State champion O’Gorman, runner-up Brandon Valley, Lincoln and Roosevelt headlined the 2019 Class 11AAA All-State teams, as selected by the South Dakota Football Coaches Association and released Friday morning.
The Knights, who claimed their first 11AAA title in the playoff era and first overall since they won back-to-back championships in 2004-05, were represented by Jacob Byrd, Cade Mikuska, Zach Norton, Conor Pavelko, Will Washenberger and Tate Wishard.
The runner-up Lynx matched the Knights’ six selections with Jackson Hilton, Tate Johnson, Parker Reed, Zach Roggow, Thomas Scholten and Jesse Steffel, as did Roosevelt (Brady Dannenbring, Caleb Dwyer, Ben Kohls, Aaron Kusler, Adam Kusler and Mike Paulson) and Lincoln (Tyler Hiatt, Hunter Merkley, Alex Oppold, Isaac Sarbacker, Sam Siegel and Jonathan Smith).
Harrisburg and Rapid City Stevens both had four representatives, Washington had three and Watertown, Aberdeen Central and Rapid City Central all had four.
Here is a look at this year’s team.
Quarterback: Brady Dannenbring, Roosevelt (Sr., 6-5, 215). Dannenbring came into his own as a senior, completing 183 of 286 passes for 2,612 passes with 23 touchdowns and just seven interceptions. He also rushed for 219 yards and a couple scores. The 6-foot-5, 215-pound quarterback graduates with 5,656 passing yards and 50 touchdowns on 411 of 660 passing.
Quarterback: Thomas Scholten, Brandon Valley (Sr., 6-2, 190). Scholten completed 118 of 191 passes for 1,689 yards and 26 touchdowns — with just one interception. “Thomas developed into one of the best we’ve ever had,” Chad Garrow said. “He is a great leader and one of our team captains, but what stands out most is how well he takes care of the ball.”
Running back: Brett Fossum, Watertown (Sr., 5-11, 185). Fossum cleared 1,000 yards for his career in 2019, finishing the season with 530 yards, seven touchdowns. "Brett is the leader of our football team and our best player," coach John Hodorff said. "He is a very high character person in everything he does."
Running back: Tate Johnson, Brandon Valley (Jr., 5-8, 170). Only a junior, Johnson logged 304 carries for 1,833 yards and 22 touchdowns. He also caught 19 passes for 256 yards and two touchdowns. "Tate is one of the best we've had," Garrow said. "He is destined to be a college player in the future."
Running back: Jeremy Weidmann, Rapid City Central (Sr., 5-7, 165). Weidmann finished the year with 627 rushing yards, 553 receiving yards and nine total touchdowns. "Jeremy is what every coach dreams of in a player," coach Erik Iverson said.
Running back: Tate Wishard, O’Gorman (Sr., 5-10, 195). Wishard went for 1,215 yards and 24 touchdowns on the ground and caught 10 passes for 64 yards and a score.
Receiver: Hunter Merkley, Lincoln (Sr., 5-11, 160). Merkley recorded 47 receptions and eight touchdowns. "Hunter was, by far, the person we felt we had to get the ball to in the passing game," coach Jared Fredenburg said.
Receiver: Bridger Nesbit, Rapid City Stevens (Sr., 6-3, 180). Nesbit caught 54 passes for 880 yards -- averaged 16.3 yards per catch -- and nine touchdowns. "Bridger has the ability to make big plays every time he touches the ball and did so on many occasions for us this fall," coach Steve Svendsen said. "He was a very consistent offensive player and we relied on his abilities to make plays and make our offense go."
Receiver: Michael Norman, Rapid City Stevens (Sr., 6-5, 185). Norman averaged 12.6 yards per catch (49 passes, 615 yards) with four touchdowns. "Michael was a big, physical presence in the middle for us through the air," Svendsen said. "This young man is a great kid off the field, as well. He tours middle schools every week and works with kids who are struggling in school and in life."
Receiver: Zach Norton, O’Gorman (Sr., 6-0, 190). Norton made an impact as a passer (307 yards, five touchdowns), runner (438 yards, three touchdowns) and receiver (67 catches, 755 yards, four touchdowns). "Zach is a very versatile player," Poppinga said. "He did what needed to be done to make the Knights a better team and played his best football in his last games."
Receiver: Mike Paulson, Roosevelt (Sr., 6-2, 190). Paulson averaged over 20 yards per catch, logging 58 receptions for 1,186 yards and 12 scores. "Mike was our clutch guy," Nelson said.
Receiver: Jhei Roewart, Harrisburg (Sr., 5-8, 170). Roewart caught 29 passes for 456 yards and nine touchdowns for the Tigers and graduates with 937 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns on 53 catches. "Jhei is an outstanding young man and we feel he can play very well at the next level," coach Brandon White said.
