By BRANDON HURLEY
EDITOR’S NOTE: For the sake of everyone’s sanity, and time, we have split the County All-Decade teams into two parts. This week, we release the boys’ All-Decade team. The second part of the series, the girls’ team, will be published in the Dec. 26 issue of the Jefferson Herald.
The 2010s were a decade of transition, magnificent statistical feats and new beginnings.
The county’s prep athletes persevered through a merger as East Greene and Jefferson-Scranton combined to form Greene County High School, but they’ve seemed to have settled in athletically. Before that transition, the county enjoyed a few short years early in the decade with three separate high schools taking to the field. Then, we witnessed the consolidation, which happened in 2014 transitioning into the moniker of the Greene County Rams.
Naturally, many new Greene County records have been set time and time again, while several of the final East Greene athletes left their mark on a school that is with us no longer.
Not to be forgotten, Paton-Churdan has enjoyed its fair share of athletic success over the last decade, holding their own on the basketball and volleyball court, and at times on the track.
While I’d love to comb through the years and create all-decade teams for each sport, I don’t believe it’s feasible. For one, I don’t have the time and two, I don’t necessarily have the knowledge to create the best team for each sport. Many of these players I never saw in action. Which means I am going solely by stats and rehashed accounts. Regardless, a heavy amount of research has been put into this project.
Two comprehensive, all-sport teams separated between boys and girls should do just fine for now. Hopefully, a trip down memory lane will help readers remember a decade full of tremendous individual feats.
This week, The Jefferson Herald releases its County All Decade boys team.
Tyler Cooklin (East Greene Class of 2011)
The ultimate strikeout king. Tyler Cooklin was absolutely lights out on the mound, mowing down 269 career batters. And, he wasn’t too bad of a football player either. The former Hawk fanned 98 batters in just 62 innings of work during his senior year in 2011. He struck out a career-high 107 batters in just 68 innings a year prior, posting a 2.16 ERA. The fire-baller struck out a career-best 15 strikeouts in a win over Guthrie Center back in 2011 and 14 guys a year before against Woodward-Granger.
Cooklin, who went on to play professional baseball in Australia, picked up a pair of complete game victories and 17 total strikeouts while guiding the East Greene Hawks to the 2009 state tournament, a tremendous run which saw the 1A squad enter postseason play with a losing record, only to win four straight and secure a magical trip to Des Moines.
Cooklin also recorded a team-best 10 interceptions during the 2010 football season, which tied him for the top mark in eight man as a senior.
Schyler Bardole (East Greene Class of 2011)
East Greene graduate Schyler Bardole rushed for 1,742 yards (3rd in Iowa) and 29 touchdowns (7th) and returned two punts for touchdowns for one of the top teams in eight man in 2010. He also led the Hawks in tackles with 60.5, including 11 tackles for loss.
The Hawks finished 7-3 that year with an opening round playoff loss to Stanton. East Greene averaged a staggering 39.8 points per game, tallying 4,312 total yards and 59 touchdowns. Bardole tallied 3,861 career rushing yards to go with 72 total touchdowns. An absolute scoring machine.
Chase Flack (Jefferson-Scranton Class of 2011)
A tremendous athlete lost much too young, Chase Flack is Jefferson-Scranton/Paton-Churdan’s all-time winningest wrestler with 147 career victories.
The 2011 Jefferson-Scranton graduate compiled a 43-1 record his senior year, rising as high as No. 3 in the state at 119 pounds. He entered the 2011 state tournament with an undefeated record, solidifying himself among the county’s greats with a third place finish. Flack wrapped up his career with just 18 total losses, building off a remarkable 42-3 campaign during his junior season. Flack also secured a bronze medal during that junior season in 2010. He compiled a dazzling 85-4 record over his final two seasons in Jefferson.
Flack passed away earlier this year after collapsing during a marathon in Des Moines.
The Greene County wrestling program has dedicated the current 2019-20 season in Flack’s honor with the slogan “Chase’n Dreams.”
Tory Beger (Greene County Class of 2013)
Tory Beger was an absolute gun-slinger as quarterback for both the East Greene Hawks and as Greene County’s first-ever signal-caller. Beger threw for a bunch of yards while stock-piling a ton of wins highlighted by a ridiculous junior year. Beger tallied 2,558 yards (third most in 8-man) and 31 touchdowns while rushing for six more during EG’s 2011 campaign. In three seasons – his senior year was at the 11-man level with Greene County – Beger compiled 4,674 passing yards and 49 career passing touchdowns. During Beger’s breakout season as a junior with East Greene, he led the Hawks to a 7-3 record and a playoff appearance.
