WAHOO – The Bishop Neumann Cavaliers and Wahoo Warriors both finished just one win away from playing for the Class C-1 state championship.
The two teams combined for 19 wins and produced the area’s highest scoring offenses.
Wahoo averaged nearly 36 points a game offensively while the Cavaliers offense averaged 33 points per contest.
As a result, 10 of the 13 players on the 2018 Wahoo Newspaper All-Area Offense reside at one of the two schools.
Here is a look at the first team offense.
Eli Vedral, Sr.
Vedral captained a multi-faceted Cavalier offense which accounted for 33 points a game and 344 yards a game.
After playing for much of last season with a broken right hand, Vedral remained healthy in 2018 and the Cavalier offense flourished under his direction.
Vedral rushed for 813 yards and nine touchdowns and passed for an additional 1,048 yards and 12 scores through the air.
He completed 59.5 percent of his passes in a Neumann offense predicated on the run.
Vedral played linebacker on defense and accounted for 71 tackles.
Trevin Luben, Jr.
Going into the season, veteran Coach Chad Fox wondered who would shoulder the load at running back after record-setting senior Dylan Egr left for Midland University.
After missing the first game, Luben answered that question in week two in a 54-19 win over Nebraska City when he rushed for 204 yards and three touchdowns.
Luben set the school rushing record in just 11 games after carrying the ball 291 times for 2,215 yards and 29 touchdowns.
He also added a touchdown reception and returned a kickoff for a touchdown.
Bryce Kitrell, Jr.
Kitrell was the centerpiece of an Ashland-Greenwood team which won a playoff game and finished with eight wins in 2018.
Kitrell utilized sprinter speed to break games open the Bluejays on numerous occasions in the run game and on special teams.
The junior halfback rushed for 1,242 yards and 16 touchdowns on 181 carries. He also caught 16 passes and had three touchdowns in the return game.
Defensively, Kitrell added 63 tackles from his linebacker spot.
Brandon Blum, Sr.
Blum turned into a game-breaking performer at I-back for the Cavaliers in 2018.
Blum averaged 9.94 yards a carry while rushing for 716 yards and a team-high 16 touchdowns for the Cavaliers while sharing time at running back.
Blum added a touchdown reception and returned a kickoff for a touchdown against Raymond Central.
The Cavalier senior added 50 tackles and two interceptions while starting at cornerback.
Jake Unger, Sr.
Unger provided the Cavaliers with a gamebreaker in the passing game and on special teams in 2018.
The state medalist in the 100-meter dash led the Cavaliers with four receiving touchdowns and finished second on the team with 234 yards receiving.
Unger added nearly 300 yards in kickoff returns and finished with 34 tackles and three interceptions on defense, returning one 54 yards for a score against Fort Calhoun.
Kyle vonRentzell, Jr.
vonRentzell provided the Bluejays with one of the biggest and fleet-footed tight ends in Class C-1.
At 6-foot-3, 200 pounds vonRentzell gave quarterback Hunter Washburn a reliable target in the passing game during the Bluejays 8-3 playoff season.
vonRentzell caught a team-high 24 passes for 339 yards and four touchdowns.
Gunnar Vanek, Jr.
Vanek touched the ball as much as any other Wahoo offensive player in 2018 after starting at center for the 10-2 Warriors.
At 6-foot-3, 235 pounds Vanek used his superior strength to manhandle defensive tackles and linebackers all season.
Vanek was also agile enough to pull in the counter and trap game.
Conrad Sander, Sr.
Sander, a 6’0,” 235-pound versatile offensive lineman played center and tackle for the Cavaliers in 2018
After season ending injuries to a pair of starting offensive linemen, Sander was forced to move from center to tackle for the Cavaliers and didn’t miss a beat.
Sander was also a stalwart along the Cavalier defensive line where he finished with 51 tackles and two fumble recoveries.
Callen Phillips, Jr.
Phillips was one of three junior starters along the Warrior offensive line.
Phillips, a 230-pound offen
sive tackle helped the Warrior offense rush for 3,332 yards and pass for an additional 1,033 while averaging nearly 36 points a game.
2,000-yard rusher Trevin Luben often ran behind Phillips on off tackle plays. Phillips was also a skilled pass blocker.
Sam Kavan, Sr.
Kavan, a 6’1,” 220-pound offensive guard moved into a starting role for the Cavaliers after playing tight end his first three years in high school. Kavan helped pave the way for a Cavalier offense which accounted for nearly 350 yards and 33 points a game in 2018.
Kavan played on both sides of the ball in all 12 of the Cavalier games.
He finished with 42 tackles and a fumble recovery on the defensive side of the football.
Jack Sutton, Sr.
There aren’t many 6’3,” 255-pound offensive tackles in the entire state who can match this guy’s athleticism.
Sutton was routinely seen running alongside teammate Trevin Luben 40 yards downfield shucking defensive backs with one hand while paving the way for his all-state running back.
No. 55 was equally as dominant on the defensive side of the ball while accounting for 63 tackles and four sacks.
Jaden Rhynalds, Jr.
Rhynalds accomplishments were overshadowed by an uncharacteristic 3-6 record turned in by a young Tiger squad in 2018.
Rhynalds moved to quarterback this season after starting at receiver for the Tigers championship team in 2017.
He led the Tigers in rush
ing with 937 yards and 17 touchdowns. He also passed for 671 yards and eight scores.
On defense, Rhynalds led the Tigers with 130 tackles and three interceptions.
Jesus Zaragoza, Jr.
Zaragoza makes his second consecutive appearance on the All-Area team on the strength of his right leg.
Zaragoza handled the
place kicking and kickoff duties for the 10-2 Warriors in 2018.
Zaragoza made four field goals and converted on 49-of-57 PAT tries. He also averaged nearly 52 yards on 71 kickoffs.
Second Team Offense:
QB: Thomas Waido, Wahoo Jr.
RB: Peyten Walling, Wahoo Jr.
RB: Lane Siems, Cedar Bluffs Sr.
RB: Cale Tweedy, Mead Sr.
WR: Cooper Hancock, Wahoo So.
WR: Nolan Kasuske, Ashland-Greenwood Sr.
TE: Trey Miller, Bishop Neumann Jr.
OL: Josh Palensky, Raymond Central Sr.
OL: Caleb Dickes, Mead Sr.
OL: Blake Kobs, Ashland-Greenwood Jr.
OL: Collin Bouc, East Butler So.
ATH: Dylan Marchand, Cedar Bluffs Jr.