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Nagel, Baarts and Rohman selected as All-Area football players of the year

FAIRMONT — Difficult to bring down on offense, even tougher to evade on defense.

Those dozen words truly define the all-around football skills possessed by Blue Earth Area senior running back/linebacker Koby Nagel, Fairmont senior flanker/cornerback Caden Baarts and Martin County West junior running back/hybrid linebacker Jaxson Rohman during the 2019 prep campaign.

The talented gridiron trio played integral roles in powering their respective teams to impressive win totals during the regular season and deep drives into the playoffs.

Nagel utilized his powerful running style to guide Blue Earth Area back to the Class AA state quarterfinals after a one-year hiatus. Despite a down-to-the-wire 26-20 loss to Minneapolis North, Nagel still generated a team-leading 118 rushing yards, including touchdown runs of 1 and 32.

Baarts and Rohman, like Nagel, also managed to excel individually during their program’s losses in their respective sectional championship games.

Baarts produced all of Fairmont’s points via a 39-yard scoring reception from quarterback Zach Jorgensen and an 81-yard kickoff return for a touchdown during a 36-12 loss to Jackson County Central in the Section 3AAA finals. Baarts also finished with a game-best six catches for 75 yards.

Rohman also churned out stellar numbers during Martin County West’s last-second 23-21 loss to Springfield during the Section 3A finale. The all-South Central Blue District running back crossed the goal line on a 7-yard run en route to a team-best 153 rushing yards.

More importantly, the multi-tasking threesome helped engineer their teams’ overall success in the win-loss column.

Rohman lended his all-around skills in helping Maverick mentor Tom Elliott’s roster make the biggest turnaround in southern Minnesota. The two-time Sentinel All-Area selection tallied a team-best 1,144 yards and nine TDs on 231 carries to help MCW finish with a 7-4 overall record, including two playoff victories.

Rohman also pocketed four interceptions and recorded 33 tackles from his linebacker/defensive back position to help the Mavericks erase memories of a 1-8 mark in 2018.

“Jaxson simply made plays all over the field for us, and defended both the run and the pass well,” said Elliott. “Offensively, he was our bellcow, leading the way for us.”

While Rohman helped MCW improve by six wins this season, Nagel proved a vital cog in the Bucs’ transformation from a 3-6 team in 2018 to a state qualifier with a 9-3 overall record in 2019.

Nagel hammered his way to 1,301 yards and 28 TDs on 213 carries, while garnering 25 receptions for 296 more yards and two additional TDs. The two-time All-Area choice and all-South Central Red District selection topped the Bucs with 190 points on the strength of a team-best 1,903 all-purpose yards.

The 5-foot-11, 165-pounder also co-led BEA by pocketing three interceptions to complement 44 tackles from his linebacker spot to cap an outstanding final prep season.

“Koby’s a tough-nosed, versatile athlete with great vision when he’s running the ball,” said Bucs head coach Randy Kuechenmeister. “He delivered numerous big plays for us on both sides of the ball, and proved to be someone we could always count on to step up in tough situations.”

Meanwhile, Baarts played a key role in helping Fairmont maintain its high level of play on the gridiron this fall after the Cardinals captured runner-up Class AAA state honors in 2018.

The two-time All-Area selection topped Fairmont’s scoring charts with 104 points on the strength of his uncanny ability to reach the end zone either running the ball or catching passes.

The 2019 South Central Silver District player of the year gained 494 yards on 48 carries for an impressive 10.3-yard average and 10 TDs. The Fairmont flanker also crossed the goal line six times on just 21 receptions for 371 yards, while producing another TD and 132 more yards on three kickoff returns in the sectional finale.

The sure-handed senior cornerback pocketed three interceptions and made 34 tackles, but more importantly, defended a plethora of passes during his final prep campaign.

“Caden really developed into a true shutdown corner for us after having started every game the year before,” said Fairmont head coach Mat Mahoney, whose team finished with an 8-2 overall record and a district championship. “He was a jack-of-all-trades for us on offense, and is a prime example of how his hard work in the weight room during the offseason paid huge dividends in being selected as our team MVP and earning a selection to the all-star game.”

For all of their contributions to their respective programs, Nagel, Baarts and Rohman have been selected as the 2019 Sentinel All-Area football players of the year.

Here’s a glance at the rest of the 2019 Sentinel All-Area football team.

