(Rodney Haas / 605 Sports)
By Ryan Deal
State champion finalists -- Platte-Geddes and Canistota/Freeman -- combined for nine all-staters on the Class 9AA all-state team, which was selected by the South Dakota Football Coaches Association.
Platte-Geddes, which outlasted Canistota/Freeman 14-8 in the title game, landed five players on the team: Caden Foxley, Royce Finney, Grayson Hanson, Jackson Neuman and Jackson Olsen.
Canistota/Freeman’s Will Ortman, Trace Ortman, Riley Heiberger and Noah Kleinsasser were selected for the Pride.
Parkston and Garretson landed three players, while Chester Area, Timber Lake, Florence-Henry, Lyman and Ipswich each had two players chosen to the all-state team.
Here is the complete Class 9AA all-state team:
QUARTERBACK: Dylan Kindt, Sr., Garretson (6-0, 160)
Kindt completed 163 of 275 passes for 2,341 yards and 25 touchdowns. He added 636 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns. For his career, he threw for 3,810 passing yards.
“Dylan rewrote the Garretson single-season record book this year breaking five records along with establishing the career passing record for the Blue Dragons,” Garretson coach Chris Long said. Dylan is a three-year starter and developed into a dual-threat quarterback this season. He accounted for 35 touchdowns for a team that averaged 31 points per game.”
FULLBACK/H BACK: Brock Tuttle, So., Hanson (5-10, 200)
Tuttle racked up 409 rushing yards and eight touchdowns on 90 carries. He’s logged 1,035 rushing yards on 166 carries and 11 touchdowns through two years of high school football.
“Brock is an outstanding lead blocker,” Hanson coach Jim Haskamp said. “As a runner, he has excellent vision and patience. He is a go-to person when in short yardage situations as he is very difficult to bring down with just one defender.”
FULLBACK/H BACK: Jayce Lawrence, Sr., Timber Lake (5-11, 175)
Lawrence registered 319 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 42 carries. Defensively, he posted 81.5 tackles (10.5 tackles for loss) and five sacks. For his career, he finished with 1,168 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns on 200 carries. He added 237 tackles (24 tackles for loss) in his career.
“Jayce plays much bigger than he is,” Timber Lake coach Ryan Gimbel said. “He is an elite blocker, willing to block and lead for his team. Huge heart and hard worker.”
RUNNING BACK: Hank Kraft, Sr., Timber Lake (5-8, 200)
Kraft did a little bit of everything for the Panthers. He logged a school-record 1,983 rushing yards and 24 rushing touchdowns on 181 carries. He added five touchdown receptions this season. For his career, Kraft amassed 3,619 rushing yards and 53 touchdowns on the ground. He added 20 touchdown receptions and 973 receiving yards. He posted 5,676 all-purpose yards and 76 total touchdowns. He was an all-state receiver in 2020.
“Hank Kraft is a next level athlete,” Timber Lake coach Ryan Gimbel said. “Triple jump state champ. Hard working and humble.”
RUNNING BACK: Isiah Robertson, Sr., Canistota/Freeman (5-11, 165)
Robertson posted 689 rushing yards and nine touchdowns on 137 carries this season. He added 32 catches for 574 yards and had five touchdowns, while he posted 1,627 total yards and 15 touchdowns on special teams. For his career, he logged 3,068 yards and 35 touchdowns on 312 carries. He was also an all-state selection in 2020.
“Isiah is tough,” Canistota/Freeman coach James Strange said. “He has great leg drive and the ability to run inside and out. He gets great separation from defenders and was the primary focus of our offense. He doesn't drop passes thrown his way and gets great yards after catch.”
RUNNING BACK: Ashton Hanson, Sr., Florence/Henry (5-9, 180)
Hanson logged 1,177 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns on 106 carries. For his career, he posted 2,775 rushing yards and 40 touchdowns on 314 carries.
“Ashton has been a workhorse for us the past two seasons,” Florence-Henry coach Travis Schmidt said. “He earned all-state honors last season and did not disappoint this season by putting together another solid season. A lot of defenses had to make him a huge part of their game plan if they wanted to stop our offense and not too many were very successful at stopping him.”
WIDE RECEIVER: Cooper Long, Jr., Garretson (6-2, 165)
Long was a threat in Garretson’s passing attack. He hauled in 64 receptions for 1,035 yards and 12 touchdown receptions. For his career, he logged 96 catches for 1,464 yards and 16 touchdown receptions.
