(Rodney Haas / 605 Sports)
By Ryan Deal
State football finalists -- Madison and Milbank -- landed five players apiece on this year’s Class 11A all-state football, which was selected by the South Dakota Football Coaches Association.
Madison, which won the state title game 31-0, landed Nate Ricke, Gabe Olson, Mike Peters, Camden Buchholtz and Trey Smith on the team. Milbank’s all-state selections were Marshall Voeltz, Jace Rufer, Connor Bender, Bennett Schwenn and Karson Weber.
Here’s a complete list of the Class 11A all-state football team:
QUARTERBACK: Nate Ricke, Sr., Madison (6-3, 190)
Ricke powered the Bulldogs with 2,067 passing yards and 15 touchdowns, while rushing for 836 yards and 15 more scores. For his career, he logged 3,629 passing yards and 36 touchdowns. He added 1,730 rushing yards and 26 touchdowns in his career.
“Nate brings a multiple threat athlete to the position that has allowed us as an offense to be nearly unstoppable,” Madison coach Max Hodgen said. “Nate has a great understanding of the game and is able to adjust to what the defense throws up against us. We have faced a multitude of different defenses from week to week and Nate has been able to recognize what they are trying to take away and exploit what they are giving us.”
TE/FULLBACK/H BACK: Marshall Voeltz, Sr., Milbank (6-1, 210)
Voeltz was limited to seven games this season due to injury, but accounted for 379 rushing yards and six touchdowns on 67 carries. He averaged 5.66 yards per carry and added 12 receptions. He was an all-state honorable mention honoree last season and is an all-conference performer.
“He worked extremely hard to come back and played extensively in our semifinal game against Vermillion,” Milbank coach Brian Allmendinger said. “He is an exceptional blocker and helps the line with calls while also being heavily counted on to run the ball.”
TE/FULLBACK/H BACK: Jaden Witte, Sr., S.F. Christian (6-4, 190)
Witte hauled in 41 catches for 667 yards and caught six touchdown receptions. The two-time all-conference honoree holds school records for most touchdown receptions in a game (3) and career (13). He also holds the school record for most receiving yards in a career (1,187).
“As a captain, Jaden was the heartbeat of our team,” Sioux Falls Christian coach Jared Smith said. “He gave everything he had on every play, both offensively and defensively.”
TE/FULLBACK/H BACK: Beau Williams, Jr., Canton (6-0, 200)
Williams logged 180 rushing yards on 42 carries, while hauling in five touchdown receptions. He finished his career with 223 rushing yards on 63 carries. Williams was a three-year letterwinner and a two-year all-conference selection.
“Beau has been an outstanding player for us since he was a freshman, starting all three years on defense and the past two years at fullback,” Canton coach Rich Lundstrom said. “He has worked hard on his weaknesses and turned them into strengths. Our offense would not work near as well without Beau and there would be a huge hole in our D, if he wasn't there.”
RUNNING BACK: Landon Ruesink, Sr., Dell Rapids (5-10, 165)
Ruesink produced in the passing game and rushing game for the Quarriers. He logged 788 rushing yards on 142 carries and 11 touchdowns. He added 473 receiving yards and nine touchdown receptions on 21 catches.
“Landon is a great football player and person,” Dell Rapids coach Jordan Huska said. “He was a big difference maker for us on offense, defense, and special teams over the last three years. Not only is he a good football player, but he is a great leader and person for our younger guys to look up to in how to do things the right way on the field, in the classroom, in the weight room, and when they are away from school.”
RUNNING BACK: Jackson Arlt, Sr., Lennox (5-10, 165)
Arlt led the Orioles out of the backfield with 928 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns on 181 carries. He added 241 receiving yards and one touchdown reception. He finished his career with 1,110 rushing yards and 14 scores, while he caught 83 receptions for 1,067 yards and nine touchdowns.
“Jackson has been one of our best football players for two years,” Lennox coach Matt Luze said. “For a man of his stature, he is completely fearless. He will dole out physical contact to whomever is in his way and his explosiveness through the whole is the best I've coached in a long time.”
