Falls City Sacred Heart senior Austin Malone was named one of two captains of the Class D2 All-State Football Team by the Lincoln Journal-Star in its Sunday, Dec. 14 issue. Malone, a quarterback and defensive back, was named an “athlete” on the D2 Defense.
Defensively, the 6-0, 175-pounder led the 9-3 state semifinalists with eight interceptions and also made 71 total tackles.
But it was his offensive numbers that jump off the page. He engineered an Irish attack that averaged nearly 53 points per game. FCSH, which lost twice to defending D1 Champ and eventual 2014 D2 Champion Exeter-Milligan, traveled about 4,500 yards last fall and half of it came courtesy of its QB. Malone led the team on the ground, with 1,337 yards and 25 touchdowns, and through the air, where he passed for 1,112 yards and 19 more scores. He was picked off just five times – three in the semifinal at Milligan, where the windchill hit red digits long before the sun set.
Malone was joined on the Lincoln J-S’s D2 Defense by senior linebacker Zavan Kirkendall, who recorded 146 tackles, by far the most by any Irish player.
Senior running back Sawyer Kean made the paper’s D2 Offense after rushing for 1,275 yards and 18 scores. Kean scored five more times on pass receptions and returned four kickoffs for touchdowns – none bigger than a 78-yarder at Milligan that gave his team an early lead.
The LJS gave honorable mention to a trio of Irish players: Logan Scheitel, Reggie Johansen and Bailey Witt.
The Lincoln paper also gave FC High School standouts Jordy Stoller, Tucker Merz, Jack Hartman, Payton Heckenlively and Brenden Heckenlively honorable mention, after the Tigers posted an 8-2 record, captured its District Championship and qualified for the state playoffs for a third straight year. Tiger softball players Syd Armbruster and Rylee Scholl earned honorable mention from the LJS, as did FCHS volleyball players Alyssa Frederick, Baylee Vrtiska and Maygan Ramsey. Those three, plus Jerrica Beckner and Lindsey Duerfeldt, were honorable mention in the OmahaWH, as well. The 2014 Tiger volleyball team turned in arguably the best season in school history, going 22-9 and just missing a first-ever trip to the state volleyball tournament with a five-set District Final loss to Ashland-Greenwood.
The Journal-Star also named FCSH 6-foot junior hitter Maggie Goltz to the Class D2 All-State First Team. She was a .420 hitter who finished with a team-best 301 kills for the 21-9 Lady Irish, who didn’t qualify for the state tournament but finished ranked No. 10 in Class D2. Senior twins Abby and Elizabeth Magdanz, and freshman Lauren Parrish, earned honorable mention by the LJS, and all four Irish players were honorable mention by the World-Herald.
Sacred Heart’s four All-State football honorees equalled that of Exeter-Milligan in the Lincoln paper, but the same was not the case in the Omaha World-Herald, which honored Malone, alone. Again, he was named to the D2 Defense. Kean, Kirkendall, Scheitel, Johansen and Witt received honorable mention.
Likewise, the OWH gave honorable mention to Tigers Stoller, Merz, Hartman, Adams and Heckenlively.