Mitch Messman, senior, Holdingford
Messman closed out a fantastic four-year career as the Huskers’ tremendous dual-threat play-caller, guiding Holdingford to an unbeaten regular season and captured a repeat Section 6AA championship. Messman threw for 1,902 yards and 23 touchdowns and ran for another 888 yards and 17 scores, all the while helping anchor a fierce defense with 35 solo tackles and 5.5 sacks.
Jalen Wuchko, senior, Little Falls
The only thing that could slow down the dynamic Little Falls running back this fall was injury, as Wuchko piled up spectacular numbers in only six and a half games. Wuchko ran for 1,344 yards and 17 touchdowns on only 162 attempts, highlighted by a phenomenal 306-yard homecoming performance against St. Cloud Cathedral, and also returned a kickoff for a score.
Mitch Lange, senior, Upsala-Swanville Area
Lange, the Morrison County Record’s Player of the Year for the second year in a row, was the go-to player on both sides of the ball to lead the Patriots to a 10-win season and their first trip to state in program history. Lange carried the ball 323 times for 2,025 yards and 24 touchdowns on offense while also piling up 100 solo tackles, 66 assists and an interception return for a score defensively.
Nathan Athman, senior, Pierz
Athman was virtually unstoppable in short-yardage situations for Pierz this fall, racking up 891 yards and 22 touchdowns on 158 carries to help the Pioneers power through the Section 5AAA tournament as the fourth seed and on to state. In one of the finest individual performances throughout the area this season, Athman scored all six of Pierz’ touchdowns in a 43-26 homecoming win over Rockford Area, and made 38 solo tackles and 44 assists during the season along the defensive line.
Wide Receiver/Defensive End
Jordan Sales, junior, Upsala-Swanville Area
Sales was the perfect big-play compliment to the Patriots’ potent running attack, using his combination of size and speed to haul in 37 passes for 806 yards and 11 of the team’s 14 touchdowns through the air, averaging 21.78 yards per catch. Sales was also a force as a pass rusher off the edge, totaling 9.5 sacks to help Upsala-Swanville qualify for state.
Bryce Zawatzke, junior, Little Falls
One of the Flyers’ best all-around athletes, Zawatzke was a primary red-zone target, turning five of his 10 receptions into touchdowns and grabbing a pair of two-point conversion passes, averaging 22 yards per catch. However, Zawatzke’s premier strength was on defense as one of the top tacklers in the area, tallying 99 tackles, including six for loss, along with 1.5 sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.
Tom Tabatt, senior, Little Falls
Tabatt was an immovable force on the offensive line the past two seasons, utilizing his size and strength to pave the way for the Flyers’ power running game that once again produced a 1,000-yard rusher. Tabatt led the team in flat-back blocks on a weekly basis, helping Little Falls earn its first home playoff game in 28 years.
Offensive Lineman/Nose Tackle
Caleb Jasmer, senior, Royalton
Jasmer combined quickness and savvy along with being one of the team’s strongest players to wreak havoc for opposing defensive lines this fall. Jasmer was the Co-Prairie Conference South Offensive Line MVP, leading an offensive front that averaged 7.44 yards per carry for a total of 3,201 yards.
Offensive Lineman/Defensive End
Mitch Merten, senior, Holdingford
Whenever Holdingford required tough yards, it followed behind Merten, the ever-reliable power of the Huskers’ line who capped a four-year career as a starter. Merten was a key pass blocker for an offense that accumulated nearly 5,000 yards this fall, and set a school record for career sacks, adding 6.5 more to his total this season.
Offensive Lineman/Defensive Lineman
Curtis Brisk, senior, Pierz
Brisk was the backbone of an imposing offensive front for an offense that kept the ball almost exclusively on the ground and produced a 1,300-yard running back and 22-touchdown fullback. Brisk also contributed 18 solo stops and 16 assists defensively to help Pierz win the Section 5AAA title and advance on to state.
Offensive Lineman/Defensive Back
Austin Johnson, junior, Upsala-Swanville Area
Perhaps no greater example of the athletic versatility of this year’s Patriots exists than Johnson. On the offensive side of the ball, Johnson helped the Patriots amass 3,174 yards rushing as the starting left tackle along the offensive line, then transformed into an athletic playmaker defensively, picking off five passes and registering 38 solo tackles.
Tyler Gastecki, senior, Little Falls
Trysten Ross, senior, Little Falls
Jake Anderson, junior, Little Falls
Brighton Goodrich, junior, Little Falls
Mike Trettel, junior, Little Falls
Mac Gruber, senior, Pierz
Tyler Millner, senior, Pierz
Ryley Smude, senior, Pierz
Evan Woitalla, senior, Pierz
Beau Winscher, junior, Pierz
Tony Gadacz, senior, Royalton
Austin Schmitt, senior, Royalton
Cade Stang, senior, Royalton
Kyle Billmeyer, junior, Royalton
Andrew Vodak, senior, USA
Tyler Evans, junior, USA
Aaron Ripplinger, junior, USA
Kyle Lange, sophomore, USA
Jordan Gombos, senior, Holdingford
Jeremy Springer, senior, Holdingford
Nathan Brinker, junior, Holdingford
Matt Messman, junior, Holdingford