RUNNING BACK: Isaiah Young, Sr., S.F. Christian (5-10, 160)
Young missed time due to an ankle injury, but still logged 806 rushing yards and six touchdowns. He’s a two-time all-conference selection and was an all-state honorable mention pick last season. He finished his career with 2,097 yards rushing and receiving, while scoring 12 touchdowns.
“Isaiah was our go-to running back for the last two years,” Sioux Falls Christian coach Jared Smith said. “The attention he commanded definitely helped our quarterbacks in the run game.”
WIDE RECEIVER: Braden Dierickx, Sr., West Central (5-9, 155)
Dierickx was West Central’s deep threat in the passing game. He logged 78 receptions for 1,001 yards and had 10 touchdown receptions. For his career, he posted 81 receptions for 1,078 yards and 13 touchdown receptions.
“Braden was an explosive receiver for us this year,” West Central coach Chris Hernandez said. “He is the first receiver in West Central history to have 1,000 yards receiving. He also was a dynamic return man, with a punt return for a TD against Milbank. Most defenses had to game plan for him and is easily one of the best receivers in the state.”
WIDE RECEIVER: Steven Christion, Sr., Lennox (6-0, 170)
Christion paced Lennox’s receiving corps this season, finishing with 939 receiving yards on 45 catches and six touchdowns. He averaged 20.9 yards per reception. The all-conference performer finished with 1,299 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns on 71 career receptions.
“Steven has been a mainstay on our team for three years with the last two being a dynamic wide receiver for us,” Lennox coach Matt Luze said. “His ability to take any play and make it a touchdown has been very vital for us this year.”
WIDE RECEIVER: Payton Eben, Sr., Canton (6-1, 200)
Eben was a dynamic playmaker with the ball in his hands. He posted 480 receiving yards on 35 receptions, while rushing for 748 yards on 98 carries and 16 touchdowns. He had 1,518 all-purpose yards this season. For his career, he finished with 71 receptions for 1,016 yards. He had 2,435 all-purpose yards and 28 touchdowns, while rushing for 1,165 yards.
“Payton has developed into one of the best wide receivers we've had,” Canton coach Rich Lundstrom said. “He's also a great weapon at punter. He flipped the field or pinned our opponents deep on many occasions.”
OFFENSIVE LINE: Marshall Baldwin, Sr., Canton (6-0, 230)
Baldwin helped pave the way for an offense that gained 3,110 yards this season and 14,068 yards as a four-year starter.
“Marshall has been an incredible player for us, starting four years on the offensive line and three on the defensive line,” Canton coach Rich Lundstrom said. “He was our best and most consistent lineman.”
OFFENSIVE LINE: Gabe Olson, Sr., Madison (6-3, 206)
Olson, who missed time late in the season with an injury, was instrumental in Madison’s ground and passing attack.
“Team leader both on and off of the field,” Madison coach Max Hodgen said. “Gabe set the tone on the offensive and defensive line through his play. Never complained, worked hard and always put the team above self. Helped coach teammates when injured.”
OFFENSIVE LINE: Zach Brady, Sr., Vermillion (6-4, 283)
Brady was responsible for 13 touchdown blocks and 11 pancake blocks.
“Huge offensive lineman who can pull and finish blocks and gets to the second level,” Vermillion coach Tom O’Boyle said.
OFFENSIVE LINE: Jace Rufer, Sr., Milbank (5-11, 211)
Rufer helped the Bulldogs rush for 190 yards per game on their way to the title game.
“Our best offensive lineman,” Milbank coach Brian Allmendinger said. “Responsible for line calls throughout the season.”
OFFENSIVE LINE: Jacob Stubbe, Sr., Lennox (5-11, 235)
Stubbe logged 23 pancake blocks this year and was part of an offense that produced 3,200 yards from scrimmage. He was a two-time all-conference performer.
“Jacob was the heartbeat of our offensive line,” Lennox coach Matt Luze said. A player that cares more about his teammates than himself, he's the definition of a selfless player.”
