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Pooley, Prochniak captain 2022 All-Area football team

ALL-AREA CO-CAPTAIN — Fairmont wide receiver Levi Pooley (7) sprints away from a New Ulm would-be tackler during regular-season football action at Mahoney Field in Fairmont. Pooley and North Union’s Bryer Prochniak have been selected as the Sentinel’s 2022 All-Area football co-captains. (Photo by Greg Abel)

FAIRMONT — Six and seven are numbers generally associated with scoring touchdowns in the sport of football.

Ironically, the Sentinel’s 2022 All-Area football players of the year don those exact jersey numbers — North Union senior running back/cornerback Bryer Prochniak (No. 6) and Fairmont junior receiver/defensive back Levi Pooley (No. 7).

Appropriately, both Prochniak and Pooley topped their respective teams’ scoring charts this fall. Prochniak finished his senior season on the high school gridiron with 18 TDs and a staggering 1,208 yards on 157 carries out of the offensive backfield.

In fact, the Minnesota State University-Mankato football commit capped the 2022 campaign by erupting for a career-best 335 yards and four TDs — including a season-long of 66 yards — in the Warriors’ 46-31 Iowa Class A first-round playoff loss to eventual state quarterfinalist Hartley-Melvin-Sanborn.

The Iowa Print Sports Writers Association and Iowa Football Coaches Association Class A second-team all-state choice powered North Union to its first-ever playoff appearance as an 11-man program this fall.

The three-time all-district first-team selection proved his versatility and athleticism by also sharing the Warriors’ No. 1 spot in catches (16) and topping the green-and-black attack in receiving yards (315). He garnered one TD through the air, paced by a season’s-long reception of 50 yards.

The 2021 IPSW/IFCA’s third-team all-state choice, however, was not limited to offensive prowess as he led North Union by recording 62 1/2 tackles and pocketing three interceptions from the defensive secondary in 2022.

The 6-foot, 185-pound standout proved a valuable asset on special teams by returning 10 kickoffs for 140 yards to go with two punt returns for 63 more yards.

While Prochniak played an integral role in the Warriors’ historic run to gain a rare spot in the postseason tournament, the 5-10, 180-pound Pooley proved a guiding force behind Fairmont’s fourth-ever appearance in the Prep Bowl state semifinals.

The all-South Central White District choice generated a team-best six catches for 65 yards and accounted for the Cardinals’ lone TD during a 16-7 loss to Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton last Saturday inside U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.

Pooley produced a career-best 11 receptions for 147 yards and three scores to trigger Fairmont’s 34-20 victory over Blue Earth Area during the Little Brown Jug game on Oct. 19.

The sure-handed junior receiver hauled in a team-best 52 passes for an incredible 811 yards and 13 TDs this fall. The baker’s-dozen receiving TDs tie Pooley with former Cardinal standout Dustin Schultz for No. 2 all-time in school history for a single season.

Pooley also topped Fairmont in scoring with 15 TDs for 90 points, with two scores coming via a pair of pick-6 pickoffs from his defensive secondary spot. The Cardinals’ 2022 interception leader — with six — also recorded 43 tackles this season.

The difficult-to-tackle receiver moved into a tie for No. 4 for career receiving TDs with Dustin Schultz at 17 apiece, while Pooley secured the No. 6 all-time position in career receiving yards (1,053). Unfortunately for opposing defenders and coaches alike, Pooley has one prep campaign remaining.

For all of their contributions on the high school gridiron, Pooley and Prochniak have been tabbed as the Sentinel’s All-Area football co-captains for 2022.

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

Hank Artz (Fairmont) — The South Central White District defensive lineman of the year still managed to record a team-best six quarterback sacks for a loss of 57 yards despite being double-blocked on numerous plays this fall.

The three-year starting defensive end recorded 81 tackles and recovered two fumbles, including returning one for a touchdown, to round out his sophomore season.

The 6-1, 230-pound Artz proved a major force behind a Cardinals’ defensive unit that limited opposing offenses to only 12.1 points per game and generated a rare 2-to-1 positive ratio in turnovers — 28-to-14 — in 2022.

