THE EARLY LEAD: Record-shattering numbers makes this senior class one to remember
By BRANDON HURLEY
The numbers and accomplishments are mind-boggling. To me, beyond the legacy and various examples the 2020 Greene County senior class established, it’s those insane statistics that will linger the longest.
A group of guys who first linked together on the gridiron back in third grade, growing up in eachother’s living rooms while sharpening their skills between the hash marks, set the new standard for Greene County football.
Seventeen victories over the past two years, an offense that averaged nearly 40 points per game and a historical playoff victory. That’s even before we dive into the numerous individual feats.
Most certainly, these Rams will go down as one of the most successful groups in history, and rightfully so. They ripped off a school-record 11 game regular season win-streak as well as a GCHS record eight-game winning streak to open the season. They captured the school’s first-ever playoff victory, a 35-21 triumph over Des Moines Christian in addition to winning the most ever games in a single season (9).
They broke single-game defensive records and reached the school’s highest ever ranking at No. 4. It was a unit that shared a tight bond from day one, which paved the way for a fall to remember.
“This (was) probably my favorite season, hands down. The Last couple of seasons, we laid down the foundation, but this one was really the stepping stone,”Greene County senior Tyler Miller said. “We were always so close. We’ve always hung out. Always played sports together. We’ve been really close throughout the years.”
A trio of guys alone broke more than five individual records while the team as a whole set a ridiculous pace, both offensively and defensively.
The Ram offense yet again was near the top of the state in scoring, rushing and passing. Greene County averaged a record 37.7 points per game, scoring 416 points in 11 games, just a shade ahead of last year’s 37.5 points per game mark. The Rams, as a whole, compiled a school-record 4,188 yards to go with a record 2,403 passing yards and 1,785 rushing yards, eclipsing last year’s mark of 1,738.
Greene County head coach Caden Duncan was a bit reminiscent following the Rams’ quarterfinal loss to Algona Nov. 8. He definitely appreciates the mark the seniors left of the program.
“It was an era coming to an end,” the coach said. “It’s going to be a little different without seeing some of those jerseys out there. They’ve grown up a lot this year. Looking back from when I meet them in the spring, I think there’s been a lot of maturity.”
Greene County quarterback Brent Riley was the torch-bearer for the Rams’ record-breaking season. The gun-slinger’s 131 yards and two touchdowns pushed his total to a Greene County school-record 2,333 yards (fifth in 2A).
Riley eclipsed the career 5,000 yard mark in the Rams’ quarterfinal loss. He finished his career at 5,013 yards, extending his Greene County record and becoming the school’s first-ever 5,000 yard passer. Riley’s single-season record-breaking 31 touchdowns passes are second most in the state, only behind OA-BCIG’s Cooper DeJean (36 TDs). The senior finished in the top five in yards in back-to-back years while he was top 10 in touchdown passers each of the last two years as well (throwing for 22 TDs in 2018).
Riley will graduate as Greene County’s all-time touchdown leader as well, having thrown for 57 touchdowns in three seasons in addition to his Greene County-best 60 total touchdowns.
Running back Colby Kafer gutted his way through an injury-riddled senior campaign to break the single-season rushing record with 1,484 yards, the second best total in the state to go with 12 rushing touchdowns. He shattered the Greene County career record, tallying 2,915 career yards (6.4ypc) in three varsity seasons, adding 26 career touchdowns, also a school record.
Kafer also set the single-game Greene County rushing record, producing 361 yards in a week two win over Nevada. The senior actually holds the top two single game marks, rushing for
Do-everything wide receiver Carter Morton produced a magnificent 11-week run as well. The senior wrapped up his final season with a Greene County single season record 1,008 receiving yards (third in 2A) to go with 12 receiving touchdowns (also a school record). Morton scored three rushing touchdowns in addition to a school record five return touchdowns (4 punt, 1 kick return), pushing his season total to 20 scores. The multi-faceted athlete shattered the career Greene County receiving record with 2,045 yards over three varsity seasons.
Riley, Kafer and Morton each hang up their jerseys as the greatest athletes in Greene County history at their respective positions, tallying more than 10,000 total yards and 100 touchdowns (114) to go with a tremendous record of 17-4 over the last two years.
Linebacker Will Hansen rocketed his way up the Greene County leaderboard with 77 tackles this fall, which is the third-best single season total all-time. Class of 2015 graduate Joe Doran holds the top single-season tackles mark with 97.5 in 2014. Hansen finished his career ranked second in school history with 152 total tackles while fellow senior Nick Breon wrapped up his three-year stint with 138.5 tackles. Doran holds the career tackles record as well, tallying 177.5 tackles
Kayden Pollock is third all-time with 144.5 tackles while Breon and Jake Berns (2018 grad) are tied for fourth with 138.5 career tackles.
Senior placekicker Cael Fisher was one of the Rams’ most consistent athletes, nailing a school record 45 PATs in 52 tries this fall, which ranked him third in Class 2A and tops in District 9. Fisher graduates with, by far, the most career PATs in GCHS history, crushing 83 extra points.
The statistics are nice, yes, but coach Duncan hopes these record-setters can carry on their historic marks deep into their adult lives.
“They were a really fun group of guys. Really competitive,” the coach said. “Constantly getting after it, whether it’s in practice or whether it was in the film room. They were getting after each other and having fun. They are definitely a group that I’m going to remember forever.”