Wolter tabbed All-Area grid captain

ALL-AREA’S BEST — Fairmont Cardinals running back Jordan Wolter (29) sprints around Jackson County Central’s Cole Kapplinger (8) for a long gain during the Section 3AAA football game on Nov. 2 in New Ulm. Fairmont guard Jacob Rahn (55) and quarterback Garrett Myren (11) watch the action. Wolter was selected as the 2018 Sentinel All-Area football player of the year. (Photo courtesy of Greg Abel)

“Pound for pound, he’s one of the toughest football players I’ve ever coached,” said Fairmont Cardinals head football coach Mat Mahoney. “For being only 5-7 and about 140 pounds realistically, he’s the guy you don’t want to have to try to tackle on offense or block on defense.”

What player is Mahoney referring to? Fairmont senior running back/linebacker Jordan Wolter, of course.

Officially listed at 5-feet-9 and 155 pounds in the Minnesota State High School League’s media guide, the tackle-breaking Wolter breathed new life into the Cardinals’ ground game this fall. Fairmont’s co-captain topped the team with 159 carries for 981 rushing yards, including a career-best 158 in a Class AAA state semifinal victory over Perham on Nov. 17. He also finished second behind Sentinel All-Area teammate Garrett Myren with eight TDs via the ground.

The two-time all-South Central Red District selection generated the Cardinals’ second-best scoring total with 72 points, while finishing third in receiving with 28 catches for 404 yards and three more TDs. Wolter produced a career-best 115 receiving yards in Fairmont’s triumph over Jackson County Central in the Section 3 championship game on Nov. 2 in New Ulm.

The hard-hitting linebacker piled up 134 tackles to finish No. 2 behind All-Area teammate Zac Ringnell on the Cardinals’ defensive charts this fall.

The two-time All-Area choice displayed his multi-tasking skills by returning 14 punts for 190 yards and eight kickoffs for 105 more yards to cap an outstanding senior prep football campaign.

“Jordan was well-respected by his teammates and coaches alike,” said Mahoney. “As a coach, you don’t get a kid like him too often, so you have to appreciate everything he does for you.”

Wolter played integral roles in guiding Fairmont to a second-place finish in the Class AAA Prep Bowl state tournament, a share of the South Central Red District crown and an 11-2 overall record this year.

For all of his contributions on and off the football field, Wolter has been selected as the 2018 Sentinel All-Area football player of the year.

Here’s an inside glance at the rest of the newspaper’s annual all-star football team.

Brendan Anderson (North Union) — The sure-handed receiver pocketed a team-best 31 passes for eight TDs and 536 yards, including a long of 75, to close out his junior campaign.

The 6-foot, 160-pound defensive back topped North Union with four interceptions, including a 57-yard pick-6, to complement 55.5 tackles and one fumble recovery.

Cameron Anderson (Blue Earth Area) — The 6-foot, 155-pound sophomore cornerback spearheaded the Bucs’ defensive secondary by making four interceptions, including a 55-yard pick-6, to complement 32 tackles in 2018.

The sure-handed Anderson also topped BEA with 30 catches for 254 yards and one TD, while returning 10 kickoffs for 133 more yards to cap a breakout campaign.

Caden Baarts (Fairmont) — The 6-foot, 165-pound junior cornerback produced four of the Cardinals’ 17 interceptions on the season, including one of the team’s three pick-6s.

The sure-handed Baarts made 73 tackles to finish sixth on Fairmont’s defensive charts during his varsity debut season.

Baarts — who added a fumble recovery — played a key role behind the Cardinals’ district championship, state runner-up showing and 11-2 overall record.

Bryant Berhow (GHEC/ Truman) — The South Central 9-Man District honorable mention defensive end/linebacker topped the Jaguars with 93 tackles, including seven for a loss of yards, to go with one interception in 2018.

The junior tight end added 40 yards on nine carries and caught two passes for 42 yards.

Hunter Bleess (Blue Earth Area) — The all-South Central White District quarterback connected on 91 of 181 passes for a team-best 969 yards and eight TDs to close out his prep gridiron career.

