Nine Patriots land on 11AAA all-state team
By STU WHITNEY
Caden Quintanilla grabbed most of the headlines after a stellar season in which he rushed for 1,893 yards and 29 touchdowns, leading the Lincoln Patriots to an undefeated season and a Class 11AAA championship.
But the big boys up front paved the way for Lincoln’s historic season, which explains why four offensive linemen landed on this year’s all-state squad, chosen by the South Dakota Football Coaches Association. In all, the Patriots placed nine players on the all-state team.
“Games are won and lost in the trenches,” said coach Aaron Beavers, whose team defeated Roosevelt 47-24 in the state finals Nov. 16.
“There were a number of years where we had good skill guys but we weren’t able to be as physical as we needed to be up front. This group worked extremely hard to get there.”
Senior center Levi Rozeboom set the tone for the Patriots (11-0), anchoring the offensive unit as team captain and leading a unit that averaged 275 rushing yards a game.
“He’s one of the best I’ve ever coached,” said Beavers. “Levi is a very smart player who handled a lot of our line checks and was very good at it.”
Rozeboom is joined on the all-state team by senior offensive tackle Mike VanVeldhuizen and junior guard Drew Peters, while senior Caleb Rector made the squad as a long snapper.
They helped clear the path for Quintanilla, who ran for 244 yards and four touchdowns in the state finals and was named Argus Leader Elite 45 captain as well as Gatorade Player of the Year for South Dakota.
“He’s the best running back and the hardest worker I’ve ever coached,” said Beavers of Quintanilla, who finished with 3,733 rushing yards for his career.
Representing Lincoln on defense are end Reid West (45 tackles, 5.5 sacks), linebacker Matt Wagner (team-high 66 tackles, 12 for loss) and defensive backs Trevor Naasz (36 tackles, two interceptions) and Levi Foss (35 tackles, five INTs).
Wagner, also a key blocking back on offense, was the heart and soul of the Patriots for much of their rise to prominence.
“He was one of only two two-way players for us (Naasz was the other), and he hardly ever left the field,” said Beavers of Wagner. “He’s a complete football player who knew what everyone needed to be doing on the field.”
The all-state quarterback is junior Taryn Christion of Roosevelt, who passed for 2,549 yards and 24 touchdowns to lead the Rough Riders (9-2) to the state championship game.
For his career, Christion has thrown for 3,880 yards, rushed for 1,601 and accounted for 64 touchdowns while emerging as one of the most dynamic offensive players in the state.
“Taryn is a great playmaker and one of the best athletes at quarterback ever at Roosevelt,” said Riders coach Kim Nelson.
One of Christion’s favorite targets was all-state tight end Tanner Hennings, who caught 27 passes for 477 yards (17.7 yards per catch) and five touchdowns.
Also representing Roosevelt are guard Justin Haffield, defensive end Kory Lindquist (43 tackles, 11 sacks), defensive tackle Skylar Newberg, linebacker Kirby Hora (63 tackles), defensive back Austin Atwood and kicker Chase Vinatieri.
Sioux Falls teams claimed 18 of the available 28 spots on the all-state squad.
Brandon Valley, which earned a share of the ESD title, is represented by wide receiver A.J. Garrow, offensive tackle Erik Ode, punter Devan West and special teams player Cam Holmes.
Washington is represented by senior linebacker Dan Marlette, a two-time all-state selection who racked up 70 tackles for the Warriors in 2013. For O’Gorman, fullback Matt White made the team after rushing for 832 yards for the Knights, who lost to Lincoln in the state semifinals.
CLASS 11AAA ALL-STATE TEAM
As chosen by the South Dakota Football Coaches Association
Offense QB – Taryn Christion, jr., Roosevelt
FB – Matt White, sr., O’Gorman
RB – Caden Quintanilla, sr., Lincoln
RB – Blake Stone, sr., Rapid City Central
WR – A.J. Garrow, sr., Brandon Valley
WR – Asher Pikula, sr., Rapid City Central
TE – Tanner Hennings, sr., Roosevelt
OT – Mike VanVeldhuizen, sr., Lincoln
OT – Erik Ode, sr., Brandon Valley
OG – Drew Peters, jr., Lincoln
OG – Justin Haffield, sr., Roosevelt
C – Levi Rozeboom, sr., Lincoln
Defense DE – Kory Lindquist, sr., Roosevelt
DE – Reid West, sr., Lincoln
DT – Aaron Beaird, sr., Rapid City Central
DT – Skylar Newberg, sr., Roosevelt
LB – Alex Lewis, sr., Rapid City Stevens
LB – Dan Marlette, sr., Washington
LB – Matt Wagner, sr., Lincoln
LB – Kirby Hora, sr., Roosevelt
DB – Justin Hoff, jr., Rapid City Stevens
DB – Levi Foss, sr., Lincoln
DB – Trevor Naasz, sr., Lincoln
DB – Austin Atwood, sr., Roosevelt
Special Teams K – Chase Vinatieri, jr., Roosevelt
P –Devan West, sr., Brandon Valley
Player – Cam Holmes, sr., Brandon Valley
Long snapper – Caleb Rector, sr., Lincoln
Honorable Mention Luke Fritsch, O’Gorman; Mitch Johnson, Aberdeen Central; Tevan Schuster, Lincoln; Dominick Pitzl, O’Gorman; Seth Bjordal, Roosevelt; Austin Paluch, O’Gorman; Sam Denevan, Roosevelt; Austin Heins, Washington; Spencer Hopkins, O’Gorman; Donovin Neugebauer, Rapid City Central; Jake Niedringhaus, O’Gorman; David Mulbah, Roosevelt.