Three Kernels named Class 11AA all-state
After reaching the Class 11AA semifinals for a third straight season, the Mitchell High School football team had three players named to the Class 11AA all-state team.
Juniors Carson Max (fullback) and Kiel Nelson (special teams player) and senior Briggs Havlik (linebacker) were named to the team, selected by the South Dakota Football Coaches Association. It was the second all-state honor for Max, while Havlik and Nelson each earned their first all-state honor.
Max, a 6-foot, 200-pound fullback and linebacker for the Kernels, made a huge impact for the Kernels in just eight games played. He led the defense with 83 tackles, while adding 506 rushing yards on 63 carries — an 8 yard average — and had six touchdowns on the ground.
"Carson is a super football player and leader," MHS head coach Kent VanOverschelde said.
On defense, Havlik racked up 80 tackles, including 32 solo tackles for the Kernels. With 205 career tackles, Havlik ranked seventh all-time in school history.
"Briggs is a consistent defensive performer," VanOverschelde said. "He's a three sport athlete as well, excelling in football, baseball and wrestling."
Nelson, Mitchell's junior quarterback, kicked 24 punts for a total of 647 yards, an average of 27 yards per punt. He added 719 passing yards and 476 rushing yards and six total touchdowns as he helped the Kernels to a 7-4 record and semifinal appearance.
State champion Pierre had eight players named to the team, while runner-up Harrisburg had five players honored. Of the 28 total players named to the all-state team, four are multiple time selections (Pierre's Peyton Zabel, Harrisburg's Logan Warzecha, Sturgis' Joel Carpenter and Mitchell's Max).
Mitchell's Levi Winne was named honorable mention. Winne recorded 67 total tackles, led the team with 18.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks.
Below is a look at the selections
Quarterback: Peyton Zabel, Sr., Pierre T.F. Riggs (6-6, 225)
Zabel had a strong season, winning the Midco Best QB and Best 11AA Player in South Dakota. He was 192-of-302 for 2454 yards and 28 touchdowns to go along with 382 rushing yards and six touchdowns on the ground. Zabel plans on attending Augustana University, where he'll play both football and baseball.
"Peyton is the unquestioned leader of our offense and team," said Govs coach Steve Steele. "He is the ultimate team player, and he really grew in his ability to check plays and get us into plays that give us the best chance of success."
Fullback: Carson Max, Jr., Mitchell (6-0, 200)
Max, a two-way player, was the leading tackler on the Kernel defense with 83 total tackles in just eight games. On offense, Max had 506 yards rushing on 63 carries - an 8 yard average - and had six touchdowns on the ground.
"Carson is a super football player and leader," said Kernels coach Kent VanOverschelde.
Running Back: Jack Anderson, Sr., Harrisburg (6-0, 190)
Anderson was a primary offensive threat for the Tigers this season, gaining 1,184 yards on 276 rushing attempts, getting ten touchdowns on the ground. For his career, Anderson has rushed for 2,951 yards and 27 touchdowns.
"Jack is the most explosive football player we have coached at Harrisburg," said Tigers coach Brandon White. "He only has one speed, and that is wide open. Jack is a weight room freak. He has very high expectations and a very bright future at the next level."
Running Back: Trevor Severson, Sr., Douglas (5-9, 160)
Severson had 1,271 yards rushing in his senior season, including a pair of games where he ran for 200 yards or more. He averaged 4.2 yards per carry, and had six catches this season.
"Trevor was a great player," said Patriots coach Dan Maciejczak.
Wide Receiver: Mike Lusk, Sr., Pierre T.F. Riggs (5-10, 160)
Lusk, who was awarded the Joe Robbie Award in this season's State Championship Game, had 36 catches for 501 yards and five touchdowns for the Govs. On defense, Lusk had 86 tackles, including eight tackles for loss and two sacks. Lusk had six interceptions for the Govs, including a game clinching interception against Mitchell.
"Mike is the leader of our defense, and has been a tackling machine," Steele said. "He's made big play after big play this year, forcing turnovers on defense and becoming a consistent threat as a receiver. For an undersized kid, he finds ways to tackle like a linebacker and cover like a defensive back. He blocks like a tight end and makes catches like a wide receiver."
Wide Receiver: Rex Ryken, Jr., Yankton (6-2, 209)
Ryken led the Bucks on offense with 31 catches for 524 yards and eight touchdowns. On defense, Ryken had 36 total tackles and two interceptions. He was named the team's Mr. Offense, and was given the Jim Miner Award as well..
"He's a very smart player that makes everyone around him better," said Bucks coach Arlin Likness. "He makes the whole team better by his presence."
