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High Schools: Introducing the Tribune’s 2021 All-Area football team

Led by Willmar and NLS, nine schools represented in 11-man squad

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NLS Wildcats junior Luke Wosmek (51) celebrates a run by senior quarterback Kyle Doty in the second quarter in the Section 6AAA championship on Friday, Nov. 5, at St. Cloud Tech. Matthew Curry/West Central Tribune

The highly-anticipated football season mostly lived up to what most hoped to see: a full season being played with no interruptions.

In the west central area, three teams made the state tournament: New London-Spicer (Class AAA); Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa (A); and Renville County West (9-man). BOLD (Section 5A) and Litchfield (2AAA) also made section finals. BOLD (7th, A) and Willmar (7th, AAAA) ended the regular season in the top 10 of their respective classes.

With the season having come and gone, we now honor the players that left it all out on the field and helped their team find the most success on the field.

Willmar and NLS each had two players on the All-Area team. BBE, Benson, BOLD, Dawson-Boyd, Litchfield, Paynesville and RCW all have players that were also recognized.

Here is the 11-person All-Area Team (in alphabetical order):

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RCW senior Tyler Amsden makes a tackle in the backfield on Hills-Beaver Creek's Cole Baker during the first quarter of a Class 9-Man state quarterfinal game Friday at Mattke Field at the Schwan Regional Event Center in Marshall. Joe Brown / West Central Tribune

Tyler Amsden

Sr. TE/FB/DE, RCW

The 5-foot-11, 235-pound senior was somewhat of a jack-of-all-trades for the Jaguars. Aside from being named All-9 Man South (West) District, Amsden was voted the team’s defensive MVP and was nominated for the 9-Man All-State Team. Amsden helped the 8-4 Jaguars make a state tournament appearance.

“Tyler was a physical, powerful, and athletic player for us in multiple positions,” RCW coach Ryan Hebrink said. “He led our district in sacks playing defensive end. On offense, he mixed his time between tight end and full back.”

On the ground, Amsden rushed for 224 yards and scored two touchdowns on 34 attempts, averaging 6.6 yards per carry. As a tight end, he recorded 179 yards and two touchdowns on 15 receptions, averaging nearly 12 yards per catch.

“As a tight end, he had the ability to open holes in the run game as well as catch the ball down field, Tyler had the best hands on our team,” Hebrink said. “As a fullback, he was a powerful runner who often required more than one defender to tackle him.”

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As a defensive end, Amsden continued to find success in getting to the quarterback, totaling 14-1/2 sacks. Aside from that, Amsden was a tackling machine with 78 tackles (44 solo), including nine for loss. Amsden also found ways of converting turnovers, forcing one fumble, recovering two and recording an interception.

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New London-Spicer junior cornerback Brycen Christensen eyes the Royals' quarterback in the red zone following the snap on Friday, Sept. 10, 2021 in New London. Matthew Curry / West Central Tribune

Brycen Christensen

Jr. WR/DB, NLS

The junior wide receiver had a record-breaking year as he helped the New London-Spicer Wildcats reach the Class AAA state tournament for the first time since 2015.

Christensen also caught the game-winning touchdown in the Section 6AAA championship to defeat Pierz, 28-24. Against Esko in the state quarterfinals, Christensen recorded 63 receiving yards and a touchdown on five receptions.

Christensen broke the school record for receiving yards in a season (895), touchdowns in a season (14) and total receptions in a season (62).

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As a defensive back, Christensen totaled five interceptions and 28 tackles.

Because of his top-notch season, the junior earned All-District, All-Section 6AAA honors, and was named the East Central District Most Valuable Receiver.

