WAHOO – Whether it was completing a pass, breaking a tackle, setting a block or connecting on a tough kick, this year Saunders County was full of playmakers on the offensive side of the football. They used their athletic abilities to create big plays and on more than one occasion found themselves in the end zone.
This year five of the seven area offenses eclipsed 250 points scored for the season. All five of the teams (Wahoo, Neumann, Mead, Ashland-Greenwood and Yutan) that accomplished this qualified for the State Football Playoffs in their respective classes.
Bishop Neumann led the way in terms of points scored with 443 points put up. A big reason for that was the Cavaliers rushed for 2,790 yards as a team and threw for another 780 yards.
It was another great season full of highlight reel plays and these 12 players were a huge part of it.
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Dane Jacobsen, Ashland-Greenwood, Junior
After making second team All-Area at quarterback in 2021, Dane Jacobsen was able to elevate his play and earn first team this season. In year two as Ashland-Greenwood’s signal caller, the junior led the Bluejays to a 9-2 record and the quarterfinals of the Class C-1 Football Playoffs.
The junior finished the season with 121 completions in 179 attempts for a 67.6 completion percentage. He threw for 1,402 yards and 14 touchdowns.
In one of A-G’s toughest games of the season at Boys Town, Jacobsen was able to elevate his play to help the Bluejays win a 31-21 shootout. He completed 16 passes for 207 yards and threw three touchdown passes to three different receivers.
His experience running the offense for A-G will be a huge plus for the Bluejays heading into next year.
Zack Krajicek, Yutan, Senior
A year after picking up All-Area First Team on the defensive side of the ball, Zack Krajicek took home All-Area First Team on offense. The senior for Yutan was a significant part of his team’s offense at the running back position.
Krajicek was the top rusher in the area, eclipsing the 1,000 yard mark with 1,048 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns scored. That averaged out to 104.8 yards per game with a long touchdown run of 64 yards.
In four straight games against North Bend, Bishop Neumann, Louisville and David City, Krajicek eclipsed the 100 yard rushing mark. In total, he had five games where he ran for over 100 yards with at least one touchdown scored.
Conor Booth, Bishop Neumann, Sophomore
Neumann was the best team in the area at running the ball in 2022 and leading the charge for the Cavaliers was Conor Booth. The sophomore was a hard-nosed bruising running back that needed multiple people to take him to the ground.
He just missed out on reaching the 1,000 yard rushing mark with 964 yards and 18 touchdowns scored. This averaged out to 13.4 yards per carry and 96.4 yards per game.
Booth also had four catches for 100 yards and found the end zone one time.
In the final game of the regular season against Aquinas Catholic, Booth had a stellar game to clinch the C2-2 District title for the Cavaliers. He ended up breaking loose for 200 yards and four touchdowns on six carries and caught one pass for 66 yards and another touchdown.
Kyle Peterson, Raymond Central, Junior
This season Kyle Peterson emerged as the primary running back for Raymond Central. The junior excelled in the role and as a result, picks up his first All-Area First Team selection.
Of the 1,117 rushing yards the Mustangs had in 2022, Peterson accounted for 903 of the yards on 149 carries. He scored eight touchdowns and averaged 100.3 rushing yards a game with a long scoring run of 76 yards.
Peterson also played a significant role in the kick return game for Raymond Central with seven returns for 154 yards.
Late in the year at Nebraska City, Peterson had a breakout performance in a 33-30 win for the Mustangs. He carried the ball 24 times for 276 yards and two touchdowns.
Coming into next year, Peterson will be the top offensive performer that Raymond Central returns.
Thomas Spears, Ashland-Greenwood, Sophomore
Despite only standing at 5’7”, Thomas Spears quickly turned himself into one of the top deep threats for the Ashland-Greenwood football team this year.
He led the Bluejays with 51 catches for 498 receiving yards and six touchdowns. Spears averaged 9.76 receiving yards a game with a long catch of 52 yards.
On top of his receiving ability, the sophomore was also a key in special teams for A-G. He had 161 kick return yards and 167 punt return yards.
In the Bluejays’ first round playoff game against Auburn, Spears was able to make his presence felt. He hauled in seven catches for 108 yards and scored one touchdown.
This was Spears’ first season on the All-Area Team for offense, but his second time being selected. Last season, he made First Team All-Area at defensive back, where he also excels.
