The Union Knights had a bittersweet ending to their 2012 season on the field with a second-round loss in the state playoffs, but had a bevy of players perform above and beyond expectations off the field as well as on it.
19 different Knights were recently announced as 2012 All-District award winners in various categories, both academic and athletic. This marks the most academic recognition the Knights have received as a team in six years.
Nine of the Union football team members were awarded First Team honors, as well as three Second Team honorees. Two honorable mentions were joined by four Knights who earned special district honors.
Quarterback Jay Scheel was named Offensive MVP, and deservedly so. He finished the year with 20 TDs on the ground with 1,291 yards rushing. Scheel threw for 1,593 yards and 19 touchdowns.
Defensive MVP went to Josh Clark, who was the leader of a fierce Knight defense that allowed more than 30 points just twice in 2012.
Clark had 50 total tackles, including seven for a loss, to go along with one sack this season.
All-District Kicker for 2012 was awarded to Brady Petersen. Petersen was reliable all year for the Knights, converting 55 of his 60 extra point attempts. He made four of the five field goals he attempted, including a season long of 45 yards. He also helped pin the opposition back, allowing the defense to work more comfortably, recording 24 touchbacks on the year.
Head Coach Joe Hadachek was awarded Coach of the Year honors for his efforts in following up the state title year in a new class, new division and with several players heading into their final season at Union.
In addition to Scheel, Petersen and Clark, six other Knights were honored as First Team All-District performers. Trev Hadachek finished the year with 471 yards rushing and 11 TDs on the ground to go along with his 687 yards and 6 TDs through the air.
Will Crees had 58 total tackles, two interceptions and two fumble recoveries. Tanner Heckt was also an important part of the Knight defense, finishing with 57 tackles and a sack.
Dalton Crosser provided some much-needed pressure up front on the defensive line, getting after opposing quarterbacks and freeing up lanes for the linebackers.
Two other Union offensive lineman were recognized for their superb work in protecting their quarterback and opening up holes for the running backs. Chase Hansen and Justin Clark teamed up with Heckt to make up one of the more formidable lines in the district.
Second Team All-District performers include Andrew Osuna, who emerged as a viable rushing threat - especially in the second half of the season - and helped give the Knights some balance and take pressure off Scheel.
Osuna finished the year with 641 yards rushing and four touchdowns. He averaged a solid 5.5 yards per carry in 2012.
Jace Hadachek emerged as a solid performer on defense in just his second season for the Knights, finishing with 69 total tackles, including seven for a loss. Hadachek also picked off a pass and had a fumble recovery this season, and will be a big part of the Union defense with two years of playing time left.
Tedd Schmitz was honored for his solid work on the offensive line, while he also performed well on defense.
Two seniors were named as Honorable Mentions for the All-District teams, with Nic Peters and Brian Dunkelberger receiving the honor.
Peters led the team with four interceptions and was a solid presence in the secondary. He also recovered two fumbles in 2012.
Dunkelberger played admirably from the tight end position, and caught three touchdown passes in addition to providing added stability on the offensive line.
Off the field, the Knights performed well in the classroom, as evidenced by their Academic All-District honors. Bo Bader, Elijah Kautz, Austin Pauling and Nicholas Weich joined Scheel, Petersen, Hadachek and Dunkelberger as First Team Academic All-District honorees.
Peters, Heckt and Justin Clark received Second Team Academic All-District awards.