Offensive Backfield

Wyatt Geistfeld (Martin County West) — The all-South Central Blue District quarterback proved double-trouble for opposing defenses this fall.

The 6-3, 180-pound senior standout threw for a team-best 909 yards and 14 TDs, while delivering 350 more yards and six additional scores on the ground.

The Maverick defensive back garnered two interceptions, broke up four passes and made 16 tackles to cap a stellar season for MCW.

Geistfeld played a key role in the Mavericks making their first appearance in a sectional championship game in more than two decades.

Zach Jorgensen (Fairmont) — The 6-3, 170-pound sophomore standout utilized an accurate arm and strong legs to top the Cardinals’ statistical charts in both passing and rushing in 2019.

The all-South Central Silver District selection completed 92 of 157 passes for 1,317 yards and 17 TDs during his varsity debut at quarterback.

Jorgensen, who finished second to Baarts on Fairmont’s scoring list with 54 points, garnered one interception and made 23 tackles during limited duty in the defensive secondary.

Jorgensen helped engineer the Cardinals’ fifth consecutive appearance in the Section 3AAA championship game, the first-ever Silver District crown and an 8-2 overall record.

Gavin Storbeck (Blue Earth Area) — The area’s top passer also proved the most proficient in powering the Bucs to the school’s ninth overall state football appearance in 2019.

The all-South Central Red District signal-caller amassed 1,757 yards and 17 TDs behind 127-for-172 passing — 73.8 percent — to power Blue Earth Area to the Section 2AA crown and a 9-3 overall record.

The 6-foot, 160-pound junior also gained 148 yards and scored one TD on 37 carries out of the backfield.

Offensive Line

Anders Fering (Blue Earth Area) — The junior tight end used his 6-3, 190-pound frame to help block for a Buc offense that generated a staggering 4,466 total yards, including 2,684 on the ground, and a 37.9-points per game average this fall.

Fering, who chipped in three catches for 23 yards, delivered 41 tackles and three quarterback sacks from his tackle position in BEA’s 4-3 defensive alignment.

Fering helped steer the Bucs to the Section 2AA crown, its second state quarterfinal bid in the past three years and a 9-3 overall record.

Nick Frank (Blue Earth Area) — The 6-2, 180-pound junior provided outstanding pass protection and run blocking for an offensive juggernaut in 2019.

The Bucs’ left offensive guard played a key role in the team’s transition from a 3-6 record in 2018 to a 9-3 mark and Class AA state quarterfinal appearance this fall.

Frank also netted 39 tackles and two quarterback sacks from his defensive end position for the Section 2 champions.

Luke Mertens (Blue Earth Area) — The 6-2, 200-pound junior evolved into a lead blocker from his right tackle spot to help ignite the Bucs’ high-octane offense this season.

Mertens and his fellow teammates in the trenches helped pace BEA’s 37.9-point scoring clip and 4,466 yards of total offense that marched Randy Kuechenmeister’s lineup to the state quarterfinals.

The hard-hitting Mertens also supplied 23 tackles and one quarterback sack from his defensive end position.

Jacob Rahn (Fairmont) — The Cardinals’ dominant presence on both sides of the line of scrimmage provided pass protection and run blocking for an offense that churned out 3,050 total yards, including 1,637 on the ground, and a 32.3-point scoring clip.

The all-South Central Silver District selection displayed his defensive prowess by recording 50 tackles and making one fumble recovery to close out his stellar senior season.

The two-time All-Area choice played an integral role in Fairmont capturing the district championship, earning a fifth consecutive appearance in the Section 3 finale and chalking up an 8-2 overall record.

Carson Toomer (Fairmont) — The all-South Central Silver District offensive lineman made a smooth transition from center to guard as the Cardinals compiled an 8-2 overall record in 2019.

The 5-8, 185-pound senior also helped Fairmont generate 3,050 yards of total offense, including 1,413 through the airwaves.

The two-year offensive starter proved his mettle on defense, recording 38 tackles from the interior of the line to close out a solid prep career.

Receivers

Brendan Anderson (North Union) — The two-time All-Area selection topped the Warriors in nearly every statistical category during his final prep football campaign.

The jack-of-all-trades paced North Union with 55 catches for 864 yards and 11 TDs from his wideout position to complement six carries for 83 more yards and one score.

