Redhawk football wraps season with a dozen All District selections
Narrowly drops final game to non-district North Mahaska
TRAER – Under first year head coach Andrew Knaack, Redhawk football received a dozen All District team selections this season, proving that sometimes a losing record fails to tell the whole story.
“My first season was definitely a learning experience,” Coach Knaack told the Telegraph recently. “Of course we want to get more wins. It took a couple of weeks for the boys to buy in. We showed what we could do. We just need to be able to do it the whole game from start to finish.”
While the team ended the 2023-24 season with a 2-7 record – notching a pair of home turf, District 3 wins against AGWSR and BCLUW – that record hardly touched on the many stellar plays the team pulled off this fall.
Four junior players in particular helped lead North Tama on the gridiron and were recognized as first team picks including Josh Dostal (wide receiver/tight end), quarterback Kolt Knaack (offense utility), Gavin Rausch (linebacker), and Tyrus Luker (defense utility).
Second team picks this season included seniors Ryan Hosek (offensive line), Tyler Popelka (offensive line), Jared Dvorak (wide receiver/tight end), and Kaidon Cannon (defensive line). Kolt Knaack and Josh Dostal were also picked for second team as kicker and punter, respectively.
Rounding out the Redhawks’ All District dozen were two honorable mention selections – junior Chaz Hall (offensive line) and sophomore Clayton Williams (defensive back).
Amid the backdrop of Senior Night and after rescheduling due to crummy weather the week before, North Tama narrowly dropped the final game of the season back on Oct. 20 to non-district opponent North Mahaska 21-18.
“The game [against North Mahaska] didn’t end how we wanted,” Coach Knaack said. “You hate to lose the last home game for the seniors. [But] we still showed the ability to score points.”
Against the Warhawks on Dennis Field, quarterback Kolt Knaack went 13-for-25 for 150 yards and two touchdowns; he also carried the ball 17 times for 47 yards. Dostal also stepped in briefly at quarterback, going 2-for-2 and 35 yards.
Rausch helped Knaack lead the Redhawks’ rushing game with 16 carries, 42 yards, and a 32-yard touchdown.
Five North Tama receivers fielded the ball against the Warhawks including Dostal six times for 75 yards; Dvorak four times for 44 yards and a touchdown; Rausch twice for 30 yards and a touchdown; Luker twice for 14 yards; and freshman Brayton Cibula once for 22 yards.
The Redhawk defense notched 45 tackles against the Warhawks, led by sophomore Kayler Morris with 7.5 tackles (five solo), Rausch with 7.5 tackles (five solo), and Ryan Hosek with 6.5 tackles (five solo). Both Dostal and Rausch recovered one Warhawk fumble apiece.
North Tama football will graduate six seniors this year including captain Ryan Hosek, captain Tyler Popelka, Jared Dvorak, Kaidon Cannon, Henry Hansen, and Drake Podhajsky.
But even with several All District underclassmen coming back for the 2023-24 season, Coach Knaack said his team has plenty of work to do in the off season.
“We need to get everyone to buy in … We have a big group of our skill players coming back as seniors [next season],” Coach Knaack said before later adding, “We will continue to get better and look forward to next season.”
As his first year at the helm of Redhawk football comes to an end, Coach Knaack said he is grateful for the staff he had working alongside him.
“I was fortunate to have the staff I had to help take some of the tasks off my plate and take ownership. I think we all worked well together.”
Week 1 of the 2024-25 Iowa high school football season begins next year on Friday, August 30. The Redhawks will kick things off at home on Dennis Field that evening with the Battle of 63 against non-district rival Hudson.