White Rushing                       Carries      Yards            TD
Aiden Kuester                        14                   78                 1            18 yards
Trevor Thompson                   6                   28
Jackson Wemhoff                   7                   24
Cale Kinney                              3                   16
Carson Bloom                          1                    13
LJ McNeill                                3                    10
Drew Beeson                            1                     1

White Receiving                  Receptions               Yards                  TD
Will Hamer                             5                                51                       1          5 yards
Elliot Nottlemann                 6                                50
Cale Kinney                            2                                20
Carter Werner                       1                                 11
Jackson Wemhoff                 1                                 7
Jaden Kosch 1 7

White Passing                      Completions       Attempts      Yards      TD      INT
Aiden Kuester                      16                           29                  146          1            1

Extra Points                         Attempts               Made
Jake Licking                             2                            2

Field Goals                           Attempts                Made
Jake Licking                                1                          0

Punting                                 Punts                     Yards
Will Hamer                             1                               57

Kickoffs                               Kicks                        Yards
Jake Licking                            1                              60

Punt Returns Returns Yards

Kick                             Returns                   Yards
Trevor Thompson        3                               73
Carson Bloom               5                               67
Kendrick Schroeder     1                                1

Interceptions 0

Fumble                Recoveries Number       Return Yards
Drew Beeson            1                                             0

Penalties            0 -0 yards
First Downs        17
Rushing Yards    170
Passing Yards     146
Total Yards          316
Fumbles 0

Red Rushing                   Carries      Yards       TD
Karater Kerkman            12              109            3           2-29-5 yards
Kanyon Talton                  9               44
Avery Overfelt                   4               33              1           5 yards
Lane Heimes                     4               18
Alex Phelps                        2               15
Quinton Heineman          1                8
Abram Scholting               1                6
Sedjro Agoumba               1                2
Asher McCart                    1                2

Red Receiving               Receptions               Yards                  TD
Sedjro Agoumba               3                                 99                         1          46 yards
Grant Arens                       2                                 39
Mason Timmerman         1                                  29
Jaxson Bernecker             1                                  21                         1           21 yards
Carson Arens                     1                                  11
Alex Phelps                        1                                   9
Daniel Judd                       1                                   8

Red Passing                      Completions       Attempts      Yards      TD      INT
Abram Scholting              10                         12                    216          2          0

Extra Points                     Attempts        Made
Quinton Heineman        6                        6

Field Goals                       Attempts          Made

Punting                             Punts                Yards
Jaxson Bernecker            1                        20

Kickoffs                            Kicks                  Yards
Quinton Heineman         5                        235
Karter Kerkman              4                        197

Punt Returns                   Returns             Yards

Kick Returns                    Returns            Yards

Interceptions                   Number            Return Yards
Brandon Bartos               1                          0

Fumble Recoveries Number Return Yards

Penalties 2-10 yards
First Downs 20
Rushing Yards 237
Passing Yards 216
Total Yards 453
Fumbles 0


White Tackles Interceptions
Drew Beeson 8
Jestin Bayer 7
Carson Bloom 7
Jackson Bos 5
Jason Claussen 5
Alex Vinson 5
Kamren Lingenfelter 4
August Scholting 4
Tanner Frahm 3
Eli Hintz 3
Jacob Ottis 3
Kayden Kettler 3
Aandy Dominguez 3
Diego Gastelum 3
Payton Novak 2
Trevor Weitzenkamp 2
Klayton Kleffner 2
Kendrick  Schroeder 1
Andrew Kotik 1
Jaden Kosch 1
Red Tackles Interceptions
Carson Arens 8
Jaxson Claussen 7
Jay Steffen 6
Daniel Judd 6
Sutton Ehlers 6
Alex Phelps 5 1 0 yards
Josh Wattier 5
Jaxson Bernecker 4
Evan Keller 4
Avery Overfelt 4
Michael Hamilton 4
Lane Heimes 3
Asher McCart 3
Cameron Borgmann 3
Ty Tramp 3
Mason Timmerman 3
Jake Rath 3
Mason Topp 3
Dawson Raabe 2
Braxton Volk 2
Evan Glaser 2
Grant Arens 2
Carter Meier 1
Sedjro Agoumba 1
Colton Sanderson 1
Brody Koopman 1
Paxton Bartles 1

Kerkman breaks scoring record as Red rushes past White

By Nick Benes
Norfolk Daily News

In the 10-year history of the Northeast Nebraska All-Star Football Classic, 24 players had rushed for one touchdown. None had rushed for two or more.