Tight end: Jack Maher, Jr., Pierre T.F. Riggs (6-2, 215)
Maher was a dual threat for the Govs, as he caught 60 passes for 765 yards and nine touchdowns on the season. Maher also had 47 tackles, including 12 tackles for loss and two sacks. Overall, Maher has 116 tackles on his career.
"Jack has really stepped into a playmaking role as a junior," Steele said. "He is the best pure football player we have in Pierre. Jack could honestly play any position on offense or defense, and excel at it. He was our best receiving threat, and he locked down the edge on defense."
Tackle: Keithan Funk, Sr., Spearfish (6-2, 240)
Funk had a good season on the offensive side of the ball as he was lead in both the pass and run blocking game. On the defensive side, Funk had 64 total tackles, 15 of which were solo tackles, to go along with two sacks.
"Keithan is a great kid," said Spartan coach Chad McCarty. "He's a three sport athlete, and a leader on our team. Keithan is the kind of kid we like. He worked his way into a starting sport and then never came off the field. He's got a great work ethic."
Tackle: Reese Anderson, Sr., Yankton (6-0, 240)
Anderson was an All-ESD selection at tackle this season, and was voted the Most Inspirational Player for the Bucks. A mainstay on the Bucks offensive line, Anderson saw his season come to a premature end in the regular season finale against Harrisburg after sustaining an injury.
Guard: Easton Swartz, Sr., Pierre T.F. Riggs (6-2, 280)
Swartz was only one of two Gov linemen to start every game this season. He moved around the line during a year that saw the Govs use eight different offensive line combinations.
"He really helped us out with his flexibility," Steele said. "He was our most physical offensive lineman this season. Easton stepped from being a quiet guy to being a great leader for our young guys. He's a kid our staff is very proud of for the growth he's shown from the past to now."
Guard: Gabe Rieger, Jr., Huron (6-1, 190)
A two way player, Rieger led the offensive and defensive lines for the Tigers. Rieger had 16 total tackles, including ten assisted tackles to go along with 2.5 sacks.
"Gabe is a great blocker that never gives up on a play," said Tigers coach Michael Schmitz. "He fights for his teammates every snap he plays. On film, you can see him blocking downfield until the whistle blows. He is a great athlete that has a great motor."
Center: Tanner Kippes, Sr., Harrisburg (6-0, 230)
Kippes, a two time All-ESD offensive lineman and a 2016 All-State Honorable Mention, had 35 tackles and one sack on the 2017 campaign, which brings his career totals to 100 tackles and two sacks.
"When you think of what an offensive lineman should be, that's Tanner," White said. "He is tough, smart and savvy. He has played nearly every position on our offensive line. His leadership both during the season and out of season are very commendable. We are truly going to miss Tanner and his leadership in the future."
Defensive End: Sam Loos, Sr., Harrisburg (6-3, 215)
Loos's 11 sacks on the season set a single season record for the runner-up Tigers. He also added 58 tackles, and has 97 total tackles in his career to go along with 13 sacks and a 2017 All-ESD nomination.
"Sam has become one of our biggest defensive playmakers," White said. "He has a great knack of coming up with a big sack in the biggest of moments. Sam's athleticism always seems to put him in the correct spot on each play. He is our quietest leader we have this year, and is a huge reason the defense only gave up 12.5 points per game."
Defensive End: Hudson Rohrbach, Sr., Pierre T.F. Riggs (5-10, 185)
A senior leader for the champion Govs, Rohrbach had 47 tackles on the season, including 13 tackles for loss and four sacks, to go along with two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. He also had two blocks on special teams. On offense, Rohrbach ran for 636 yards and five touchdowns on 124 carries.
"Hudson made the move to defensive end from linebacker this year, and has really thrived," Steele said. "He has sacrificed his tackles stat-line for the betterment of the team. He has done a great job on the edge for us this year. Hudson has done a great job making tackles in the backfield and causing fumbles. Our new defensive scheme would not have worked without his selfless play."
Defensive Tackle: Joel Carpenter, Sr., Sturgis (6-1, 235)
Carpenter has had a highly decorated football career at Sturgis, as he was an All-State selection at center in his freshman season in 2014, and an All-State selection at defensive tackle in 2016. This season saw Carpenter have 65 tackles, including 13 tackles for loss, to go along with three sacks. He had three forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries. On his career, Carpenter has 154 tackles, 30 of which are for loss, eight forced fumbles, eight fumble recoveries, five sacks and two safeties.
"Joel has a motor that never stops," said Scoopers coach Chris Koletzky. "He has tremendous power and is a great leader."
