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Local athlete receives postseason Central College football honor

March 21, 2019
Reinbeck Courier
PELLA, IOWA—Erik Knaack (so., Reinbeck, Iowa, Gladbrook-Reinbeck HS was honored for his contributions to the Central College football team this fall at the squad’s recent awards banquet. The Dutch finished 8-2 overall, 6-2 in the American Rivers Conference, and second in the conference standings. The Borgman Award (senior with highest gradepoint average) and the Mentink Award (leadership and inspiration on and off the field) was awarded to senior Patrick Gray (West Des Moines, Waukee HS). Drew Kithcart (sr., Atkins, Benton HS) was given the Claussen Award (most improved player) and Blaine Hawkins (so., Ankeny) was awarded Heerema-Schilder Blanket (most valuable player). The Ted Dagh Award (outstanding member of defensive scout team) was awarded to freshman JR Zeitter (Bloomfield, Davis County HS) and Hayden Vroom (fr., Pella, Iowa, Pella Christian) earned the Kirk Wagner Award (outstanding member of offensive scout team). Josiah Soderstrum (sr., Story City, Iowa, Roland-Story HS) earned the P.H. Kuyper Award (outstanding contributions by a senior non-starter). The Lankelma-Menning Award (oustanding underclass player) was given to Erik Knaack (so., Reinbeck, Iowa, Gladbrook-Reinbeck HS). Freshman Jason Hopp (Earlham) earned the Brian O’Donnell Award (outstanding freshman). Mel VerMeer Loyalty Award (demonstrated loyalty to the program) was earned by Thomas Fox (sr., Stockton, Ill., Stockton HS). The Bruce Wendt Award (oustanding offensive lineman) was given to sophomore Josh Mayhew (Aurora, Ill., West Aurora HS), while Jon Alberts (jr., Huntley, Ill., Huntley HS) earned the Special Teams MVP. Co-captains this year for the Central Dutch were Collin Erickson (sr., Gilbert, Ariz., Dobson HS), Gray, Kithcart and Tylor Newhouse (sr., Marion, Iowa, Linn-Mar HS). Central has captured a record 30 Iowa Conference championships with 20 NCAA Division III playoff berths, including 17 in the past 31 years. The Dutch have not had a losing season since 1960. Central is the fourth-winningest NCAA football team since 1975 (.793). Coach Jeff McMartin has a 116-40 (.743) record through 15 seasons for Central.

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