The 8-Man All-Star Games are just a day away, as Saturday’s action will start at 10:00 with the 8-Man DII game, followed by the 8-Man DI Game at 1:30. Fans can hear all the action on KD Country 94 and the 8-Man All-Star Game Radio Network at 8manallstars.com.
It’s no surprise, but in the DI contest, the Osborne Bulldogs will be well represented. After going just 4-5 and missing the playoffs in 2015, Osborne had an outstanding quick turnaround, going 13-0 in 2016 and winning the 8-Man DI State Championship for the second time in four seasons. From that team, three players will be playing for the DI East All-Stars on Saturday: Justin Burch, Cullen Grabast and Derek Naegele.
Of the three, Grabast had the most eye-popping numbers. As a senior, he had 2,198 all-purpose yards, including 1,608 on the ground with 32 TD. He also threw eight touchdown passes and ran for another two scores. On defense, Grabast notched 49 tackles and seven interceptions in 2016. He ran for over 1,000 yards each of his final three seasons, with 1,123 in 2015 and 1,066 in 2014. For his career, he finished with 3,836 yards and 70 TD rushing, along with another 1,242 yards and 21 TD receiving. In all, he had 5,443 all-purpose yards in his career. With all those outstanding numbers, Grabast has been well recognized for staying humble about it all. When talking to him, he’s most looking forward to sharing the field one last time with his teammates and just being able to follow in the footsteps of some of Osborne’s past all-stars.
As Grabast said, he will be heading off to McPherson College to play football and run track. Joining him there will be Derek Naegele. Naegele didn’t always get a lot of credit for his playing as he had to do the dirty work on the offensive line. However, as a senior, he was hard to miss, as he was the anchor for an offensive line that led the way for a running attack that racked up nearly 4,500 yards this past season. More often than not, when the Bulldogs needed the tough yards, they would run behind Naegele. He also had a breakout year on defense, leading Osborne with 96 tackles, which included seven tackles for loss and three sacks. For his career, he finished with 202 tackles. As mentioned before, linemen don’t always get a lot of credit, but Naegele said his fellow teammates Burch and Grabast recognized just how important the line play was for their success.
Justin Burch was the QB for the Bulldogs state championship team in 2016. He finished with 406 yards and five touchdowns passing and also scored six times on the ground. However, he played limited minutes in playoffs due to a leg injury. One of his biggest strengths was his leg, as he was a 1st team all-district kicker this past season. Kicking can be one of the biggest advantages to a team in 8-Man football, and Burch was that advantage, as he had 33 touchbacks on kickoffs this past season. When talking with Burch, he’s excited to be healthy and able to play in one final high school football game.
One of the things that many have noticed about this group of Osborne Bulldogs is their humility. Their head coach for the DI East team this weekend is Mick Holt from Sedan High School. Holt offered his thoughts on the first thing that stood out about these three young men.
As previously mentioned, Grabast and Naegele will be headed to McPherson College in the fall. Burch plans to attend taxidermy school within the next year.
The Osborne Bulldog all-stars will share the field one last time on Saturday in the 8-Man DI All-Star Game. Kickoff is at 1:30 at Trojan Field in Beloit.