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All-Metro Football Team: Captains Made Teams Go

December 2, 2006

By Stu Pospisil, Omaha World-Herald, Neb.

Dec. 2–In their own way on opposite sides of town, Phillip Bates of Omaha North and Kyle Wheeler of Millard South were put in charge of their teams.

Bates operated a Viking offense that grew through the season to post nine wins, the most for the Ames Avenue school since 1961. Wheeler directed a Patriots defense that was key to an 11-1 record, the best ever for the Q Street school.

During the season, each was a team captain. After the season, they merit more honor as the honorary captains for the 43rd World-Herald All-Metro Conference football teams.

North won a playoff game for the first time as Bates threw for 1,756 yards and 18 touchdowns and ran for 526 yards and nine touchdowns.

“Phillip showed a tremendous work ethic to play at the level he did,” Vikings coach Larry Martin said. “When things were covered in the passing game or there was a breakdown in assignments, he used his running strength to make plays.

“He got a lot stronger this year and his arm strength was a lot stronger. He was more comfortable back there in the pocket and got better at his reads.”

Bates committed early to Iowa State, which is undergoing a change in coaching staffs. Martin said Cyclone officials told him all scholarship offers are being honored and new coach Gene Chizik intends to call those athletes in the next week.

Wheeler played three years for the Patriots. As a senior, he made 82 tackles and four interceptions and had 724 yards rushing and receiving as a fullback.

“We were able to use him in a lot of spots,” Patriots coach Andy Means said. “He was kind of the general out there getting people lined up and making calls. He was just a great all-around player.”

Millard North has the most first-team selections with six. They are offensive linemen Mike Caputo and Brian Thorson, running back Seth Wolfe, kicker Tim Weak and defensive backs Sean Fisher and Nick Argyle.

It’s the first time in the two-platoon era of the All-Metro team that Omaha North has five on the first team. The others are Nebraska-bound Niles Paul at wide receiver, defensive lineman Nick Phillips, linebacker Chris Shelly and defensive back Thomas Warren.

Also with five is Omaha Westside. The Warriors place quarterback Colt Anderson, running back Collins Okafor, offensive lineman Jake Lickert, defensive lineman Stoy Hall and defensive back Drew Daubman.

Millard South’s four first-teamers are Wheeler, offensive lineman Matt Christenson, defensive lineman Mike Patterson and defensive end Colin Schroeder.

Also honored are receiver Tyler Vandament of Bellevue West, offensive lineman Harland Gunn and Ronnell Grixby of Omaha Central and punter Zach Willand of Papillion-La Vista South.

Grixby is the only repeat selection. Paul, Gunn and Caputo were on the second team as juniors. Those selected as juniors this year are Thorson, Okafor, Weak, Phillips and Fisher.

All-Metro selections are based on observations by The World-Herald staff and nominations by high school coaches. All schools received nomination forms. The Metro’s coaches met to select all-district teams and list players deserving of honorable mention.

A rarity, maybe a first, is Omaha Creighton Prep’s shutout among the first-team selections. The Junior Jays placed a pair of players on the second team.

Record-setters abounded on the All-Metro offense. Vandament broke Bellevue West records with 272 yards receiving against Omaha Central and 2,147 in his career. Paul’s 13 touchdown receptions were a North record and he had 22 in the past two seasons.

“There was a lot of pressure to perform at a high level,” Martin said. “At times when we had trouble running the ball, he stayed patient and ran his routes. He has tremendous hands.”

Okafor broke Westside’s season rushing record with 1,865 yards and scored 16 touchdowns. At the same time, Anderson threw for Warrior records of 2,060 yards and 24 touchdowns as they reached the state finals for the first time since 1982. His two-year passing totals were 3,278 yards and 36 touchdowns.

“Colt was a guy who got the job done,” Westside coach Marty Kauffman said. “Collins was a huge surprise. We went into the season looking for an I-back, he shared time in the first game and kind of took off.”

