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Nemaha Central and Kingman Set to Battle for 2A State Title
By Brandon Tadtman
Copyright: MSC Sports

State Champions will be crowned in football on Saturday and the 2A Title has come down to Nemaha Central and Kingman. 

Both teams enter the game undefeated at 12-0 with Nemaha Central beating Sabetha last week in the Semi-Finals while Kingman got past Southeast of Saline in double-overtime. 

Both teams won their district and league titles this season. 

Nemaha Central is led by second year head coach Michael Glatczak, who's won 19 of his 22 games as they went 7-3 last season and made the second round of the playoffs. 

Kingman is led by head coach Tanner Hageman who took over the program in 2019. The Eagles went 9-9 over his first two seasons but finished 10-2 last year with a loss in the Semi-Finals to Beloit. 

Nemaha Central has had a dominant season as they have outscored their opponents 595-134. The Thunder average over 380 yards per game and they are led by the rushing attack which averages 275 yards per game. 

Senior running back Cooper Hajek has been one of the best backs in the state this season. Cooper has rushed for 1,882 yards with 38 touchdowns while averaging over seven yards per carry. 

Senior quarterback Brayden Uphaus has completed 60% of his passes this season for 1,181 yards with 10 touchdowns and five interceptions. Brayden has also rushed for 359 yards and eight more scores. 

Senior wide receiver Gavin Cain leads the team in receiving yards with 549 yards on 25 receptions with five touchdowns. Senior Wade Leonard has been a versatile piece as he's posted over 450 total yards and five touchdowns. 

Senior tight end Blake Stallbaumer averages over 15 yards per reception and has hauled in three touchdowns. 

The Thunder defense has playmakers at every level including up front led by defensive end Holden Bass. The junior has five sacks and eight tackles for loss this season. The Thunder defense is giving up 11.2 points per game. 

The Eagles average over 340 yards per game on offense and score 40 points per game. They're led by senior quarterback Nolan Freund who's thrown for nearly 2,000 yards this season with 25 touchdowns and just two interceptions. 

He's also the team's leading rusher with 144 carries for 869 yards and 14 touchdowns.

Senior Avery Albright is Kingman's leading receiver with 630 yards and eight touchdowns. Junior Carter Helm has totaled over 700 total yards and 12 touchdowns while junior tight end Tristen Davidson has 610 yards and a team leading nine touchdowns. 

The strength of this Kingman squad is their defense as they've been one of the best in all classifications. The Eagles have allowed just 6.8 points per game while giving up seven points or fewer in 10 of their 12 games. 

The defense has piled up stats including 94 tackles per loss, 30 sacks and 24 interceptions. 

Nemaha Central is looking for their second state title. They won it all in 2019 with an 11-2 record and a win over Norton in the title game. Before B&B and Nemaha Valley consolidated to Central, B&B won multiple 8-Man titles in 2013, 2012, 2010 and 2008. 

Richard Nixon was president the last time Kingman was in the state championship game. It's been 50 years for the Eagles as they were last in a title game in 1972. 

The game on Saturday will be played in Salina at Salina District Stadium with pregame coverage on the air at 12:30 PM on KMZA 92.1 FM 

©2024 MSC Sports
Hiawatha, KS 66434
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