Football players honored at awards banquet

All-District receiver Reid Kruegel made some big catches despite being targeted by defenses. CHRISTINE VREEMAN/SPRING VALLEY TRIBUNE

All-District linebacker Dallas Jones also carried the ball for the Knights. CHRISTINE VREEMAN/SPRING VALLEY TRIBUNE
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The Kingsland football team recently wrapped up its 2018 campaign with an awards night recently.

The postseason awards began with the All-District honorees. Two Knights made All-District First Team, while two more made the All-District Honorable Mention Squad. In addition to on-field achievements, three Knight players were honored for academic achievement. The team awards were also handed out at the banquet, including offensive most valuable player, defensive most valuable player, and the Knight Award, which is given to the player that best exemplifies teamwork.

All-District First Team:

Reid Kruegel – The senior wide receiver and National Honor Society Student was the number one target of opposing defenses this season, but still finished with 22 catches this season for 486 yards (22.1 yards per catch), with six touchdowns. Knights’ coach Brent Stinson said Kruegel ran his routes in “bracket coverage” consistently this year.

“One defender stayed with him and the defense added another guy over the top,” he said. “He worked really hard for everything and was a three-year starter and two-year team captain. He did a great job of leading the team. If he said something, he meant it. He didn’t say a lot because that’s just who he is. But when we needed leadership, he was always there.

“He was always out there helping the younger receivers learn the correct way to run routes,” Stinson said. “Reid (Kruegel) also spent a lot of time watching film and helped the younger guys learn to watch film correctly.”

Dallas Jones – The Kingsland junior linebacker also contributed as a running back, making an impact on both side of the ball. Stinson said Jones was the “definition” of grit and toughness, which made it hard to get him off the field. Jones finished the season with 39 solo tackles and 34 assists. Offensively, he finished with 102 carries and 400 yards rushing, with four TDs.

“He plays with the passion and toughness that you’re looking for on the field,” Stinson said. “He was tough-as-nails at middle linebacker, a position that he was probably a little undersized for, but it didn’t matter. He still flies to the football and keeps coming after ball carriers. The best way to describe him is he’s a grinder.

“But he was also our leading rusher,” Stinson added. “He had some big rushing games against Wabasha-Kellogg and Winona Cotter. Dallas (Jones) is one of those kids that doesn’t want to come off the field if he’s hurt or banged up. He’s a lot of fun to coach.”

All-District Honorable Mention:

Lucas Howard — A National Honor Society Student, Stinson said the junior tailback was always willing to do whatever the team needed, no matter what it was. For example, Stinson said Howard was willing to move to the noseguard position, an impressive feat for someone quite a bit smaller than a typical defensive lineman.

“He’s not the biggest of kids but he’s willing to move into the trenches and was very successful,” Stinson said. “He does the right things at the right times and plays with a lot of passion. Lucas is another player that’s really grown into a leadership role, serving as a team captain this season and will return next season as a senior. We’re fortunate to have a kid like Lucas Howard on our team.

“He actually moved to play some wide receiver for us late this season and did very well,” Stinson said. “He had big games against Hayfield and Winona Cotter, helping to springboard our passing game.”

Matthew Schwanke — The junior left guard played a big part in establishing a successful running game. Stinson said the Knights found themselves running consistently to the left.

“He’s a hard hat and lunch pail kind of guy who shows up to work,” Stinson said.  “He’s also a National Honor Society member. He watches a lot of game tape and is always ready to do what’s needed to help the team.

“We consistently had the most success running to the left side behind him,” Stinson added. “That success occurred even though most defenses lined up their best defensive tackles head-up against Matthew (Schwanke). He helped to stabilize the offensive line and helped communicate with the others.”

Team awards

The Knights’ football team also handed out team awards at their recent awards banquet.

Offensive MVP: Reid Kruegel.

Co-Defensive MVPs: Dallas Jones and Lucas Howard.

Knight Awards: Noah Watson (fullback/linebacker) and Matthew Schwanke.

Academic All-District: Noah Watson, (sophomore lineman) Hunter Lee, and Lucas Howard were named Academic all-District.