Johnson is part of an elite linebacking corps within a defense that has allowed just seven points through three games for Class 4A’s No. 3-ranked Cedar Falls. After finishing with nine tackles and two interceptions during a 47-0 win over Iowa City High, Johnson recorded six tackles and three pass breakups Friday in a 28-7 win at Ankeny. “Tate has been very consistent the last two seasons at linebacker,” Cedar Falls coach Brad Remmert noted. “He is very athletic with the ability to play the run and walk out and cover down receivers.” Johnson is an honor roll student who also competes in basketball and baseball.
Kroll has become a go-to hitter for Class 3A’s No. 11 Columbus. The junior leads 3A and ranks fourth in the state with 176 kills, averaging 4 per set on .272 hitting. Last week, Kroll helped the Sailors open NICL East play with a four-set win over 2A’s No. 9 Wapsie Valley. “It is exciting to see a player who is so passionate and knowledgeable of the game get her shot to be the leader of our team,” Columbus coach Hanna Nuss noted. “Avery is taking over a major workload from last year to this year. She has, and still is growing, in stepping in and delivering when the team leans on her.” A second-team NICL honoree last season, Kroll was part of state title volleyball and tennis teams. She plays club indoor and beach volleyball with the CIA program.
Morrison was a valuable finisher in the red zone, helping the Redhawks’ offense move the ball throughout a big 33-26 win Friday over Wapsie Valley. Morrison rushed for 133 yards on 30 carries with four touchdowns, and also caught four passes for 43 yards. The third-year starting running back leads a resurgent No. 5-ranked North Tama team with 310 yards and seven rushing touchdowns and 122 receiving yards and two score. “One thing that he’s doing better than the past is he’s more of a power runner,” Coach Tom McDermott said. “We run some old-time football and he’s bigger and stronger than he had been, and he’s run it really well.” Morrison also competes in baseball and track and has participated in both basketball and wrestling.
A third-year starter, Fuller has been an explosive playmaker for Class 1A’s No. 2 Dike-New Hartford. Fuller returned the opening kickoff 47 yards to set up a touchdown and rushed for two scores during Friday’s 56-0 win over North Butler. The previous week, he returned a punt and a fumble for touchdowns en route to a 40-6 win over Aplington-Parkersburg. “Cade is very athletic and understands the game,” D-NH coach Don Betts noted. “He works hard to improve and to know the game plan each week. He is a playmaker we rely on to make things happen for us.” Fuller also competes in basketball and track.
A fourth-year starter, Liekweg remains a source of back row stability during the pursuit of a fourth consecutive state title for Class 1A’s top-ranked Janesville. The Wildcats’ libero recently tallied 17 digs in a Thursday sweep at No. 5 North Tama. She averages 4.4 digs per set and is serving at 93.1 percent with seven aces. “She is excellent at digging the hard-driven ball, and also reads the off-speed and tip shots very well and covers a lot of court on defense,” Janesville coach Shelly Sorensen noted. “She brings much experience to the team and provides great leadership and energy on the court.” Liekweg participates in basketball, and qualified for state in softball and track last year. The National Honor Society member plans to play volleyball at Wichita State.
Patnode has served as a valuable leader for a Columbus defense that is allowing under 10 points a game. Last week, the linebacker finished with three solo tackles and five assists during a 45-0 shutout of East Marshall. He also scored three touchdowns and served as a key blocker from his fullback position. Patnode has a team-high 28 tackles through three games. “Don is a grinder, he is the kind of guy you would want by your side in a dark alley,” Columbus coach Brad Schmit noted. “He is a vocal leader, has been tremendous with our young guys and is as competitive as they come.”