NEW ULM - On the football field, Springfield's Lance Briard often had Sleepy Eye St. Mary's quarterback Jordan Anderson in his sights, aiming to take him down for a sack.
On Tuesday, both seniors were honored at the KNUJ Player of the Year Banquet for fall sports, with Briard earning Defensive Player of the Year honors and Anderson taking home Offensive Player of the Year in football.
Glencoe-Silver Lake senior setter Courtney Lemke rounded out the list of honorees on the night by earning Player of the Year honors in volleyball.
Staff photo by Steve Muscatello
Jordan Anderson of Sleepy Eye St. Mary’s was named football offensive player of the year, Courtney Lemke of Glencoe/Silver Lake was named volleyball player of the year and Lance Briard of Springfield was the football defensive player of the year during the KNUJ banquet Tuesday at the New Ulm Holiday Inn.
Anderson won Offensive Player of the Year for the second straight year, the first player to accomplish the feat since McLeod West's Tyler Evans won the award in 2000 and 2001.
Anderson finished his career with the Knights with school records in passing yards (6,057) and passing touchdowns (58) while helping the team qualify for the state tournament each of the past two seasons. He also amassed 2,034 career rushing yards and 26 rushing touchdowns.
This year Anderson completed 159-of-265 passes for 2,585 passing yards and 26 touchdowns while also rushing for 959 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Briard helped the Tigers earn a 7-3 record this season, putting up huge numbers in solo tackles (41), assisted tackles (102), tackles for loss (30) and sacks (16). He also added two knocked down passes, four forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.
For his career, Briard finished with 67 solo tackles, 153 assisted tackles, 44 tackles for loss and 19 sacks.
Lemke helped the Panthers to a 25-4 record this season. She had 770 set assists, 149 kills, 23 ace serves on 98 percent serving, 300 digs and 19 blocks.
Lemke finished her career with 2,250 set assists and 795 digs.
During the banquet, all players to earn KNUJ Player of the Week honors in football and volleyball during the season were recognized, with all but one player able to be in attendance.
Special recognition was also given to teams in the KNUJ coverage area to qualify for state tournaments, with St. Mary's head football coach Brent Kucera and Sibley East head football coach Chuck Hartman being called onto the stage for brief interviews about their teams' seasons.
Former Minnesota Vikings player Doug Kingsriter was the guest speaker for the event, passing on a message to players to remember the "voice in their heads" of their coach's teachings in later life, and to coaches to appreciate the vast improvements they have helped their players make over their careers.