The Lynnville-Sully football team had one of its best seasons in modern school history this fall, and it was reflected in the recently-released Class A District 6 All-District Team.
A total of 13 Hawks starters received honors, including six first-team selections. Five were named to the second team and two garnered honorable mention. The first team selections were seniors Cale Van Wyk (quarterback), Brady Van Wyk (linebacker), Shane Thompson (offensive line), Nathan Russell (tight end) and juniors Bailee Samson (running back) and Caden Doll (linebacker).
The second-teamers were senior Cody Nikkel (offensive line), juniors TJ Cunningham (defensive back), Daniel Zimmerman (running back/linebacker) and Brandon Dunsbergen (defensive back) and sophomore Blake Wehrle (offensive line).
The two that received honorable mention were juniors Darin Hofer (wide receiver/linebacker) and Kyle Hamilton (offensive line).
At quarterback, Cale Van Wyk (6-foot-2, 160 pounds) leaves behind quite a legacy after leading the Hawks to 17 wins over the past two years as their starting quarterback. He was a first-team selection this season after he threw for 891 yards, 11 touchdowns and eight interceptions, adding 372 rushing yards and six TDs on 72 attempts (4.5 yards per carry). He also started at defensive back, a position he earned all-state honors at last year.
Behind him, Van Wyk had one of the best backfields in the state. Samson (5-11, 160) was as explosive of a running back as they come, rushing for 1,379 yards and 17 TDs on just 145 carries — a staggering 9.5 yards per carry average. Samson had nearly just as many big plays on defense. Of his 85 total tackles, 22.5 were for a loss, including 11 sacks. He added a team-high four fumble recoveries.
At tight end, Russell (6-2, 195) provided a big target for Van Wyk and helped pave the way for Samson and L-S’ running backs. Russell finished fourth in the district with 417 receiving yards on only 24 receptions (17.4 per reception) and caught six TDs. Russell had 67 tackles on defense, including 13 for a loss and 3.5 sacks.
Of course, no offense can go anywhere without its offensive line, and Lynnville-Sully had a great one. Four linemen received all-district honors. Leading them was Thompson (6-0, 250) and Nikkel (6-2, 265) started for a second-straight year, while Werhle (5-10, 220) and Hamilton (5-11, 300) were new on the line.
Doll (5-11, 165) wasn’t selected as a running back despite rushing for 707 yards and 15 TDs and a 6.3 yards-per-carry average, but instead as a linebacker. There, he led the entire district in tackles with 159 solo, including 98 solo and 7.5 for a loss.
Also at linebacker was Brady Van Wyk (6-3, 195), who made the first team after finishing fourth for the Hawks with 73 total tackles, including 36 solo, 11 for a loss and two sacks. He also was named the district’s Kicker of the Year after leading the league in yards per kickoff (49.1) and touchbacks (10).
Zimmerman (5-8) was the third L-S linebacker to receive honors after finishing second on the team with 86 total tackles. He had 49 solo stops, 11 for a loss and one sack. Running the ball, he rushed for 379 yards and five touchdowns.
Cunningham (5-10, 175) was a second-team pick at defensive back after tying for the district lead with eight interceptions. He had 38 tackles, with 23 of them solo. He also caught 12 passes for 148 yards and a score on offense. Also getting second-team honors in the Hawks’ secondary was Dunsbergen (5-11, 150), who had 53 tackles, including 35 solo and two interceptions.
Hofer 6-4, 180) earned honorable mention after catching two TDs at receiver and recording 32 tackles on defense.
Of the 13 L-S players that received honors, eight of them return next season.
Hawks’ coach Mike Parkinson was named the district’s Co-Coach of the Year.
Lynnville-Sully got off to a rough start with a season-opening non-district loss to Class 1A Colfax-Mingo and was 1-2 after three games, but won its next seven games and reached the state quarterfinals before losing to district rival Brooklyn-Guernsey-Malcolm on Nov. 2. Seven of the Hawks’ nine wins were via shutout. In a five-game stretch this season, Lynnville-Sully outscored opponents 250-0.