Young Fillmore Central football made strides in 2019

Bill Bentson

The Fillmore Central football team gained nearly twice as many passing yards as rushing yards during the 2019 season, in which it had a 3-6 record.

The Falcons were 3-5 during the regular season and 0-1 in the Section 1A playoffs.  The team was 2-2 against other Section 1A teams during the regular season.

“We began the season with some hurdles to overcome,” said coach Chris Mensink. “The kids responded well and we really made strides and improved every single week.  The guys really grew as individuals and how they worked with one another and as a team.  We as a staff really try to teach kids life lessons through the game of football — this game is a great teacher and platform for that.  We have great kids and the staff really enjoyed working with them. 

“We have kids that gained some great experience this year returning next year.  There is not a better teacher than experience and we had many underclassmen get that this year.  It is always tough to see a season come to an end.  We are excited about the future and the kids coming back and are ready to get back to work.”

Team stats

Rushing: 226 carries, 884 yards, 3.91 yds/carry.  Gave up: 1,784 yards, 355 carries, 5.03/carry.

Passing: 97/206, 1,624 yards, 13 TDs, 12 INTs.  Gave up: 941 yrds, 84/148, 11 TDs.

Take-aways: 13 (11 INTs, 2 fumble recoveries). Give-aways: 18 (12 INTs, 6 fumbles lost).

Individual stat leaders offense

Passing: Zach Haugerud, 97/202, 1,624 yds, 13 TDs, 12 INTs, 16.74 yds/pass completion.

Receiving: Carson Kiehne, 32 receptions/773 yds, 24.16 yds/catch, 8 TDs; Grant Kennedy, 28r/398 yds, 14.21 yds/catch, 1 TD; Hadrian Williams, 10r/72 yds, 7.20 yds/catch, 1 TD; Cory Brown, 9r/229  yds, 25.44 yds/catch, 3 TD’s; Wyatt Breeser, 5r/41 yds, 8.2 yds/catch; Alec Sikkink, 5r/53 yds, 10.6 yds/reception; Ajay Ristau, 4r/14 yds, 3.5 yds/catch; Mason Berg, 4r/44 yds, 11.0 yds/catch.

Rushing: Williams, 53 carries/342 yds, 6.45 yds/carry, 5 TDs; Alec Sikkink, 59c/264 yds, 4.47 yds/carry, 1 TD; Kiehne, 35c/206 yds, 5.89 yds/carry, 1 TD; Haugerud, 67c/86 yds, 1.28 yds/carry, 1 TD.  Longest carry of the season, 71 yds by Williams; Ajay Ristau, 6c/-2 yds; Bryce Corson, 2c/5 yds; Jeremy O’Connor, 1c/-1 yd.

These are some pretty good individual statistics for a team that only won three games!

Individual stat leaders defense

Solo tackles: Kiehne, 40; Ristau, 40; Williams, 35; Brown, 22; Sikkink, 22; Kennedy, 21; Nick Whalen 17; Nolan Bremseth, 17; Caleb Kunz, 15.  Assisted tackles: Kiehne, 37; Ristau, 34; Kennedy, 18; Kunz, 18; Williams, 17; Sikkink, 16; Bremseth, 15; Whalen, 13; Jeremy O’Connor, 12; Haven O’Connor, 11; Mason Berg, 10.  Solo tackles for a loss: Whalen, 7; Williams, 5; Kiehne, 4; Ristau, 3; Bremseth, 3.  Solo sacks; Whalen, 4. 

Interceptions: Kennedy, 3; Sikkink, 3; Ristau, 2; Kiehne, 2; Berg, 1. 

Fumble recoveries: Brown, 1; Riley Lange, 1. 

Forced fumbles: Whalen, 2. 

Pass deflections: Brown, 3; and 2 each for Kiehne, Sikkink and Kennedy.

Total tackles: Kiehne, 77; Ristau, 74; Williams, 52; Kennedy, 39; Sikkink, 38; Kunz, 33; Bremseth, 32; Brown, 30; Whalen, 30; Berg, 19; J O’Connor, 18; Stefan Nikoloski, 16; and H O’Connor, 14.

Punting: Ian Shupe, 28, 34.61 yds/kick.  PATs; Theo Lehmann, 21/22.

Kickoffs: Lehmann, 33, 49.33/kickoff. 

Field goals: Lehmann, 1/3. 

Punt returns (total): Kiehne, 5; Trevor Hershberger, 6.

Graduating seniors: Mason Berg, Theo Lehmann, Cory Brown, Ian Shupe, Hadrian Williams, Nick Whalen, Stefan Nikoloski and Nick Marzolf.

The football banquet is Sunday, Nov. 10, 6:30 p.m., in Harmony.