OFFENSIVE LINE: Connor Christensen, Sr., Tri-Valley (6-6, 230)
An imposing lineman, Christensen anchored an offensive line that rushed for 1,742 yards. He was a two-year starter and an all-conference honoree.
“Connor is a big, tough football player,” Tri-Valley coach Dan Snethen said. “He became the anchor of our offensive line this season. Defensively, Connor was a very productive player as nearly 1/3 of his tackles were for loss including seven quarterback sacks. As a captain, he set an outstanding example with his work ethic and his positive personality.”
ATHLETE: Mike Peters, Sr., Madison (6-0, 150)
Defensively, Peters posted 51 tackles, eight interceptions and seven pass breakups. For his career, he finished with 92 tackles, 10 interceptions and eight pass breakups. He had two touchdown receptions and 326 rushing yards this season.
“Michael is a hard worker and plays both sides of the ball,” Madison coach Max Hodgen said. “He is an integral part of our team on both sides of the ball.”
ATHLETE: Quincy Means, Jr., Lakota Tech (5-9, 165)
Means piled up 675 rushing yards on 72 carries and had six total touchdowns. He’s racked up 1,620 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns so far in his career.
“One of the best athletes in the state,” Lakota Tech coach Casey Means said. “He can play any position on the field and averaged almost 10 yards a carry.”
DEFENSIVE LINE: Camden Buchholtz, Sr., Madison (6-0, 210)
Buchholtz powered the Madison defensive front with 71 tackles, 20.5 tackles for loss and 11 sacks. For his career, he finished with 86 tackles, 25 tackles for loss and 12 sacks. He was the most outstanding lineman of the Class 11A state title game.
“Cam is a leader, not just on the field but throughout the school,” Madison coach Max Hodgen said. “His work ethic, attitude and drive are an outstanding example of the expectations we have for all our athletes. He works to support his teammates and has been key to getting the underclassmen ready for the varsity level.”
DEFENSIVE LINE: Zach Madsen, Sr., West Central (6-1, 190)
Madsen was a key cog for West Central’s defensive unit. He posted 41 tackles (25 solo stops), 8.5 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks this season.
“Zach was quick off the ball, very difficult to block and had a motor that didn't quit,” West Central coach Chris Hernandez said. “He led our team in sacks and constantly put pressure on quarterbacks. Many offensive linemen struggled blocking him with his low pad level and motor. He was one of the quickest defensive linemen in our classification.”
DEFENSIVE LINE: Avery Herting, Jr., Canton (6-0, 230)
Herting powered Canton’s defensive front with 29 tackles, nine tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks and three fumble recoveries. For his career, he finished with 135 tackles, (45.5 tackles for loss), 26 sacks, four fumble recoveries and three forced fumbles.
“Avery is the best D-lineman we've ever had at Canton,” Canton coach Rich Lundstrom said. “He has a knack for getting to the quarterback.”
DEFENSIVE LINE: Mitchell Nelson, Sr., S.F. Christian (6-2, 225)
Nelson produced 50 tackles, eight tackles for loss, two sacks, one forced fumble and one pass breakup for the Chargers. He was an all-conference selection.
“Mitchell was our best defensive linemen,” Sioux Falls Christian coach Jared Smith said. “He was almost impossible to block with one man. He led our defensive linemen in tackles while missing three games.”
LINEBACKER: Trey Smith, Sr., Madison (6-0, 200)
Smith packed a punch for the Bulldogs. He logged 147 tackles (76 solo), 18 tackles for loss, five sacks, five pass breakups and two interceptions this season. For his career, he racked up 295 tackles (147 solo), 37 tackles for loss, 10 sacks, five pass breakups and two interceptions.
“Trey has been a leader of the Bulldogs the last two seasons and his teammates have the utmost respect for him,” Madison coach Max Hodgen said. “He leads by example and is always willing to do whatever it takes to help the Bulldogs win.”
LINEBACKER: Logan Maras, Sr., West Central (6-3, 210)
Maras racked up 108 tackles (53 solo), 10.5 tackles for loss, two pass breakups and one interception this season. He finished with 177 career tackles.
