Randy Weich was such a good punter that opposing coaches would come out of the locker room early to watch him warm up.
He was a comfort to Wayne State coach Dan McLaughlin.
In a game that's all about field position, the coach said, he could always count on the senior from Pierce High School to pin opponents far back in their own territory.
“He could knock it clear to the end zone,'' McLaughlin said. “He's the best punter in the country.''
Other Division II coaches in the state agreed, voting Weich to The World-Herald's All-Nebraska Division II football team as the special teams captain.
Chadron State quarterback Jonn McLain and linebacker Kevin Lindholm lead the offense and defense, respectively.
Weich averaged a Northern Sun-leading 44.8 yards a punt, third best in Division II, to earn AFCA first-team honors. He was on the second team on the AP Little All-America, Daktronics and Beyond Sports Network squads.
Weich had 16 punts of 50 yards or more and 13 punts inside the 20-yard line. He kicked the two longest punts in school history, a 95-yarder last year against Augustana and an 85-yarder this season against Sioux Falls.
“Randy Weich takes more pride in his punting, and has worked harder to improve his punting, than any kid I have ever coached,'' McLaughlin said. “An absolutely amazing punter.''
McLain had one of the best seasons ever by an Eagle quarterback. His 239 pass completions, 30 touchdown passes and 66-percent completion rate are Chadron State season records, breaking the old marks that belonged to his brother Joe, the Eagles' quarterback from 2005 to 2008.
Eagles coach Jay Long said the sophomore from Chadron is a smart player who understood the offense very well.
“He never panics in big-time situations,'' Long said. “He excels in them.''
The 21 consecutive pass completions that McLain threw in the first half against Western New Mexico is a school and Division II record.
He also engineered fourth-quarter comebacks against Colorado Mesa and New Mexico Highlands, leading the 9-3 Eagles into the first round of the playoffs.
Lindholm, a senior from Eads, Colo., is a three-time Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference first-team selection, as well as a first-team BSN and Daktronics All-American. He led the Eagles with 122 tackles, including 20.5 tackles for loss. He also had 4.5 sacks and three fumble recoveries.
He finished his career with 299 tackles, ninth-most in school history. His 37.5 tackles for loss in his career rank him fifth at CSC.
His work ethic and leadership skills stood out, Long said.
“In key games, when we needed a play, he was the guy who came up and made the play,'' Long said.
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