Eleven Hornets included at some level of 2018 all-conference team

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. — Eleven members of the transitioning Chillicothe High School football Hornets have been included at some level – two juniors as first-team choices – on the 2018 all-Midland Empire Conference team selected recently by a vote of conference coaches.
Selected as a first-team offensive lineman was Hornets tackle Isaac Washburn and tabbed at linebacker was classmate Dawson Wheeler. Washburn also was a second-team choice as a defensive lineman.
The 6’1”, 195-pounds Washburn, a backup at center and tight end the year before, and his fellow offensive linemen improved markedly through the season as the CHS offense adjusted to the new “flexbone” option running attack implemented by new head coach Tim Rulo. The Hornets’ running game averaged just over 190 yards per game, but the average was quite a few yards higher than that as familiarity with the offensive system grew in the latter half of the team’s 4-7 season.
Wheeler, 5’9” and 170 pounds for the gridiron season, led the Hornets’ defense in tackles with 94, pacing them both in unassisted stops (52) and assists (42), in his first year as a starter. He either led or was second on the squad in total tackles in 10 of the 11 games, including a half-dozen occasions being in double digits. He posted a season team-best total of 14 stops – 10 solo – in the week two loss at Kirksville.
Joining the Hornets’ “W’s” duo on the all-MEC list are second-team choices Lavery Jones, Jaden Winder, Isaak Rasche, Cade Koehly, Colten Sewell, and Kam Ward. K. Ward also was honorable mention, as were Kyler Reed, Brock Gott, and Luke Hopper.
Junior Ward got his second-team nod as a running back, where he rushed for 456 yards, second-most on the team, and caught eight passes for another 143 yards (team-best average 17.9 yards per reception). His honorable mention was as a defensive back, where he had two of the team’s seven interceptions and was sixth on the Hornets in tackles.
Senior Jones was second on the team in tackles from his free safety spot with 74, earning him his recognition as a defensive back.
Leading Chillicothe in rushing with 687 yards despite missing about 2-½ teams was Koehly, leading to the senior being second-team all-conference at fullback.
Sewell, a junior, paced CHS in pass receptions (16), receiving yards (234), and touchdown catches (2). That got him all-MEC notice as a receiver.
Winder’s and Rasche’s nods came for their special teams play, Winder as a punter and fellow junior Rasche as a kick returner. Despite a couple of early-season misfires, Winder still notched a very solid season average of 35.4 yards on 25 kicks, topped by one 58-yarder. Rasche had a combined 367 yards in kickoff and punt returns, averaging 18.7 yards on 19 kickoff runbacks. His year was highlighted by his 79-yards dash for a score with a kickoff at St. Joseph: Lafayette.
Senior Reed was the opposite offensive line anchor to Washburn, playing the left side spot after being a reserve guard as a junior.
Hopper and Gott were sturdy interior bulwarks in the CHS defensive line, Gott steady throughout the season after being part of the 2017 team’s short-yardage unit and Hopper making some big strides in his techniques and understanding late in the season.