Noah Juergensen (Paton-Churdan Class of 2016)
The Iowa State University walk-on lineman was one heck of a multi-sport athlete for Paton-Churdan, never averaging less than 11 points per game during his four year varsity career, tallying 183 career blocks. The 2016 high school graduate dominated on the hardwood, leading the Rockets to a 17-6 record during his senior season. The forward averaged 19.2 points per game and 10.3 rebounds per game while leading the RVC with 74 total blocks in addition to hooting 53.8 percent from the field.
Juergensen helped push the Rockets to a 20-4 record his junior year, averaging 18.8 points per game and 10.1 rebounds per game while tallying 52 total blocks while shooting 61.1 percent from the field.
Juergensen also averaged 15 points per game and 8.7 rebounds per game to go with 34 total blocks his sophomore year.
On the football field as a senior, Juergensen paved the way for a Greene County offense that scored 34 total touchdowns and compiled 3,118 yards on offense. The current Cyclone was a member of two playoff teams during his three-year varsity stint.
Daric Whipple (Greene County Class of 2016)
Another incredible multi-sport athlete from Greene County High School. This has been a theme over the years, if you’ve yet to pick up on it. Daric Whipple was a nightmare for opposing defenses as a dual-threat quarterback, eventually catching the eye of Iowa State University as a walk-on. Whipple was named second team all-state in 2015 after throwing for 1,508 yards and 17 touchdowns in addition to 1,101 rushing yards and 14 TDs. The current Iowa State Cyclone walk-on wide receiver threw for 3,125 career yards and 29 touchdowns as a Ram. Whipple also was a multi-event state track and field qualifier. He also led the Greene County baseball team in batting his junior year, compiling an average of .440 with 44 hits and 38 stolen bases (the top mark in Class 3A).
Riah Nelson (Greene County Class of 2015)
Riah Nelson was nearly un-hittable on the mound throughout his four year baseball career with Greene County. He struck out 215 career batters and picked up 17 career wins, never once tallying an ERA worse than 2.50. Nelson’s senior year was a thing of beauty, fanning 75 batters in just 49 1/3 innings of work to go with a sparkling 1.28 ERA and a 7-2 record. He also tossed a pair of no-hitters during his dominant senior campaign. Nelson was quite the threat at the dish as well, batting .430 thanks to 37 hits and a team-best 20 RBI in 2015. For those remarkable efforts, the Greene County graduate was honored with a second team, all-state selection.
Trey Tucker (Greene County Class of 2017)
Greene County’s all-time leading scorer, Trey Tucker was incredibly lethal from the very moment he took to the Jefferson hardwood as a freshman. He possessed all the necessary skills of an elite high school player. He could shoot it from deep, had the handles and strength to take it to the rack and possessed the uncanny ability to hit the clutch shot. That’s all before Tucker flashed his rebounding prowess and the former Rams’ pure speed. Tucker graduated in 2017 as Greene County’s all-time leading scorer with 1,811 points, the most points scored by any male athlete from East Greene, Jefferson-Scranton or Scranton. He also nailed a then-record 196 career threes, hauled in 368 total rebounds while swiping 204 career steals. Tucker powered Greene County to its first winning season as a consolidated school in 2016-17 (14-8) and earned a third team, all-state honor. Tucker never once averaged less than 20 points per game during his varsity career, highlighted by a state-leading 24.5 points per game during his senior year. He shot a career-best 43.5 percent from three while nailing 63 of those long balls.
Tucker is now in his second year as a Greene County basketball assistant.
Trey Hinote (Greene County Class of 2019)
The most prolific shooter in Greene County history. Set a Ram single-season record last winter with 86 three-pointers, an astounding 4.3 makes per contest.
Hinote graduated having made a GCHS-record 269 career three-pointers, surpassing Trey Tucker’s mark set in 2017. Hinote also averaged 21.7 points per game during his senior season, which was the best mark in the Heart of Iowa Conference and eighth-best in Class 2A.
