Gael players honored

-Messenger photo by Britt Kudla Sean Flaherty of St. Edmond tackles Sioux Center Jake Hanson on Friday

Four members of the St. Edmond football team were named first team all-district for their efforts this past season.

Seniors Isaac Lursen, Jack Rasmussen and Sean Flaherty were joined by sophomore Nick Lawler on the top honor squad.

Cade Naughton and Andrew Gibb made the second team, with Jackson Bemrich and Elijah Litwiller earning honorable mention status.

Bishop Garrigan, which went unbeaten in district play, had eight first team selections in Brad Capesius, Drew Bacha, TJ Schnurr, Billy Erpelding, Drake Buscherfeld, Zach Muller, Ben Degen and Jackson Rosenmeyer.

North Union’s Isaac Engeman made the first team on the defensive side of the ball.

Under first-year head coach Jon Borer, the Gaels set several offensive records, led by Lursen.

The wide receiver led the district with 41 catches and 650 yards, catching three touchdowns. He broke the school’s single-season receptions record, single-game yardage record (177) and finished fourth on the single-season yards list.

“Isaac, Jack and Sean were all key parts to our team and I’m happy to see them get the recognition they deserved as seniors,” Borer said. “It’s always good when you have seniors who have the opportunity to play hard their last season and do some good things.”

Rasmussen, who led the entire state in tackles as a junior, had his season cut short with an injury but still made a team-high 83.5 stops. He racked up 83 tackles this past fall, giving him 222 in his SEHS career.

Flaherty started at tackle, guard and center along the offensive line, and was also a starter at defensive tackle. He was a three-year starter for the Gaels, finishing with 47 tackles, four for loss, and a sack this season.

Lawler, who started as a freshman last season along the lines, was right next to Flaherty in the trenches. He had 33 tackles, including one for loss.

“Nick had a great summer in the weight room and it showed on the field,” Borer said. “We got back to lifting (here recently) and he’s become a leader there for us.”

Naughton was the leading rusher with 499 yards and scored seven touchdowns, adding six catches for 29 yards and a score. He also made 25.5 tackles and a sack.

“Cade was willing to do anything you asked of him,” Borer said. “He never missed a weight room session and was the only kid to be perfect. He did it with a summer job where he would show up early in the morning, lift and go right to work.

“He is going to excel in whatever he does in life because of that tremendous work ethic.”

Gibb, a junior, led the district in passing with 875 yards before missing the final two weeks with a thumb injury. He threw five touchdowns and completed 65 of 142, including a school-record 278 in a win over South O’Brien.

“Andrew is a very talented kid who has some great skills,” Borer said. “He did some nice things for us both throwing the ball and running it.”

Bemrich was a starter at tight end and also on the defense, with Litwiller playing quarterback and wide receiver on offense, along with being a member of the secondary.

“Jackson and Elijah are both key pieces coming back,” Borer said. “Jackson just loves football and Elijah is a hard worked. I’m excited to see what they do in the future.”

Bemrich caught six passes for 144 yards and made 36.5 tackles, with Litwiller catching nine balls for 87 yards and making 33 tackles and two interceptions.

Capesius threw for 849 yards with 12 touchdowns and just three interceptions this past season, adding 373 yards and two scores on the ground. Bacha have over 1,000 yards from scrimmage and scored 14 touchdowns.

Schnurr led the Golden Bears with 26 receptions for 433 yards and six touchdowns. Muller was the leading tackler with 67.5 stops and Buscherfeld added 54.5. Capesius and Bacha each had three interceptions.

Second team all-district picks from Bishop Garrigan included Eric Thul and Cade Winkel, with Myles Koob and Sam Trainer earning honorable mention. North Union had Andrew Schiltz and Brady Anderson on the second team with Derek Thompson and Brendan Anderson honorable mention honorees.

Bacha was named the Specialist of the Year, with Buscherfeld and Ridge View’s Jake Eliegl sharing Defensive Player of the Year honors. Ben Hargens from Sioux Central was the Offensive Player of the Year, with Ridge View’s Jake Tokheim (punter) and Jaxon Franken (kicker) taking home honors.

Marty Wadle of Bishop Garrigan and Sioux Central’s Brandon Goodchild were co-Coaches of the Year.