The Class AA coaches rewarded the Bishop Ryan football team's success on the gridiron by naming five players to the all-state team.
Ryan went 7-2 during the regular season and won the West Region championship before suffering a first-round playoff defeat. Much of that success was due to the play of Mason Kramer.
Kramer, a junior offensive lineman, was recognized as the Lions' lone first-teamer partly for his ability to block from one end of the field to the other.
MDN File Photo
Bishop Ryan senior running back Chase Fugere eludes a tackle during the Lions’ first-round playoff loss to Valley City on Oct. 27.
"The fact that he was just all over the field made him great," Ryan coach Brad Borkhuis said. "When you look at what makes an all-state player, a big man running sideline to sideline is it. He earned a lot of the credentials the coaches gave him. He was one of the best linemen in the state by far."
Borkhuis said the key to Kramer's versatility was his ability to drop a few pounds in the offseason. By doing so, Kramer allowed himself to make his presence felt on both sides of the ball on nearly every play.
"The big thing that he did is show commitment to the little things," Borkhuis said. "In the summer he was weighing 297 pounds. I told him I wanted him to get down to 275 and that made him a more athletic lineman."
Said Kramer: "It made me able to play both ways hard the whole game. My body's forced me to take plays off in the past. (This year) I've been able to be a leader out there and not be so gassed."
Kramer was one of three Lions to get offensive all-state accolades. Junior quarterback Austin Eggl, who missed the season opener and played sparingly in week two after having an offseason surgery, was a vital part of Ryan's success. Eggl, a second-team selection, was responsible for four touchdowns in the Lion's region championship-clinching win against Rugby on Oct. 11.
Chase Fugere's performance also earned him a second-team nod, his second all-state berth. The senior tailback rushed for 117 yards in Ryan's playoff loss to Valley City on Oct. 27. He said his team's ability to move the ball came from having so many different weapons.
"We moved the ball a lot better than last year," Fugere said. "We were able to run it a lot and throw it a lot. If our passing game wasn't working we could run it. If we couldn't run it we could pass it."
Junior cornerback Brody Bosch and senior linebacker Isaac Tafelmeyer were second-team defensive selections.
Cody Nelson, Mitch Mattheis, Karson Hintz and Trevor Zacher of Beulah all received first-team or first-team at-large recognition.
For a complete list of all-state selections, see page C2.