The two-time All-Area and all-district selection helped power Fairmont to the Class AAA state semifinals, the Section 3 championship and a 10-3 overall record this season.

Carter Brudelie (GHEC/Truman) — The honorable mention all-Southwest District 9-man selection pocketed a team-leading five interceptions from the Jaguars’ defensive secondary this fall.

The 5-11, 130-pound junior defensive back delivered 33.5 tackles, including 29 solo stops, to cap a solid campaign.

The sure-handed two-way starter grabbed 16 passes for 160 yards and three TDs to round out his season.

Isaiah Cornelio (Blue Earth Area) — The South Central Blue District defensive lineman of the year created chaos in the trenches due to his size and strength in 2022.

The 6-3, 350-pound senior nose guard recorded just 25 tackles and scooped up one fumble, but in the words of opposing head coaches, “required a double-team block.”

Cornelio proved an effective path-clearing blocker as the upback in Blue Earth Area’s short-yardage package in the red zone.

Cornelio proved a key factor in the Bucs qualifying for the Class AA state quarterfinals this fall.

Rylan Cutler (Martin Co. West) — The all-district defensive back proved his mettle by pocketing three interceptions, recovering one fumble and recording 42 tackles during the 2022 schedule.

The 5-4, 125-pound junior proved a solid third option behind Carver Rohman and Joseph Forsberg out of the Mavericks’ offensive backfield by generating 200 yards and one TD on 41 carries.

Landon Hagedorn (North Union) — The Iowa Class A all-district selection played a key role in the Warriors earning their first-ever bid to the 11-man playoffs this fall.

The 6-0, 205-pound junior linebacker placed third on North Union’s tackling charts by recording 41 to complement one quarterback sack, one fumble recovery and one interceptions in 2022.

The tight end/running back caught three passes for 28 yards and one TD, while gaining 77 yards on only 12 totes this season.

Gavin Junkermeier (Fairmont) — The all-South Central White District guard supplied outstanding pass protection and run-blocking for a Cardinals’ offense that amassed 3,729 total yards and a 30.7-point scoring clip per outing.

Opposing coaches probably had difficulty scouting the hard-working lineman, who donned the No. 54 jersey but was listed as No. 64 on the football program all season long.

The 6-5, 220-pound senior lineman utilized his strength and quickness in the trenches to steer Fairmont to a 10-3 overall record, the Section 3 crown and the program’s sixth state appearance under Mat Mahoney’s tutelage in 2022.

Ashton Lloyd (Blue Earth Area) — The South Central Blue District player of the year possessed a rare skills set that allowed him to play both quarterback and defensive end during his final prep football campaign.

The 6-5, 240-pound Lloyd earned a spot on the South team for the upcoming Minnesota High School Football Coaches Association’s annual all-star game.

The hard-rushing defensive lineman topped the Bucs by recording five quarterback sacks en route to 28 tackles on the season.

The strong-armed senior signal-caller led all area quarterbacks by completing 139 of 227 passes for 2,060 yards to go with 21 TDs this fall.

Lloyd also powered his way to 704 yards and nine TDs on 126 carries out of the Bucs’ high-octane backfield.

Lloyd proved a key factor behind Blue Earth Area’s run to the Class AA state quarterfinals in 2022.

Kayden Loeschen (GHEC/Truman) — The two-time All-Area choice combined his speed and strength to register a team-best 88.5 tackles on the gridiron this season.

The all-Southwest District 9-man pick piled up 24 tackles for loss of yards, including four quarterback sacks for the Jaguars.

The 5-11, 155-pound junior also proved a lethal offensive weapon by netting 615 yards and five TDs on 108 carries from his running back/flanker position.

David Maakestad (Fairmont) — The South Central White District defensive back of the year contributed key numbers in all three phases of the game to help engineer the Cardinals’ state run in 2022.

