UNC's Kjellberg, Lusti, Carlson receive honors
United North Central’s Tristan Kjellberg, Bob Lusti and Taylor Carlson were among players receiving Section 8AA football honors this season.
Kjellberg (a senior running back/linebacker), Lusti (a senior lineman) and Carlson (a senior quarterback/defensive end) joined Dylan Huttunen (a senior running back/linebacker) as Prairie North Conference players.
Earning all-conference honorable mention honors were seniors Ray Mueller (lineman), Kieler Skaro (wide receiver/defensive back), Tanner Neisess (lineman), Wyatt Puttonen (running back/linebacker) and Jordan Miller (lineman); junior Tristan Palmer (lineman); and sophomores Tom Tellers (wide receiver/defensive back) and Jordan Yliniemi (running back/linebacker).
Kjellberg led the Warriors in scoring with 46 points and was the team’s leading rusher with 142 carries for 651 yards and a touchdown.
Carlson completed 73 of 167 passes for 1,047 yards and 13 TDs and rushed 40 times for 125 yards and five TDs in scoring 30 points.
Skaro scored 36 points, catching a team-leading 27 passes for 537 yards and six TDs.
Tellers scored 24 points, catching 15 passes for 283 yards and four TDs.
Huttunen rushed 70 times for 222 yards and two TDs for 14 points while Yliniemi rushed 58 times for 241 yards and a TD for 10 points.
Lusti, Mueller, Neisess, Palmer and Miller led the offensive and defensive lines while Puttonen led the linebacking group.
Those 12 led the Warriors to a 3-2 record for third place in the Prairie North Conference and a 3-5 overall record for the No. 4 seed for the section playoffs. UNC defeated No. 5 Bagley 38-0 in the section quarterfinals before falling to No. 1 Hawley 42-12 in a section semifinal game.
“It was a step in the right direction. We’ve had a couple of tough years and we needed to get things going again in the wins category. We ended up 4-6, but we played some very tough and talented teams that were state ranked all season long. I thought we played well against those teams for stretches, but are still learning and working to get to that level,” said UNC head coach Jeremy Nordick. “I really credit our seniors for leadership and for stepping up this year and moving our program forward. They were rewarded with a big home playoff win against Bagley. That was a much-needed victory for them and for the UNC football program. I think our young players learned a lot throughout the season on what it’s going to take to get to that next level. I’m excited about our young players coming back. The seniors set the groundwork and now it’s time for a new crop of Warriors to take the reins.”