Trojans’ Pope, Hart repeat on all-state
Any concerns about how the West Marshall football team would fare with the graduation of a bulk of its bulk up front were quelled by the same back that ran behind last year’s sizeable line.
Trojan senior running back Preston Pope was named as a repeat first-team selection to the Iowa Print Sports Writers Association’s Class 2A all-state team after finishing 13th in the state in all classes with 1,764 rushing yards in 2021.
Pope averaged just as many yards per carry — 7.7 — this fall as he did last season, earning him first-team all-state honors for the second year in a row. The Trojans’ quarterback and free safety, Peyton Hart, was promoted from the IPSWA second team to the first team as the backfield duo represented two of West Marshall’s six all-state selections.
North Tama’s run to the state quarterfinals was rewarded with five all-state honorees in Class A, while Marshalltown (5A) and South Tama (3A) both had one all-state recipient in a vote of statewide coaches and sportswriters.
West Marshall’s offense finished fifth in total yards in 2A, racking up 3,358 of its 4,148 yards on the ground in spite of a decidedly smaller set of linemen. Two of those Trojan frontmen, juniors Sam Schaper and Zach Chaplin, were named to the all-state teams. Schaper, the only holdover from last year’s starting line, was named to the 2A first team, while Chaplin was a second-team selection.
Hart, who was a second-team defensive back in 2020, was named first-team offensive utility after compiling 1,020 rushing yards and 744 passing yards this fall for the Trojans (9-2). Junior defensive lineman Austin Pfantz was picked as a first-teamer, and junior linebacker Caden Vellinga was a third-team honoree. Vellinga was second on the team behind Pope (84.5 tackles) with 61.5 tackles, and Pfantz was third (56.5). Pfantz tallied 8.5 quarterback sacks and 17.5 tackles for loss.
North Tama senior quarterback Gabe Kopriva led Class A and finished fourth in all classes with 3,006 passing yards this season, helping the Redhawks to an 8-3 record and a run to within one game of the UNI-Dome. He threw 24 touchdown passes and completed 64.3 percent of his attempts, averaging 13.1 yards per completion.
Redhawk senior wide receiver Devin McKinley led Class A in receptions (76) and was sixth in yards (768), earning him a place on the all-state second team offense. He racked up 10 touchdowns to lead a North Tama offense that finished first in passing offense and fourth in total yards.
Third-team honors went to Redhawk seniors Adam Greiner (wide receiver), Logan Rausch (defensive line) and Aiden Zook (linebacker). Greiner finished 12th in Class A with 635 receiving yards on 40 receptions, Zook was third in the class with 90 tackles, and Rausch was ninth with 79 tackles.
Marshalltown’s lone all-state selection in Class 5A was second-team honoree Nick Rebik. The junior running back/linebacker finished tops in his class with a 36.3 average on kick returns (among players with 10 or more returns), including two he took all the way back for touchdowns.
Rebik ranked third in 5A with 436 return yards on just 12 attempts, scoring touchdowns on an 89-yard return against Cedar Rapids Jefferson and an 86-yard jaunt against Waterloo East.
Rebik also finished as Marshalltown’s leading rusher (57 carries for 422 yards) and top tackler (48).
South Tama’s season finished at 2-7 overall, but senior linebacker Jacob Collison was awarded for his efforts at the heart of the Trojan defense. Collison finished 14th in 3A in total tackles (71.5), including 51 solo stops and team-highs of 2.0 quarterback sacks and 8.0 tackles for loss.
The IPSWA, in conjunction with the Iowa Football Coaches Association, selected three all-state teams in each of seven classes and picked captains for each. The captains are Lane Spieker of CAM, Anita (8-Man), Logan Knaack of Grundy Center (Class A), Casey Trudo of Van Meter (1A), Kolson Kruse of Southeast Valley (2A), Landyn Van Kekerix of Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley (3A), Nick Miller of Council Bluffs Lewis Central (4A) and Xavier Nwankpa of Southeast Polk (5A).