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West Hancock lands four on IFCA/IPSWA All-State first team

Win a state championship and the postseason accolades start trickling in.

For West Hancock's football team, it received a handful of all-state honorees.

The Eagles had four named to the Iowa Football Coaches Association (IFCA) and Iowa Print Sports Writers Association (IPSWA) Class A all-state first team with two others named to the second team.

Mathew Francis, West Hancock's star fullback that bulldozed his way to 29 touchdowns and over 1,900 yards, earned his first career first team all-state nod as a tailback.

Two of his offensive linemen – Llan Martinez and Brighton Kudej – were selected to the first and second team, respectively. Martinez and Kudej paced a unit that made holes for the Eagles to the tune of nearly 4,000 rushing yards.

The defense of the Eagles didn't allow an opponent to reach double digits until the state title game. Their top two linebackers and best defensive back were rewarded.

Kane Zuehl, who had seven-and-a-half tackles for loss plus a team best five interceptions, was a first team linebacker and Braden Walk, a stalwart for the secondary, was a first team defensive back.

Rylan Barnes, West Hancock's second best tackler who chipped in five tackles for loss, made the second team as a linebacker. 

Area teams from Class A District 2 were well represented on the all-state teams.

Lake Mills standout Seth Hermanson was named to the first team as a defensive lineman coming off a season in which he led the classification in sacks (14.5) and tackles for loss (22.5).

His teammate Kadin Abele was a second team receiver. The senior broke the school record for most receiving yards in a single game and the career mark for receiving yards.

Newman Catholic tight end Nash Holmagaard earned first team honors behind a yards per catch average of 17.7 and seven touchdowns. His longest of the season went for 66 yards.

St. Ansgar's senior Lorne Isler was chosen as the second team defensive utility. He finished with 41 tackles, eight-and-a-half tackles for loss, two fumble recoveries and an interception.

In Class 2A, three defensive players received first team honors.

Clear Lake's Jagger Schmitt, the 2A District 3 Defensive Player of the Year, was joined in the defensive back group with Forest City's Kellen Moore. Both had breakout seasons.

Schmitt paced the Lions with four interceptions while piling up 43.5 tackles, four tackles for loss and added in two fumble recoveries. Moore led the Indians in total tackles (83), solo tackles (57) and interceptions (two) to go along with seven tackles for loss and one-and-a-half sacks.

Garner-Hayfield-Ventura linebacker Evan Sloan garnered a first team nod after a monster senior season. He was the leader of the Cardinals defense with 76.5 tackles, four sacks and 11 tackles for loss.

Mason City offensive lineman Carter Gorder was selected as a first team player in Class 4A. The Division I prospect and first team all-district honoree was the rock of its front five.

Five players from 2A District 3 were named to the third team.

Clear Lake's star dual-threat quarterback Carson Toebe and kicker Kinnick Clabaugh snared their first all-state honors. Osage had three on the team in tailback Brayden Onken, defensive lineman Barrett Muller and linebacker Noah O'Malley.

Chase Berding, the lone bright spot in a tough season for Central Springs, earned a spot on the second team as a linebacker in Class 1A. Over in Class 3A, Hampton-Dumont-CAL wideout Tate Schmitt was named to the third team as was Charles City's Chase Crooks as the third team defensive utility.

Zach Martin is a sports reporter for the Globe Gazette. Reach him via email at and follow him on Twitter @zach_martin95.


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