Wolfe didn’t play on offense in Millard North’s first game, but led the Mustangs in rushing with 1,678 yards and 21 touchdowns. Argyle, although chosen as a defensive back for all his postseason honors because of the wealth of quarterbacks in Class A, added 1,445 yards and 17 touchdowns.

Another 1,000-yarder was Schroeder, who was a three-year starter on defense for Millard South.

Weak, who had 20 touchbacks in 65 kickoffs, had six field goals in his junior season for the Mustangs. Willand, who signed with Creighton for baseball, led Metro punters with his 40.3-yard average. Only seven punts were returned.

Grixby played much of the season with an ankle injury, Central coach Jay Ball said. The junior was held out of 41/2games on defense, but still made 47 stops, four forced fumbles and three takeaways. He scored nine touchdowns when at tailback.

The best lineman prospect is Gunn, who remains committed to Miami (Fla.) while the Hurricanes look for a new coach after firing Larry Coker. Ball said Miami was projecting Gunn, a 6-foot-3, 300-pounder, to play center and Gunn worked in the off-season on learning how to snap.

“I think he can play on Sundays,” Ball said. “Harland has that drive and quickness, physicalness and the intelligence. He’s being recruited as a center primarily because of his height and they like his quickness off the ball.”

Gunn and Paul will play Jan. 6 in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in the Alamodone in San Antonio, Texas.

ALL-METRO CONFERENCE

FIRST TEAM OFFENSE Player School Ht. Wt. Yr.

E Niles Paul Omaha North 6-2 190 Sr.

E Tyler Vandament Bellevue West 6-1 180 Sr.

OL Harland Gunn Omaha Central 6-3 300 Sr.

OL Mike Caputo Millard North 6-2 260 Sr.

OL Brian Thorson Millard North 6-3 280 Jr.

OL Jake Lickert Omaha Westside 6-2 265 Sr.

OL Matt Christenson Millard South 6-3 250 Sr.

QB Colt Anderson Omaha Westside 6-4 195 Sr.

RB Collins Okafor Omaha Westside 6-1 201 Jr.

RB Phillip Bates Omaha North 6-2 200 Sr.

RB Seth Wolfe Millard North 5-10 185 Sr.

K Tim Weak Millard North 6-1 185 Jr. Honorary captain: Phillip Bates

FIRST TEAM DEFENSE Player School Ht. Wt. Yr.

DL Stoy Hall Omaha Westside 5-11 225 Sr.

DL Mike Patterson Millard South 5-11 270 Sr.

DL Nick Phillips Omaha North 5-11 265 Jr.

DE Colin Schroeder Millard South 6-0 200 Sr.

LB Chris Shelly Omaha North 5-10 225 Sr.

LB Kyle Wheeler Millard South 6-1 205 Sr.

DB Nick Argyle Millard North 5-10 190 Sr.

DB Ronnell Grixby Omaha Central 5-9 190 Sr.

DB Thomas Warren Omaha North 5-11 165 Sr.

DB Drew Daubman Omaha Westside 5-11 170 Sr.

DB Sean Fisher Millard North 6-5 205 Jr.

P Zach Willand Papillion-LV South 6-2 185 Sr. Honorary captain: Kyle Wheeler

SECOND TEAM OFFENSE Player School Ht. Wt. Yr.

E Ty Kildow Millard South 5-8 160 So.

E Tim Biere Omaha Westside 6-4 230 Jr.

OL Joe Sortino Omaha Westside 6-0 225 Jr.

OL Jeremy Crump Omaha Northwest 6-0 270 Sr.

OL Sean Kelly Omaha Bryan 6-7 345 Sr.

OL Garrett Ray Om. Cre. Prep 6-0 265 Sr.

OL Scott Stepanek Papillion-LV South 6-1 220 Sr.

QB Casey Hauptman Millard South 6-3 195 Sr.