Receiver: Dawson Schmidt, Watertown (Jr., 6-3, 165). Schmidt caught 39 passes for 943
yards and six touchdowns. Hodorff said Schmidt had some of the best ball skills and hands he'd ever seen. "Dawson was a great surprise for us this year," the Watertown coach continued. "He worked very hard in the offseason and improved his skill."
Receiver: Chris Weber, Aberdeen Central (Sr., 5-9, 165). Weber caught 39 passes for 607 yards and five touchdowns, and rushed for 326 yards and a score on 28 carries in his career. "Chris did it all for us in his career," coach Mitch Kranz said. "He was a leader for us and always stayed positive no matter what."
Tight end: Tyus Hanson, Washington (Jr., 6-4, 225). Hanson caught 38 passes for 506 yards and nine touchdowns. "Tyus is vital to our team," coach Chad Stadem said. "He has really started to become a good blocker in the trenches and on the outside."
Tight end: Ethyn Rollinger, Harrisburg (Jr., 6-3, 190). Rollinger recorded 31 catches for 510 yards and three touchdowns.
Line: Brennan Busse, Rapid City Stevens (Sr., 6-0, 260). Busse was a key blocker for a Raiders offense that rushed for over 1,000 yards and threw for an additional 2,500 in 2019. "He was the heart and soul of our offensive line," Svendsen said. "He had great feet, which allowed us to use him in pulling quite frequently on our trap scheme."
Line: Brandon Dickens, Washington (Sr., 6-3, 290). Dickens moved from guard to left tackle during the season and earned all-conference honors for the Warriors. "Brandon has been the anchor of our offensive line the last two seasons," Stadem said. "He is a quiet, hard worker."
Line: Tyler Hiatt, Lincoln (Sr., 6-4, 277). Hiatt finished his career strong, playing a key role for an offense that rushed for nearly 1,700 yards and threw for 2,000.
Line: Ben Kohls, Roosevelt (Sr., 6-3, 270). Kohls was a key blocker for an offense that rushed for over 1,400 yards and threw for over 2,000 yards.
Line: Alex Oppold, Lincoln (Sr., 6-2, 246). Oppold was the best offensive lineman on a team that rushed for nearly 1,700 yards and 26 touchdowns. "When we needed a yard, we ran a play where Alex was the blocker at the point of attack," Fredenburg said.
Line: Zach Roggow, Brandon Valley (Sr., 6-4, 280). Roggow made his name as a run blocker, clearing the way for a Brandon Valley attack that rushed for 2,300 yards and averaged over 36 points per game. He was adept in pass protection, as well, anchoring the line for a group that threw for nearly 1,700 yards. "Zach very well could be the best offensive linemen we've ever had," Garrow said. "He was a very dominant tackle."
Line: Will Washenberger, O’Gorman (Sr., 6-4, 265). Washenberger was a key blocker for an O’ Gorman offense that rolled up over 2,100 yards rushing, threw for over 2,300 yards and converted nearly 40 percent of its third down conversions.
Line: Caleb Dwyer, Roosevelt (Sr., 6-2, 265). Dwyer recorded 68 takedowns and a school-record 12.5 sacks. Nelson credited the two-year starters emergence in 2019 to the work he put in in the weight room, adding that he made himself into a great player.
Line: Alex Holt, Harrisburg (Sr., 6-2, 210). Holt was a force along the front line for Harrisburg, recording 42 tackles and eight sacks. The 6-2, 210-pound senior graduates with 62 tackles and eight sacks.
Line: Cade Mikuska, O’Gorman (Sr., 6-4, 215). Mikuska tallied a team-high 54 tackles, 10 of which went for a loss, and recovered a fumble. He also contributed offensively as a tight end, catching a touchdown pass and playing a critical role in the team’s rushing attack as a blocker. For his career, Mikuska collected 82 tackles and 14 tackles for loss.
Line: Parker Reed, Brandon Valley (Jr., 6-2, 235). A defensive end for the 11AAA runner-up Lynx, Reed recorded 20 tackles for a loss of 94 yards, 8.5 sacks, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. He also blocked a pair of kicks and logged 68 total tackles. "Parker is a beast, a game-wrecker," Garrow said of Reed, who has 15 sacks for his career.
Line: Isaac Sarbacker, Lincoln (Sr., 6-4, 200). A standout lineman, Sarbacker logged 43 tackles, 11 sacks and four tackles for loss. He also recovered two fumbles, forced two fumbles, intercepted a pass and scored a defensive touchdown. "Isaac had an outstanding year at defensive end," Fredenburg said of the team's sack leader.
Line: Jonathan Smith, Lincoln (Sr., 6-2, 266). Smith was responsible for 35.5 tackles, 6.5 sacks, seven tackles for loss and a fumble recovery. He formed a lethal duo with Oppold, forcing teams to decide which one to double-team. "He is not flashy but did all the dirty work on both sides of the ball," Fredenburg said. "He is a great teammate and was a matchup nightmare."
