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High school football: Warriors Place 14 On All-Independent Team

Valle Catholic’s Aiden Heberlie, shown here during the Nov. 12 game versus St. Mary’s at Kresko-Miller Field, was named first-team all-state last week. (PHOTO BY ERIC VICCARO/Herald staff)


The Valle Catholic High School football team participated in what was termed an “independent” schedule during the 2021 season.

Last week, 14 Valle Catholic players were named to the “All-Missouri Independent Team” — with six on offense, six more defense and two honorable mentions.

“It is a little larger than a regular all-conference team, due to the fact that 14 schools are represented,” Valle Catholic head coach Judd Naeger said.

Here’s the list of schools that participated in the all-Missouri Independent Team: Valle Catholic, Springfield Central, True Divine Word, Sweet Springs, North Point, St. Michael The Archangel, Cuba, Brentwood, Russellville, Crystal City, Rockhurst, Life For Life, Confluence Prep and Missouri Military School.

Four offensive lineman made the first-team: Jacob Calbreath, Noah Elbert, Charlie Friedman and Collin Vaeth.

“Our offensive line played very well this year,” Naeger said. “We

could have potentially had five young men make the team if it were not for injuries. Coach Joe Roth did an amazing job with these guys.”

Running back Bryce Giesler and wide receiver Aiden Heberlie were both selected for the first-team offense — with sophomore quarterback Grant Fallert an honorable mention.

“Bryce and Aiden had great seasons,” Naeger noted. “They thrived off how opposing teams decided to defense us. They couldn’t take both of them away. We will certainly miss Aiden, and the sky is the limit for Bryce.”

Valle Catholic — save for the loss to St. Mary’s in the Class 3 District 2 championship — excelled at all levels of defense.

The honors pointed that out with two defensive linemen, two linebackers and two defensive backs attaining first-team status.

Defensive lineman Tim Okenfuss and defensive end Michael Okenfuss represent the Warriors’ front. Josh Bieser and Carson Tucker played sound football at linebacker. Isaac Roth and Luke McClure were solid in the defensive backfield.

Issac Viox, a sophomore, earned an honorable mention as a defensive lineman.

“Our defense played extremely well this year,” said Naeger, who was pleased with the scant number of yards and points the team allowed this season — especially in the first half. “Coach (Nathan) Gegg did a great job with these guys.”

Naeger said Isaac Viox and Grant Fallert are expected to become even more important contributors in the 2022 season.

The All-Missouri Independent Team was selected based on team wins and class size, Naeger noted.

Next year, the Warriors will be joining the Mississippi Area Football Conference, joining Ste. Genevieve, Park Hills Central, Potosi, Fredericktown and Perryville. The conference will be tough with the Warriors, Rebels and Dragons expecting to field top-notch teams.

The Class 3 District 2 team will be released once St. Mary’s has been eliminated from the playoffs, which remains unlikely until after the forthcoming state championship game. The Herald also awaits the all-MAFC team.

(Editor’s Note: For the complete story and statistics, subscribe to either the print or electronic editions of the Ste. Genevieve Herald. Subscribe: 1-573-883-2222.)