The 6-0, 170-pound senior cornerback displayed his sure-handedness, speed and agility by returning both of his interceptions for touchdowns this fall. Maakestad also made 35 tackles and recovered one fumble.

The Minnesota South All-Star selection played a pivotal role in helping defensive coordinator Brad Johnson’s alignment create a staggering 28 turnovers, including 16 interceptions.

The Mercurial wide receiver finished No. 2 on Fairmont’s receiving charts with 34 catches for 532 yards and eight TDs en route to tying Landen Meyerdirk for second on the team in scoring with 66 points.

The multi-tasking Maakestad also handled the Cardinals’ punting duties, averaging 33.8 yards per kick — topped by a season-best 50-yard launch against Marshall during the season-opener.

Jackson Madsen (GHEC/Truman) — The all-Southwest District 9-man choice generated 55.5 tackles, including five for a loss of yards, to help spearhead the purple-and-black’s defensive effort.

The 5-11, 175-pound sophomore, who pocketed one interception on defense, proved a jack-of-all-trades on offense this fall.

Madsen completed 14 of 25 passes for 188 yards and three TDs, generated 389 yards and two scores on 46 carries and made five receptions for 57 yards and one TD to wrap up his second varsity campaign.

Landen Meyerdirk (Fairmont) — The South Central White District special teams player of the year displayed his vapor-trail speed by returning 13 kickoffs for 385 yards and one TD this fall.

The hard-hitting Meyerdirk led the swarming Fairmont defense by making 119 tackles from his spot in the secondary to complement netting a second-best five interceptions, including one pick-6. The 6-0, 160-pound senior also co-led the Cardinals by recovering two fumbles this season.

Meyerdirk also utilized his uncanny balance, speed and quickness to produce Fairmont’s No. 2 rushing total with 416 yards to go with five TDs on just 44 carries.

The fleet-footed flanker, who tied David Maakestad for second on the team in scoring with 66 points, garnered a dozen catches for 321 yards and three TDs to cap an outstanding senior campaign.

The triple threat made a huge impact on the Cardinals winning the Section 3 crown and gaining the Class AAA state semifinals in 2022.

Parker Meyers (Blue Earth Area) — The Class AA academic all-state selection and all-South Central Blue District choice defined the term “student-athlete” to a tee.

The 6-0, 180-pound senior flanker/running back also fit the definition of double-trouble on offense by leading the Bucs with 1,091 yards and 23 TDs on 141 carries to complement garnering 46 passes for 652 yards and six more scores.

Meyers also proved sure-handed defensively by pacing Blue Earth Area with 56 tackles from his linebacker position. He also pocketed one interception and notched three quarterback sacks.

The Bucs’ senior speedster, who generated 281 kickoff return yards and 67 more on punt returns, topped the charts by amassing 210 points — including an incredible 18 2-point conversions on the season.

Meyers, a two-year starter, proved one of the team’s potent X-factors in qualifying for the Class AA state quarterfinals in 2022.

Carter Morphew (North Union) — The Iowa Class A all-district choice connected on 54 of 109 passes for 793 yards and eight TDs to help engineer the Warriors’ first-ever 11-man playoff bid.

The 6-2, 160-pound senior quarterback placed second behind Bryer Prochniak with 495 yards and seven scores on 56 carries in 2022.

The multi-tasking Morphew also handled North Union’s punting and kicking duties during his final prep football year.

Morphew made 20 of 26 PAT kicks and hammered 39 kickoffs for 1,465 yards and one touchback, while drilling 16 punts for 588 yards and a 36.8-yard average this fall.

Kaiden Musser (GHEC/Truman) — The all-Southwest District 9-man multi-tasker bounced back from a season-ending injury in 2021 to post a stellar campaign this fall.

The 6-1, 190-pound senior quarterback connected on 76 of 193 passes for 950 yards and a dozen TDs, while collecting 748 more yards and 13 scores on 115 rushes.

The hard-hitting defender tallied 34 tackles and pocketed two interceptions to cap his comeback of the year performance.

