Football: POSTSEASON RECOGNITION
By BRANDON HURLEY
A season for the ages is getting its fair due as postseason accolades begin to rain down.
The eight-win Greene County Rams secured nine Class 2A, all-district nine honors highlighted by a pair of prestigious awards.
Defensive lineman Bryce Hoyle was named co-defensive player of the year along with Kuemper Catholic’s Alex Heiman while Ram head coach Mitch Moore was crowned coach of the year. OA-BCIG quarterback Kaden Ladwig was named offensive MVP.
Greene County’s 2018 run to the playoffs and a top 10 ranking was just a year removed from a 1-8 season, as the Rams went 8-2 this fall, a seven-win improvement, which slotted them at the top of the district with a 4-1 record.
The eight wins are the most in Greene County history and the most wins for a Jefferson-based football team since 2007. The Rams also recorded the first 5-0 start in Greene County history while they broke a school record for most points in a game with 68 against Saydel. They also broke a pair of defensive records against Shenandoah, allowing the fewest rushing yards in a game (-25 and the fewest total yards allowed (17).
A lot of the success was due to a stellar defense that Hoyle helped lead. The senior was tied for first with teammate Nick Breon for most tackles for loss in District 9 (16), which is the fourth-best total in 2A, three behind state-leader, Nick Wood of Chariton (19). Hoyle also tallied a team-best 58.5 total tackles to go with three sacks. He recorded a season-high 13.5 tackles in a come-from-behind win over Atlantic.
Hoyle was named to the Elite All-District 9 team. He was joined by two other Rams.
Tyler Miller was named an elite offensive lineman as he helped pave the way for 1,783 rushing yards and the most rushing touchdowns in the district (25). The Rams averaged 37.5 points per game over the nine week season and tallied 4,049 yards, the sixth-best mark in 2A, and tops in District 9.
Wide receiver Carter Morton joined Miller and Hoyle on the elite team, as he was second in the district in yards (800) and third in touchdown catches (seven). Those numbers ranked him seventh and 14th in the state, respectively while he also began the year with three straight games in which he caught a touchdown. Six Rams were selected to the All-District first team, which tied them with district-champion Kuemper for the highest total among the six-team district. Greene County’s first team selections include, Miller, Hoyle, Morton, running back Clint Dennhardt as well as linebackers Nick Breon and Austin Delp.
Dennhardt led the district with 851 rushing yards (6.8 ypc) and 15 touchdowns. He also hauled in four receiving touchdowns and 23 catches. Breon was second on the team in tackles (58) and was tied for first in the district with 16 tackles for loss (4th in 2A). Delp hauled in a pair of interceptions while he also recorded 47 tackles in addition to being the Ram punter.
A trio of Greene County athletes were also named to the all-district second team, which included quarterback Brent Riley, running back Colby Kafer and linebacker Will Hansen.
In his first full season as a starter, Riley torched the Greene County record books, throwing for 2,245 yards and 22 touchdowns. Both marks were firmly in the top 10 in 2A
Kafer ran for 776 yards and eight touchdowns, as he also racked up nine catches and two receiving touchdowns, which placed him third in the district for most total yards receiving and rushing (949).
Will Hansen recorded 50 total tackles including 15 tackles for loss, which was the third best mark in the district and tied him for fifth in the state.
Ram seniors Brock Wuebker, Trey Hinote, Clay Smith and Lance Hughes were all recognized as all-district honrable mentions as well.
Greene County earned the No. 10 seed in the 2A playoffs, their first postseason appearance since 2014. The Rams fell 45-20 to fourth-seeded Benton Community.