The hard-nosed senior signal-caller also finished second on the Bucs’ rushing charts with 395 yards and two TDs on 74 totes this fall.

Max Ehrich (Blue Earth Area) — The South Central White District honorable mention pick paced the Bucs’ ground game with 592 yards and eight TDs on 92 carries.

The hard-hitting sophomore, who also caught seven passes for 111 yards and one score, delivered 42 tackles, including one sack, to close out a solid season.

Isaac Engeman (North Union) — The Iowa Print Sports Writers Association’s Class A all-state third-team defensive choice topped the Warriors with 127 tackles this fall.

The two-time All-Area selection made the transition from running back to quarterback to pace North Union in both rushing and passing in 2018.

The 6-1, 205-pound senior completed 78 of 156 passes for 1,261 yards and 16 TDs, while rushing 171 times for a team-best 808 yards and four more scores.

Elliott Hagebock (North Union) — The 6-3, 160-pound senior receiver topped the Warriors with 584 yards, including a long of 87, and eight TDs on 30 catches to cap his stellar prep football career.

Hagebock produced 52 tackles, two interceptions and one fumble recovery from his starting position in the defensive secondary.

Josh Heinze (Fairmont) — The hard-nosed 6-foot, 190-pound junior found a home at defensive tackle this fall.

Heinze recorded a third-best tackle total of 79, including the Cardinals’ second-leading number of quarterback sacks with seven for a loss of 44 yards in 2018.

Heinze played a big role behind the Cardinals’ second trip to the Class AAA state championship game and first-ever district crown during Mat Mahoney’s 12th year at the program’s helm. He, along with Baarts, will be key players in rebooting the 2019 football roster.

Cael Jaskulke (GHEC/ Truman) — The sophomore defensive end recorded a second-best 85 tackles, including 9.5 for a loss of yards, to highlight a solid gridiron season.

The Jaguars’ tight end also garnered 11 catches for 130 yards and one TD this fall.

Garrett Myren (Fairmont) — The double-edged threat proved the catalyst behind an offense that amassed 4,664 yards and 408 points en route to capturing runner-up state honors and a share of the district championship this season.

The all-South Central Red District selection became only the fourth quarterback in Fairmont history to pass for more than 2,000 yards in a season. Myren completed 148 of 256 passes for 25 TDs and 2,314 yards, including a career-best 250-yard performance through the air during a Class AAA state quarterfinal victory over Cannon Falls on Nov. 10 in Hopkins.

Myren, who shared the Cardinals’ scoring title with fellow All-Area choice Dustin Schultz with 78 points apiece, also topped Fairmont with 12 rushing TDs to complement a second-best 621 yards on 155 carries.

The 6-2, 180-pound senior made a smooth transition from defensive end in 2017 to his safety position this fall. Myren made 62 tackles and garnered one interception to close out his stellar prep football career.

Myren, whose family moved from Indiana to Fairmont during the summer of 2017, will continue his career on the collegiate gridiron at a destination to be determined.

Koby Nagel (Blue Earth Area) — The South Central White District honorable mention choice topped the Bucs in tackles, punting and kickoff returns this season.

The junior linebacker made 53 tackles to complement one interception, while also keeping opposing offenses on their heels with a 32.1-yard punting average.

Nagel also displayed his special-teams skills by returning 11 kickoffs for 176 yards. The BEA receiver also made 14 catches for 132 yards and two TDs.

Dominick Ortiz (Fairmont) — The former running back made a tremendous transition to defensive tackle and proved an impact player within a 4-3 scheme that allowed only 16.9 points per outing.

The 5-10, 200-pound quick-reflex senior notched the Cardinals’ fourth-best tackle total with 77, recovered one fumble and delivered two quarterback sacks this fall.

The district honorable mention choice also produced a special-teams gem by returning a kickoff 80 yards for a touchdown against Tri-City United on Sept. 21.

The hard-working Ortiz displayed his tenacity by playing with a broken hand in the Class AAA state championship game. He also played a key role in the Cardinals’ first-ever district crown in 2018.

Jacob Rahn (Fairmont) — The 6-3, 220-pound junior lineman evolved into one of the state runner-up Cardinals’ best two-way starters in 2018.

