HURON — The Heartland Region saw seven gridders named to the 2023 Class 9B All-State team, released Tuesday.
The De Smet Bulldogs, who finished the 2023 season with an 8-3 record in the Class 9B semifinals, had five players recognized.
Senior Tom Aughenbaugh was recognized as a wide receiver. The team captain and three-year starter had 26 catches for 602 yards and 12 touchdowns on the season.
“Tom was a playmaker on both sides of the ball for us,” De Smet coach Brendon Pitts observed. “He was our leading receiver in yards and receiving touchdowns. Defensively, he led our team in interceptions from the safety position.”
Quarterback and linebacker Britt Carlson was recognized after being part of 34 touchdowns on the season.
He threw for 1,457 yards and 23 touchdowns while rushing for 482 yards and 11 scores. On the defensive side of the ball, he had 71 tackles and 10 sacks.
“Britt did a great job of running our offense this season. He was a dual-threat quarterback that made a lot of plays,” Pitts raved, noting Carlson was the team’s leading rusher.
Team captain Kadyn Fast totaled 16 touchdowns this year from a variety of ways. The 6’, 165-pound senior rushed for 329 yards and five scores, caught 19 balls for 552 yards and eight touchdowns, and he totaled 450 return yards with three return touchdowns. He made 61 tackles on defense.
“Any time Kadyn got the ball, he had the potential to make a big play for us,” Pitts stated. “He got a lot of attention from the opposing team’s defense and still found ways to make plays for us, and he was often tasked with defending the opposing team’s best player on defense.”
The final Bulldog senior recognized was Trace Van Regenmorter. He played multiple positions for the Bulldogs, lining up as tight end, fullback, quarterback, and was also a defensive lineman.
“His ability to block the edge from the tight end position allowed us to successfully run outside and get our guys into open space,” Pitts explained. “His quickness from the defensive line spot caused opposing teams problems.”
Sophomore lineman Grant Wilkinson was recognized as an honorable mention. The 6’8”, 295-pound Wilkinson recorded seven sacks on defense and also started on the offensive line.
“Grant made a huge impact on our team this season,” Coach Pitts stated. “Defensively, he often times would get double or even triple-teamed to try to keep him from making plays. When we needed a first down, we often ran behind him with success.”
Two Hitchcock-Tulare Patriots were also named to the team. Senior Jackson Maynard was recognized. He totaled 48 tackles and 1.5 sacks from his defensive tackle position. A three-year starter, Maynard had 104.5 tackles and 10 sacks in his Hitchcock-Tulare career.
Patriot coach Tom Salmen spoke highly of Maynard’s leadership and attitude.
“Jackson has a great head on his shoulders for leading his team and figuring out defenses and finding the ball on defense,” Salmen said. “ He makes coming to practice fun for the entire team. He is able to lead his team and other linemen to get the job done.”
Linebacker Erik Salmen was selected as an All-State member for the third time this year after being honored in 2021 and 2022.
Salmen totaled 73.5 tackles, three sacks, and four interceptions this season for the Patriots from his linebacker position. Over his career, Salmen totaled 196.5 tackles, six sacks, and nine interceptions. He also scored a pair of defensive touchdowns in his career.
“Erik is physically and mentally strong,” Coach Salmen noted. “He has grown into an incredible player to watch. He can carry defenses down the field as a running back yet has outrun many players. He has great instincts to find the ball on defense.”