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Matt Heinrichs

Matt Heinrichs has been the Sports Editor of the Dickinson County News since January 2014. Since joining the DCN, he has won more Iowa Newspaper Association Better Newspaper Contest awards than any journalist in the state, with 50 awards in more than a dozen categories. Matt is an avid outdoorsman. He enjoys hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, cycling and kayaking. He also enjoys spending time with his family and his better half, Tessa. Be sure to follow Matt on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram (@mattheinrix).

Indians to compete in stacked district

Tuesday, August 17, 2021
Spirit Lake’s Riley Reynolds was a First Team All-District selection for the Indians last season after catching 30 passes for 422 yards and five touchdowns and rushing for 50 yards and an additional score on 12 carries as a junior.
(File photo)

Spirit Lake went undefeated in district play last year to earn a district championship. If the Indians hope to repeat last year’s results, they’ll have to do so against a murderers’ row of football talent in 2021.

This year’s Class 2A District 2 teams combined to go 39-16 last season. Three teams played in the state quarterfinals. One team won a state title. All but one team had a winning record.

They combined for 12 all-state selections.

The Indians should be in the hunt for another district championship — but so will just about everyone else in the district.


OABCIG (12-0)

KEY DEPARTURES: Cooper DeJean, Cameron Sharkey, Geo Ehrig, Trust Wells

KEY RETURNERS: Easton Harms, Griffin Diersen, Ethan Shever, Keaton Railsback

You would think that a team that lost one of the best athletes in Iowa prep sports history would struggle following their departure, but OABCIG looks strong even with Cooper DeJean now in Iowa City.

DeJean, now a Hawkeye, was a stud — flat out — while leading the Falcons to a second state championship in 2020.

The Class 1A First Team All-State selection and team captain completed 199 of 331 passes for 3,447 yards, 36 touchdowns and nine interceptions, rushed for 1,235 yards and 24 touchdowns on 131 carries, and had 53.5 tackles, two tackles for loss, a sack and three interceptions a year ago.

The Falcons will also miss the productivity of Cameron Sharkey and Trust Wells, who combined for 75 catches for 1,168 yards and six touchdowns, as well as the tackling prowess of Second Team All-State linebacker Geo Ehrig, who had 71.5 stops, five tackles for loss and four sacks.

However, OABCIG has plenty of talent back on both sides of the ball.

Class 1A First Team All-State receiver Easton Harms returns for his senior season after leading the Falcons in receptions (64), receiving yards (1,091), receiving touchdowns (16) and interceptions (5).

First Team All-State linebacker Ethan Shever is also back for his senior season after leading the Falcons with 83.5 tackles. He also had three tackles for loss and three sacks.

Second Team All-State running back Griffin Diersen is back for his junior season. He rushed for 489 yards and 13 touchdowns on 80 carries and caught 33 passes for 682 yards and nine more scores as a sophomore.

Third Team All-State selection Keaton Railsback will be back to anchor the offensive line.


Southeast Valley (9-1)

KEY DEPARTURES: Parker Garcia, Hunter Sorenson, Sam Hanson, Jaxon Carlson

KEY RETURNERS: Aaron Graves, Kolson Kruse, Lathe Muench, Kaleb Scott

Southeast Valley will be a force once again this season, as the Jaguars return the bulk of their roster from a 2020 team that started the season 9-0 before falling to South Central Calhoun in the Class 1A state quarterfinals.

Headlining that roster is two-time First Team All-State and four-star Iowa commit, defensive lineman Aaron Graves. The 6-5, 270-pound senior — who became the youngest Iowa football recruit of the Kirk Ferentz era after committing to the Hawkeyes following his freshman season — has been dominant throughout his career, totaling 158 tackles, 45.5 tackles for loss and 29.5 sacks in his three seasons for the Jaguars. Graves had 50.5 tackles, 18.5 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks last season.

Starting quarterback, senior Kolson Kruse, will also be back for Southeast Valley. Kruse completed 64 of 123 passes for 1,087 yards, 11 touchdowns and three interceptions and rushed for 695 yards and 13 touchdowns on 152 carries a year ago.

Leading rusher Lathe Muench is also back for his senior season. Muench ran for 913 yards and 16 touchdowns on 150 carries and caught nine passes for 112 yards.

Stop me if you see a trend here, but leading receiver Kaleb Scott — also a senior — is back as well. He caught 18 passes for 342 yards and three touchdowns and ran for 158 yards and two touchdowns on seven carries.

Seniors Tre Fisher and Colton Brant will give Kruse additional targets. Fisher caught seven passes for 166 yards and two touchdowns. Brant had 10 catches for 161 yards and two touchdowns. Junior Cal Berglund had 10 catches for 110 yards and a touchdown as a sophomore.

