Quarterback, senior, Columbia Heights
Converted to quarterback as a sophomore, Dixon enjoyed a breakout junior campaign. He accounted for 1,015 total yards and 15 touchdowns and led the Hylanders to the Class 3A section finals. “He’s a dual-threat guy and a natural leader; guys look up to him.” Hylanders coach Matt Townsend said. “He runs hard, and he’s taken a lot of pride in improving his passing.” Durability is another trait. Dixon plays linebacker on defense and registered 76 tackles (nine for loss). “He’s tough and instinctive,” Townsend said.
Running back, sr., Totino-Grace
Eagles coach Jeff Ferguson lauded Flomo’s offseason preparation, calling him “leaps and bounds better — which is scary.” Considered by Ferguson as “our best back since John Crockett,” Flomo uses a different style. Crockett treated defenders like traffic cones. Flomo treats them like clay pigeons. “He’s a great competitor, and he’s hard to tackle,” Ferguson said. “He’s so strong.” Flomo ran 175 times for 1,325 yards (7.6 yards per carry) and 10 touchdowns last season, powering Totino-Grace to the semifinals of the Class 6A state tournament.
Tight end, senior, Mounds View
Great size and basketball abilities make Kaczynski a match-up problem on the football field. At 6-4 and 195 pounds, Kaczynski is a “freak who goes up and gets the ball but he also blocks so well,” Mustangs coach Jim Galvin said. Kaczynski’s 11 catches for 197 yards and six touchdowns ranks as a strong output given receptions are tougher to come by in Mounds View’s run-heavy wing-T offense. Still, Galvin wants to feed Kaczynski the ball more often this season. Kaczynski will line up in different places, including split out wide.
Linebacker, senior, Andover
Coach Rich Wilkie called Wiczek a “dream linebacker who understands the game and has good physical tools.” Speed is Wiczek’s best asset. Though undersized in the middle at 6-foot and 190 pounds, Wiczek compensates by closing hard on ball carriers. His 67 tackles last season were the most of any returning Huskies defender. Andover, which qualified for the Class 5A state tournament last season, graduated several key players on offense. The defense must carry the load early, making Wiczek’s role critical. “He’s the leader who is the quarterback of our defense,” Wilkie said.
Running back, senior, Maple Grove
Smooth and sneaky fast, Wieneke reminds coach Matt Lombardi of a running back familiar to Minnesota Vikings fans, Robert Smith. “His gait is similar in that you don’t think he’s running hard but nobody is catching him,” Lombardi said. Wieneke’s great vision is his own. “He finds holes I don’t see when we’re at practice,” Lombardi said. It all added up to 1,139 yards rushing and 10 touchdowns last season as Maple Grove reached its first state tournament since 2002. Wieneke piled up 183 yards and four touchdowns in a romp against Blaine. In the section final victory over Minnetonka, Wieneke finished with 118 yards and a TD. Lombardi expects Wieneke and Isaac Collins to become a formidable 1-2 punch this fall.
David La Vaque