The Warriors’ leading scorer also generated the No. 1 tackle total (60.5) to go with one interception and one fumble recovery from his linebacker position on defense.

The 6-foot, 170-pounder spearheaded the green-and-black attack’s kickoff return effort with 13 for 289 yards — including a 90-yarder for a TD, fielded seven punts for 64 yards and booted 26 kickoffs for 1,015 yards and one touchback to cap a stellar senior season.

Cameron Anderson (Blue Earth Area) — The all-South Central Red District wideout pocketed 41 catches for 643 yards and six TDs to net the No. 2 spot in all three categories on the state-qualifying Bucs’ receiving charts this fall.

The two-time All-Area choice, who ran the ball five times for 65 yards and a score, placed third on BEA with 56 points via eight TDs and four 2-point conversions.

The 6-1, 155-pound junior recorded 38 tackles, pocketed two interceptions and delivered blanketing pass coverage from his cornerback position in 2019.

Caelan Sanders (Blue Earth Area) — The two-time All-Area split end topped the Section 2AA champion Bucs by making 45 receptions for 660 yards and eight TDs in 2019.

The all-South Central Red District choice also contributed 24 totes for 187 yards and four TDs to help fuel his No. 2 scoring total of 92 points on BEA’s offensive charts.

The four-year varsity veteran, who netted the lineup’s second-best all-purpose yardage of 1,157, garnered a co-team-high three interceptions and made 27 tackles from his safety spot. The fleet-footed Sanders also combined with Cam Anderson to deny a plethora of opposing passing attempts.

The 6-foot, 155-pound senior proved an integral cog in the Bucs’ 9-3 overall record, sectional championship and second state bid in the past three seasons.

Special Teams

Alec Weir (Martin County West) — The all-South Central Blue District’s unanimous special teams player of the year drilled 33 of 36 extra-point kicks and connected for three field goals — including a long of 33 yards — to cap a stellar prep football career.

The 5-10, 175-pound senior, who launched 40 punts for 1,348 yards and a 33.7-yard clip, booted 55 Maverick kickoffs for a 55-yard average and two touchbacks in 2019.

Weir proved a key factor in MCW’s transformation from a 1-8 team last year to a Section 3A championship qualifier that finished with a 7-4 overall record this season.

Defensive Line

Josh Heinze (Fairmont) — The two-time All-Area choice opened the 2019 season in the defensive trenches before eventually making the transition to middle linebacker for the 8-2 Cardinals.

The 6-foot, 190-pound senior finished third on Fairmont with 68 tackles to complement two fumble recoveries during his second varsity campaign as a starter.

Heinze played a key role in helping the Cardinals capture the Silver District crown and reaching the Section 3AAA title game for a fifth consecutive campaign.

Cael Jaskulke (GHEC/Truman) — The repeat All-Area choice piled up 78 tackles, broke up four passes and forced three fumbles from his defensive end position in 2019.

The 6-6, 197-pound junior tight end also displayed his versatility by making 26 catches for 336 yards and two TDs during his second varsity year as a starter.

Jaskulke helped the Jaguars post a sectional playoff victory to cap a three-win season on the heels of a winless 2018 campaign.

Nathan Simmonds (Martin County West) — The all-South Central Blue District defensive lineman of the year recorded 36 tackles to complement two quarterback sacks and three fumble recoveries from his nose guard position.

The 5-11, 185-pound senior offensive tackle also provided run blocking and pass protection for a Maverick unit that generated 2,149 rushing yards and 25 TDs to complement 909 more yards through the air and an additional 14 scores.

Simmonds proved a vital cog behind the Mavericks’ march to the Section 3A championship game and vastly-improved 7-4 record in 2019.

Raine Stade (Martin County West) — The hard-working Stade produced 44 tackles, 2.5 quarterback sacks, two fumble recoveries and one interception from his defensive end spot this fall.

The Mavericks’ senior tight end utilized his 6-3, 180-pound frame to garner 14 catches for 144 yards and six TDs, in addition to blocking for an offense that generated 3,058 total yards and 39 TDs.

Stade proved a valuable part of MCW’s winning formula that produced a 7-4 record and appearance in the Section 3A championship contest.

Linebackers

Bryant Berhow (GHEC/Truman) — The back-to-back All-Area choice produced a team-leading 114 tackles, including 51 solos, to cap another stellar defensive season.

