Five area players named all-state by INA, four on first team
Lynx Lawson, Steen, Olson and Hawks’ Klemp all on top teams; Williams snags second-team accolade in Class 3A
WEBSTER CITY — An offensive lineman’s value is hard to quantify with statistics, harder than that of a quarterback or running back anyway.
Oftentimes, it takes the eye test to differentiate one lineman from another. And for four years, Webster City’s Cooper Lawson passed the eye test with flying colors.
Lawson’s dominance and legacy up front now includes a third all-state accolade, as he was named to the Class 3A first-team by the Iowa Newspaper Association for the second consecutive season today. He was a second-team selection following his sophomore season in 2015.
The Lynx collected four all-state honors, three of them on the first team. Junior free safety Dylan Steen and junior linebacker Caleb Olson joined Lawson on the top unit, while senior running back Zane Williams was named to the second team.
“That’s great,” WCHS head coach Bob Howard said of his four all-state players. “You never know how things are going to turn out, but they’re all legitimate and they’re all deserving of being there.”
In 1A, South Hamilton senior linebacker Logan Klemp earned his rightful spot on the first team.
Lawson, one of a select few WCHS players to ever collect three all-state nods, served as the team’s blocking back as a freshman before moving to pulling guard for the last three seasons. The Lynx were 32-5 with Lawson as the primary blocker on running plays to the outside and 37-11 during his four-year stint.
WCHS churned out 14,726 yards rushing with Lawson blocking and ranked in the top three in rushing in 3A in each of the last three seasons.
“Cooper’s a three-time all-stater and he should be,” Howard said. “As I’ve said in the past, he’s about as good an offensive lineman as I’ve ever had. Even though it looks obvious, it still takes a lot of hard work and he’s put the work in.”
Lawson is still undecided on if he will play football or wrestle in college.
Steen led the state, regardless of class, in interceptions with 10 — not bad considering Howard didn’t even want to play him on defense at the beginning of the season because of his value to the offense at spinback.
Steen had six games with at least one interception and three multiple-pick games, including a season-high three against Gilbert in Week 3. He returned two interceptions for touchdowns.
“Dylan made a lot of plays and it’s not just numbers with him,” Howard said. “He played very well all season.”
Olson, now a two-time all-state honoree after earning a second-team spot as a sophomore, ranked third in 3A in tackles with 831⁄2. His 73 solo stops were the second-most in the class. His ability to cover side to side and tackle in space made him stand out, and he also made 61⁄2 tackles for loss and three sacks.
“He has a real nose for the ball,” Howard said of Olson. “I think he was better this year than he was last year and he still has a lot of room to improve, that’s the good thing. Having (Olson and Steen) back next year is a pretty good place to start.”
Williams was honored despite missing three games because of a heart condition. He led the state in rushing prior to his absence and still finished fifth with 1,348 yards. He averaged 7.2 yards per carry and 192.6 yards per game, and reeled off 19 rushing touchdowns.
Williams is the only WCHS running back to ever put up two 300-yard games and he did it in back-to-back weeks against Gilbert (302) and Greene County (336).
“Zane missing three games and 500 yards for sure, that’s a great accomplishment and a well-deserved honor for him,” Howard said. “(His condition) was a fairly well known story around 3A and the games that he did play in, obviously he made a pretty good impression.”
Klemp also closes out his South Hamilton career as a two-time all-state pick. He was on the second-team a year ago.
In leading the Hawks back to the playoffs for the first time since 2013, Klemp piled up 821⁄2 tackles, including 53 solo tackles, 111⁄2 for loss and six sacks.
“It’s been a great season for him and his teammates,” South Hamilton head coach Corey Klemp said. “He certainly worked hard to get where he’s at and it’s certainly an honor for him as an individual, but also a compliment to the guys around him too that put him in a situation to get that.”
Logan Klemp currently has college scholarship offers from numerous schools, most recently North Dakota State. Iowa, Iowa State and UNI have all shown interest as well.
Webster City and South Hamilton both put together 8-2 seasons that ended in the first round of the state playoffs. The Lynx lost to eventual state runner-up Pella, while the Hawks fell to Denver. Van Meter, which handed South Hamilton its only regular season setback, won the 1A title.