GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. - The 2013 KARE 11 All-Metro Defense was announced Friday. This is 27th edition of the KARE 11 All-Metro Football Team.
Our All-Metro defense is led by Spring Lake Park linebacker Eji Ejiya. He is a repeat KARE 11 All-Metro performer. Ejiya finished the season with 112 solo tackles, three sacks and two interceptions. He was voted the North Suburban Conference Most Valuable Defensive Player. Ejiya finished as the career tackle leader at Spring Lake Park.
Prior Lake senior Blake Weber is regarded as the best defensive player in the South Suburban Conference. The 6 feet 2 inches,215 pounder was a three-year starter for Prior Lake and made 72 tackles this fall. He's also an outstanding two-way player with more than 1,200 total yards and 14 touchdowns on offense. He led Prior Lake to a 7-3 record.
Rosemount linebacker Craig Szymanski leads the Irish in tackles, sacks and tackles for losses. He has 14 sacks on the year.
The senior has made 85 tackles, 24 for losses this season.
The 6 feet 2 inches, 210 pounder was recognized as one of the best defensive players in the South Suburban Conference. Rosemount is in the State 6A semifinals
Rogers senior linebacker Nate Weber had a big season for the Royals. He made 146 tackles including three and a half sacks and six forced fumbles. He set a school record with 26 tackles in one game. Nate is regarded as one of the best players in the Mississippi Eight Conference on both sides of the ball. He scored 18 offensive touchdowns in leading the Royals to a 9-1 season.
Our All-Metro Defensive line is led by South St Paul defensive tackle Preston Woods at 285 pounds. The senior finished with 93 tackles, 11 for loss. He was voted the Classic Suburban Conference Defensive MVP.
Lakeville North defense end Greg Menard is regarded as the best lineman in the South Suburban Conference. At 6 feet 2 inches,230 pounds, he was nearly impossible to block. He was a two-year starter.
Cretin-Derham Hall defensive end Jashon Cornell is recognized as the best junior football player in the nation. His greatest asset is his speed at 6 feet 4 inches,250 pounds. But, he's strong and smart. Cornell finished with 61 tackles, 19 for losses in nine games for the Raiders. He's already received many Division-one college offers.
Delano senior defensive tackle Christian Triplett is a big man at 6 feet 4 inches,290 pounds. He plugged up the middle for the Delano defense all year. Triplett has 84 tackles and five forced fumbles. He's also a very good offensive lineman. Delano lost to Hutchinson in the 4A State semifinals.
Our All-Metro secondary is led by Maple Grove senior safety Jake Engelken at 6 feet 2 inches,190 pounds. He played all over the field. Engelken finished with over 125 tackles in 11 games and two defensive touchdowns. He was a big hitterand the emotional leader of a Maple Grove team that finished 10-1.
Rosemount senior cornerback Conner Yepsen is having a career season. He has seven interceptions on the season and has returned three for touchdowns. Yepsen is a two-year starter. His coach called him a fabulous cover guy. Conner has accepted a lacrosse scholarship to Robert Morris University in Pennsylvania.
Totino-Grace junior Ben Mezzenga is having a fabulous season for the Eagles. He has two picks this season and six knock downs from his defensive back position. He's also very physical making 60 tackles. He plays special teams and receiver. Ben basically does it all for the State semifinal bound Eagles.
Cretin-Derham Hall cornerback Tim Gordon wasn't challenged very often this season and for good reason. He was the Raiders cover corner and did a great job. Gordon finished with three interceptions and one fumble recovery. A solid tackler, he's being recruited Division I.
Our All-Metro Punter is Mahtomedi senior Connor Bolduc who is regarded by some as the top punter in Minnesota. He averaged 42 yards per boot this fall with his longest going 52 yards. He also put three punts inside the 20 yard line. He has a big leg with a consistent 4-second hang time. He's recognized as a Division I punter.