By Staff for www.mcpherson-county-ks.com
INMAN – The 2021 season was near magic for the Inman football program as they dominated their way through the schedule, going 6-0 in district play and before losing in the Class 1A state championship game to Olpe and finishing 12-1.
Lance Sawyer returns for year number seven as the head coach of the Teutons where he has an overall record to date of 36-28. His assistant coaches have been on the sideline with for a while as well with Bill Garst beginning year seven while both Greg Froese and Wyatt Meier entering year number four.
Can they repeat the magic in 2022, that will be the question and there is plenty of hope since they return 12 starters, five on offense and seven on defense.
“We are excited to get back at it,” said coach Sawyer in his pre-season reflections. “After a great season in 2021, our guys have continued to dedicate themselves to the weight room and our growth has been outstanding. We are ready to see results again on the football field where we have high expectations for season 2022.”
What the Teutons will need to do on offense, is replace four-year starting quarterback Jace Doerksen who threw for a school record 1,823 yards and 23 touchdowns in 2021 while earning 1st team All-State and All-District honors plus playing in the 2022 Shrine All-Stat Game. Also graduating were two of the top three running backs in Kendyn Blank, the team leader with 852 yards rushing and Kyler Konrade who accounted for 382 yards and nine touchdowns, both earned all-district and All-State honors. Blank also set school record for touchdowns in a season with 23 and scoring in a season with 142.
What Inman can do is make use of the return Tanner Heckel, Eli Brunk, and Harrison Brunk, the top three receivers of 2021 who combined for 69 receptions, 1,429 yards and 26 touchdowns.
Heckel is just a junior who also ran for 675 yards last season and has earned honorable mention all-state honors in each of his first two seasons. According to coach Sawyer, Heckel will transition to quarterback in 2022.
Harrison Brunk is the fastest athlete on the team and earned four top three medals at the spring state track meet including being Class 1A state champion in the 200-meter dash.
Speaking of his Teuton offense, Sawyer pointed out, “We return a lot of key starters but have some holes to fill on the offensive line. We have experience at the skill positions but will be moving Tanner (Heckel) to quarterback with hopes of opening up what we do on offense.”
On defense, Inman needs to replace their top three tacklers of 2021 as Konrade, Doerksen, and Dawson Mannebach combined for 287 tackles. Mannebach also set a school record for quarterback sacks with 10.
Leading the defense will be players like Heckel who played defensive back and had 70 tackles and a pair of interceptions last season, Eli Brunk at linebacker (65 tackles with 16 for losses), Dominic Nuese-Rasmussen on the line where he had 71 tackles and made three fumble recoveries, plus linebackers Talon Welch and Sammy Shober along with defensive backs Kellen Schrag and Josiah Buller.
“Defensively, we will need to replace the physicality and quickness off the ball of our graduated lineman of Dawson (Mannebach), Grant (Thimmesch), and Christian Winsky,” added coach Sawyer. “We only gave up 14 total touchdowns in 2021 despite playing through a lot of injuries. Those injuries gave others some playing time which could make our defense even better in 2022.”
Concluding his pre-season reflections, coach Sawyer said, “We were able to win games based on our physicality on both sides of the ball. We will need to ramp that up even more if we want to finish that final game on top. Our players will be fast, athletic, and experienced. When you throw in the fact that we are as strong as any team I have coached, I expect we will be as physical as any team we will face. We have experience and return a great nucleus that played pivotal roles in our run to the state championship game last season. We will need to solidify the offensive and defensive lines, that will be a key to the success of the season.”
The Teutons open the 2022 season on Friday, September 2 by hosting Marion.
2021 TEUTON PLAYERS GRADUATING:
- Jace Doerksen – QB/DB, 4-year starter, 1st team All-State & All-District, played in 2022 Shrine Bowl.
- Kyler Konrade – RB/LB, 1st team All-State and All-District LB.
- Kendyn Blank – RB/DB, 3-year starter at RB, 1st team All-District and All-State RB/DB.
- Dawson Mannebach – OL/DL, 1st team All-State & All-District at DL, set school record with 10 sacks.
- Christian Winsky – OL.
- Grant Thimmesch – OL/DL, 1st team All-District.
TOP 2022 TEUTON PLAYERS RETURNING:
- Tanner Heckel – junior QB/DB, 5’11”, 175 lbs. – honorable mention All-State WR/DB as both a freshman and sophomore; unanimous 1st team all-district WR; 1st team all-district DB; 62 carries for 675 yards plus 23 receptions for 339 yards and 13 touchdowns; 70 tackles with 2 interceptions.
- Eli Brunk – senior TE/LB, 6’3”, 185 lbs. – honorable mention All-State WR/LB as sophomore and junior; 1st team all-district TE/LB; 18 receptions for 429 yards and 5 touchdowns; 65 tackles with 16 tackles for loss and 4 sacks.
- Harrison Brunk – senior WR/DB/KR, 6’0”, 175 lbs. – honorable mention All-State WR; unanimous 1st team all-district WR; 28 receptions for 661 yards and 8 touchdowns.
- Zaden Johnson – senior OL, 6’2”, 190 lbs. – 2nd team all-district OL.
- Dominic Nuese-Rasmussen – senior OL/DL, 6’1”, 220 lbs. – honorable mention All-State OL/DL; 1st team all-district OL/DL; 71 tackles with 3 fumble recoveries.
- Talon Welch – junior RB/LB, 6’1”, 195 lbs. – 10 carries for 106 yards; 44 tackles with 11 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 2 safeties.
- Zachary Martisko – junior OL/LB, 6’3”, 190 lbs.
- Dawson McConnell – junior RB/DL/P, 6’0”, 180 lbs. – honorable mention All-State punter; 1st team all-district punter.
- Josiah Buller – senior WR/DB, 6’1”, 185 lbs. – 2nd team all-district DB; 3 interceptions and 34 tackles.
- Sammy Shober – senior RB/LB, 5’8”, 190 lbs. – 1st team all-district LB; 68 tackles with 2 tackles for loss and 2 forced fumbles.
- Kellen Schrag – junior RB/DB, 5’11”, 170 lbs. – 37 tackles.
TOP 2022 NEWCOMERS TO WATCH:
- Garrett Froese – senior OL, 5’11”, 200 lbs.
- Brant Mikulecky – senior RB/LB, 6’1”, 185 lbs.
- TJ Froese – junior LB, 5’8”, 190 lbs.
- Jesse Ballard – junior OL, 5’9”, 245 lbs.
2022 INMAN TEUTON FOOTBALL SCHEDULE:
(* District 7 Games)
- Friday, September 2 – Host Marion
- Friday, September 9 – Host Sedgwick for Homecoming
- Friday, September 16 – At Remington
- Friday, September 23 – At Sterling*
- Friday, September 30 – Host Hutchinson Trinity*
- Friday, October 7 – At Ellinwood*
- Friday, October 14 – At Conway Springs*
- Friday, October 21 – Host Medicine Lodge*
- Thursday or Friday, October 27 or 28 – Cross District Bracket Game
- Friday, November 4 – Regional Game
- Friday, November 11 – Sectional Game
- Friday, November 18 – Sub-State Game
- Saturday, November 26 – State Football Championship
(William is a free-lance writer covering McPherson County Activities – he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)