LEADERS OF THE PACK: Stalder’s MVP, Duncan’s honor lead throng of all-district selections
By BRANDON HURLEY
A rebuilding year triumphantly transformed into a reload was rewarded handsomely this week.
The Class 2A, District 9 runner-up Greene County Rams continued a remarkable three-year run by placing 14 of their 22 starters on the 2020 all-district teams.
Quarterback Bryce Stalder was the headliner, securing offensive MVP honors while head coach Caden Duncan was tabbed co-coach of the year along with Atlantic’s Mike McDermott.
The Rams finished second behind district champion Atlantic with a 3-1 record, thanks to a six-game winning streak which eventually came to an end in the Class 2A third round.
Overall, Greene County was 7-3, their third straight fall in which they won at least seven contests.
Stalder was joined by six others on the all-district first time, including running back Nate Black, wide receiver Jaxon Warnke, offensive linemen Sawyer Schiltz and Mason Stream, utility player Jackson Morton and linebacker Bradyn Smith. Seven Rams also graced the District 9 second team, led by wide receiver Zach Goff, offensive lineman Forest Thompson, defensive linemenJesse Miller and freshman Michael Rumley as well as linebacker Patrick Daughtery and defensive backs Richard Daughtery and Max Riley.
Greene County was in the top-tier of district in nearly every statistical category, powered by many of their talented individual athletes.
Stalder led the district with 23 total touchdowns and 1,782 total yards. He was also No. 1 in TD passes (15) and first in pass yards (1,212). The junior, in his first year as a starter, was also tied for second in rushing touchdowns (8) and third in rushing yards (570).
Duncan led the Rams on a miraculous recovery after starting the year 1-2. Greene County recovered to win six straight, including their final four regular season games, punctuated by back-to-back playoff wins for the first time in GCHS history. The second-year coach now sports a 16-5 career record, having won 13 regular season games. Atlantic’s Mike McDermott was named the other co-coach of the year after guiding the Trojans to the district title with a perfect 5-0 record.
AHS was the only district foe to defeat Greene County this fall.
Black lead the district in rushing with 752 yards (4.9 ypc) while his six touchdowns were the sixth-most. The junior’s career-high of 39 carries and 186 yards and a touchdown helped power the Rams to a second round shutout of Clarinda, 24-0 back on Oct. 23.
Warnke led District 9 in touchdown receptions with eight while his 517 yards and 30 catches were both second. Schiltz and Stream anchored an offensive line that paved the way for a league-best 41 touchdowns (seven more than second place Clarinda’s 34) and 3,009 total yards (a per game average of 300.9 yards. The Rams were tops in the district with 1,274 passing yards while they were also first in rushing with 1,735 yards (5.2 yards per carry).
Morton was quite the multi-talented offensive weapon throughout his sophomore campaign. Morton tied for fourth with seven rushing touchdowns while also rushing for 279 yards and 5.7 yards per carry. He also hauled the sixth-most catches in the district (18) for 293 yards and two touchdowns. Morton’s nine total touchdowns were tied for sixth-most in the league and tied for second among non-quarterbacks. Stalder’s 23 total touchdowns were tied for the sixth-most in Class 2A while his 15 passing touchdowns were tied for the ninth-most in the state. His 1,782 total yards placed him eighth in 2A as well.
Warnke’s eight touchdown grabs were tied for the seventh-most in 2A.
Improved offensive line play paved the way for the one of the most lethal backfields in all of 2A. The rejuvenated ground game helped turn the season around after a 1-2 start. The Rams began the year slinging the pigskin all over the field, but fell into a more traditional scheme following a two-game skid. Coach Duncan credits first year Greene County offensive line coach, Jim Duncan as the lightning rod for success. Jim is Caden’s dad, and has worked with offensive lineman for decades.
“My dad did a great job coaching that unit up front and those guys all started to take pride in being the engine that made us go,” Caden Duncan said. “Our skill players also bought into it and did a great job executing the game plans. Coach Cole Jaeschke did a good job of adjusting from our original plan to help us be successful on the offensive side.”
Clarinda’s Cole Ridnour earned defensive MVP honors after securing 63 total tackles and 14 tackles for loss.
First-team selection Bradyn Smith led the district with 64.5 tackles while his 12 tackles for loss were third in the league.
Defense is where Greene County really stood out on the second team, placing five athletes on the other side of the ball.
Sophomore Richard Daughtery was eighth in the district with 42.5 tackles while his twin brother Patrick tied for ninth with 40.5 tackles though his 11 tackles for loss were fifth-most. Fellow sophomore Jesse Miller recorded three sacks, which placed him in a tie for sixth while his nine tackles for loss were ninth-most in the district. Max Riley’s three interceptions tied him for fifth in the district while Smith and Warnke’s two fumbled recoveries tied for first. Freshman Michael Rumley made his presence felt on the defensive line, tallying 15 total tackles, a sack and 3.5 tackles for loss. As a team, the Rams were alone in fourth with 11 sacks.
Goff was seventh in District 9 with 15 catches (for 198 yards) while his two touchdown receptions tied him for seventh as well.
Greene County’s 10 total fumble recoveries placed them first while their 10 interceptions tied them for fourth-most. As a team, Greene County secured the second-most tackles for loss with 66.5.
Warnke, Goff, Schiltz and Thompson were Greene County’s only seniors to earn all-district honors. The 10 other Rams were either juniors or younger, including a slew of sophomores and freshmen.