Veteran players dominate the 2021 Superior Telegram All-Area Football Team.
The roster includes eight seniors and three juniors.
Northwestern High School representatives include seniors Ben Benes, Greg Ohman, Austin Schlies and C.J. Thompson and juniors Tanner Kaufman, Jase Nelson and Luke Sedin.
Seniors Jordan Goldfine, Kell Piggott and Ross Rivord got the nod from Superior High School, and senior Syver Gulbrandsen represents the Northwood/Solon Springs co-op team.
Sr. • OL/DL • Northwestern
- 34 solo tackles (TCK), 17 assisted tackles (ATCK), 51 total tackles (TTCK), 11 tackles for loss (TFL), one sack, three forced fumbles, one interception, one interception returned for a TD.
Wisconsin Football Coaches Association first-team all state offensive lineman; WFCA honorable mention all state defensive lineman; WFCA all Northwest Region offensive and defensive lineman; first-team all Heart O' North Conference offensive and defensive lineman.
- Coach Jovin Kroll called Benes "the heart of our football team. He was a three-year starter and all-conference player, ran the calls on the offensive line and was one of the best offensive lineman we have had here at Northwestern in a very long time."
Sr. • RB/DB • Superior
- Goldfine had 82 carries for 396 yards for the Spartans. He averaged 4.8 yards per carry and scored one touchdown.
- He played multiple positions for the Spartans on offense, defense and special teams, said coach Bob DeMeyer. "A kid who bleeds Spartan blue, Jordan does everything with all out effort in practice and games," DeMeyer said. "He is an incredibly tough dude with the speed and explosiveness to go along with that toughness."
Sr. • QB/S• Northwood/Solon Springs
- Gulbrandsen led the team in passing (1,452 yards, 15 TD, 8 INT), rushing (93 carries for 369 yards, 4 ypc, 2 TD) and tackles (102 total, 9TFL, 1 INT).
- Player of the Year for the Lakeland East 8-Man Conference; first-team all conference; WFCA all-region selection at defensive back.
- Coach Matt Hager described Gulbrandsen as a strong football player, leader and student. "Syver is an extremely hard worker in athletics, as well as the classroom," he said.
Sr. • FB/ILB• Northwestern
- Ohman had 108 carries for 694 yards. He averaged 6.4 yards per attempt and 77.1 rushing yards per game. He scored 11 rushing touchdowns and one two-point conversion. He had one fumble. Receiving, Ohman had three receptions for 20 yards, averaging 6.7 yards per reception. On defense, Ohman had 44 TCK, 16 ATC, 60 TTCK, 9 TFL, 2 sacks, one fumble recovery and one INT.
- WFCA honorable mention fullback/tight end; WFCA all Northwest Region fullback; first-team all HON fullback; first-team all HON middle linebacker.
- Kroll referred to Ohman as a complete football player. "Greg Ohman is perhaps the best fullback I have ever coached; the combination of speed, power and low center of gravity made him nearly impossible to stop in short yardage situations, his lead blocking helped pave the way for our offense, and his work ethic allowed him to hold all players accountable to the level of play expected of them this season," he said.
Sr. • WR/DE • Superior
- Piggott had 8 receptions for 151 yards. He averaged 18.9 yards per reception and scored one touchdown. Defensively, he had 3 TCK, 14 ATCK , 17 TTCK and 1 TFL.
- Piggott put in the work to become a started on both offense and defense, DeMeyer said. "He provided some very explosive plays to give us a spark on offense and some big plays from his defensive end position to do the same," he said.
Sr. • RB/DE • Superior
- Rivord had 9 TCK, 25 ATCK, 34 TTCK, 6 TFL and one sack.
- First-team all Big Rivers Conference for defense.
- Rivord, a UMD commit, missed games this season due to an injury, but did not let that keep him from helping younger players, DeMeyer said. "While healthy, he was a dominant force and his athletic skill set allowed us to move him around and play him at several positions on both sides of the ball," he said. "Those skills along with his high football I.Q. were prominent qualities he possessed as a Spartan and they will help him thrive as a college player."