Defensive Tackle: Seth Dikoff, Sr., Douglas (5-10, 220)
An All-Conference tackle, Dikoff had 70 total tackles on the season, including seven tackles for loss, and four quarterback hurries and two fumble recoveries. Dikoff was also an honorable mention at defensive tackle last season.
"Seth is a great all around player for us, as he plays defensive tackle and center," Maciejczak said. "He's going into the Army to be a ranger after he graduates in the spring."
Linebacker: Logan Warzecha, Sr., Harrisburg (6-3, 225)
Warzecha, a two-time All-ESD linebacker, was also named to the All-State team last season. This season, Warzecha was a tackling machine at middle linebacker, getting 130 tackles and two sacks, while also getting two interceptions and one forced fumble. He has 228 career tackles, as well as six career sacks.
"Logan is every defensive coordinator's dream for a middle linebacker," White said. "He is big, fast and very physical. His love for the game truly stands out amongst his peers. Logan is a gamer and we rely heavily on him to lead our defense. There has never been a game where Logan was not focused and ready to go. He lives for football and it shows on game nights."
Linebacker: Gage Gehring, Jr., Pierre T.F. Riggs (6-0, 200)
Another tackling machine, Gehring had a tremendous year at middle linebacker, getting 91 tackles, including nine tackles for loss, one sack, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. Gehring also made his mark on the offensive side of the ball, pulling in 39 catches for 353 yards and seven touchdowns.
"Gage is another junior who has stepped into a big two-way starter role for us this year," Steele said. "His blocking and receiving ability made him a huge threat at fullback for our offense this year. Defensively at middle linebacker, he learned our new defense and led our team in tackles. He is one of our hardest working players, and is a huge leader in the weight room."
Linebacker: Reece Hansen, Sr., Spearfish (5-10, 185)
Hansen had 129 total tackles, including 42 solo tackles, five tackles for loss, three sacks and two forced fumbles. A two-way player, Hansen had 68 carries for 239 yards. He was a honorable mention on the All-BHC team last season.
"Reece was our best player this year," McCarty said. "He was tough and lead by example. Reece lead the team in tackles and was second on the team in rushing. He is a three sport athlete that is going to be missed."
Linebacker: Briggs Havlik, Sr., Mitchell (5-9, 165)
Havlik had 80 total tackles, including 32 solo tackles for the Kernels. With 205 total tackles, Havlik is seventh all-time in school history.
"Briggs is a consistent defensive performer," VanOverschelde said. "He's a three sport athlete as well, excelling in football, baseball and wrestling."
Defensive Back: Cole Teigen, Jr., Harrisburg (5-10, 150)
Teigen had 45 tackles for the Tigers, to go along with two interceptions, three forced fumbles and one defensive touchdown. Teigen has 60 career tackles, four career interceptions, five forced fumbles and two defensive touchdowns. He was an All-ESD nominee this season as well.
"Cole may be the smartest football player that has come through in my time in Harrisburg," White said. "He is the guy that sets the whole defense. His instincts once the ball is snapped are amazing. Cole is always in the right position to make a play. He is already a two year starter as a junior. His future is very bright."
Defensive Back: Matt Maxfield, Sr., Pierre T.F. Riggs (5-8, 155)
Despite being undersized, Maxfield proved to be a solid defensive performer at free safety for the Govs. He had 50 tackles, three tackles for loss, five interceptions, two forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries. Maxfield had 33 tackles in his junior year after coming to Pierre from Hill City.
"Matt is one of the smartest football minds we have on our team," Steele said. "He really understands coverages and has done a great job calling and directing our secondary. Despite being a smaller player, he tackles without fear and has found a way to force turnovers from his free safety position. His understanding of coverages has been crucial to our defensive success."
Defensive Back: Chipper Shillingstad, Jr., Huron (5-5, 150)
A ballhawk of a defensive back, Shillingstad had five interceptions to lead the Tigers. He also had 24 tackles and one sack. Shillingstad was named to this season's All-ESD team as well.
"Chipper is an outstanding athlete," Schmitz said. "He has the ability to cover in man and zone. Chipper is a great tackler that fights on every play, and is a very versatile player."
Defensive Back: Chance Sorenson, Sr., Douglas (5-9, 105)
Sorenson was a leading force for the Patriot defense as he had 104 total tackles this season, including 32 solo tackles. He had five tackles for loss, five pass breakups, three forced fumbles, two interceptions, one fumble recovery and one defensive touchdown.
