By Tim Huether
The Bennett County Warriors football team ended the year with a 4-5 record after losing to Custer in the first round of the playoffs. The young and often outsized team was in every game but one this season.
The team may have been undersized in weight and number of players, but pound for pound, outmanned every team but St. Thomas More. They battled well all season and ended it with an overall well played game against Custer, falling 28-20.
The Warriors lost several key Senior players during the year to injury, all with plenty of speed and football skills. Lukas Divan, Keali’i Heath and Cody Larson were lost for much of the season. Cody came back to play just on the defensive side of the ball in the last regular season game against Little Wound and had three interceptions. He also played against Custer but was still limited by his knee injury.
The team will graduate Seniors Wade Porch, Jeremy Huether, Joe Merrival, Keali’i Heath, Lukas Divan, Cody Larson, Dustin Hicks and Jason Charger.
Coach Chip Sundberg summed up the season with these comments.
“If you base success on wins and losses, we may not have been that successful,” said Sundberg. “But I believe that we improved every week. The boys worked hard each and every day in practice and it showed during games. Of our losses this season, we were only down and out in just one game. The other games, we were in until the final gun. With the limited number of boys out this year, I think we did very well dealing with injuries. The younger kids stepped up and filled in when asked and did a nice job when they came in.”
“We are losing a pretty good group of seniors,” added coach Sundberg. “All eight of the seniors started offensively, defensively, or played both ways the entire season. They were a great group to work with and will be greatly missed. Yes, we believe that we had a successful season.”
Individual season stats by alphabetical order:
Chandler Bakley - 19 solo and 58 assisted tackles, 2 sacks, 1 fumble recovery, 2 pass deflections
Chris Begeman - 1 assisted tackle
Gassem Belhage - 3 solo and 2 assisted tackles
Brandon Blanco - 8 solo and 39 assisted tackles, 8 rushes for 45 yards, 3 rushing touchdowns
Jason Charger - 1 solo and 17 assisted tackles, 1 sack
Race Christensen - 2 solo and 3 assisted tackles
Lukas Divan - 51 rushes for 160 yards, 7 solo and 23 assisted tackles, 1 pass deflection, 2 punts for 66 yards
Jalen Garnette - 1 assisted tackle
Brad Hahn - 102 rushes for 507 yards, 8 touchdowns, 1 conversion, 4 kickoff returns for 152 yards, 1 punt return for 14 yards, 3 receptions for 18 yards, 23 solo and 57 assisted tackles, 3 punts for 65 yards
Brady Hicks - 14 solo and 51 assisted tackles
Dustin Hicks - 6 solo and 35 assisted tackles, 2 sacks, 1 forced fumble
Keali’i Heath - 5 receptions for 131 yards, 1 touchdown, 2 punt returns for 23 yards, 4 solo and 12 assisted tackles
Keith Hodson - 9 assisted tackles
Jeremy Huether - 13 receptions for 257 yards, 1 touchdown, 1 rush for 5 yards, 13 solo and 22 assisted tackles, 1 interception, 1 pass deflection, 1 fumble recovery, 3 kickoff returns for 58 yards, 2 punt returns for 13 yards
Sam Ireland - 52 rushes for 177 yards, 2 rushing touchdowns, 1 run for conversion, 8 of 19 passing for 77 yards, 1 touchdown, 1 kickoff return for 8 yards, 1 punt return for 11 yards, 1 interception with a 30 yard return, 10 receptions for 178 yards and 3 touchdowns, 22 solo and 29 assisted tackles, 2 sacks, 4 fumble recoveries, 2 interceptions with 1 for a touchdown
Cody Larson - 16 rushes for 65 yards and 2 touchdowns, 6 receptions for 100 yards and 1 touchdown, 1 punt return for 16 yards, 1 kickoff return for 7 yards, 3 interceptions with 21 return yards, 11 solo and 18 assisted tackles, 1 pass deflection, 8 punts for 224 yards
Joe Merrival - 60 rushes for 30 yards (includes sacks in pass plays), 3 rushing touchdowns, 52 for 90 passing for 930 yards, 10 touchdowns and 1 conversion, 7 solo and 10 assisted tackles and 6 interceptions and 2 touchdowns off interceptions, 1 forced fumble, 2 fumble recovery, 2 punts for 66 yards
Wade Porch - 14 receptions, 258 yards, 4 touchdowns, 1 conversion, 19 solo and 37 assisted tackles, 4 sacks, 1 forced fumble, 3 kickoff returns for 116 yards and 1 touchdown, 1 field goal from 37 yards, 17 extra point kicks (PAT), 41 kickoffs for 1,698 yards
Lane Saxton - 8 assisted tackles
Layne Sharp - 5 solo and 27 assisted tackles, 2 sacks, 1 forced fumble
Tate Petrak - 3 rushes for 12 yards, 4 solo and 10 assisted tackles
Sawyer Rous - 3 solo and 23 assisted tackles, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble
Lattrel Terkildsen - 4 solo and 9 assisted tackles, 3 rushes for 1 yard, 1 touchdown, 1 reception for 17 yards, 4 kickoff returns for 21 yards
Todd Vander May - 1 solo and 10 assisted tackles
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