“Cooper has evolved into a receiver that is able to threaten the entire field,” Garretson coach Chris Long said. “Long spent a majority of the season leading South Dakota in receiving and has been a three-year starter for the Blue Dragons. Garretson's spread offense allowed Long to showcase his skills.”
WIDE RECEIVER: Will Ortman, Jr., Canistota/Freeman (6-0, 160)
Ortman paced Canistota/Freeman’s receiving corps with 538 receiving yards and 33 receptions for 12 touchdown receptions.
“Will is a tremendous athlete with a great ability to go get it,” Canistota/Freeman coach James Strange said. “He high points the ball and adjusts tremendously to be successful.”
TIGHT END: Caden Foxley, Sr., Platte-Geddes (6-4, 235)
Foxley was slowed by injuries his senior season, but returned in time to play in the state championship game against Canistota/Freeman.
“He is a two-time all-state player for us and has suffered through a couple weird injuries this year,” Platte-Geddes coach Bruce Hanson said. “He was dominant vs Chester in the playoffs until he got injured midway through the third quarter. He is the real deal when healthy and a major part in what we do on both sides of the ball.”
OFFENSIVE LINE: Trace Ortman, Jr., Canistota/Freeman (5-11, 200)
Ortman anchored another productive Canistota/Freeman offensive attack. The Pride averaged 32 points per game and racked up 3,364 yards of total offense.
“Trace is a great communicator, quick feet and hands, pulls, pins, and makes great second-level blocks,” Canistota/Freeman coach James Strange said. “He is our best OL.”
OFFENSIVE LINE: Royce Finney, Sr., Platte-Geddes (5-10, 240)
Finney helped the Black Panthers rack up 2,220 rushing yards and 1,100 passing yards. He was an all-state lineman last season and is a two-time all-conference performer.
“He’s our leader there and makes a lot of the line calls,” Platte-Geddes coach Bruce Hanson said. “He has had numerous pancake blocks and is our main pulling guard. 2X all conference.”
OFFENSIVE LINE: Zach Geditz, Sr., Ipswich (6-5, 220)
Geditz was an imposing lineman for the Tigers up front. He helped Ipswich rush for 2,024 rushing yards and 37 touchdowns, while passing for 1,139 yards and 11 touchdowns. He was an all-state defensive lineman in 2020, a two-time all-conference selection and a four-time letterwinner.
“Zach is a long athletic hard working player for us,” Ipswich coach Brian Hogie said. “We would spend a lot of time running behind him or pulling him. He has been a staple of our OL since his freshman year.”
OFFENSIVE LINE: Michael Stevenson, Sr., Hamlin (6-0, 210)
Stevenson helped the Chargers rack up 2,001 rushing yards and 1,741 passing yards. He recorded 23 pancake blocks this season. During the past two seasons, Hamlin registered 5,362 rushing yards and 2,880 passing yards at center and guard. He logged 53 pancake blocks the past two seasons.
“Michael is a player who knows how to turn on the switch,” Hamlin coach Jeff Sheehan said. “He has a high motor and will do whatever he can to help his team win. He knows how to use his body to position himself correctly to create running lanes. He is a hard worker and a great all around person.”
OFFENSIVE LINE: TJ Moran, Sr., Lyman (5-10, 245)
Moran anchored Lyman’s offensive line that helped produce 3,000 rushing yards and averaged 43 points per game.
“One of the best linemen I've coached,” Lyman coach Mike Kieffer said. “Strong, athletic and smart. Pulled a ton and great out in space.”
ATHLETE: Colton Collins, Sr., Lyman (6-0, 185)
Collins capped off a productive season for Lyman, finishing with 1,874 rushing yards on 213 carries and 24 touchdowns. He logged 3,208 rushing yards and 44 touchdowns on 386 carries in his career. He was an all-state running back in 2020 and two-time all-conference performer, along with the conference MVP.
“Toughest kid I've ever coached,” Lyman coach Mike Kieffer said. “Never missed a snap due to injury.”
ATHLETE: Jovi Wolf, So., Chester Area (6-0, 165)
Wolf was again a threat to score for the Flyers. Just a sophomore, Wolf finished with 561 receiving yards and eight touchdowns on 26 receptions. He averaged 21.6 yards per reception. Through two years of high school football, he has 1,215 receiving yards and 21 touchdowns on 60 receptions. He was an all-state receiver last year.
