Five Panthers named all-state
The Rugby High School football team was well rewarded following a strong 9-1 season, as five Panthers were named to the Class A all-state team, voted on by the coaches’ association.
Senior quarterback Brad Heidlebaugh and classmates Bennie Mygland (offensive line) and Zach Miller (tight end) earned first-team honors. It was the second year in a row for Heidlebaugh.
RHS coach Scott Grochow believes coaches and opponents were impressed with Heidlebaugh for his “ability to run and pass and be a leader. They knew he had an ability to be a game changer and I think that’s one thing that impressed them.”
Miller missed his junior season with a knee injury.
“There are not a lot of tight ends in the state his size that can block and catch,” Grochow said. “He had the ability to do both things, and he did them very well.”
Mygland impressed people with his versatility up front, playing center, guard or tackle to fit the right assignments.
“One of the things the coaches talked about is he actually played altering line positions,” Grochow said. “And he didn’t miss a beat when you changed him over and I think that was a big thing.”
Seniors Devon Berg (defensive line) and Tanner Bernhardt (receiver) earned second-team honors.
“(Berg) was a presence on the defensive line and a lot of people knew that,” Grochow said. “He was a disruption.”
The coach praised Bernhardt for being a consistent threat.
“They had to gameplan for everything,” Grochow said. “I think that was the key to it too. If you took one thing away there was something else and Tanner was one of those guys.”
Grochow and his coaching staff also gave team awards to key players. Mygland won the “Hard Helmet” award as the team’s top tackler with 62 solo stops. He also earned Offensive Lineman of the Year. Senior lineman Reid Mundahl was named the “Spark Plug”.
The Most Improved awards went to juniors Ryan Michels (receiver) and Devin Vetsch (lineman).
“Both of those guys have come a long way,” Grochow said. “Ryan won it last year, so two years in a row means he’s showed a lot of improvement. They’ve both been great. That’s something you look forward to seeing.”
The only freshman to letter, Kaden Jaeger, won the “Bandit of the Year” award.
“That’s the guy who always tries to make us work hard at whatever it is, whether he’s doing the other team’s offense or defense. Kind of a scout player of the year type of thing.
“In the past, the kids who won that have come on to do really nice things for us. It’s been some other kids that have done very, very well. We look at that as a good stepping stone and hopefully that gives him some motivation to take it to the next level.”
Junior return man Victor Gronvold won Special Teams Player of the Year.
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