OTTUMWA – Jared Jensen knew before the first official day of practice that he had something special brewing this season at Sigourney-Keota.
The Cobras came within one win of finding out just how special they could be on the gridiron in 2019.
S-K dominated for most of the season on both sides of the football, outscoring opponents 425-115 overall this season. That final tally includes a disappointing season-ending 28-6 loss in the Class 1A, District 5 championship-deciding finale to Mediapolis, a loss that ultimately ended the Cobras’ season with an 8-1 record preventing S-K from even having a chance to battle in the postseason for the program’s fourth state football championship.
While much of S-K’s success can be attributed to the explosive offense, highlighted by Courier player of the year J.D. Stout and an overall rushing attack that produced the ninth-most yards in the state (3,499), the Cobras got things done on both sides of the football. S-K was one of 21 teams in the entire state to finish with at least 17 interceptions, paced by nine picks from Brady Duwa – one of four Cobras to be named to the 2019 All-Courier defense.
Jensen, who guided the Cobras to near-perfection in the regular season, joins eight of his S-K players on the 2019 All-Courier team as the 2019 Ottumwa Courier head football coach of the year.
“We had some of the best defensive showings we’ve had since I’ve been here. It wasn’t just the 11 starters. It was all the guys that had to come in for different situations,” Jensen said. “Our offense is usually the backbone of our team, but our defense playing as well as it did this season really helped take a lot of the load off our offense. When we could shut teams down, we didn’t have to score a ton of points.
“Overall, we were already ahead of where we were to start the season. You could see that from the preseason camps in early August. We were leaps and bounds ahead of the previous season and continued taking those huge steps forward throughout the season.”
Payton Schauf, S-K, Sr.
Schauf earned first-team all-district honors in Class 1A District 5 by creating the most havoc for opposing quarterbacks. Schauf led S-K with three total sacks, assisted on one more, and recovered two fumbles finishing with 11 solo tackles and 12 assists.
Nate Schuster, S-K, Sr.
Schuster, like Schauf, earned first-team all-district honors up front for the Cobras collecting 12 solo tackles and nine assists. Half of the solo stops by Schuster were in the backfield as the S-K senior made six solo tackles for loss with three more assists on loss-yardage stops. Schuster also was in on three sacks, making one solo stop in S-K’s 42-6 win over Wapello, helping the Cobras get to 8-0 on the season
Jesus Jaime, Ottumwa, Sr.
Jaime could have found a place on the All-Courier special teams, leading all area punters averaging 39.1 yards per punt this season. Jaime’s value on defense, however, trumped his ability to kick the ball after earning first-team all-district honors in Class 4A, District 6 playing on the interior of the defensive line for the Bulldogs finishing with 22 1/2 tackles, four sacks and two fumble recoveries.
Drew Martin, Fairfield, Sr.
Martin was the Trojans’ lone representative on the first team of the Class 3A District 6 all-district team. Martin caught six passes for 144 yards and a touchdown, but made more of a mark on the defensive side, finishing with 60 tackles and four sacks.
Zeke Webb, S-K, Sr.
Webb was one of five S-K players to earn first-team all-district honors on the Class 1A, District 5 defense, but the only Cobra to earn a spot among the top linebackers in the district. Webb cracked the top-five in the district with eight solo tackles for loss and led the Cobras by helping in making 12 total stops in the backfield, finishing with 26.5 total tackles including 19 solo stops and two sacks
Kennan Winn, Pekin, Sr.
How versatile was Winn this season? Consider that on a team featured a 1,000-yard rusher in Dayne Eckley, Winn stepped into the backfield and played well enough to earn first-team all-district honors as a running back in Class A, District 6. Winn lands on the All-Courier defensive team after leading the Panthers with 71 total tackles, third most in the district with 56 solo tackles that was second in the district only to BGM senior Jordan Kriegel’s 66. Oh, and Winn also had three interceptions one season, clinching a return to the All-Courier defense after earning a place in the secondary as a junior.
Cael Baker, Pekin, Jr.
Baker earned first-team all-district honors for his play on the defensive side of the ball for the Panthers. Baker was second to Winn with 60 total tackles, including four solo tackles for loss and a team-leading 34 assists.
Luke Bossard, Albia, Sr.
Bossard returns to the All-Courier team as a defensive back for a second straight season, following up a busy junior season for the Blue Demons that included 79 1/2 tackles, an interception and a fumble recovery. As a senior, Bossard again led the Albia defense with with 71 tackles and two interceptions to earn first-team all-district honors in Class 2A, District 6 for a second straight year.
Carter Ferrel, Fairfield, Sr.
Like Bossard, Ferrel returns to the All-Courier secondary after finishing second as a junior with four interceptions in Class 3A, District 6 to earn first-team all-district honors. Ferrell had two more interceptions this year and earned second-team all-district honors on defense with part of his focus this year on guiding the Fairfield offense, throwing for 849 yards and four touchdowns as starting quarterback for most of the season.
Blaine Bryant, Cardinal, So.
The youngest member of the 2019 All-Courier defense earned his place by helping the Comet defense turn opportunities into points. Bryant led the Comets with three interceptions, returning two for touchdowns during the first four games of the season. Bryant also returned a fumble recovery for a 13-yard touchdown in Cardinal’s home-opening 42-8 win over Van Buren, matching Jarrett Greiner by coming up with the recovery on five opponent turnovers, pacing the Comets who forced 28 total turnovers in nine games.
Brady Duwa, S-K, Sr.
Off all the All-Courier secondary players, Duwa had the most success taking passes away from opposing quarterbacks in 2019. Duwa tied for third in the entire state with nine interceptions in nine games and was third overall in the state with 192 return yards, including a 70-yard ‘pick six’ in a 40-6 win over Wilton that opened Class 1A, District 5 play.
Mason Juhl, Pekin, Jr.
Juhl was selected the Class A, District 6 punter of the year for the Panthers. The Pekin junior averaged 35 yards per punt, including a 64-yard boot in Pekin’s final home game of the season against eventual district champion Belle Plaine.
Jared Jensen, S-K
Jensen was hoping to join Bob Howard as just the second coach in the history of the Cobras to guide the program to a state championship. Despite being left out of the playoff field, Jensen led the Cobras to eight wins in the first eight games of a season for the first time since 2010, the last time S-K advanced to the state football quarterfinals. The final 8-1 record made Jensen the only area coach to guide a team to a winning record in 2019.