Caden Johnson didn’t disappoint as a senior for Wahoo Neumann.
The 6-foot-3, 245-pound defensive end finished with 36 solo tackles and 57 assists while helping the Cavaliers advance to the semifinals of the Class C-1 state playoffs.
For his efforts, Johnson is the honorary captain of the Fremont Tribune All-Area defensive unit. Johnson is joined on the line by Jake Heineman of Fremont High School, Jack Sutton of Wahoo High and Tyson Harney of Oakland-Craig.
The linebackers are Brady Hull of Logan View/Scribner-Snyder, Sam Kolterman and Kole Bordovsky of Wahoo and Jared Minnick of West Point Guardian Angels Central Catholic.
The secondary includes Eli Vedral of Neumann and Oakland-Craig teammates Jefferson McNeill and Robby Mayberry. Dylan Horejsi of Howells-Dodge is the punter.
Johnson was an All-Area pick last year. He committed to South Dakota State in the fall after also receiving scholarship offers from Northern Iowa, South Dakota, Stephen F. Austin, Air Force, Army, North Dakota and Central Arkansas. Nebraska wanted him as a preferred walk-on.
Coach Tim Turman of Neumann said Johnson was a special player.
“He is one of our best ever,” Turman said. “He was a dominating blocker on offense and he was just relentless as a defensive end.”
Heineman, a 6-4, 250-pound end, is a multi-sport standout for the Tigers. He is also a starter on the basketball team.
Heineman also played tight end for the Tigers, but made his mark on defense.
“What impressed me most about him was how physical he was,” Fremont coach Seth McClain said. “He absolutely destroyed guards and fullbacks that tried to trap him or lead block on him.”
Heineman averaged 4.9 tackles per game and recorded two sacks. He also broke up a pass.
Sutton, a 6-3, 240-pound senior, was dominant for the Warriors, who reached the C-1 state semifinals.
He recorded 63 tackles with seven tackles for loss. He had four sacks and forced a fumble. Just like Johnson and Kolterman, he was a consensus C-1 all-stater.
The 6-3, 225-pound Harney finished with 57 tackles, including 24 solo stops. He had eight tackles for loss with two fumble recoveries and an interception.
“He was the most improved player on the team,” Oakland-Craig coach Joe Anderson said in nominating Harney. “He was very active on the defensive line and was very disruptive as he was in the backfield a lot.”
Hull rushed for more than 900 yards this season as a running back. On defense, he recorded 73 tackles and intercepted two passes.
“He was one of the best I saw this year,” Logan View coach Dustin Sealey said in nominating Hull.
Kolterman and Bordovsky were a solid 1-2 force for Coach Chad Fox at linebacker.
Bordovsky, a 180-pound junior, led the Warriors with 127 tackles. He had seven tackles for loss, three sacks and an interception. Kolterman, despite having offenses running away from him, recorded 101 stops. He had seven TFL with seven sacks. He also blocked two kicks.
Minnick, a 6-0, 190-pound senior, rushed for more than 1,700 yards and scored 28 touchdowns on Coach Dave Ridder’s playoff team. On defense, he recorded 74 total stops, including 10.5 tackles for loss. He also had five sacks.
Vedral, a 6-1, 185-pound senior, accounted for more than 1,900 yards in total offense for the Cavaliers as a quarterback. On defense, he had 71 total tackles.
Gatzemeyer, a 5-10, 175-pound junior, passed for 2,511 yards and 30 touchdowns as a quarterback. He had a season-best 338 yards passing with five touchdowns during a 54-16 win over Tekamah-Herman on Sept. 28.
On defense, he recorded 80 tackles and two interceptions.
McNeill, a 6-0, 150-pound senior, was also a two-way standout.
“He did a little bit of everything for us,” Anderson said. “He was a physical corner and a good tackler. He always covered the other team’s best wide receiver.”
McNeill had 47 total tackles on defense. On offense, he had 607 yards rushing and 307 yards receiving.
Mayberry, a 5-10, 155-pound senior, rushed for 1,300 yards and had 199 yards receiving. He scored 21 touchdowns. On defense, he had 35 tackles and three interceptions.
“He was the quarterback of our defense,” Anderson said. “He did a great job of getting us lined up correctly.”
Horejsi averaged about 36 yards per punt, but he was a force as a running back. He had 236 carries for a school-record 1,630 yards. He scored 25 touchdowns.
Honorable Mention — Jesse Thompson, Kobe Wilkins, Talon Mues, Arlington. Jaxon Johnson, Seth Totten, Lucas Vogt, Nick Ronnfeldt, Derek Peterson, BRLD. Dylan Marchand, Lane Siems, Cedar Bluffs. Ty Eggen, Trevan Billings, Jack Hodge, Payson Gillespie, Douglas County West. Evan Glosser, Dylan Kor, Spencer Fitz, Dillon Dix, Kade Richardson, Keegan Menning, Carter Richmond, Fremont High. Riley Lindberg, Caleb Villwok, Dylan Gartner, Jacob Johnson, Eli Simonson, Fremont Bergan. Kade Hegemann, Darrin Pokorny, Levi Belina, Josh Brester, Luke Rocheford, Howells-Dodge. Eric French, Lucas Schneck, Beto Valdivia, Austin Peters, Logan View/Scribner-Snyder. Aidan Mongan, Cale Tweedy, Caleb Dickes, JT Haag, Mead. Ben Rolenc, Jeremy Doernemann, Jacob Ray, North Bend. Justyn Hale, Ian Lundquist, Daniel Sechler, Jared Mulder, Oakland-Craig. Brandon Swahn, Grant Kolterman, Peyten Walling, Wahoo High. David Lilly, Brandon Blum, Luke Fairbanks, Trey Miller, Conrad Sander, Wahoo Neumann. Kade Hughes, West Point-Beemer. Jaydn Smeal, West Point Guardian Angels Central Catholic. Clayton Nelson, Ethan Abraham, Yutan.