The current Dordt athlete finished his four-year career in Jefferson with 1,339 career points, which is fourth all-time among athletes who played for either Greene County, Jefferson-Scranton or East Greene. Hinote also set the single-game school record for most points (44) and most threes made (8), both marks he set during the 2018-19 season.
Junior Gutierrez (Greene County Class of 2020)
Greene County’s Junior Gutierrez punched in an incredible 55 goals in 20 games for a soccer program enjoying just its second year in existence this past spring. I’d say that’s deserving of an all-decade nod. The now senior led the state in scoring during the 2019 season, guiding the Rams to its first-ever state tournament berth (in year two) while snagging first team, all-state honors. Gutierrez’s 55 goals were the third most in state history. He has already tallied 74 career goals in just two seasons. The electrifying striker set the Greene County and state single game record with nine goals in a win over Panorama. I definitely can’t wait to see what this incredible athlete has in store as an encore this upcoming spring.
Brent Riley, Carter Morton and Colby Kafer (Greene County Class of 2020)
I hate to lump all three of these guys together, but the combined value they brought to the Greene County football program is insurmountable. deserving of a collective nod. Each athlete set career school record marks at their respective positions, becoming the most lethal trio in school history. These athletes helped the Rams stay atop Class 2A’s statistical leaderboard for two years straight, while stockpiling 17 victories and a number of postseason honors along the way.
Quarterback Brent Riley threw for more than 5,000 career yards and 57 touchdowns while Colby Kafer set the career rushing record with 2,915 yards during his three years as running back. Carter Morton was a do-it-all utility threat, compiling 2,045 career receiving yards, a GCHS school-record. Morton also secured a single-season record five return touchdowns as well as a record 1,008 receiving yards. Morton’s tremendous senior season was rewarded with a 2019 first team all-state selection while Kafer earned second team honors in addition to Riley’s third team selection.
Each of these three athletes have also qualified for the state track meet – Morton in the high jump on multiple occasions, Kafer in the long jump and relays and Riley in the 4x100-meter relay. These three athletes are absolutely deserving of their spot on the all-decade team.
Tyler Miller (Greene County Class of 2020)
The first football athlete from the confines of Greene County to received a full-ride, Division I scholarship. The two-time all state honoree was an anchor on the offensive and defensive lines, helping the Rams tally 17 wins over a two-year span and the consolidated school’s first-ever playoff victory this past fall. The 6’9, 280 pound offensive lineman should see plenty of chances to make an impact at Iowa State University.
Austin Delp (Greene County Class of 2019)
Austin Delp was also another one of those multi-sport stars, making key stops on the gridiron, engineering the birth of Greene County soccer and absolutely fooling hitters with his knuckle curveball for the baseball team. Oh, he also played a key role on the track and field team. Delp was instrumental in the Rams’ athletic rejuvenation and is well deserving of this honor.
Bryce Hoyle (Greene County Class of 2019)
First team all-state and district defensive MVP during Greene County’s breakout 2018 season on the gridiron, leading the Rams to an 8-2 record. Hoyle also battled through injuries and illness to qualify for the 2019 Iowa High School state wrestling meet. With all the standouts the football team generated the last two years, someone had to be left out. This was a tough guy to leave off the list.
Leo Marques (Greene County Class of 2018)
Leo Marques only spent one year at Greene County High School but certainly left his mark. The Brazilian foreign exchange student scored a then school-record 36 goals during Greene County’s first-ever soccer season back in 2018, which was the third best total in Iowa, across all classes.
Joe Doran (Paton-Churdan Class of 2015)
The 2015 Paton-Churdan graduate recorded a Greene County single season school record 97.5 total tackles his senior year (seventh most in Class 3A), which earned him a second team, all-state selection by the Iowa Newspaper Association. He’s Greene County’s all-time leading tackler with Doran also qualified for the 2015 state track meet in the shuttle hurdle relay. He’d later walk-on to the Iowa State University football team.
Jake Berns (Paton-Churdan Class of 2018)
A quiet leader who put in the necessary work. Berns was a stalwart for Greene County football during some of its most lean years, but remained one of the Rams top tacklers each season. Berns led Greene County with 74.5 tackles, which was the ninth-best total in 3A. Berns was also the go-to guy on the hardwood for Paton-Churdan, averaging 18.8 points per game to go with 8.4 rebounds per game during his senior year.