On Sunday the Des Moines Register released its 2012 all-state football teams, on which five Jasper County players received honors for this fall.
Leading the area selections were two first-team selections in Prairie City-Monroe senior Ethan Kain at wide receiver in Class 2A and Lynnville-Sully junior Bailee Samson on the defensive line in Class A. Earning second-team honors were Newton senior Derrick Hurt on the defensive line in Class 4A, Collins-Maxwell-Baxter senior Tim Thalacker as an offensive lineman in 2A and Lynnville-Sully junior TJ Cunningham as a defensive back in A.
Kain was a force in multiple ways for the Mustangs' playoff-qualifying team. His 929 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns led the team and the district, and were also second in Class 2A. He was also first in the district and fifth in Class with 2A 539 kick return yards. As a defensive back for the Mustangs, Kain had a team-leading five interceptions to go along with 34 total tackles.
Hurt (6-foot-1, 265 pounds) earned first-team all-district honors as a defensive lineman for a second-straight season. He's started on the offensive and defensive line for the last three years. He finished fourth for Newton in total tackles with 48, including 31 solo. His 11 solo tackles for loss (TFL) were just one shy of the overall district lead and he assisted on four more TFLs.
Although he missed the final game of the season with an injury, Thalacker’s season and career numbers speak for themselves. In his senior season, Thalacker anchored an offensive line that eventually earned four all-district honors. He made just as much of an impact defensively, however, as he tied for the lead in tackles in Class 2A District 6 with 103. Sixty-six of those tackles were of the solo variety, while four went for a loss. He also recorded an interception during his senior season from the linebacker position.
Samson was one of the most disruptive defensive players in all of Class A. Though only 5-11 and 160 pounds, his 19 solo tackles for a loss were third in the state, and so were his 10 solo sacks. He finished with 85 total tackles, with 57 solo, 23.5 for a loss and 11 total sacks. He added four fumble recoveries, which were a team-high for Lynnville-Sully. He also was one of the state’s most explosive running backs. He ran for 1,379 yards and 17 touchdowns on only 145 carries, which was a 9.5 yards-per-carry average.
Like Samson, another player who routinely made big plays for the Hawks’ stout defense was Cunningham at defensive back. His eight interceptions tied for the lead in Class A and tied for sixth in all classes. Cunningham (5-11, 150) finished with 38 tackles, including 23 solo. He also caught 12 passes for 148 yards and a score on offense.