“Logan Maras was one of the best Linebackers in the conference this year,” West Central coach Chris Hernandez said. “He had 7 games with 10+ tackles, 3 games this year with 17 tackles. We were tough against the run this year on defense and a lot of that is because of Logan.”
LINEBACKER: Nick Sorensen, Sr., Vermillion (6-4, 200)
Sorensen posted 96.5 tackles (77 solo), nine tackles for loss and two sacks for Vermillion.
“Great linebacker who runs the field and has super instincts,” Vermillion coach Tom O’Boyle said.
LINEBACKER: Connor Bender, Sr., Milbank (6-0, 200)
Bender racked up 40 tackles, five tackles for loss and three interceptions for the Bulldogs.
“Connor plays inside linebacker for us,” Milbank coach Brian Allmendinger said. “He is a two year starter. This season, Connor was responsible for all the defensive calls. He may not be the biggest linebacker but is smart, reads well and consistently leads our team in tackles every week.”
DEFENSIVE BACK: Bennett Schwenn, Sr., Milbank (6-1, 170)
Schwenn racked up 27 tackles and one interception this season.
“Bennett is the best athlete on our team,” Milbank coach Brian Allmendinger said. “He is a four-year starter and played in seven games due to injury. Made a game saving tackle against Canton. He rarely comes off the field as he also kicks, punts, and plays safety.”
DEFENSIVE BACK: Gage Tennyson, Sr., Custer (6-4, 190)
Tennyson, a future University of South Dakota Coyote, posted 64 tackles (51 solo stops), four interceptions and 15 passes defended this season. For his career, he logged 152 tackles (104 solo tackles), seven interceptions, 24 passes defense and four fumble recoveries.
“Gage Tennyson was a terror for a team that wanted to throw the ball, but always knew how to come downhill to make some really good tackles in their running game,” Custer coach David Williams said. “He has a tremendous knowledge of football and has been recognized by several colleges as a next level athlete. He will be joining USD's football team next year. He is a true football player that loves contact and plays extremely fast.”
DEFENSIVE BACK: Jack Kratz, Sr., Vermillion (6-2, 180)
Kratz posted 55.5 tackles (40 solo stops), two interceptions and one fumble recovery for Vermillion.
DEFENSIVE BACK: Brayden Pankonen, Jr., Dell Rapids (5-10, 135)
Pankonen picked off six passes and returned three for touchdowns, while finishing with 52 tackles.
“Brayden has been a big part of our defense the last two years,” Dell Rapids coach Jordan Huska said. “He is a smart athlete that we can ask to do a variety of things and handle it without issue. He was the defensive back we would move and use to be around our opponent's best wide receiver.”
SPECIAL TEAMS: Austin Henry, Sr., Dell Rapids (6-6, 210)
Henry averaged 41.28 yards per punt, dropped 10 inside the 20 and had a season-long 53-yard punt this season. Offensively, he logged 1,225 passing yards and 14 touchdowns, while rushing for six more touchdowns. He will pitch collegiately at Wichita State University.
“Austin has been a great football player for us over the last few years,” Dell Rapids coach Jordan Huska said. “Hard-working kid in the weight room and on the field. Austin is a good leader and role model for our younger guys. He affected a number of games with his consistent and good punting throughout the year.”
SPECIAL TEAMS: Karson Weber, Sr., Milbank (5-8, 150)
Weber averaged 21.7 yards per punt return, with a 56-yarder taken back for a score. He averaged 20.75 yards per kickoff return.
“Karson does a great job retrieving punts/kickoffs,” Milbank coach Brian Allmendinger said. “He is also our best cornerback and played extensively on offense as a running back and receiver. He is the team leader in receptions with 12.”
HONORABLE MENTION: Gavin Koch, Sr., West Central; Noah Hutmacher, Jr., Chamberlain; Peyton Wolf, Sr., Madison; Evan VanScoyk, Sr., Dakota Valley; Josh Kreber, Sr., Canton; Gabe Heck, Sr., Belle Fourche; Quade Parker, Jr., Custer; Dossen Elmore, Sr., Custer.