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Postseason awards: Cardinals recognize huge group after run to state

Hoskins, Steffensmeier share team MVP honor.

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Alexandria senior quarterback Carter Steffensmeier throws a pass at Hutchinson in the 2021 season opener. Steffensmeier racked up multiple postseason honors that included sharing co-MVP honors with receiver Kristen Hoskins, along with being named the Cardinals' most valuable offensive back and earning All-Section 8-5A honors. Eric Morken / Alexandria Echo Press

Alexandria’s Kristen Hoskins will go down as one of the top players to have come through the Cardinals’ football program, and Hoskins was recognized for that with a host of honors ahead of playing at the University of Minnesota next year.

Hoskins was part of a big group of athletes that the Cardinals recognized at their banquet in early December after Alexandria won the Section 8-5A title to advance to the state tournament. He was named this group’s team Co-MVP, the team’s Offensive Player of the Year, District Offensive Player of the Year and District Special Teams Player of the Year.

Hoskins made the all-section team and was one of 10 finalists for the Mr. Football Award -- an honor given to the top senior football player in the state by the Minnesota Football Coaches Association. Emmett Johnson, a running back and safety at Academy of Holy Angels, won the Mr. Football Award that was announced on Dec. 5.

Hoskins caught 83 balls for 1,185 yards and 15 touchdowns in 11 games played, averaging 14.28 yards per catch. He also returned three kickoffs for touchdowns and finished with 449 yards on 18 total kick returns.

Hoskins was one of six Alexandria players named All-North Central (Red) District athletes. Seniors Clayton Birdsall, Zander Homelvig, Wyatt Odland, Teagan Pfeffer and Carter Steffensmeier were all-district players, while seniors Grady Anderson, Dayton Downing, Zach Gundberg, Calen Piepho and Myles Sansted were honorable-mention selections.

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Hoskins shared the team MVP Award with his quarterback and good friend in Steffensmeier. Steffensmeier had a big senior season that also earned him the team’s Most Valuable Offensive Back Award. He threw for 2,541 yards, 25 touchdowns and 11 interceptions on 212-of-347 passing (61.1%) and rushed for a team-leading 557 yards and 12 touchdowns on 127 carries.

Birdsall, a two-way lineman for the Cardinals, earned Alexandria’s Most Valuable Offensive Lineman Award after anchoring the team up front as the center. Gundberg (33 catches, 364 yards, 3 TD) got the Pound the Rock Award offensively, while Will Heydt (76 carries, 400 yards, 8 TD, 34 tackles) won the Cardinal Legacy Award.

Homelvig was the Cardinals’ most valuable defensive lineman, while Odland was the team’s Defensive Player of the Year Award winner. Homelvig had 72 total tackles, including a team-best 11 tackles for loss to go with two fumble recoveries.

Odland led the Cardinals with 126 tackles. That included 3 tackles for loss, while also forcing five fumbles and recovering a fumble.

Senior Teagan Pfeffer (43 tackles, 4 INT) was the team’s Most Valuable Defensive Back Award winner, and Piepho (38 tackles) won the Pound the Rock Award defensively for Alexandria. Pfeffer was a member of the North team at the Minnesota Football Showcase played at U.S. Bank Stadium on Dec. 4.

Grady Anderson (120 tackles, 1 INT) also added a team award as the Cardinals’ most improved player, and Sansted was the Cardinals’ Special Teams Player of the Year after finishing 6-of-8 on field goals and 42-of-45 on extra points. .

Alexandria had five total players named to the All-Section 8-5A team with Steffensmeier, Birdsall, Heydt and Pfeffer joining Hoskins with that honor. Homelvig, Odland and Kelly Johnson were honorable-mention selections.

The Cardinals finished 6-6 overall after playing a competitive schedule. Their season ended in a 21-17 game against Robbinsdale Cooper in the state tournament quarterfinals on Nov. 13.

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Off the field, Alexandria earned a team academic gold award for their work in the classroom. Odland was also an individual academic all-state award winner.

Related Topics: FOOTBALL
Eric Morken is a sports and outdoor editor at the Echo Press Newspaper in Alexandria, Minnesota, a property of the Forum News Service. Morken covers a variety of stories throughout the Douglas County area, as well as statewide outdoor issues.
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