2018 Herald Journal All-Area Football First Team
WINSTED – What a season it was around the area for prep football. Whether it was upsets, big-time performances, or games coming down to the wire, there was plenty of action for prep football fans to enjoy this fall.
With several teams finding success this season, there was also a good number of players who had impressive seasons for their respective teams.
Below is the Herald Journal All-Area Football First Team.
Brock Bangasser (HLWW)
When teams played against the Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted football team this season, there’s one player they always had to know where one player was – HLWW senior Brock Bangasser.
Teams would make make a conscious effort to run away from Bangasser. The 6-foot-7 lineman was a force to be reckoned with all season long. In the first round of the Section 4AA tournament, St. Agnes took extra time to flip run plays away from Bangasser, knowing how much he can disrupt an offense.
Michael Ziermann (LP/HT)
He’s been the starting quarterback for the LP/HT football team the last four seasons. Up till this year, he’s never won a playoff game. Senior Michael Ziermann changed all that, as he helped lead the Bulldogs to a thrilling run, winning the Section 4A title and reaching the state tournament.
Ziermann saved his best for last, turning in the best season of his career in his final go-round. He took care of the ball this season, and made the big plays when needed, as the Bulldogs found their groove at the right time.
He finished the season with more than 1,700 yards passing, while throwing 15 touchdowns with just six interceptions.
Dylan Ruzicka (LP/HT)
When it comes to toughness, LP/HT’s Dylan Ruzicka is near the top. Despite battling a nagging knee injury all season, Ruzicka was a monster in the backfield for the Bulldogs this season.
Whether it was grinding through the middle for a few yards, or catching passes on the outside, Ruzicka is a threat anytime he touches the ball. He finished with more than 500 yards rushing and almost 400 yard receiving. Finding the end zone was no surprise for Ruzicka, as he finished with 10 total touchdowns. Ruzicka was also an All-District Award winner.
Mitch Thiesfeld (Mayer Lutheran)
There might not be a more explosive player in the area than Mayer Lutheran’s Mitchell Thiesfeld. He had just 32 catches this past season, but they were big catches, as he finished with 725 receiving yards. That’s an average 22.7 yards per catch.
Thiesfeld also had a knack for finding the end zone with his big catches. He finished with 11 touchdown receptions, nine of which came from 20 yards or more. He also finished with 230 yards rushing and two touchdowns, earning All-District Award for the Mid Southeast (West) District.
Kaleb Winter (Mayer Lutheran)
It’s not often a lineman can have a huge impact on the game. That’s exactly what Mayer Lutheran gets when Kaleb Winter puts on the pads.
The senior lineman did it all for the Crusaders this season. Whether it was creating holes or holding his own in pass protection, Winter was a big reason the Crusaders had an explosive offense.
On defense, Winter was the signal caller and heart of the defense. Winter had 10 or more tackles in all but one game this season. His best game came against Medford, in which he recorded 21 tackles. He also had two sacks against MN Valley Lutheran. Winter was an All-District Award winner, as well.
2018 Herald Journal All-Area Football Second Team
Nathaniel Hausladen (LP/HT)
Every football team needs a grinder, and that’s just what Nathaniel Hausladen brought to the LP/HT football team this season. Whether it was blocking on the offensive line, sneaking out to catch passes, or clogging holes for opposing running backs, Hausladen was one of the most important players for the Bulldogs this season.
Hausladen was a senior captain for the Bulldogs and earned All-District honors. He finished the season with more than 60 tackles, and had two interceptions, including a pick six, for the Bulldogs on defense this season.
Austin Crown (Mayer Lutheran)
Whether it was sealing blocks for running backs or catching touchdowns, Mayer Lutheran’s Austin Crown was an important player for the Crusaders this season. The senior tight end was a big threat in the red zone, and brought his best in big games.
On the season, Crown finished with 26 catches for 593 yards and nine touchdowns. He had four games with two touchdowns, including hauling in two scores against United South Central. In that game, Crown finished with three catches for 128 yards and two touchdowns.
Zander Flucas (Mayer Lutheran)
Despite being limited to start the season, Mayer Lutheran’s Zander Flucas had another big season for the Crusaders this year. In just eight games, Flucas ran for almost 700 yards, while racking up nine touchdowns.
Flucas had his biggest game come against the Bethlehem Academy Cardinals, in which he rushed 25 times for 194 yards and four touchdowns.
Being just a junior, Flucas will be back next season for Mayer Lutheran to wrap up his high school career. With several key players gone next season, Flucas will be a major key to the offense for Mayer Lutheran next year.
Carter Entinger (Watertown-Mayer)
While the Watertown-Mayer football team didn’t win a game this season, senior Carter Entinger was the bright spot for the Royals. Entinger, a senior who’s battled tough seasons before, was the leading rusher for the Royals.
On the season, Entinger rushed 131 times for 442 yards. His best game of the season came against Holy Family, in which he ran for 96 yards.
Baden Noennig (Mayer Lutheran)
It was another season with Baden Noennig under center for the Crusaders, and he didn’t disappoint. He earned All-District for his performance on the field, and was also named the Offensive Player of The Year for the Mid Southeast (West) District.
On the season, Noennig completed 92 of 216 passes for 1,807 yards and 20 touchdowns. To go along with 20 touchdowns, Noennig had just five interceptions. On the ground, Noennig also rushed for 226 yards and three touchdowns, as well.