This second edition of Northstar Football News’ featured series will examine and highlight the former Minnesota prep football stars selected to the NSIC South Division First Team Offense All-Conference awards list. These three athletes were some of MN’s most accomplished during their time in high school, and two have had the most distinguished college careers of any of the honorees in 2019. Let’s check back in with these former Northstar state stars and review their prep careers and collegiate success’. I hope you enjoy!
WR: Sean Engel (6’5, 205 lbs.) Chaska, Minn. Chaska HS->North Dakota State University. Junior. Augustana University.
The former Chaska Hawk #soarhawks standout holds the school’s record for career touchdowns with 16 and was Chaska’s Offensive MVP in 2015. He was also selected All-Conference and All-District, and helped the Hawks to a 11-1 record in 2013 that tok them to the Class 5A state semifinals. After a senior season that saw him record 28 catches for 569 yards and eight TDs, the Metro West conference standout signed his national letter of intent to play ball at the prestigious North Dakota State University, where he redshirted in 2016 and was named to the MVFC Honor Roll. After deciding to transfer, Engel decided to play for Coach OJ in Sioux Falls at Augustana University. It proved a decision with both sides mutually benefiting, his 2018 season had Engel appear in 10 of 11 games and finished with 31 catches for 398 yards and two TDs. He improved upon 2018 by catching 39 balls for 546 yards and two TDs, showing more glimpses of the dominance he presented in high school. Hopefully Chaska’s version of Megatron will be able to put it all together for his upcoming senior year and finds the end zone an amount of times reminiscent of his prep days. Top 10 Chaska Hudl
OL: Jake Lacina (6’4, 300 lbs.) St. Paul, Minn. Cretin-Derham Hall HS. Senior. Augustana University.
2019 in Minnesota has been the year of the Cretin-Derham Hall offensive lineman, as Dan Greenheck and Nick Neumann both were selected to the All-MIAC First Team, All-Region, and All-America teams for St. John’s University, and their former teammate Lacina is coming off the more award-filled 2019 of any NSIC player besides Michael Junker (BSU). Lacina was awarded the Rimington Trophy, which goes to the top center in each division of football. As Division II’s top center, the St. Paul native started all 45 games of his Viking career and was a captain for the 2019 season wherein he was also named to his second consecutive First Team All-NSIC South Division awards list, and was a First Team All-American by the AFCA. While at AU, he led an oline that helped the Vikings set single-season records for total offense, passing yards, and touchdowns, and was apart of the NSIC’s offensive line that allowed the least amount of sacks in 2018. This dominance should really come as no surprise as Lacina is the son of Corbin Lacina, who played at Augustana from 1989-92 before being drafted in the 1994 NFL Draft by the Buffalo Bills. He then had an 11-year career in the NFL. Jake was a mauler at Cretin-Derham Hall HS as well, as was named to the Pioneer Press All-Metro First Team, StarTribune All-Metro Second Team, AP All-State Second Team, First Team All-Conference, and Suburban East Conference Lineman of the Year in 2014. The St. Paul native has a good shot of playing professional football, and Northstar Football News will keep you updated as draft season ramps up here soon. Augustana Career Highlights Full Season Senior Year Hudl
WR: Shane Zylstra (6’5, 215 lbs.) Spicer, Minn. New London-Spicer HS. Senior. Minnesota State-Mankato.
Zylstra – whose older brother Brandon played for Concordia-Moorhead (and who I got to play against my freshman year) before heading to the CFL and eventually the NFL with the Minnesota Vikings and now the Carolina Panthers – had my absolute favorite highlight tape of any athlete in the 2015 class and was a WR who I thought the Golden Gophers missed out on offering. An All-State Second Team honoree as a senior, Zylstra finished with a school record 94 catches for 1,531 yards and 17 TDs and has been an absolute force in the NSIC since his RS freshman season. To the relief of Northern Sun DC’s however, the Spicer native has used all of eligibility, and has done more than left his mark on the conference and Mankato record books. He has won so many awards it would be too hard to list, so I will try to give you the condensed version. 2019 was his third consecutive All-NSIC First Team honor, and as a RS sophomore (after catching 51 for 861 and 15 TDs) he received D2CCA All-Super Region First Team, Don Hansen All-Super Region Second Team, and D2football.com All-American HM honors. As a RS junior he had 66 receptions for 1,261 yards and 14 TDs, and won AFCA All-American Second Team, D2CCA All-Super Region First Team, and Don Hansen All-Super Region Third Team honors. His 15 TD catches in 2017 tied MSU’s single-season record, and his 1,261 receiving yards in 2018 set a single-season record as well. In the 2019 season where the Mavericks made an appearance in the Division II national title game, Zylstra caught an incredible 81 balls for 1,676 yards and 18 TDs! That’s 18.9 yards per catch and 111.7 yards per game. That put his career numbers at 227 catches for 4,297 yards and 54 TDs, putting him atop the pedestal with Adam Thielen as the greatest Maverick receivers of all-time. Despite not winning the national championship game this past fall with Mankato, Zylstra has an immense amount to be proud of and has an even better chance to go play professional ball than his brother did. He has set records everywhere he’s played at, and has been a great representation for New London-Spicer HS and the state of Minnesota. Thank you for the exciting career and good luck at the next level, Shane! Senior Year NLS Hudl Sophomore Year Mankato Hudl
Up next, Northstar Football News will highlight and review the prep and college careers of the Minnesotan’s selected to the NSIC North Division First Team All-Conference Defensive list. Thank you for reading Northstar Football News.