“Jovi is a young explosive athlete whose numbers are slightly down from last year as most teams we played accounted for him with safety help as he saw very little single coverage,” Chester Area coach Ken Prorok said. “However, he still managed over 21 yards per reception this season. Jovi is a great and kind young man.”
DEFENSIVE LINE: Riley Heiberger, Sr., Canistota/Freeman (6-3, 225)
Heiberger was a productive defensive lineman for the Pride. He logged 53 tackles (44 solo), 16 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks and three pass breakups. The three-year starter had 115 tackles (85 solo), 34 tackles for loss and six pass breakups.
“Riley is a big man that can move,” Canistota/Freeman coach James Strang said. “Slimmed down his senior year and can run side to side. Quick hands, good feet, trails and hips well when the ball goes away and blows up front side doubles.”
DEFENSIVE LINE: Tell Mollman, Sr., Lemmon/McIntosh (6-3, 212)
Mollman posted 74 tackles and eight sacks this season for the Cowboys. Mollman finished with 261 tackles, 26 sacks and one interception in his career. He was a three-time all-state defensive lineman, three-time all-conference performer and two-time defensive MVP for the Cowboys.
“Tell is a workhorse,” Lemmon/McIntosh coach Josh Anderson said. “Most teams this year just flat out didn't run at him. He continually gets to the play and is always around the ball.”
DEFENSIVE LINE: Chase Kelly, Sr., Florence/Henry (6-2, 270)
Kelly was a dominant force along the Falcons’ defensive front. He posted 55 tackles (25 tackles for loss), eight sacks, six fumble recoveries and two forced fumbles. In his career, he finished with 97 tackles, 15.5 sacks, seven fumble recoveries and six forced fumbles.
“Chase was a dominant force on the defensive line,” Florence/Henry coach Travis Schmidt said. “Many times offenses would run away from him so we had to play him at all spots to keep the offense guessing. A lot of offenses would come to the line and call the play there to run away from Chase.”
DEFENSIVE LINE: Conner Kessler, Sr., Viborg-Hurley (5-9, 210)
Kessler finished with 43 tackles (12 tackles for loss), three forced fumbles, two forced fumbles and one interception for the Cougars. In his career, Kessler logged 201 tackles (35 tackles for loss), eight forced fumbles, five fumble recoveries and three interceptions. He’s a two-time all-conference member.
“High motor guy, weight room warrior, and the epitome of a team player,” Viborg-Hurley coach Rob Kessler said. “Conner is a four-year starter that has been on our Cougar Unity council for all four years. He has had a great career at Viborg-Hurley and we wish him all the best with his decisions for the future.”
LINEBACKER: Grayson Hanson, Sr., Platte-Geddes (6-0, 175)
Grayson Hanson capped off a productive career for the Black Panthers, who won the last two Class 9AA state championships. Defensively, he had 143 tackles (13 tackles for loss), 11 forced fumbles and one interception. On offense, he logged 1,268 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns on 198 carries. For his career, he racked up 413 tackles (222 solo), 54 tackles for loss, 17 forced fumbles, seven interceptions and six forced fumbles. Offensively, he had 364 carries for 2,384 rushing yards and 35 touchdowns. He also had 41 receptions for 634 yards and six touchdown receptions, while passing for nine more touchdowns.
“Grayson is our best and smartest player on the field,” Platte-Geddes coach Bruce Hanson said. “He leads our defense and we let him make most of the calls based on scouting reports so we put a lot on him in the game. He is like a coach on the field and is scary good at finding things on film and translates that to the field.”
LINEBACKER: Stratton Eppard, Sr., Chester Area (6-2, 195)
Eppard posted 84 tackles (27 tackles for loss), six sacks, two interceptions and two pass breakups. An outstanding quarterback, Eppard had 149 total tackles the past two seasons.
“Stratton has been the heart and soul of our team for the past two seasons and has done an excellent job as a two-way player for us,” Chester Area coach Ken Prorok said. “He has been a team captain for the past two seasons and is an excellent student and person on and off the field.”
