UTICA, Neb. – Seven members of the Centennial Broncos football team earned C2-4 all-district honors while four were named honorable mention.
Centennial finished this past season with an overall record of 6-4 and played in the first round of the Class C-2 playoffs, where it lost to Doniphan-Trumbull, 22-14, back on Nov. 1 in Doniphan. The Broncos, who had to replace a large and record-breaking group of seniors from an undefeated state championship team in 2018, really came into its own by earning a playoff berth.
“I told them I was proud of them. I think this group really exceeded expectations,” Klanecky said of his team after the Doniphan loss. “I told our school at a pep rally that this team had a lot of pressure on its shoulders, following up a 13-0 state title team. So I just couldn’t be more proud of them and their effort.”
Seniors Caleb Horne, Joel Bargen, Davon Brees, Justin Slawnyk, junior Cooper Gierhan and sophomores Jayden Hartshorn and Carson Fehlhafer were all named to the all-district squad.
The four Broncos that were tabbed honorable mention included juniors Will Saunders, Ryan Payne and sophomores Sam Payne and Mike Nisly.
Brees had a big year for Centennial in his first and only season as a Bronco. The transfer from Seward did a little bit of everything, racking up 1,877 all-purpose yards with 20 touchdowns. He rushed for a team-high 1,347 yards and 17 touchdowns while also catching nine passes for 186 yards and one score.
Brees proved to be a dangerous returner on special teams as well, bringing a punt and kickoff back for a touchdown during the year. Defensively, Brees was the leading tackler with 126 – including 72 solo stops with 54 assists – and had the most sacks with three.
Horne was the top receiver for the Broncos with 35 catches for 741 yards and six touchdowns. He had over 100 receiving yards in three games this season and caught four or more passes in six.
Slawnyk, a 6-foot-4, 270-pounder, was a key member of the Centennial offensive line that paved the way for an average of 193 rushing yards per contest. He was an important piece on the defensive front, too, as he recorded 39 tackles, which was fourth most.
Gierhan, the 6-1, 195-pound dual-threat quarterback and defensive back, had 1,795 total yards this season. He completed 61 percent of his passes (89 of 146) for 1,428 yards and nine touchdowns while also rushing for 367 yards and nine scores. Defensively, Gierhan chipped in with 38 tackles and two interceptions, including a pick-six.
Harsthorn and Fehlhafer were two more starters on the very young Centennial offensive line, but they were also important on defense, too. Hartshorn was second on the team in tackles with 80 while Fehlhafer was third with 40.