Isaak Fredrickson, Raymond Central, Senior
Isaak Fredrickson was easily the top receiver in the area in 2022. The Raymond Central product amassed nearly 500 more yards than anybody else, which made him a lock for his first All-Area First Team selection.
Fredrickson caught 55 balls on the year for 990 yards and 10 touchdowns. He had a long grab of 91 yards and 110 receiving yards per game.
In a home game against a playoff team in Lincoln Christian, Fredrickson was a huge source of the Mustang offense with 193 yards after the catch and two touchdowns. He also made a great pitch after catching a ball that brought Raymond Central within a yard of knocking off the Crusaders.
His athletic ability and high football IQ level made him one of the most exciting players in the area this season.
Jake Scanlon, Wahoo, Sophomore
Anchoring the offensive line for Wahoo during the 2022 season was Jake Scanlon. The 6’0” 230 pound sophomore was a wall for the Warriors’ passing and running attack.
His work on the line helped Wahoo rush for 1,850 yards and 26 touchdowns. Through the air, the Warriors finished with 855 yards and nine touchdowns.
Scanlon also played a big part for the defensive line this year with 47 tackles and three sacks.
Being an underclassman, Scanlon will be an athlete that Wahoo can build around on both lines in the years to come.
Braxton Buck, Ashland-Greenwood, Senior
For the second year in a row, Braxton Buck earns an All-Area First Team nod after anchoring a prolific offense for Ashland-Greenwood in 2022. Despite standing at 5’10”, the senior was able to use his 220-pound frame to keep the defensive lineman at bay and out of the backfield.
He was a significant part of the Bluejays throwing for 1,655 yards, which was second most in the area. Ashland-Greenwood also rushed for 1,905 yards behind Buck.
On defense, he compiled 47 tackles and two sacks.
Buck was also the only member of the All-Area Team to take part in the River Battle Bowl at the UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls, Iowa. Only a handful of kids who mostly play for Class A and B schools in Nebraska participated in the annual Nebraska-Iowa All-Star game.
Tye Dickes, Mead, Senior
Making his presence felt on the offensive line all season for the Mead football team was Tye Dickes. He played a major part in the Raiders going .500 in the regular season with 12 pancake blocks in four games recorded.
Dickes was the main cog on the line for a Raiders squad that rushed for 1,630 yards and 25 touchdowns. Mead also passed for 884 yards and 14 scores behind the great work of the senior.
The presence of Dickes was also felt on the defensive line where he had 57 tackles and three sacks in nine games played.
Connor Schutt, Bishop Neumann, Junior
After a great offensive season, Connor Schutt showed he has what it takes to be the next great quarterback at Bishop Neumann High School. The junior’s ability to not only throw the ball but pass it as well was on full display.
Schutt completed 39 passes on the season for 768 yards and 10 touchdowns. He was also the team’s second leading rusher with 683 yards and 11 scores.
In the Cavaliers’ 31-21 loss to Lincoln Lutheran in the first round of the Class C-2 playoffs, Schutt kept Neumann in the contest with his play. He accounted for nearly all of the team’s offense with 215 rushing yards and three touchdowns.
His experience as the quarterback for the last two years for the Cavaliers will be a big help for Neumann’s offense going into next year.
Owen Hancock, Wahoo, Senior
Hancock played the role of dual threat quarterback for the Wahoo offense this past season. His leadership running the Warriors offense made him an All-Area selection for the first time.
Through the air, Hancock passed for 788 yards and nine touchdowns. He also rushed for another 315 yards and found the end zone four times.
In a 31-10 upset win over Columbus Scotus on the road, Hancock threw for 165 yards and three touchdowns. To go with the passing yards, the senior also gained 41 yards on the ground on seven carries.
What makes Hancock’s stats more impressive this season is the fact that he missed the Ashland-Greenwood contest, which would have helped bolster his stat line.
John Lilly, Bishop Neumann, Senior
After finishing All-Area Second Team last year, John Lilly earned All-Area First Team this season as the best kicker in Saunders County.
Lilly didn’t get a lot of opportunities to kick field goals this season with Neumann having a prolific scoring offense. The one field goal the senior did get to kick was a 40-yarder against Yutan.
In terms of extra points, Lilly was the best in the area at making them. He knocked through 57 of 59 attempts that he had on the year.
The best game for Lilly came against Yutan where he not only made the 40-yard field goal, he also went five for six on extra point attempts.