Bearcats’ Klein, Maag lead B-8 football team; four Bulldogs on 1st team
     2013-01-03      By Terry Gaston   
Scottsbluff seniors Matt Klein and Jon Maag headline the 2012 All-District B-8 football team, on which the Bearcats garnered 11 first-team selections, while Gering had four first-team picks and seven selections to the second team.

Klein was named District B-8’s Most Valuable Player and Offensive MVP, while Maag earned the Defensive MVP award.

Bearcat coach Joe Benson was named the district’s Coach of the Year after leading the Bearcats to a 9-0 regular-season record, 9-1 overall, and Scottsbluff to its third consecutive district title.

Klein and Maag both gained first-team offensive and defensive honors for the Bearcats, Klein at running back and Maag on the offensive line.

Other first-team selections for Scottsbluff included senior Taylor Winkler at wide receiver, senior Ty Dunkel on the offensive line, senior Eric Moreno at punter and senior Randy Wentz at place-kicker.

Scottsbluff also had first-team defensive picks in junior Beau Lofink at linebacker and senior Luke Worden at defensive back.

Scottsbluff gained four more spots on the second team, with Moreno at quarterback, Worden at wide receiver, Dunkel on the defensive line and senior Tim Magdaleno at linebacker.

Gering had three defensive all-district first-team selections in seniors Nick Chitwood and Austin Ferguson at linebacker spots and senior Jeremy Eskam at defensive back, while junior Dylan Wetherington was the Bulldogs’ lone offensive first-team selection as a lineman.

Gering junior Gage Smith earned three of the Bulldogs’ second-team spots by gaining honors as a running back, punter and place-kicker.

Other second-teamers for Gering were junior Blake Frye on the offensive line, senior Jake Rexus on the defensive line, junior Elijah Timblin at linebacker and senior Walker Britsch at defensive back.

For Scottsbluff, Klein finished his senior season with 1,405 rushing yards with 18 touchdowns, caught six receptions for 52 yards and one TD, and completed 6 of 8 passes for 109 yards and two more TDs.

Defensively, Klein had one fumble recovery, one interception he turned into a 49-yard touchdown return, 45 total tackles (35 solo), with six for lost yardage, and five quarterback sacks.

Maag was Scottsbluff’s leading tackler with 57 solo stops, 56 assists, five quarterback sacks and nine tackles for lost yardage.

Maag and Dunkel anchored an offensive line that blocked the Bearcats to an average of 315.9 yards of total offense per game – 211.4 rushing and 104.5 passing. Scottsbluff’s defense held opponents to 263.8 yards per game.

On defense, Dunkel finished the season with two fumble recoveries, 42 solo tackles, 36 assists with one sack and five tackles for lost yardage.

Winkler led Scottsbluff in receiving with 23 receptions for 554 yards and five touchdowns. He had more than one-third of the Bearcats’ 67 catches, his yardage was more than half of Scottsbluff’s receiving yardage, and his five TDs were among nine caught by Bearcat receivers.

Wentz had 54 kickoffs for a 52-yard average, hit on 8 of 11 field-goal attempts and 34 of 36 extra-point kicks. Moreno punted his way to an average of 37.5 yards per boot, and at quarterback he completed 58 passes for 936 yards and seven touchdowns.

Worden, who has signed to play football at the University of South Dakota, had four interceptions and a fumble recovery with four touchdowns, and he had 295 kick return yards with one more TD. Worden had four interceptions and a fumble recovery with four more TDs, and he had 295 kick return yards with one more TD.

On offense, Worden followed Klein with 310 rushing yards and Winkler with 258 receiving yards with five combined touchdowns.

Lofink was Scottsbluff’s second-leading tackler with 54 solo and 53 assisted tackles with four for losses, and Magdaleno — after sitting out his junior season — had 50 solo and 45 assisted tackles with five for losses.

For Gering, which went 5-4 on the season and just missed making the Class B playoffs on a tiebreak with York – the team that ended Scottsbluff’s year with a first-round playoff win – the Bulldogs held opponents to 13.4 points in their five wins while Frye and Wetherington helped block the offense to a point average of 20.6 in their victories.

Chitwood had 91 total tackles (34 solo, a team-high 57 assists) with three quarterback sack, seven tackles for lost yardage and a pass break-up.

Ferguson had a team-high 95 total tackles with a team-best 41 solo stops, had three sacks and three other tackles for lost yards, one forced fumble, four fumble recoveries that included a 39-yard return for touchdown, and one pass break-up.

Eskam made 41 total tackles with 14 solos, broke up three passes and had an interception returned for 8 yards.

Smith was a potent weapon with his kicking, punting and rushing abilities duly honored with his three second-team selections. He had team highs in rushes (134), rushing yards (849, for a 6.33 average) and running touchdowns (7).

Smith also scored 80 total points, thanks to his five field goals out of seven, with a longest kick of 43 yards, and his 15 of 17 extra-point attempts. He averaged 36.3 yards per punt, with a longest boot of 70 yards, and on 37 kickoffs he recorded 17 touchbacks.

Britsch had 34 tackles with 16 solos, one tackle for loss and two interceptions.

Timblin made 90 total tackles (35 solo, 55 assisted) with a team-high 14 for lost yardage, one quarterback sack, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, an interception and one blocked field goal.

Rexus had 66 total tackles with 24 solos, eight stops for lost yardage, three sacks, three fumble recoveries, an interception for a 95-yard return, one pass break-up and a forced fumble.

Gering coach Jimmie Rhodes said Alliance coach Travis Hawk is the district coach credited with starting the all-district team, and he added that all selected players were nominated by either their own coaches and/or opposing coaches.

First-team selections are awarded medals for their honors, while all picks received certificates.

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