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Benson junior Thomas Dineen (15) throws a stiff-arm on KMS' Isaac Rudningen during a Section 4A quarterfinal game Tuesday in Murdock. Joe Brown / West Central Tribune

Thomas Dineen

Jr. RB/DE, Benson

Despite the Braves ending the season 3-6, Dineen proved to be one of the best players in the area, primarily with his rushing abilities. On the ground, Dineen totaled 1,220 rushing yards and 12 rushing touchdowns on 198 carries this season. The junior currently holds the school record for most career rushing yards with 2,503 yards.

As a defensive end, Dineen totaled 34 tackles (5-1/2 for loss) and 4-1/2 sacks. The junior also currently holds the school record for most sacks (18) and tackles for loss (20). Dineen was named first team All-District and was voted the Braves’ MVP.

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NLS senior quarterback Kyle Doty converted back-to-back passing touchdowns in the fourth quarter to help the Wildcats take a 28-24 win over Pierz in the Section 6AAA championship on Friday, Nov. 5, at St. Cloud Tech. Matthew Curry/West Central Tribune

Kyle Doty

Sr. QB, NLS

The duo of Kyle Doty and Brycen Christensen was a sight to see during the 2021 season. However, Doty’s performance allows him to be named amongst some of the top players this season, having been named to the All-District team.

Doty passed for 1,754 passing yards on 125 of 240 attempts, setting a new single-season school record for yards and completions. He also threw for 21 touchdowns.

In the Section 6AAA championship, Doty helped the Wildcats rally in the fourth quarter over Pierz. He connected for a touchdown with Peyton Coahran to narrow the deficit to three. Doty then hit Christensen for a 28-yard touchdown with 12 seconds remaining to take the 28-24 victory to advance to the state tournament.

In the Wildcats’ 28-21 loss to Esko in the state quarterfinals, Doty passed for 141 yards and two touchdowns on 19 of 24 attempts.

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BBE’s Blaine Fischer holds up his team's trophy in celebration after the Jaguars' win against Upsala/Swanivlle Area during the Section 4A football game on Friday, Nov. 5, at the Fargodome. Alyssa Goelzer / The Forum
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Blaine Fischer

Sr. RB/LB, BBE

The seniors of BBE hoped their final season would be one to remember, and it was. In the Jaguars’ historic season, they snapped a three-year winless streak, earning an 8-4 record and made the school’s first-ever state tournament appearance.

In that historic run, senior Blaine Fischer played a vital role offensively and defensively.

As a linebacker, Fischer finished with 87 tackles to be the team’s leading tackler, snagged three interceptions, had two fumble recoveries, and scored two defensive touchdowns.

As a running back, Fischer totaled 392 yards and five rushing touchdowns on 56 carries. He also recorded 397 receiving yards and four touchdowns on 31 receptions.

Following the season, Fischer earned All-District honors and was voted BBE’s team MVP.

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Paynesville junior Grayson Fuchs (12) celebrates after the Bulldogs' defense forced a turnover during a Week 5 game against Royalton on Friday, Oct. 1, 2021 in Paynesville. Joe Brown / West Central Tribune

Grayson Fuchs

Jr. WR/QB/S, Paynesville

Max Meagher described Fuchs as being a coach's dream. The junior lived up to it with playing three positions, having come into the season prepared to just play two.

Grayson looked to be one of Paynesville’s best wide receivers and safeties. However, the Bulldogs’ District QB of the Year, Chase Baker, went down with an injury. In the 10-week season, Fuchs had snaps at receiver in six games along with six games as the starting quarterback.

Playing out of position, the junior quarterback could have struggled, but he didn’t. Rather he passed for 905 total yards and scored 11 passing touchdowns. On the ground, Fuchs totaled 479 rushing yards and five touchdowns. As a receiver, the junior tallied 184 yards and scored three touchdowns on 13 receptions.

At safety, Fuchs recorded 45 tackles and snagged four interceptions.

All-in-all, in part of Grayson’s efforts, the Bulldogs finished the season with an overall record of 7-3.