RB Tyrell Carter Omaha Benson 5-9 160 Sr.

RB Corey Schram Bellevue West 5-11 190 Sr.

B Taylor Kanne Millard West 6-0 210 Sr.

K Devon Strecker Millard South 5-9 165 Jr.

SECOND TEAM DEFENSE Player School Ht. Wt. Yr.

DL Anthony Williams Omaha Northwest 6-2 195 Sr.

DL Eric Rice Omaha Bryan 6-1 300 Sr.

DL Eric Hagen Omaha Westside 6-0 235 Sr.

LB Brandon Fender Omaha Burke 6-0 210 Sr.

LB Zac Vaskunas Millard North 6-0 205 Sr.

LB Trever Spudich Millard South 5-11 220 Sr.

LB Nick Neneman Omaha North 6-0 175 Jr.

DB Zach Hayes Millard South 5-11 175 Sr.

DB Mike Hays Papillion-LV 6-1 210 Sr.

DB Vondrae Tostenson Om. Cre. Prep 6-4 205 So.

DB Johnny Gonzalez Omaha Bryan 5-9 170 Sr.

P Trent Goodman Omaha Westside 5-11 210 Jr.

All-District Teams

District 3

OFFENSE –Wide receiver: Tyler Vandament, Bellevue West; Charles Archie, Papillion-LV South; Jake Drwal, Millard West; Ty Kildow, Millard West. Tight end: Aaron Mosby, Millard South. Line: Matt Christenson, Millard South; Harland Gunn, Om. Central; Nick Wilcox, Om. South; Rich Bicknell, Millard West; Scott Stepanek, PLV South. Quarterback: Casey Hauptman, Millard South; Taylor Kanne, Millard West; Corey Schram, Bellevue West. Back: Colin Schroeder, Millard South; Andrew Johnson, Bellevue West, Brandon Bradford, Central. Kicker: Devon Streckler, Millard South, Brady Batchelor, Bellevue West. DEFENSE –Defensive end: Jake Mroczek, Millard South; Steven Morris, PLV South. Outside linebacker: Shaun Prater, Central. Line: Mike Patterson, Millard South; Kenny Anderson, Millard West. Linebacker: Kyle Wheeler, Trever Spudich, Millard South; Shane Winsor, Bellevue West, Jake Smith, Luke Smith, Millard West. Defensive back: Zach Hayes, Millard South; Ronnell Grixby, Jermaine Blackson, Central; Homer Harper, Jason Rody, Om. South. Punter: Zach Willand, PLV South; Jesse VerVelde, Millard West. –Honorable mention-Bellevue West: Keith Tobin, Antoine Young, Chris Hicks, Jack Jewell, Buddy Glover, Jake Hirz. Millard South: Nick Figgins, Julius Robinson, Austin Anderson, Jordan Hale. Millard West: Ross Brenneman, Tony Lampert, Scott Grachek, Tyler Knapp, Austin Williams, Micah Rasmussen, Andrew Lorraine, Tyler Davis, Joe Rohling, Sean Pugh, Chris Wieker, Craig Herman. Central: Ramel Thompson, Shane Prater, Chris Griffin, Chris Thomas, Terrell Mayhue, Matt Woster, Chuck Thompson, Mike Cold, Taylor Cook, Randy Burns, Bobby Clay, Stanley Smith. Omaha South: Paul Kuta, Todd Madison, Jeff Geho, Joe Brown, Cody Vosler. Papillion-LV South: Jared Evridge, Ryan Casal.

