Despite Wahpeton football finishing the season with a 1-7 record, that does not tell the story of how bright a future the team has for years to come. Quarterback Blake Schafer and wide receiver Caden Kappes received all-state first-team selections from the 2020 season.
Schafer and Kappes were also named to first team all-conference selections in the Eastern Dakota Conference. Schafer on the season threw for 1,980 yards and threw for 19 touchdowns.
Schafer was looking to prove something to not only himself, but to the coaching staff that he is their guy.
"He took command from day one, he took command of our offensive huddle and he never really looked back," coach Wade Gilbertson said.
One thing the coaches wanted to work with Schafer this past offseason was his football I.Q. Recognizing coverages and seeing certain defenses pre-snap was something that they worked with Schafer throughout film sessions during the season. Gilbertson said that he wanted Schafer to "take a picture" pre-snap of the defense and recognize what kind of play to run. Gilbertson also wanted to give Schafer more freedom of the offense on whether to run or pass the ball on offense. Gilbertson had to adjust the offense between 2019 and 2020 to make the offense more quarterback friendly.
Kappes totaled 41 catches and 696 yards from scrimmage in just seven games. He totaled 294 yards after contact and caught five touchdowns on the season. As a sophomore, he had an incredible year and could be a threat to opposing defenses for years to come.
"Caden Kappes just has an overall athletic ability, and when you start teaching him things here and there, he takes his game to the next level," Gilbertson said. He also went on to talk about how well Kappes listened during practices and games, saying that he only needs to tell him one time to do something.
Throughout the season, teams would have to bracket their coverage on Kappes' side of the field, and he would still find a way to get yardage on teams throughout the season.
"It was two very well deserved awards and I couldn't be more proud of all of my guys, but these two are going to get a lot of the recognition," Gilbertson said.
Other players named as honorable mentions for all-conference awards were defensive back Dez Munezero, defensive lineman Logan Gjerdevig and tight end Colin Samuels.
Munezero also was named to an all-state second team selection and was a key player on defense as he totaled two interceptions on the year, including a pick-6 in the team's last game of the season. Munezero was also a key receiver on the offensive side of the ball being crucial on third downs and short yardage situations. Out of Munezero's 40 catches on the season, 20 of them went for first downs.
Logan Gjerdevig played both on the defensive line and started at center for the Huskies in every game except one. Gilbertson said that he was the most consistent player for the Huskies on the defensive side of the ball.
Colin Samuels led the team with eight touchdown catches, and was a crucial target for Schafer to go to in certain situations on offense. Samuels was asked to do a lot on offense. Gilbertson tested his versatility on offense and asked Samuels to play slot receiver, lead block, block out defensive ends and linebackers.
With the team losing Munezero and Gjerdevig to graduation, Gilbertson believes in the "next man up" mentality with his team for the 2021 season. They are returning two all-state first team players along with Samuels, who was named as an all-conference honorable mention. This team will be set to make strides for next season as they are bound for a potential playoff run next season. The team had three of their seven losses by two points or less. They had a lot of games not go their way this season and their returners for the upcoming season should be in a good position to rack up wins.