All five schools — A-D-M, Dallas Center-Grimes, Waukee, Van Meter and Woodward-Granger — reached the playoffs this season in what was a show-stopping season for high school football in Dallas County.
Three teams captured division or district championships, and the Bulldogs’ season stretched all the way to the Class 1A semifinals, their first trip to the UNI-Dome in school history and first trip to the semifinals since 1996.
The talent and depth present on the gridirons this fall is reflected in the selections on the all-county teams, released this week by the Dallas County News.
The Bulldogs came away with six first-team picks, including senior quarterback Brandon Brittain, who threw for 1,747 yards, ran for another 1,177, and accounted for 35 touchdowns over the course of the season. Running back Cody Blackwell ran for a team-best 1,433 yards and 18 touchdowns, while linemen Spencer Benton and Ross Wesselmann starred on both sides of the ball — Benton had 89 tackles and seven solo sacks, Wesselmann 38 tackles and two sacks.
The same was true for Logan Crawford, who caught 38 passes for 634 yards and eight touchdowns at receiver, then led the Bulldogs with a team-high 114 tackles at linebacker. Defensive back Grant Hoppes was also tabbed for the first team, after recording 60 tackles and a team-leading seven interceptions.
Five other Bulldogs landed on the second team: wide receiver Ben Flaherty (31 catches for 409 yards, five TDs), lineman Colton Boswell, defensive tackle Chase Wyant (100 tackles), lineman Parker Suckow (82 tackles, five sacks) and linebacker Ben Engstrand (61 tackles).
Waukee, which matched the school record for victories with 10 and ran away with the Class 4A Division 4 crown, came away with eight first-team picks. Running back Trevor Allen rushed for 1,326 yards and 20 touchdowns, averaging 6.0 yards per carry. He was assisted by a stout offensive line headed up by senior Ross Reynolds. Kicker Ike Bruns made 8-of-11 tries, with a long of 46 yards.
A Warrior defense that ranked among the best in Class 4A was led by linemen A.J. Allen (41 tackles, three sacks) and Nick Tweeten (31 tackles, five sacks). Linebacker Pat Gray led the team with 68 tackles, defensive back Matt Hoeg led Class 4A with nine interceptions, and punter Cody Call averaged 37.5 yards on 42 kicks, with a long of 61.
Eight others were tabbed for the second team. Quarterback Ben Ferkin threw for 1,413 yards and 14 touchdowns to just four interceptions, aided by the contributions of linemen Jordan Graham and Chris Kickbush. Tight end Michael Jacobson caught 12 passes for 310 yards and two touchdowns. Lineman Anthony Nelson had 41 tackles, three sacks and four fumble recoveries, linebacker Kyle Boulanger added 56 tackles and Matt Corbett picked off three passes at defensive back.
Dallas Center-Grimes, which finished with a 9-2 season and a district championship, landed four on the first team and six on the second. Dual-threat quarterback Andrew Kramer threw for 1,391 yards and 17 touchdowns, and ran for 603 yards and 14 scores. Tight end Dakota Clausen caught 33 passes for 538 yards and six touchdowns. Defensive lineman Austin Grosklags finished with 51 tackles and seven sacks, while defense back Austin Kloewer logged 80 tackles and five interceptions.
Named to the second team were running back Chaz Chambers (929 yards, seven touchdowns), kicker Michael Lortz (three field goals, 40-of-42 extra-point attempts and led Class 3A with 26 touchbacks), offensive lineman Chris On, defensive lineman Brevin Townsell (51 tackles, two sacks), linebacker Jack Kelly (83 tackles) and defensive back Jack Jorgensen (64 tackles, two INTs).
Woodward-Granger landed five on the all-county first team. Marshall Nieland rushed for 1,432 yards and 13 touchdowns,, and also caught 24 passes for 348 yards. Tanner Canova, the Hawks’ district defensive MVP, logged 61 tackles, eight sacks and 18 tackles for loss while also catching 19 passes for 442 yards and seven touchdowns at tight end. Lineman Dylan Nixon started on both sides of the ball and recorded 88 tackles, while linebacker Michael Connor posted a team-high 102 tackles, 15 of which went for loss, and defensive back Cole Ashman logged 62 tackles.
Lane Kooiker and Seth Noel were named to the second team. Kooiker, a lineman, had 49 tackles and Noel, a defensive back, had 29 tackles and two interceptions.
Honorable mentions went to A-D-M’s Nathan Heath, Dustin Hagemann and Jake Hutzell; DC-G’s Hunter Sehman, Justin Gardner, and Blake Borchers; Van Meter’s Zach Forret, Ben Trent and Bryce Godwin; Waukee’s Connor Wachter; and Jimmy Harney and Dyllan Rosenbaum of Woodward-Granger.