LINEBACKER: Noah Kleinsasser, Jr., Canistota/Freeman (5-11, 170)
Kleinsasser was a force in the middle of the Pride’s defense. He posted 69 tackles (60 solo stops), 13 tackles for loss, five pass breakups, two sacks, two fumble recoveries, one forced fumble and one interception. For his career, he had 100.5 tackles and was the program’s most improved player in 2020.
“Noah is our leading tackler, film junkie and ball hawk,” Canistota/Freeman coach James Strange said. “Noah does an excellent job reading from the Will backer spot, getting a drop and making tackles in space. Never misses practice, plays banged up and we wouldn't have made it in the playoffs without him.”
LINEBACKER: Luke Peterson, Sr., Ipswich (5-10, 230)
Peterson posted 89 tackles and one forced fumble for the Tigers. He added four rushing touchdowns and 234 rushing yards on 52 carries on offense. He was an all-state linebacker in 2020 and Ipswich’s two-time defensive MVP.
“Hard nose LB who runs our defense,” Ipswich coach Brian Hogie said. “Did a great job of getting everyone lined up and in position throughout the season.”
DEFENSIVE BACK: Ryan Benson, Sr., Chester Area (6-1, 165)
An all-state kicker in 2020, Benson was selected as a defensive back this season. He finished with 57 total tackles, five pass breakups, four interceptions and two forced fumbles. For his career, he finished with 92 tackles, six interceptions and five forced fumbles.
“Ryan is an explosive athlete who never came off the field for us,” Chester Area coach Ken Prorok said. “He has very good ball skills and has been a two-year captain for us. He is an excellent young man who excels both on the field and in the classroom.”
DEFENSIVE BACK: Isaac Crownover, Jr., Bon Homme (6-0, 190)
A three-year starter, Crownover posted 73 tackles and three fumble recoveries this season. For his career, he has 172 tackles (142 solo) and four fumble recoveries. He has 1,950 all-purpose yards and has been Bon Homme’s leading tackler the past two seasons.
“Isaac is a very good team leader both on the field and off the field,” Bon Homme coach Byron Pudwill said. “Crownover was a workhorse for our team and he never came off the field. He is a throwback to the old school way of playing football.”
DEFENSIVE BACK: Jackson Neuman, Sr., Platte-Geddes (6-1, 175)
Neuman again anchored Platte-Geddes’ defensive backfield. He logged 68 tackles (38 solo stops), 17 pass breakups, three interceptions, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery. On offense, he had 468 rushing yards and five touchdowns.
“Jackson was 9AA all-state running back last year and we have limited him this year due to a couple injuries so that we try to limit the hits on him to keep him for defense,” Platte-Geddes coach Bruce Hanson said. “He has been our kick returner and punt returner for the past four years and a three-year starter on both sides.”
SPECIAL TEAMS: Jackson Olsen, Sr., Platte-Geddes (6-1, 195)
Olsen logged 17 touchbacks, finished 3 of 5 on field goals and 13 of 15 on extra points. He nailed a 46-yard field goal this season.
“He has been our nose tackle for the past three seasons and trust him to hold his own in our 3 man line,” Platte-Geddes coach Bruce Hanson said. “Defensively our team has allowed under 12 points per game the past two seasons.”
SPECIAL TEAMS: Jenna VanHolland, Jr., Garretson (5-6, 130)
VanHolland hit 35 of 38 field goal attempts this season and hit a game-winning PAT against Viborg-Hurley in her first-ever football game.
“Jenna took a chance at joining the GHS football team as a kicker just five days before their first game,” Garretson coach Chris Long said. “It was clear immediately that she had a talent that would help the Blue Dragons immediately. Jenna split her time between the soccer and football teams for most of the season. Jenna made an immediate positive impact on her teammates through her willingness to take on a challenge and her positive and engaging personality.”
HONORABLE MENTION: Xander Sheehan, Sr., Hamlin; Hadley Wallace, Jr., Hanson; Tanner Miller, Sr., Lemmon/McIntosh; Max Scott, Sr., Parkston; Chayse Weber, Sr., Parkston; Ty Kadlec, Sr., Ipswich; Luke Fraser, So., Hamlin; Cole Prunty, Sr., Parkston; Vincent Petrich, Sr., Leola/Frederick; Stran Scott, Sr., Stanley County; Brock Wages, Sr., Chester Area; Carson Gohl, Sr., Ipswich; Jackson Jarding, Jr., Hanson