Ron Wingenbach has coached many quality teams in his three decades at Century High.
With four Class AAA titles in the last six years, the Patriots are a true powerhouse. The latest version may be the best, however. In their final seven games, Century outscored their opponents 314-62 en route to their second straight unbeaten season.
Following their 34-0 rout of West Fargo Sheyenne at the Dakota Bowl Nov. 13, Wingenbach agreed their seven-game stretch to end the 2020 season may have been the best in his 31-year tenure.
“I’ll agree with you,” Wingenbach said of the assessment. “I think from the time we played Williston until now (Nov. 13), that was as good of football, consistently, as we have played.”
Century’s 10-0 season was rewarded in the Class AAA all-state team where the Patriots had eight players named to the team, including five first-teamers.
Class AAA Senior Athlete of the Year Andrew Leingang led the way. The Kansas State-commit was named to the first team offensive line. Century ran for 2,485 yards in 10 games, 1,821 more than their opponents.
Running back Cade Garcia accounted for 1,259 of those yards. He also scored 17 touchdowns.
Leingang also was a force on the defensive line with a team-high four sacks. Garcia’s role on the defensive side grew as the season went on to where he was a key cog at linebacker and in the secondary in their playoff run.
Lucas Schweigert, Maguire Martin and Brock Johnsen each were named to the first-team defense. Schweigert, a junior defensive lineman, was selected for the second year in a row after accumulating 91 tackles and three sacks. His 91 tackles trailed only Martin, a linebacker, with a team-leading 121 stops.
Johnsen was named to the first team as a defensive back. The versatile, 6-foot-4, 190-pounder had 71 tackles, one interception, plus a team-high three touchdown catches as a wide receiver. The most memorable of the trio saw Johnsen, a NDSU track and field recruit, hurdle a Mandan defender en route to a 27-yard touchdown in their semifinal victory over the Braves.
Jacob Bosley, Thomas Jeske and Noah Schaffner were named to the second team.
Bosley, a junior linebacker, ranked third on the Century roster with 84 tackles. He also had two interceptions, returning one for a touchdown.
Jeske recorded 52 tackles and three sacks from his defensive line spot. The 6-3, 215-pound senior also had five catches for 68 yards at tight end.
In his lone season as the Patriots’ quarterback, Schaffner improved steadily as the season went on. By the end, he was a force, particularly running the ball. The 6-5, 210-pounder, who committed to UND this week, ran for 528 yards and 12 touchdowns. He carried the ball 101 times and did not fumble. Passing-wise, Schaffner threw for 719 yards with a 9-3 TD-to-INT ratio.
Bismarck High, which nearly advanced to the championship game despite not having standout tailback Isaiah Huus for the playoffs due to a knee injury, had five players named to the first team and one more on the second.
Before being sidelined, Huus ran for 1,281 yards and 21 touchdowns. The 6-0, 220-pound junior averaged 11.3 yards per carry in his all-state campaign.
Opening many of the holes Huus galloped through were senior offensive linemen Caleb Dockter and Connor Hedges. Both were named to the first-team offense. Dockter was picked for the second year in a row at his right guard spot. Hedges was the Demons’ left tackle.
Jack Steckler was a force at wide receiver and defensive end. The 6-5, 210-pounder led the Demons in receiving yards (222) and touchdown catches (3) in earning first-team offense recognition.
Brandt Kringlie, a two-way starter for the Demons, was named to the first team defense at linebacker. Kringlie also was a force running the ball with 448 yards and three touchdowns.
Senior Gunner Swanson was named to the second team. The versatile Swanson, a University of Mary basketball recruit, played receiver, quarterback and defensive back.
Mandan and Legacy both were well-represented.
The Braves had two players named to the first team and three more on the second.
Tyler Thilmony ranked second in the West Region in receiving yards (612) and touchdown catches (6), earning first-team honors as a wide receiver.
Jaxon Duttenhefer, headed to NDSU to continue his career, was named to the first team defense for the third year in a row. Duttenhefer, a 4-year starter, had 15 tackles-for-loss and two sacks.
Junior Aaron Grubb and seniors James Barnhardt and Treys Tietz were named to the second team.
Grubb had 3.5 sacks from his linebacker spot and four touchdowns catches as a tight end.
Barnhardt had 32 tackles from his linebacker position to go with 277 yards rushing and five TDs as a combo fullback/tailback.
Tietz, a two-way starter, totaled 490 yards receiving with three touchdown receptions to give quarterback Jayce Lowman a dynamic 1-2 punch at receiver with Thilmony for the Braves. Tietz also had two interceptions from his defensive back spot.
Legacy missed the playoffs, but finished with a winning record (4-3) and had plenty of firepower on offense ranking second in the West Region with 355 yards per game, trailing only BHS (423).
UND wide receiver recruit Nick Kupfer topped the conference in receiving yards (665) and touchdown catches (8). Kupfer, who caught everything close and some that weren’t, also had three interceptions defensively.
Legacy’s high powered offense was triggered by senior quarterback Clay Feland. The 6-2, 195-pounder had to win a quarterback competition in training camp and took off like a rocket from there. Feland threw for 1,271 yards and 15 touchdowns, but also was a major running threat. He logged 478 yards on the ground and four touchdowns.
Legacy seniors Keagen Woodbury and Carter Smith each were named to the second team. Woodbury had two interceptions as a defensive back for the Sabers. Smith, a 6-3, 290-pound lineman, started both ways for the Sabers. Woodbury and Smith will remain teammates in college, playing football at the University of Mary.
Reach Tribune sports editor Dave Selvig at (701) 250-8246 or firstname.lastname@example.org