Leading tackler Justin Loseke is back for his junior season. Loseke had 62 tackles, four tackles for loss, two interceptions and 1.5 sacks.


Estherville Lincoln Central (7-2)

KEY DEPARTURES: Matt Christensen, Kevin Egeland, Garrett Paulson, Nick Leonard

KEY RETURNERS: Ryan Schiltz, Zavion McMurrian, Daryl Jensen, Zack Anderson

Estherville Lincoln Central suffered just one regular season loss in 2020 before falling to Class 2A state runner-up Central Lyon/George-Little Rock in the playoffs. That one loss was to eventual district champion Spirit Lake — a 34-27 home loss in overtime in Week 4.

The Midgets were absolutely dominant in their seven wins, however, outscoring their opponents by a combined score of 285-53.

Much like the Falcons and Jaguars, the Midgets return much of their roster from a year ago.

Starting quarterback Ryan Schiltz is back for his senior season. Schiltz was a Class 2A Third Team All-State selection after completing 101 of 186 passes for 1,410 yards, 23 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He also ran for 311 yards and five touchdowns on 83 carries.

Schiltz will be without his top target from a year ago — First Team All-State selection Matt Christensen — who caught 40 passes for 687 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Daryl Jensen gave Schiltz a solid second target last season, finishing with 25 catches for 344 yards and five touchdowns. His production should increase as a senior.

The Midgets will also return leading rusher and top defensive player Zavion McMurrian. As a sophomore, the 6-3, 240-pound McMurrian ran for 470 yards and 10 touchdowns on 83 carries and had 44 tackles, 16 tackles for loss and nine sacks on defense.

Lamont Whiting was a threat in the running and passing game a year ago. As a junior, Whiting ran for 163 yards on 20 carries and caught 12 passes for 142 yards and three touchdowns.

Defensively, Zack Anderson returns for his senior season after totaling 51.5 tackles, 13 tackles for loss and a sack as a junior. Seth Busch had 31.5 tackles and four tackles for loss as a junior.

Jensen had 23 tackles, three tackles for loss and two interceptions.


Spirit Lake (5-3)

KEY DEPARTURES: Brent Scott, Dillon Fine, Landon Miner, Max Carney

KEY RETURNERS: Carver Jungjohan, Vance Katzfey, Riley Reynolds, Zach Jensen

Spirit Lake lost much of its offensive and defensive production from last year’s district championship team, but the Indians have a tendency to reload under longtime head coach Josh Bolluyt — and this year will seemingly be no different.

Gone is do-everything quarterback and Third Team All-State selection Brent Scott. The two-year starter was the focal point of the Indians’ attack last season, completing 121 of 221 passes for 1,605 yards, 15 touchdowns and eight interceptions and rushing for 514 yards and nine touchdowns on 123 carries.

So to is Dillon Fine, who ran for 378 yards and three touchdowns on 75 carries and caught 12 passes for 149 yards and a score.

Scott’s top targets from last year — First Team All-District selections Vance Katzfey and Riley Reynolds — are both back for their senior seasons. Katzfey caught 35 passes for 457 yards and three touchdowns. Reynolds caught 30 passes for 422 yards and five touchdowns.

Defensively, the Indians return their top two tacklers from a year ago in Carver Jungjohan and Zach Jensen. Jungjohan was a First Team All-District selection after finishing the year with 54 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, three sacks and three interceptions. Jensen led the team with 59 tackles and nine sacks. He also had 12 tackles for loss.

Spirit Lake will miss the production of 2021 graduates Landon Miner, Max Carney, Keegan Bradley and Cole Whiting. That quartet combined for 193.5 tackles, 52 tackles for loss and 20 sacks last season.

Athletes like Qai Hussey, Jack Latham, Ethan Backhaus and Braden Theesfeld didn’t have a ton of production last season, but should all figure into the Indians’ plans in 2021 on either or both sides of the ball.

Theesfeld had 35.5 tackles, two interceptions and two tackles for loss as a sophomore. Backhaus had 31 tackles. The 6-2, 175-pound Latham won a Class 2A state championship in the 110-meter high hurdles this past spring and nearly helped the runner-up shuttle hurdle relay team to another. The 6-4, 178-pound Hussey placed fourth in the 400-meter dash and fifth in the 200-meter dash at state.


Pocahontas Area (5-3)

KEY DEPARTURES: Trey Oehlertz, Cole Runneberg, Luke Crosgrove, Dane Johnson

KEY RETURNERS: Ruger Bunda, Chase Cook, Caleb Freeburg, Keaton Bindel

The Indians were clearly the third best team in their district last season — but that district featured Class 1A state quarterfinalist Southeast Valley and semifinalist South Central Calhoun. Pocahontas Area dominated the rest of its competition, winning five games by a combined score of 203-58.

The Indians’ season ended with a 16-8 loss to Kuemper Catholic in the first round of the playoffs.

