A week after knocking off defending champion Buffalo for 2A football bragging rights, the accolades continue to roll in for the Mountain View High School football team.
Three seniors on the Mountain View squad — quarterback Braeden Walk, running back Kimball Madsen and offensive/defensive lineman Hunter Gross — were named to the Casper Star Tribune’s Super 25, honoring the 25 best high school football players in Wyoming, regardless of position or school classification.
Fellow seniors Briggin Blumel and Breckin Barnes were named to the Super 25 second and third team, respectively; junior Ashton Schofield was also named to the third team.
Walk, Madsen, Gross and Mountain View head coach Brent Walk were in Casper Thursday for the Super 25 banquet.
“It was awesome, it was a great experience,” said coach Walk of the trip to Casper. “Having three guys there just made it that much more special. All three of these kids were two-way starters their sophomore, junior and senior years, played in three state championships and won two. All three of them are absolutely phenomenal football players, and even better young men off the field.”
Though he was stalwart on the offensive line (as his fellow Super 25 honorees Walk and Madsen can attest), Gross anchored a Buffalo defensive line that allowed just 51 rushing yards a game this season, tops in 2A.
“Hunter Gross has been a phenomenal player for us, literally since he was a freshman,” coach Walk said. “He’s a really, really good offensive lineman, but he excels on the defensive side as defensive end. He plays with tenacity, 100 miles per hour, just a heck of a football player.”
Gross’ regular-season stats bear out that praise: He averaged 19.8 defensive points a game, second in class 2A, with 66 tackles (23 for loss) and four sacks; he also recovered three fumbles.
One of the best all-around athletes on the list, Walk shined under center, completing 52 of 77 passes for 1,117 yards and 16 touchdowns with just one pick during the regular season; he was also second on the team in rushing with 603 yards.
“Braeden is just a phenomenal all-around athlete, with the ability to score from anywhere on the field,” coach Walk said. “Offensively throughout his career he played both receiver and quarterback, and this year we asked him to just play quarterback for us. He readily accepted the challenge, and just had an amazing year. He just did a great job.”
After finishing fourth in Class 2A in rushing during the regular season with 816 yards, Madsen saved his best performance for the 2A state title game. The senior exploded for 244 yards rushing and scored all three of the team’s touchdowns in a 24-14 win over Buffalo.
“Kimball is Kimball, there’s no other way to describe him,” coach Walk said. “He played running back solely for us this year, after splitting time at quarterback with Braeden the last few years. Coming into the season, I made the decision to put Braeden and Kimball in the backfield together, and that proved to be a good thing for us. They’re different types of backs — Braeden has a lot of cutting ability, but Kimball, man, he drops his shoulder and he’s going to truck anybody.”
Though having three players named to the Super 25 team is a first for Mountain View, it could easily have been more, according to coach Walk.
“To be honest with you, we have a couple of other kids I think were deserving as well,” he said. “Briggin Bluemel, Breckin Barnes, they both had phenomenal years. This is a very special class for us, we have kids being recruited at the collegiate level. It’s pretty exciting.”
As for who will actually go on to play next season, coach Walk said Braeden Walk has narrowed his choices down to a handful of schools, while Gross and Madsen are going on LDS missions following graduation. That said, all five seniors have expressed an interest in playing on.
“All five of these seniors have the ability to play at the next level,” coach Walk said. “It will be fun to see what the future holds for them.”
All-State selections announced
Class 2A All-Conference and All-State teams were announced over the weekend, and as expected, Mountain View was well-represented.
Named to the 2A West All-Conference and 2A All-State teams were: Seniors Breckin Barnes, Briggin Bluemel, Hunter Gross, Caleb Knutson, Kimball Madsen, Trevor Sweeney and Braeden Walk; juniors Hunter Meeks and Ashton Schofield.
Madsen was named the 2A West’s Defensive Player of the Year and Class 2A Defensive Player of the Year, while Walk was named 2A West Offensive Player of the Year and Class 2A Offensive Player of the Year.
Gross was named 2A West Lineman of the Year and Class 2A Lineman of the Year.
Head coach Brent Walk was named 2A West Coach of the Year and Class 2A Coach of the Year.