ramsey - Chambers/Wheeler Central (CWC) - 6-2, 220, Senior
Biggest dude by far for the Renegades and showed it on the field. Made 71 tackles from his Nose Tackle slot, while recording 4 QB sacks. Ramsey's vicious blocking on offense was the main reason for CWC having two 1000 yard rushers this fall. Outstanding 2-way football player.
*DL - Jon Korth - Humphrey St. Francis - 5-11, 190, Senior
No runner wanted to see #33 closing in on them this season. Korth had a nose for the football and arrived there in a hurry, making 70 tackles and 8 QB sacks with his precisely times blitzes. Also caught 18 passes for 280 yards and nearly every 4th reception went for a score.
*LB - Sam Zeleny - Exeter-Milligan - 5-8, 175, Junior
Good grief, what a complete player and an excellent team leader for Timberwolves. Had the world on his shoulders as the only returning starter for a defending D-1 state champion football team, yet led E/M to a 9-2 finish in 2015. On offense, Zeleny completed 62% of his passes for for 754 yards and 11 TDs, rushed for 851 yards and 16 TDs, and was a beast on defense, making 92 stops. When someone says "Big Time players make Big time plays in Big time games, they have to be speaking of #3, Sam Zelany of Exeter-Milligan.
*LB - Damien Baumgart - Humphrey St. Francis - 5-10, 165, Senior
The quarterback and field general for the D-2 Champion Flyers, but it was defense where this young man thrived. Baumgart recorded 89 tackles for HSF and picked off 6 enemy passes before the championship game was played. Damien was a beast in the Title game win over CWC, making 11 total tackles on defense, completing 6 of 9 passes for 87 yards with TWO TDs on offense, while rushing 18 times for 92 yards. Another Big time player in Big games.
*LB - Sean Maxon - Exeter-Milligan - 6-0, 167, Junior
Junior made 99 stops for Exeter-Milligan this fall, 13 of which were for losses. Maxon also rushed for 1,033 yards and 13 touchdowns for the Timberwolves, who have complied a 35-2 record during Maxon's 3 years there. And remember, the dude is only a junior.
*DB - Troy Gilligan - Anselmo-Merna - 5-10, 135, Senior
Another Quarterback! Check out Geiser's weight. 135 pounds of GUTS. Just this season alone, Gilligan ran for 1,355 yards and 30 touchdowns and threw for 911 yards and 20 TDs (only 4 INTS). But on defense, Gilligan was in on 116 tackles, 60 of which were solos. Check out these career stats. 3,608 yards passing and 55 TDs with only 13 INTS, and 4,188 yards rushing with 81 scores. His sophomore and junior years, Troy was a 1000 yard rusher/passer and only his 911 yards throwing this season prevented him from pulling off the double/double three straight years. Here is the shocking statistic . Are you sitting down?
If you add Troy Gilligan's rushing, passing and receiving yards, plus kick returns, punt returns, and interception returns together, you come up with..................8,629 total yards! Throw in 86 touchdowns and 84 conversions, you have 600 points scored. Factor in 352 tackles, 12 interceptions and 3 fumbles recovered, and you have a mind boggling football player who tips the scales at a buck 35. Unbelieveable.
*DB - Gideon Monette - Mullen - 6-1, 195, Senior
Yet another Pandhandle tough guy, Monette sparkled on both sides of the ball. Check this out. This guy made 96 tackles from his CB slot and 78 of those were all by his lonesome. Gideon also rushed for 1,714 yards and 30 TDs on an even steven 200 carries for the Broncos. Last season, the 195 pounder ran for 1,400 yards and 16 touchdowns while making 59 tackles. For his career, Gideon Monette rushed for 4,126 yards and 60 touchdowns, made 228 tackles (181 solos) and picked off 4 passes.
*DB - Jacey Nutter - Sandhills-Thedford - 6-1, 195, Junior
Another top notch QB who is a standout on defense. Never mind the fact Jacey Nutter threw for 1,447 yards and 27 TDs (55%) this year and rushed for 501 yards (8.2/carry) and 7 more scores. The 195 pound battering ram made 92 tackles on defense for the young Knights and 66 of those stops were solos. Nutter also intercepted 9 passes, recovered a fumble, averaged 48 yards a kick-off and 38 yards a punt for Sandhills-Thedford. A year ago when the Knights were an aerial team, Jacy threw 282 times, completing 164 of those for 2,345 yards, 37 TDs and only THREE INTS. He also made 130 tackles and pirated 5 passes.........all this as a SOPHOMORE. Nutter even threw for 1,009 yards and 15 TDs as a freshman. Are you kidding me! Good God.
*PUNTER - Luke Ericson - Osceola - 6-3, 215, Senior
Here's the deal with Big Luke. He punted ONE time this season for 45 yards. That was good enough for the Osceola quarterback to land a spot on this D-2 All-State squad. Ericson, a three year starter for the Bulldogs, played almost the entire 2015 season with a broken arm, yet managed to rush for 1,645 yards and 31 touchdowns. The hard running Ericson ran for 1,102 and 19 TDs as a junior and 931 yards and 18 scores as a sophomore. His sophomore season, Luke was more of a thrower, completing 61% of his 104 passes for 878 yards with 15 TDs with only 3 picks. Great player.
*ATH - Elliot Epp - Garden County - 5-9, 160, Senior
Elliot Epp just has to be best tackler in 8-Man football, period. 179 tackles each of the past 2 seasons. This 5-9, 160 pounds of dynamite, nearly recorded a 100 stops as a sophomore (98) and made 77 as a freshman. Talk about a nose for the football. This season Epp also ran for 1,047 yards and 21 TDs from his fullback position, after rushing for 985 a year ago for the Eagles.