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Spartans’ return to playoffs yields all-state honors

November 22, 2011
By MARK PAWLAK - T-R Asst. Sports Editor (mpawlak@timesrepublican.com) , Times-Republican

Grundy Center's return to the state football playoffs for the first time since 1994 was rewarded with four selections on the Iowa Newspaper Association Class A all-state teams.

The Spartans had two first-team picks, as announced today by the INA, in senior defensive back Nathan Schmadeke and sophomore punter Jordan Clapp.

Schmadeke had 42 total tackles and a district-leading six interceptions. He also was a factor on offense (the district's Offensive MVP as a wide receiver) and the return game as he had 11 touchdowns (six receiving, two rushing, two kickoff returns and one punt return) as Grundy Center finished 6-4 and was the district runner-up.

"He impacted our team in a lot of ways and was a special player," said Grundy Center head coach Brandon Krusey. "We looked for ways to get him involved on offense, he helped the return game and was just solid for us on defense in coverage and had a lot of interceptions."

Clapp tied for the Class A lead in punting average at 41.8 yards per attempt. His longest kick of the season was a 55-yarder.

"In our biggest games, Jordan did his best job. There were times where we got pinned deep and we knew we could count on him to improve our position 40, 50 yards," Krusey said. "He was a great asset to have in field position."

Sophomore offensive lineman Brady Hook received second team all-state recognition. Grundy Center averaged 22 points per game and was third in the district in yards per game. Hook led the team with nine tackles for loss defensively with three sacks.

Junior linebacker Dylan Lyman was named to the third team. Lyman had a team-high 76 total tackles to go with a pair of interceptions and a fumble recovery.

North Tama junior linebacker Nolan Hefty was a first team all-state selection. Hefty, who was the defensive MVP in the district, led the Redhawks with 122 total tackles, 17 tackles for loss and two interceptions. He also had three fumble recoveries. The North Tama defense finished the season with seven shutouts in 11 games and were second in A in scoring defense at 6.9 points per game.

The Redhawks had a pair of third-team selections in Tanner Swanger and Nick Whannel.

Swanger, a junior kicker, was 6-for-10 on field goals and 40-for-46 on PATs. Swanger's six field goals were tied for the most in A.

Whannel, a senior linebacker, had 111 tackles, 11 tackles for loss and three sacks. He also led the team with 15 rushing touchdowns.

After matching the school record for wins in a regular season with eight, Gladbrook-Reinbeck landed three of its seniors on the Class 1A all-state teams.

First team honors went to Parker Bolt as a defensive back. Bolt led 1A in interceptions with nine, three more than the next highest player. Bolt was named the district's Offensive MVP as he passed for 1,535 yards with 15 touchdowns and rushed for three scores. Bolt is G-R's single season and career passing leader.

Brady Billerbeck, the Rebels' single season and career leader in tackles, was selected to the second team as a linebacker. Billerbeck led the team with 132 total tackles and six fumble recoveries (most in 1A). He also had two interceptions to go with his 24 receptions for 302 yards and three touchdowns as a tight end.

Colby Luethje received third-team recognition as a defensive lineman. Luethje finished the season with 54 total tackles, 13 of those for loss. He also rushed for a team-high nine touchdowns in his role on offense.

Individual captain honors went to Nate Meier of Fremont-Mills (8-man), Ben Knake of Lisbon (Class A), John Sievert of St. Ansgar (1A), Dalton Ferch of West Marshall (2A), Wes Burnside of Union (3A) and Barkley Hill of Cedar Falls (4A).