“Grayson’s athletic ability is incredible and his understanding of the game makes him an impact player,” Meagher said. “What really makes him special is his leadership ability. He can connect with and lead all types of kids on any team that is lucky enough to have him on it.”

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Dawson-Boyd senior Holt Larson fights for extra yards during a Week 7 game against MACCRAY on Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021 at R.B. Clay Field in Dawson. Joe Brown / West Central Tribune

Holt Larson

Jr. RB/LB, Dawson-Boyd

Adding the numbers of strong running backs on our list this season, junior Holt Larson helped push the Blackjacks to a successful 7-3 record. Larson finished the fall with 1,144 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns on 168 carries. While Larson’s offensive numbers stuck out, so did his defensive numbers as a linebacker. Larson finished the season as one of Dawson-Boyd’s leading tacklers with 48 (24 solo). He also recorded one interception in which he scored a pick-six. Larson was dealt All Sub-District and Sub-District Offensive Back of the Year honors for his performances this season.

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Litchfield senior Wyatt Larson (50) looks to make a block during a Week 4 game against St. Cloud Cathedral on Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021 at Litchfield. Joe Brown / West Central Tribune

Wyatt Larson

Sr. OG/ILB, Litchfield

The senior offensive guard/linebacker capped off his varsity high school career with a top-notch season.

In the Dragons’ 7-4 season, Larson helped lead the Dragons in tackles with 81. He had six tackles for loss and two interceptions.

Larson earned All-District honors and was named the East Central South’s Linebacker MVP.

Larson ended his career with 145 tackles (10 for loss), two interceptions, one fumble recovery and two blocked kicks in 18 starts.

“Wyatt is a strong, physical kid who loves the physical grind of football,” Litchfield coach Jim Jackman said. “On defense, Wyatt possessed tremendous instincts to get to the football. Offensively, as a senior his offensive lineman play resembled his defensive play as a linebacker. His efforts at the line of scrimmage and downfield to make that extra block were outstanding.”

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Willmar senior Alex Schramm (13) throws a stiff-arm at Faribault's Johnny Frank during a Section 2AAAA semifinal game on Saturday, Oct. 30, 2021 at Hodapp Field in Willmar. Joe Brown / West Central Tribune

Alex Schramm

Sr. QB, Willmar

Schramm’s performance as a dual-threat quarterback — finding success on the ground and in the air — helped him earn a series of season accolades as well as helping the Cardinals finish the season with a 6-3 record.

Schramm tossed for 890 yards and totaled 11 touchdowns on 56 of 124 passing attempts. The senior also rushed for 732 yards and scored eight touchdowns on 130 carries. Schramm ended his high-school career with 1,513 passing yards and 15 touchdowns on 45% passing. Rushing, Schramm finished with 1,791 yards and 21 touchdowns on 277 carries.

“Alex is known for his ability to run the football, but this year he really improved his passing skills that made him a true dual-threat quarterback,” Willmar coach Jon Konold said.

A University of Minnesota-Duluth recruit at wide receiver, Schramm was named to the All-District White team and named the All-District Quarterback MVP.

“Any time that Alex touched the football you knew that he could take it the distance,” Konold said. “Most defenses game-planned to stop Alex. Not only is Alex successful on the field he is also a great student. He was named to the All-State Academic team this year.”

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Willmar senior Ethan Schwab (77) looks to bat down a pass from Becker's Ryan Bengston during the first quarter of a North Central White district game on Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021 at Hodapp Field in Willmar. Joe Brown / West Central Tribune

Ethan Schwab

Sr. OL/DL, Willmar

Senior lineman Ethan Schwab was a dominant force for the Cardinals and their 6-3 season.

A three-year starter at offensive tackle, Schwab was a two-way starter this fall. The senior captain finished with 23 tackles, five being solos, and two tackles for losses.

Schwab was named to the All-North Central White District team and was named the district’s Defensive Lineman MVP. He will be the area’s lone representative in the 49th Annual Minnesota High School All-Star Game on Saturday at U.S. Bank Stadium.