Sr. • RB/OL• Northwestern
- Schlies rushed for 1,445 yards on 160 carries, averaging 9 yards per carry. He scored 17 rushing touchdowns, and averaged 131.4 yards per game. He had one fumble. Receiving, Schlies had 10 catches for 136 yards. He averaged 13.6 yards per reception and 19 yards per game. He caught two touchdown passes. On defense, Schlies, had 27 TCK, 11 ATCK, 38 TTCK, 8 sacks, three fumble recoveries, one forced fumble and one safety.
- WFCA first-team all state outside linebacker; WFCA all Northwest Region outside linebacker; Heart O' North Conference Defensive Player of the Year; first-team all HON outside linebacker; first-team all HON running back.
- "Austin became a nightmare to tackle as the game moved on; he got better and better as the season progressed, and was one of those special players on both sides of the ball, " Kroll said. "His ability to take on lead blocks but change direction and pursue flat down the line of scrimmage made him elite on the defensive side of the football."
Sr. • WR/DB• Northwestern
- Thompson broke the school record for touchdown receptions in a single season with nine. He had 21 receptions for 303 yards, average 14.4 yards per reception and 30 yards per game. He also scored one two-point conversion. Defensively, he had 22 TCK, 2 ATCK, 24 TTCK, 2 TFL, 3 INT and one interception returned for a touchdown.
- WFCA all Northwest Region defensive back; first-team all HON defensive back; first-team all HON wide receiver.
- "C.J. gave our offense top-end speed and size at the wide receiver position, which allowed us to blow the top off of a defense when needed," Kroll said. "His big-play ability was second to none, and he also was able to shut down an entire side of the field in the secondary."
Jr. • OL/OU • Northwestern
- Kaufman had 27 TCK, 13 ATCK, 40 TTCK, 7 TFL, 3 sacks, one fumble recovery, two interceptions, one interception returned for a touchdown. Offensively, Kaufman led the Tigers with 15 receptions for 446 yards. He averaged 29.7 yards per reception and 49 yards per game. He had five touchdown receptions and three rushing touchdowns. He had 35 carries for 337 yards and averaged 9.6 yards per carry and 30.6 yards per game.
- WFCA all Northwest Region outside linebacker; first-team all HON outside linebacker; second-team all HON offensive utility player.
- Kaufman was a playmaker, coming up in clutch situations for the Tigers, Kroll said. He was involved in many big plays over the course of the season, "with moments like a game-changing defensive touchdown in the victory over Rice Lake, and the game clinching interception in Level Two against West Salem," Kroll said. "He led the team in receiving yardage, and he averaged almost 30 yards a reception.
Jr. • WR/S • Northwestern
- Nelson was second on the team in receiving yards with 325 yards on 14 receptions. He averaged 23.2 yards per reception and 40 yards per game. He scored four touchdowns. On defense, he had 11 TCK, 7 ATCK, 18 TTCK, 2 INT and one interception returned for a touchdown.
- First-team all HON defensive back; first-team all HON wide receiver.
- Kroll said Nelson's skill on defense made opposing quarterbacks avoid him throughout the season. "Jase is the high level athlete that defensive coaches dream about in their secondary; he communicates well, is a great teammate, and has all the tools to play the game at the next level," he said.
Jr. • QB• Northwestern
- Sedin broke the school record for single season touchdown passes with 21. He was 69 for 98 passing for a total of 1,360 yards. He averaged 123.6 yards per game. He had two interceptions. Rushing, he had 64 yards on 32 carries, averaging 2 yards per carry. He scored two rushing touchdowns and had two fumbles.
- First-team all HON quarterback.
- "Luke has an exceptional gift for throwing the long ball; he had full audible control at the line of scrimmage, which allowed our offense to move in and out of plays based on his vision and understanding of the game," Kroll said.. "He gave our offense a real passing threat, which changed how defenses were able to defend us."