The 6-1, 207-pound senior linebacker also tallied three tackles for a loss of yardage, broke up one pass, forced a fumble and notched one quarterback sack.

Berhow helped the Jaguars produce their first postseason win since the 2013 campaign.

Miles Fitzgerald (Martin County West) — The all-South Central Blue District middle linebacker piled up 69 tackles and made one fumble recovery to highlight his 2019 season.

The 6-foot, 170-pound senior also replaced the injured Payton Anderson in the MCW backfield, carrying 62 times for 214 yards and five TDs.

The hard-working Fitzgerald played a huge role in the Mavericks’ incredible resurgence this fall.

Jack Frundt (Blue Earth Area) — The 5-10, 165-pound senior linebacker provided solid run defense and covered sideline to sideline in pass coverage in 2019.

The hard-hitting Frundt finished second on the Bucs’ tackling charts with 47 to complement one fumble recovery.

Frundt proved an integral part behind BEA capturing the Section 2 crown and earning a spot in the Class AA state quarterfinals this fall.

Ryan Lang (North Union) — The 6-foot, 200-pound junior linebacker netted the No. 2 spot on the Warriors’ tackling charts by delivering 58.5 stops in 2019.

Lang proved a double-threat by topping North Union’s ground game with 854 yards and five TDs on 177 carries en route to generating the team’s No. 2 scoring total of 30 points.

Adam Schavey (Blue Earth Area) — The all-South Central Red District choice paced the Bucs’ smothering defensive performance by notching 84 tackles to go with two quarterback sacks this fall.

The 5-10, 175-pound sophomore linebacker spearheaded a BEA defense that allowed only an average of 107.9 rushing yards and 16.1 points per outing.

Schavey played a clutch role in the Bucs qualifying for the Class AA state quarterfinals on the strength of capturing the Section 2 championship.

Carter Spear (GHEC/Truman) — The perennial All-Area choice produced the Jaguars’ No. 2 tackle total (111), including six for a loss of yardage, to close out his prolific prep football career.

The 6-1, 182-pound senior linebacker also forced two opponents’ fumbles and broke up two passes on the gridiron this fall.

The hard-working Spear also proved a lethal weapon out of the offensive backfield. The Jaguars’ running back generated 731 yards and seven TDs on 155 carries, in addition to pocketing 33 passes for 417 more yards and four scores.

Spear played a key role in the Jaguars’ three-win campaign, including a playoff victory, in 2019.

Secondary

Connor Simmonds (Martin County West) — The all-South Central Blue District choice proved a game-changer in the defensive secondary by playing both the run and pass with equal efficiency.

The two-time All-Area hybrid safety recorded 55 tackles, intercepted two passes and defended three more throws in 2019.

The 5-7, 155-pound junior, who also made eight receptions for 158 yards in his role as a receiver, proved to be a driving force behind the Mavericks’ incredible resurgence this fall.

Zach Soelter (Fairmont) — The 5-11, 160-pound senior defender had a nose for the football, piling up a team-leading 101 tackles for the Section 3 runner-up Cardinals this fall.

The hard-working Soelter also garnered a pair of interceptions and scooped up two fumbles to close out a stellar prep campaign.

Soelter proved a key factor behind Fairmont’s 8-2 overall record and South Central Silver District championship this season.

Cale Steuber (Fairmont) — The all-South Central Silver District choice demonstrated his outstanding ability to catch the football by topping Fairmont in both interceptions and receiving in 2019.

The 6-1, 150-pound senior defender pocketed four interceptions to complement 49 tackles on the season.

The hard-nosed Steuber pulled down 36 passes for 445 yards and five TDs from his wideout spot on offense en route to a third-best 36 points scored.

Steuber, who produced a punt return average of 10.1 yards by fielding 13 this fall, helped the Cardinals earn their fifth consecutive appearance in the sectional championship game.

Owen Wolter (GHEC/Truman) — The multi-tasking junior topped the Jaguars’ defense by garnering five interceptions and breaking up nine passes from his safety position this fall.

Wolter, who also made 34 tackles, topped the purple-and-black’s offensive attack in both passing and rushing from his quarterback position.

The 5-9, 149-pound signal-caller completed 94 of 190 passes for 1,353 yards and 13 TDs to complement piling up 794 yards and eight more TDs on 170 carries.

Wolter proved an integral part of the Jaguars’ vastly-improved campaign.

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