Linebacker: Cade Boyer, Harrisburg (Sr., 6-1, 210). An anchor for the Tigers’ defense, Boyer recorded 82 tackles, three sacks and forced a couple fumbles in 2019. The two-year starter graduates with 152 tackles, five sacks and two interceptions. "Cade is one of the tougher kids to wear the Tiger uniform," White said. "He has battled through a few injuries in his career and not once did we hear excuses. He is a tremendous young man that always played with a little chip on his shoulder."
Linebacker: Aaron Iverson, Rapid City Central (Sr., 5-10, 170). Though he missed three games due to injury, Iverson still recorded 52 tackles (team leader), 17 of which went for loss. A three-year starter on defense and two-year two-way starter, he rarely came off the field over his final two seasons. "Everything Aaron has done, he's done on his own," Erik Iverson said of his son. "I never pushed him to get to offseason workouts. He gave 100 percent each of his four years."
Linebacker: Randolph Kpai, Washington (Jr., 6-3, 190). Kpai recorded 63 tackles (12.5 for loss), three sacks and two fumble recoveries. He enters his senior season with 138 tackles, 20.5 tackles, six sacks and three fumble recoveries. "We have used Randolph all over the field as a hybrid-type player," Stadem said. "He was our captain this season by voting and by his play."
Linebacker: Aaron Kusler, Roosevelt (Sr., 6-2, 210). Aaron Kusler logged 109 tackles in 2019. The South Dakota State commit overcame an ACL injury to start in two-and-a-half seasons and graduates second only to his twin brother on Roosevelt’s all-time tackles list (206).
Linebacker: Adam Kusler, Roosevelt (Sr., 6-2, 210). Adam Kusler logged 129 total tackles in his senior campaign, leaving him with a school-record 269 takedowns for his career. A three-year starter, two-year captain and an SDSU commit.
Linebacker: Jesse Steffel, Brandon Valley (Sr., 6-3, 195). A two-way starter, Steffel honed his defensive game in 2019, recording 51 tackles, six tackles for loss and two sacks over 12 games. "Jesse is an incredible talent and has played with us since his freshman year," Garrow said. "He was a very strong alley defender and vital to our past two championship runs."
Defensive back: Avery Bad Moccasin, Aberdeen Central (Sr., 5-10, 150). Nicknamed the “silent assassin,” Bad Moccasin recorded 10 total takeaways (seven interceptions) and broke up 14 passes. He finished the season with 34 total tackles. "This kid was just a ball hawk for us," Kranz said. "His ability to keep pace and make plays on the football in the air was second to none."
Defensive back: Jacob Byrd, O’Gorman (Sr., 6-0, 170). A talented two-way starter, Byrd was a lockdown presence in the defensive backfield. He also returned six punts for 63 yards and 13 kicks for 246 yards. As a receiver, Byrd caught 14 passes for 205 yards and four scores.
Defensive back: Colton Hartford, Rapid City Stevens (Sr., 6-0, 175). 43 of Hartford’s 77 total tackles were solo efforts. He also logged two interceptions and broke up five passes. At quarterback, he completed 179 of 285 passes for 2,473 yards and 21 touchdowns and rushed for 403 yards and three touchdowns. "Colton is an impact player on both sides," Svendsen said. "His competitiveness and intelligence make him a very dynamic player and his work ethic is second-to-none… His teammates looked upon his leadership abilities throughout the season."
Defensive back: Jackson Hilton, Brandon Valley (Jr., 6-2, 170). An electrifying corner, Hilton recorded 30 tackles and intercepted three passes for 121 yards and a touchdown. He also dazzled as a receiver, catching 28 passes for 626 yards and 11 scores. Three of his eight career interceptions have been returned for six. "Jackson is a ballhawk," Garrow said. "He's a rare type of athlete."
Defensive back: Sam Siegel, Lincoln (Sr., 6-2, 185). The Patriots’ defensive most valuable player the last two seasons, Siegel led the team with 70 tackles (four for loss), leaving him with 120 for his career, and rounded out his 2019 line with four interceptions (one returned for a touchdown), three forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries. "Sam could have legitimately played any position except defensive tackle," Fredenburg said. "He is our best player and is one of the most competitive kids I've ever coached."
Kicker: Conor Pavelko, O’Gorman (Jr., 5-10, 175)
Pavelko was one of the state’s most reliable kickers in 2019, converting eight of his 10 field goal attempts, including a perfect 6-for-6 mark from 40-49 yards out. His season long came from 49
yards out. Pavelko was 43-for-46 on PATs.
Honorable mention: Tyler Feldkamp, Jr., Roosevelt; Tommy Thompson, Jr., Lincoln; Joe Kolbeck, Jr., Brandon Valley; Tip Rieman, Sr., O’Gorman; Brady Schultz, Sr., Harrisburg; James Vandervoorst, Sr., Rapid City Stevens; Josh Piper, So., Washington; Evan Falconer, Sr., Watertown; Tyler Dean, Jr., Watertown; Austin Huff, Sr., Aberdeen Central; Wyatt Jungclaus, Sr., Rapid City Central.