“Ethan was one of the best lineman to come through Willmar High School,” Willmar coach Jon Konold said. “Big, agile and athletic for a big man, he dominated the line of scrimmage. His senior season, Ethan stepped up his role as a team leader. Being a captain, Ethan took on the role of making sure his teammates knew their assignments and being more of a vocal leader.”

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BOLD freshman Hudson Vosika looks for some running room after coming up with a catch in the fourth quarter of the Section 5A championship game against Minneota on Friday, Nov. 5, 2021 at the Schwan Regional Event Center in Marshall. Joe Brown / West Central Tribune

Hudson Vosika

Fr. RB/CB, BOLD

Hudson Vosika’s season could be described as the school’s name: BOLD. Vosika helped the Warriors finish with a 9-2 record while showing signs of being a threat for years to come.

On the ground, the freshman running back ran the ball 223 times for 1,952 yards, which is the second-best season in school history. His 24 touchdowns are the third-best single-season mark.

In the air, Vosika recorded 187 receiving yards and one touchdown on 11 receptions.

Vosika was just as much of a threat as a cornerback with eight tackles, two interceptions and one defensive touchdown.

He earned a series of awards at the end of the season, including All-District, Sub-District Running Back of the Year and was a KNUJ Offensive Player of the Year nominee.

Honorable Mentions:

Spencer Eisenbaum

Jr. LT/NT, Paynesville

Helped the Bulldogs earn the 7-3 record and boost the Bulldogs’ offense, which averaged 35.6 points-per-game this season. Was named first team All-District. “Might be the best offensive linemen I have coached in my tenure at Paynesville,” Max Meagher said. “Great feet. Could make every block.”

Noah Gullickson

Jr. G/DT, RCW

Recorded 51 tackles (18 solo). Recorded nine tackles for loss along with seven sacks and two forced fumbles. Offensively, he helped RCW earn 2,375 rushing yards and 28 touchdowns and pass for 788 yards. 2021. He was All-9 Man South (West) District and was voted Team Lineman of the Year.

Logan King

Sr. QB/S, Litchfield

Threw for 1,213 and seven touchdowns. Rushed for 582 yards and five touchdowns. On defense, totaled 47 tackles, six deflections and two interceptions in 11 games. Named All-East Central South District and made the All-District Academic Team.

Connor Plumley

Sr. FB/TE/MLB, BOLD

Recorded 91 tackles, two forced fumbles, one sack, one fumble recovery, and one blocked kick. On offense, had 86 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 19 attempts. Also had 81 receiving yards and two touchdowns on six receptions. Named All-District, Academic All-State, and was a KNUJ Radio Defensive Player of the Year nominee.

Michael Price

Sr. RB/CB/KR, Willmar

Carried for 718 yards and nine touchdowns on 124 attempts. Totaled 279 receiving yards and four touchdowns on 10 receptions. Defensively, finished with 15 tackles (five solo). Season honors include All-North Central White District. Finished fourth all-time in Cardinal history with 24 rushing TDs.

Isaac Rudningen

JR TE/LB, KMS

Totaled 753 yards and six touchdowns on 48 receptions. Had 113 tackles (89 solo), six tackles for loss, three interceptions, one sack, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery on defense. All-District selection. Voted team MVP and defensive MVP.

Landon Schirm

Sr. WR/DB, LQPV

Came up with 58 tackles, seven interceptions, three pass breakups and three recovered fumbles. Totaled 270 yards and four touchdowns on 26 receptions. Rushed for 265 yards and three touchdowns on 41 carries. Named Southwest West District Receiver of the Year and Defensive Back of the Year. Also an Academic All-District selection.

Ethan Sullivan

Sr. C/DT, BOLD

Credited with 62 tackles, eight sacks and one blocked kick. Name All-District and Sub-District Offensive Lineman of the Year.

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