Kicker: Casey Williams, Sr., Pierre T.F. Riggs (6-2, 190)
Williams was a consistent kicker for the Govs this season, missing only two point after attempts while also hitting on 4-of-7 field goals, with his longest field goal being 40 yards. He also kicked a 31-yard field goal proved to be the deciding kick for the Govs in the State Championship. Williams also had 25 touchbacks. Williams was honored earlier in the season in a different sport as he was an All-ESD forward in soccer.
"Casey is a soccer kid we got out this year to kick for us, and boy are we glad we did," Steele said. "He has a bomb of a leg. He has been very consistent over the course of the season. Casey has been a huge weapon, kicking both point after kicks and field goals. Casey has been doing well with touchbacks, forcing teams to start at the 20-yard line and not getting a return on us."
Punter: Michael Drotzmann, Jr., Yankton (6-2, 185)
Drotzmann averaged 41.7 yards per punt this season until the last game where he dropped a snap. He ended up with an average of 37.5 yards per punt. A two-way player, Drotzmann had 15 catches for 319 yards and three touchdowns. Drotzmann's punt average is up slightly from last year's average of 36.3 yards per punt.
"Michael Drotzmann is a very good student-athlete," Likness said. "He was the Special Teams Player of the Year for us last year, and has been an All-State selection in choir and band."
Special Teams Player: Kiel Nelson, Jr., Mitchell (6-3, 190)
Nelson kicked 24 punts for a total of 647 yards, an average of 27 yards per punt. Nelson also excelled on offense for the Kernels, getting six total touchdowns, rushing for 476 yards while passing for 719 yards.
Long Snapper: Matt Katz, Jr., Huron (5-11, 165)
Katz has been a consistent snapper for the Tigers. He was great at getting off blocks and getting downfield to make tackles on punts.
"Matt was a consistent long and short snapper," Schmitz said. "He missed three games due to injury. Matt was able to come back and perform even better. His consistent snaps and downfield pressure made him a real asset."
CLASS 11AA ALL-STATE FOOTBALL TEAM
As selected by the South Dakota Football Coaches Association
Quarterback — Peyton Zabel, Sr., Pierre T.F. Riggs (6-6, 225); Fullback — Carson Max, Jr., Mitchell (6-0, 200); Running backs — Jack Anderson, Sr., Harrisburg (6-0, 190); Trevor Severson, Sr., Douglas (5-9, 160); Wide receivers — Mike Lusk, Sr., Pierre T.F. Riggs (5-10, 160); Rex Ryken, Jr., Yankton (6-2, 209); Tight end — Jack Maher, Jr., Pierre T.F. Riggs (6-2, 215); Tackles — Keithan Funk, Sr., Spearfish (6-2, 240); Reese Anderson, Sr., Yankton (6-0, 240); Guard — Easton Swartz, Sr., Pierre T.F. Riggs (6-2, 280); Gabe Rieger, Jr., Huron (6-1, 190); Center — Tanner Kippes, Sr., Harrisburg (6-0, 230)
Ends — Sam Loos, Sr., Harrisburg (6-3, 215); Hudson Rohrbach, Sr., Pierre T.F. Riggs (5-10, 185); Tackles: Joel Carpenter, Sr., Sturgis (6-1, 235); Seth Dikoff, Sr., Douglas (5-10, 220);
Linebackers — Logan Warzecha, Sr., Harrisburg (6-3, 225); Gage Gehring, Jr., Pierre T.F. Riggs (6-0, 200); Reece Hansen, Sr., Spearfish (5-10, 185); Briggs Havlik, Sr., Mitchell (5-9, 165); Defensive backs — Cole Teigen, Jr., Harrisburg (5-10, 150); Matt Maxfield, Sr., Pierre T.F. Riggs (5-8, 155); Chipper Shillingstad, Jr., Huron (5-5, 150); Chance Sorenson, Sr., Douglas (5-9, 105)
Kicker — Casey Williams, Sr., Pierre T.F. Riggs (6-2, 190); Punter — Michael Drotzmann, Jr., Yankton (6-2, 185); Player — Kiel Nelson, Jr., Mitchell (6-3, 190); Long Snapper — Matt Katz, Jr., Huron (5-11, 165).
Hunter Headlee, Harrisburg; Zack Siemonsma, Huron; Parker Beers, Brookings; Justin Zebranak, Douglas; Grey Zabel, Pierre; Jerry Premo, Douglas; Levi Winne, Mitchell; Jackson Hook, Huron; Cameron Krejci, Yankton; Cole Sawatzke, Yankton; Jay Krull, Sturgis; Sheldon Wagner, Douglas; Marc Williams, Spearfish