District 4

OFFENSE –Wide receiver: Vondrae Tostenson, Om. Creighton Prep; Marcus Sullivan, Om. Benson; Kyle Fries, Paul Siebold, Om. Westside. Tight end: Tim Biere, Westside; Gus Thiel, Prep. Line: Jake Lickert, Joe Sortino, Westside; Mike Caputo, Brian Thorson, Millard North; Garrett Ray, Brandon Lange, Prep; Daryon Cifuentes, Benson. Quarterback: Colt Anderson, Westside. Back: Austin Dudzinski, Prep; Ronnell Cutler, Bellevue East; Tyrell Carter, Benson; Seth Wolfe, Millard North; Collins Okafor, Benson. Kicker: Tim Weak, Millard North. DEFENSE –Line: Collin McDermont, Tyler Irvine, Gabe Davis, Prep; Stoy Hall, Eric Hagen, Westside; Spenser Sailors, Bellevue East. Linebacker: Jerico Wright, Benson; Matt Manninger, Prep; Trent Goodman, John Sorrell, Westside; Zac Vaskunas, Millard North. Defensive backs: Tyler Dare, Prep; Drew Daubman, Will Finocchiaro, Westside; Sean Fisher, Nick Argyle, Millard North; John Robert Bryan, Bellevue East. Punter: Brett Townsend, Bellevue East. –Honorable mention-Bellevue East: Shawn Smith, Ryan Thomas, Tommy Barrett, Aaron Gutierrez, James Burton, Scott Sivard, Tom Reinhard, Tyler MacNab, Jeff Marlowe. Millard North: D.J. Coleman, Mitch Chitwood, Ben Homer, Pete Botkin, Gerard Donahue, Austin Schwer, Eric Ringbloom, Nick Failla. Benson: Lawrence Woodruff, Jon Smith, Kyle Estwick. Creighton Prep: Alex Hook, Jeff Tiedeman, Mark McDonald, Mark Waldron, Brad Heldt. Westside: Damon Bechtold, Mike Finley, Andrew Elliott-Meisel, Otis Seals, Tucker Milliken.

District 5

OFFENSE –Wide receiver: Niles Paul, Om. North; John Reiss, Mike Hays, Mitch Albers, Papillion-LV; Zach Kahre, Om. Burke. Line: Jeremy Crump, Om. Northwest; Kevin Zukaitis, Burke; Rey Hernandez, James Davis, Om. North; Seth Denton, Eusevio Hulbert, Sean Kelly, Om. Bryan. Quarterback: Phillip Bates, Om. North; Steve Heiman, Papillion-LV. Back: Johnny Gonzalez, Bryan; B.J. Lawrence, Northwest; Jason Wright, Om. North. Kicker: Adam Pfeifer, Burke. DEFENSE –Outside linebacker: Richard Daniel, Papillion-LV; Anthony Williams, Northwest. Defensive line: Eric Rice, Bryan; Nick Phillips, Conrad Remington, Om. North. Linebacker: Jeremy Wallace, Bryan; Brandon Fender, Burke; Chris Shelly, Nick Neneman, Om. North; Marcus Hughes, Northwest. Defensive backs: Brian Novacek, Burke; Josh Tietsort, Papillion-LV; Thomas Warren, Om. North; Jordan Slobodnik, J.C. Hall, Bryan. Punter: Ryan Kilpatrick, Om. North. –Honorable mention-Burke: Chris Mack, Brian Arvin, Adam Wachtler. Bryan: Michael Fisher, Dante Thomas, Matt Slobodnik, Tom Ficenec, Chris Eggert, Kody Dorau, Kevin Walrath, Ryan Carrera, Sam Brester. Omaha North: Ron Coleman, Nick Ryks, Andre Booker, Dustin Schlueter, Preston Bostwick, Trenell Boston, Brent O’Brien, Oscar Martinez. Northwest: Derrell Bradford, Ryan Leffler, Divine Shelton, Eddie Worlds, Tywain Hill, Jonathan Gardner, Kyle McNamara, John Marshbanks, Demarcus Hardy, Tyree Aaron. Papillion-La Vista: Pat Boyd, Travis Stoecker, Russ Long, Steve Kavanaugh.

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Copyright (c) 2006, Omaha World-Herald, Neb.

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