Repeating that production will not be easy in 2021, as the Indians lost a great deal of their offensive and defensive production from a year ago.

Starting quarterback Trey Oehlertz — gone. Leading rusher Cole Runneberg — gone. Leading receiver and leading tackler Luke Crosgrove — you guessed it — gone.

Senior Roger Bunda is the most productive rusher back from last season. He had 24 carries for 128 yards and a touchdown.

Senior Chase Cook caught 10 passes for 186 yards and a touchdown. Senior Chase Boysen caught eight passes for 122 yards.

Defensively, seniors Caleb Freeburg and Keaton Bindel combined to make 90.5 tackles last season.

The cupboard is far from bare — but there are few gimmes in this district.


Clarion-Goldfield-Dows (1-7)

KEY DEPARTURES: Shane Conlon, Trenton Jergenson, Kain Nelson, Reed Abbas

KEY RETURNERS: Neven Foss, Coady Olson

Clarion-Goldfield-Dows was the lone team in this district to finish with a losing season a year ago. Considering the Cowboys lost the majority of their offensive and defensive production from 2020, this season will likely be a struggle once again.

They’ll likely lean heavily on junior Neven Foss, who ran for 318 yards and two touchdowns on 60 carries and led the defense with 70 tackles and nine tackles for loss.

Senior Coady Olson led the team with 17 catches for 252 yards.


CLASS 2A DISTRICT 2 LEADERS

Touchdowns

1. Ryan Schiltz (ELC) — 28

2. Kolson Kruse (SEV) — 24

3. Griffin Diersen (OABCIG) — 22

4. Lathe Muench (SEV) — 16

5. Easton Harms (OABCIG) — 16

Passing TDs

1. Ryan Schiltz (ELC) — 23

2. Kolson Kruse (SEV) — 11

3. Beckett DeJean (OABCIG) — 2

4. Jake Cornwall (SPL) — 1

4. Owen Larson (ELC) — 1

Rushing TDs

1. Lathe Munch (SEV) — 16

2. Kolson Kruse (SEV) — 13

3. Griffin Diersen (OABCIG) — 13

4. Zavion McMurrian (ELC) — 10

5. Ryan Schiltz (ELC) — 5

Receiving TDs

1. Easton Harms (OABCIG) — 16

2. Griffin Diersen (OABCIG) — 9

3. Daryl Jensen (ELC) — 5

4. Riley Reynolds (SPL) — 5

5. Vance Katzfey (SPL) — 3

6. Lamont Whiting (ELC) — 3

All Purpose Yards

1. Kolson Kruse (SEV) — 1,872

2. Ryan Schiltz (ELC) — 1,721

3. Griffin Diersen (OABCIG) — 1,171

4. Easton Harms (OABCIG) — 1,091

5. Lathe Muench (SEV) — 1,030

Passing Yards

1. Ryan Schiltz (ELC) — 1,410

2. Kolson Kruse (SEV) — 1,087

3. Zach Hemer (OABCIG) — 120

4. Beckett DeJean (OABCIG) — 71

5. Jake Cornwall (SPL) — 68

Rushing Yards

1. Lathe Muench (SEV) — 913

2. Kolson Kruse (SEV) — 695

3. Griffin Diersen (OABCIG) — 489

4. Zavion McMurrian (ELC) — 470

5. Neven Foss (CGD) — 318

Receiving Yards

1. Easton Harms (OABCIG) — 1,091

2. Griffin Diersen (OABCIG) — 682

3. Vance Katzfey (SPL) — 457

4. Riley Reynolds (SPL) — 422

5. Daryl Jensen (ELC) — 344

Total Tackles

1. Ethan Shever (OABCIG) — 83.5

2. Neven Foss (CGD) — 70

3. Justin Loseke (SEV) — 62

4. Zach Jensen (SPL) — 59

5. Carver Jungjohan (SPL) — 54

Total Sacks

1. Zach Jensen (SPL) — 9

1. Zavion McMurrian (ELC) — 9

3. Aaron Graves (SEV) — 8.5

4. Ethan Shever (OABCIG) — 3

5. Andrew Sholty (OABCIG) — 3

Interceptions

1. Easton Harms (OABCIG) — 5

2. Josh Peters (OABCIG) — 3

2. Carver Jungjohan (SPL) — 3

4. Vance Katzfey (SPL) — 2

4. Braden Theesfeld (SPL) — 2

4. Ethan Shever (OABCIG) — 2

4. Zack Anderson (ELC) — 2

4. Daryl Jensen (ELC) — 2

4. Justin Loseke (SEV) — 2

FG Made

1. Kolbe Rutherford (PAC) — 2

PAT Made

1. Brandon Flores (ELC) — 32

2. Kolbe Rutherford (PAC) — 26

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