The Missouri Football Coaches Association released their All-State teams on Friday, Dec. 1. Rolla and St. James both had players earn honors this year with four Bulldogs making the cut and one Tiger earning the a spot.
Rolla had three second team All-State players and one on the third team. Offensively, both senior quarterback Josh Pritchett and his top wide receiver Blaize Klossner earned second team honors. Defensively, junior corner back Ahmed Boubacar was named to the second team, while senior defensive lineman Isaiah Thompson was named to the third team.
Pritchett and Klossner were a dynamic duo all season long. The junior wideout caught 103 passes from Pritchett for 1,196 yards and 10 touchdowns, while also rushing for 424 yards and five scores. Klossner tended to be the go-to guy for the senior quarterback when Rolla needed a big play and his success in those big plays help lead to an All-State spot.
"Blaize was very solid this year. He was a clutch guy, made those real tough catches over the middle and Josh had a lot of confidence in him," said head coach Jon Franks. "Just to have confidence in a kid like that is important and he earned that by making those tough catches and just being a real gritty player."
Klossner also got some help from Pritchett's great play at quarterback. The senior signal caller passes for 3,174 yards, 24 touchdowns and 15 picks, while rushing for 1,735 yards and 26 scores. Pritchett was an electric player that just found ways to make plays either with his arm or with his legs.
"It's just exciting knowing how many people really respected his play this year. Two of our voters in the State were the Borgia coach, coach Gildehaus, and coach Duncan from Parkway West. They were extremely complimentary of Josh having seen him play," said coach Franks. "Josh has done a nice job this year. He'll be missed, but I'm very excited for his opportunities."
On the other side of the ball, Boubacar earned an All-State spot thanks to his work as Rolla's number one corner. He had two interceptions and picked up two fumbles, returning two of those for touchdowns. He also ended the year with 87 tackles, one sack and a tackle for the loss.
"With Boubacar, the interceptions didn't show (how good he was) because we put them on their best guy all the time and he did a really nice job," said coach Franks. "Didn't have a lot of interceptions, but he had a lot of pass breakups, a lot of tackles, a lot of big plays."
Then you've got Thompson up front for the Bulldogs earning third team honors. Typically, the linemen just soak up blockers and the linebackers get the tackles, but Thompson still managed to have 96 tackles on the season, six tackles, five tackles for a loss and blocked two field goals. He was the rock in the middle of the field that never had his motor slow down.
"You can't say enough about a good D-lineman. Isaiah had a great motor, really played hard," said coach Franks. "Most of the time, the linebackers get the attention, because if those D-linemen are doing a good job up front, the linebackers look good. Our D-line did a nice job this year."
This group earning these All-State honors just continues to show the growth of Rolla football. Coach Franks has helped turn around the football program, which was evident in their State Quarterfinal appearance last month.
"I think that just shows part of the process," said coach Franks. "We don't focus on it, but the further you go, the more winning you do, obviously the more attention your guys get..it's just part of the process as we get better, as we continue to play more people, people are going to respect the way our kids play."
As for St. James, Cade Snitker earned the nod as a third team wide receiver in Class 3. Snitker had a stellar year, leading the team in catches with 48. He also went for 764 yards and six touchdowns. Like Klossner, Snitker was the go-to guy for his quarterback, Ryan Harlan, when St. James needed a big play.
"Cade put in a lot of offseason work this past summer," said St. James head coach Greg Harlan. "He hit the weights real hard, he went up to the field a lot on his own and he'd run routes and catch balls and he willed himself to be a better player and it showed on the field."
Like Klossner, Snitker was the go-to guy for his quarterback, Ryan Harlan, when St. James needed a big play. Snitker made a lot of big catches for St. James and got some tough yards because he wasn't going to back down from a challenge.
"What Cade does that a lot of wide receivers don't is he's got some courage. He'll make catches in traffic, he'll lay out for a football and that was one thing we saw a lot this year," said coach Harlan. "We'd throw the football into gaps in the defense and it gets crowded in there sometimes, but he'd still go in there and concentrate to make a good catch."
Snitker was happy to be able to cap off his high school career with an All-State nod.
"It feels really great. I was really surprised," said the senior wide out. "It was one of my goals, but I didn't think I was going to be able to reach it. It really surprised and excited me.