Rahn utilized his quickness to deliver 51 tackles, including two quarterback sacks from his tackle/end spot.

The hard-working guard also provided pass protection for an offense that amassed 2,605 yards through the air and opened holes for another 2,059 yards on the ground.

Rahn will be a vital centerpiece to rebuild the Cardinals’ football program around in 2019 after helping this year’s team to an 11-2 record and a share of the district championship.

Eli Redenius (Fairmont) — The all-South Central Red District choice proved one of the Cardinals’ best blind-side offensive tackles of all-time.

The two-year starting lineman provided stellar run-blocking and pass protection for a Fairmont offensive juggernaut that piled up 408 points and 4,664 total yards en route to capturing second place in the Class AAA ranks.

The 6-1, 190-pound senior standout played vital roles in steering Fairmont to back-to-back state appearances (2017-18), in addition to the program’s first-ever district crown and an 11-2 overall record.

Daniel Reiter (Fairmont) — The 5-11, 165-pound pick-pocket produced four of Fairmont’s 17 interceptions this season, including a rare pair of pick-6s. In fact, Reiter returned his final pickoff 40 yards for a touchdown in a Class AAA state semifinal triumph over Perham on Nov. 17.

The senior defensive stalwart produced 68 tackles from his cornerback position to close out an excellent two-year varsity career.

The all-district selection also played a key role in the Cardinals’ march to runner-up state accolades and the program’s first-ever district title.

Zac Ringnell (Fairmont) — The 2018 all-South Central Red District Class AAA defensive back of the year will represent the Cardinals in the annual all-star football series later this month.

The two-time all-district choice topped Fairmont’s tackling charts with 189 to claim the No. 1 spot for a single season in the program’s history since 2001. The senior linebacker also became the Cardinals’ all-time leading tackler since 2001 with 336 stops during his two-year varsity career.

The two-time All-Area choice led Fairmont with three blocked kicks to complement two quarterback sacks this fall.

The 5-8, 155-pounder played a pivotal role in leading the Cardinals to a runner-up showing in the Class AAA state tournament, an 11-2 overall record and a share of the district championship to close out his stellar prep career.

Jaxson Rohman (Martin County West) — The all-South Central White District selection ignited the Mavericks’ ground game with 341 yards and five TDs on 133 totes in 2018.

The hard-hitting sophomore linebacker also paced MCW’s defense by recording 42 tackles to complement two interceptions on the season.

Dustin Schultz (Fairmont) — Schultz etched his name among the all-time greats to ever wear a red-and-white football jersey for the Cardinals in 2018.

The all-South Central Red District selection co-led Fairmont in scoring with Garrett Myren by generating 78 points apiece during the 13-game season.

The 6-4, 200-pound senior split end topped a high-octane offense with 44 catches for the program’s best-ever single-season mark of 1,029 receiving yards to complement 13 TDs this fall. Schultz generated a career-best 184 receiving yards in the Cardinals’ state quarterfinal victory over Cannon Falls on Nov. 10 in Hopkins.

The sure-handed Schultz also paced a defensive secondary by pocketing a team-leading six interceptions from his safety position.

The fleet-footed Schultz made 22 tackles and collected a second-best team total of three fumble recoveries to wrap up an outstanding prep football career.

Schultz proved a two-edged weapon in powering the Cardinals to their second-ever state runner-up showing and first-ever district championship.

Connor Simmonds (Martin County West) — The sophomore cornerback produced a second-best total of 41 tackles to go with two fumble recoveries this fall.

Simmonds displayed his elusiveness and strength by generating 290 return yards on special teams in 2018.

Nick Thate (Fairmont) — Weighing a mere 165 pounds, the hard-working Thate evolved into the Cardinals’ quarterback sacks and fumble recoveries leader this fall.

The senior defensive end recorded eight sacks for a team-best loss of 63 yards, in addition to pocketing five of Fairmont’s 13 recovered fumbles on the state runner-up campaign.

Thate also produced the South Central Red District champions’ fifth-best tackle total of 75 to close out a stellar season.