WHA football award winners and seniors recognized were (front row from left) Alex Hein, Josh Kuhlman, Connor Craven, TJ Smith, Ethan Anderson, Cole Rasmussen, Riley Welk, (standing) Jack Slagle, Gavin Johannsen, Jackson MacFarlane, Steven Hausken and Mason Schneider. Not pictured is Tom Hansen.

When you win back-to-back conference  titles, the odds are you’re going to be cleaning up on the post-season awards.

Walker-Hackensack-Akeley’s football team earned seven all-conference, five individual awards and three honorable mentions when the coaches got together recently.

The 2019 season included a perfect 5-0 record in conference play as the Wolves finished the season 7-3. Their only losses were to Ada-Borup, Breckenridge and Pelican Rapids, with Ada-Borup advancing to the State Class A playoffs.

During a post-season awards ceremony last Thursday night, the eight seniors, award winners and those who lettered were recognized for what they accomplished this season.

Selected all-conference were seniors Ethan Anderson, Connor Craven, Tom Hansen, Cole Rasmussen, Trenton Smith, Riley Welk, and junior Gavin Johannsen.

For the second straight year Welk was selected as the conference offensive MVP. Junior Mason Schneider was an easy choice for Special Teams MVP, Smith was named the Defensive Lineman of the Conference, Craven the Offensive Lineman of the Conference, and the WHA coaching staff, led by Aaron Pfeiffer was named Coach of the Year for the second straight year.

Welk improved on last year’s rushing total with 467 yards on 91 carries, and completed 63-109 passes for 664 yards. He finished with 12 passing touchdowns, ran in another three and completed three two-point conversions passes.

He also had 33 solo tackles, 12 assists, intercepted one passes, recovered a fumble, blocked an extra point and averaged just over 30 yards per punt.

Anderson led the team in receiving with  19 receptions for 237 yards and five touchdowns, had 35 return yards and completed one pass for 46 yards and a touchdown.

Defensively, he had 14 solo tackles, nine assists, one interception, and forced and recovered one fumble.

Craven, Hansen, Rasmussen and Smith anchored the offense that finished with 1,870 rushing yards and another 770 yards receiving for a total of 2,640 yards. The defense allowed 2,402 yards, but 1,130 of those yards came in WHA’s three losses.

Craven caught 11 passes for 103 yards and one two-point conversion, forced a fumble and recovered two others, finished with 13 solo tackles and assisted on another 22, and had a half sack.

Hansen had 10 solo tackles, 23 assists, two sacks and recovered one fumble.

Rasmussen finished with 10 solo tackles, nine assists and recovered one fumble.

Smith had 2.5 sacks, 21 solo tackles, so assists and recovered one fumble.

Johannsen, who played the final seven games with a shoulder injury that will sideline him for about six months,  rushed for 334 yards on 74 attempts and scored six touchdowns. He also caught seven passes for 41 yards, had 17 solo tackles, 26 assists and forced one fumble.

Last year Welk was selected all-conference, while Craven made the honorable mention team.

Schneider was 20-25 on extra points and 1-2 on field goal attempts. Most of his booming kickoffs were fielded inside the 15.

Selected honorable mention were juniors Steven Hausken, Jackson MacFarlane and Jack Slagle.

Hausken led the team in rushing with 674 yards and scored six touchdowns. He also caught 12 passes for 118 yards and two touchdowns, and had 44 return yards.

On the defensive side, Hausken tied for the team lead with two interceptions.

MacFarlane finished the year with 15 catches for 216 yards and five touchdowns, 127 return yards and rushed for 126 yards and two more touchdowns.

Slagle tied for the team lead with two interceptions, deflected several other passes, recorded 21 solo tackles, 11 assists and recovered a fumble.

WHA also had four players selected to the Section 6A All-Section Team. They were Anderson, Craven, Johannsen and Welk.

Players receiving letters were sophomores Kai Ashmore, Tanner Schneider, Adam Smith, Jacob Smith, Carson Strosahl and Kenseth Taylor; juniors Gavin Damar, Elliot Fineday, Hausken, Colton Hein, Dylan Johnson, Johannsen, MacFarlane, Clay Nelson, Caden Opheim, Trevor Radke, Schneider, Slagle, Zach Stevenson and Kyle Ulve, and seniors Anderson, Craven, Hansen, Alex Hein, Josh Kuhlman, Rasmussen, Smith and Welk.

At the end of the ceremony, the captains for 2020, as voted on by their peers, were announced, with Colton Hein, Johannsen and Opheim getting the nod.


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