Jack Norman (Blue Earth Area) — The all-South Central Blue District choice displayed great hands on both sides of the line of scrimmage in 2022.

The 6-3, 185-pound senior split end pocketed a second-best 45 receptions for 728 yards and eight TDs this fall.

The two-year starter also grabbed two interceptions and made 38 tackles while patrolling the Blue Earth Area secondary from his safety spot.

Norman proved a vital cog in the Bucs rolling to the Class AA state quarterfinals this season.

Max Olson (Martin Co. West) — The two-time all-district defensive lineman of the year proved a lethal force in the trenches on both sides of the line of scrimmage.

The three-time All-Area selection topped the Mavericks by producing 97 tackles, including a dozen stops for loss of yards, including four quarterback sacks in 2022. Olson also recovered two fumbles.

The 6-3, 230-pound senior lineman anchored a blue-and-black defense that allowed only 11.3 points per outing this fall.

The three-time all-district guard opened holes for Martin County West’s ground game and provided pass protection for the Mavericks’ air attack for a third consecutive season.

Colin Rasch (North Union) — The Iowa Class A all-district lineman delivered a second-best 59 tackles, including 3.5 quarterback sacks, to fuel the Warriors’ first trip to the postseason.

The 6-1, 225-pound junior finished with 10.5 tackles for a loss of yards, topped North Union by recovering three fumbles and pocketed one interception.

Rasch also provided blocking and pass protection from his spot in the trenches to help pace an offense that generated 2,633 total yards on the nine-game campaign.

Carver Rohman (Martin Co. West) — The two-time all-district selection displayed his multi-tasking skills on the gridiron during the 2022 campaign.

The 5-11, 170-pound senior rotated between linebacker and defensive end to notch 39 tackles, including one quarterback sack, and collected one fumble recovery.

The hard-working Rohman also split time at running back and quarterback offensively, gaining 468 yards and scoring eight TDs on 104 rushes.

Rohman also threw for 262 yards and added two more scores to cap his prep career on the gridiron.

Brendan Schmidtke (Fairmont) — The unsung signal-caller etched his name among some of Fairmont’s best all-time passers to cap an outstanding senior football campaign.

The 6-0, 155-pound Schmidtke tied former standout Garrett Myren for second place on the Cardinals’ all-time charts with 27 passing TDs in a single season in 2022.

The gridiron general also matched former Fairmont phenom Ben Kain for No. 4 all-time with 302 passing yards in a single game against St. Croix Lutheran during the Class AAA state quarterfinals.

Schmidtke also tied former Cardinal greats Nate Kallenbach and Luke Hested for No. 2 all-time by tossing five TDs in the state quarterfinal contest. He also threw for four scores against Blue Earth Area and against Waseca in the Section 3 championship clash.

Schmidtke completed 123 of 199 passes for the sixth-best single-season total of 1,909 yards this fall in helping power coordinator Brian Wille’s offense to 3,729 total yards and a 30.7-point scoring clip.

Schmidtke closed out his prep football career as No. 5 all-time with 35 passing TDs and No. 7 via 2,315 passing yards.

Aden Welcome (Fairmont) — The South Central White District linebacker of the year delivered 118 tackles to finish only one off Landen Meyerdirk’s team-leading pace this fall.

The 6-0, 165-pound senior middle linebacker pocketed one interception, recovered two fumbles and delivered two quarterback sacks to help power Fairmont to the Class AAA state semifinals at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.

The two-year varsity starter played an integral role in the Cardinals generating a 10-3 overall record and capturing the Section 3 football championship.

Wyatt Williamson (Martin Co. West) — The two-time all-district choice generated 68 tackles, including 13 for a loss of yards, despite missing two games due to an injury in 2022.

The two-time All-Area selection also pocketed two interceptions and recovered one fumble from his time at linebacker.

The 6-2, 200-pound senior tight end also made 13 catches for 186 yards and two TDs for the defensive-oriented Mavericks’ squad this fall.

The multi-tasking Williamson also kicked 13 of 18 PATs to round out a stellar prep football career.

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