The West Central Area-Ashby football season ended on a sour note after one of the best starts in program history.
The Knights were 4-0 and had beaten Pillager (7-3), the defending section champion. However, a 22-14 loss to Otter Tail Central (3-6) sent them into a tailspin. WCA-A finished the regular season losing three-of-four and bowing out in the second round of the playoffs with a 49-6 loss to eventual section champion, Osakis (8-3).
Despite an abrupt end to the rollercoaster season, the Knights have a lot to look forward to in the future – including the return of their offensive and defensive Most Valuable Players.
Jaden Norby had a big season at quarterback. He ran for 574 yards on 112 attempts. Along with his 5.12 yards-per-carry, he found the end zone 15 times on the ground.
Norby completed 45-of-109 passes for 615 yards and three touchdowns. He was voted offensive MVP by his teammates. He was named to the All-Section 6AA, All-District and all-District Academic teams. The Midwest Blue Sub-District also awarded Norby with the quarterback of the year honor. Norby is the winner of the Knight award to round out his honors.
“It’s given to the most dedicated, passionate, excited and hardest-working (player) you can think (on the team),” head coach Nate Wood said. “This guy gives everything all of the time.”
Jordan Lohse was voted defensive MVP by his teammates after his impressive season. He made 41 tackles and had four interceptions. Two of his interceptions were returned for touchdowns.
Lohse was named to the all-Section and all-District team. He was also given the sub-district defensive back of the year award.
JJ Sabolik and Devin Stone were voted outstanding linemen and received all-section honors. Stone was also put on the all-district team. Sabolik was also selected to the Minnesota Football Showcase All-Star Game at U.S.Bank Stadium on Dec. 7.
Anthony Sykora won the Up-and-Comer Award after an impressive freshman season. He ran the ball for 389 yards on 81 attempts with six touchdowns. He also caught one interception and made 17 tackles on defense.
The Most Improved Award went to Brady Reeve.
“From way back in the spring until November, he’s the guy who came the furthest from where he was,” Wood said. “He improved his mechanics, techniques and ability throughout the season.”