Another strong season for Waukee High School football is undoubtedly deserving of several honors and accolades. The Iowa Print Sports Writers Association has agreed whole heartedly and awarded seven Warrior gridiron stars with All-State honors.
With their ninth straight playoff-bound season, the Warriors had four players earn first-team honors, two second-team honors, and one third-team honor.
Headlining the first team selections for Waukee included future Minnesota State quarterback Mitch Randall. The high school senior had perhaps his most overall season that included a career-best mark in completions at 134 which also happened to rank him eighth in all of Class 4A. Randall fell just 32 yards short of 2,000 yards through the air and those efforts did result in 15 aerial touchdowns. The rushing game was also on point for Randall who posted a single season career-best 1,073 yards on the ground which just so happened to result in 16 scores.
One of Randall’s favorite targets joins him on the first-team list in fellow senior Sam O’Dell. O’Dell has been a staple within the Warrior receiving ranks the past few seasons and capped off his Waukee football career on a high note. Only one other player earned more receiving yards than O’Dell who hauled in 849 for the season. For his efforts, O’Dell claimed the top spot in all of Class 4A in touchdowns hauled in with ten on the year. Across 42 receptions in his senior season, O’Dell ranked top-15 with an average of 20.2 yards per reception. The connection between Randall and O’Dell has been something fans have grown accustomed to and have enjoyed for two years. It’s a combination that had head coach Scott Carlson excited each and every year.
“Mitch and Sam have a great connection between them and you see that every Friday night,” began Carlson. “Both have great vision for the game and when you have such skilled players with that vision the way they do, it’s a hard combination to beat.”
Defensively, Cole Spyksma landed as a first-team linebacker and rightfully so. The senior produced 63 tackles during the 2019 campaign which included eleven tackles for loss. He was regarded as a premier leader for the Warriors and earned the respect of not only Waukee High School, but the state of Iowa as well. Alongside the senior was junior breakout star Aaron Smith who’s spot on the first-team comes as a kick returner. Smith totaled 376 yards on returns and punched in two scores. He also averaged 34.2 yards per return which ranks second in the class among those with at least ten returns on the season.
Two Warriors were represented on the second-team defense including Conner Arndt. The senior star clogged up the rushing lanes and continually gave running-backs and quarterbacks a hectic time. Arndt captured 27 total tackles on the year including one for a loss. He was complimented well with fellow second-team All-State selection Joe Morrison. Morrison delivered on 49.5 tackles on the season including five for a loss with one sack. The senior also earned one interception which he returned for 26 yards.
Rounding out the All-State selections for the Warriors was fellow senior Cael Thorson. Thorson was named to the third-team offensive team for his work opening up running lanes and keeping quarterback Mitch Randall safe in the pocket. That’s something the Randall himself has always been appreciative of.
“Without the offensive line that I have, I wouldn’t be able to put up the performances that I have,” said Randall. “They do such a great job an make my job look easy at times.”
Even with his offensive skills, Thorson was also quite the defensive star, leading Waukee with 17 solo tackles for loss as part of a 43.5 total tackle season.