Norfolk Catholic graduate Karter Kerkman and the Red team needed less than a half to take care of that anomaly.

Kerkman ran for three first-half touchdowns to set a new Northeast Nebraska All-Star Football Classic record, and the Red team rolled past the White squad 42-14 in the 10th annual exhibition played Saturday at Memorial Field in Norfolk.

“It feels pretty good,” Kerkman said of breaking the record. “But I can’t take all the credit there, because we had a great offensive line that was working hard all week to learn a new scheme, and they blocked it really well today, and we had other guys on the team who were making plays to get us close to the end zone. I was the one who got to get in.”

Kerkman was right. Nine different players on his team had at least one rushing attempt, and seven caught at least one pass. It added up to the Red team rolling up 447 yards of total offense — 227 rushing and 220 passing.

Pierce’s Abram Scholting completed 10 of 13 passes, with three of those going to Wayne’s Sedjro Agoumba for 98 yards.

“We really tried to shove about a month of football in the five days, and that’s not easy to do. … Our guys worked hard, they were attentive all week, and I’m really proud of their effort,” said Mark Brahmer of Pierce, the Red team head coach. “They’re a group that I’d love to keep for about two to three months. I think they could really become a good team. So, in five days, they did a tremendous job.”

One advantage for Brahmer and his team was that he got to coach four of his players — Scholting, along with linemen Schuyler Simpson, Carter Meier and Dawson Raabe. Those four played a big role in helping the team learn the offensive and defensive schemes.

“Those guys were really able to help teach through the week the other offensive linemen, and they were the example that I used when we were doing defensive drills, and the other guys caught on and really did a great job,” Brahmer said.

The White team still averaged almost 5 yards a carry with 184 rushing yards on 37 carries, and Aiden Kuester of Neligh-Oakdale went 16 of 29 passing for 147 yards and a score.

“We had a great week of practice, and it would have been nice to win, but the thing that makes you feel good is that the kids enjoyed the week,” said Greg Wemhoff of Elgin Public/Pope John, the White team head coach. “We would have liked to win the football game, but that team we’re playing, they had some kids who were great football players, and obviously coach Brahmer and his staff had them well-prepared.”

The dagger came with 20 seconds left in the first half, when Scholting hit Agoumba for a 46-yard strike and a 28-7 lead that it took into halftime.

It appeared that there might not have much of a chance to score one final time in the first half after a 57-yard punt by Will Hamer of Battle Creek pinned the Red team at its own 18 with 1:09 left and no timeouts. That punt was 1 yard away from the record 58-yard boot by Peyton Mathews of O’Neill just two years ago.

But Scholting and company went right to work. After two Kerkman runs netted 15 yards, Scholting heaved it up to Grant Arens of Hartington Cedar Catholic, who came back to the ball for an 11-yard catch. Scholting spiked it with 34 seconds left, found Carson Arens of Hartington Cedar Catholic for a 10-yard gain, and then hit the scoring play.

Scholting stepped back and waited for Agoumba, who made a leaping catch in front of a defender and scampered in for a touchdown to polish off the textbook two-minute drill.

“I told some of the guys on the sidelines that, if we got the ball back, we’re going to go score because we’ve got a lot of weapons,” Scholting said. “I live for those moments. I was pretty excited. I just enjoy being in those situations and make the best of it.”

Avery Overfelt of Homer added a touchdown run in the third quarter for a 35-7 lead, and Jaxson Bernecker of Hartington Cedar Catholic caught a 21-yard scoring pass from Scholting with 4:39 left to cap the game’s scoring. In between, Hamer caught a short touchdown pass from Kuester.

Kerkman appeared on pace to break the game’s rushing yardage record, too. He had 110 in the first half, but suffered a knee injury on his first carry of the second half and did not return. Kerkman was still selected as the Red team’s offensive MVP with 112 yards and three touchdowns on 12 carries.

The Red team’s defensive MVP was Jay Steffen of Hartington Cedar Catholic, who sacked Kuester late in the first quarter to help force a turnover on downs.

“It was great,” Steffen said. “The experience was fun, being able to control and contain that great group of offensive players. That’s really special.”

THE GAME appeared on pace for a shootout for both teams early on.

The White team received, and Kuester connected on four-straight passes, including a 22-yard strike to Cale Kinney of Elgin Public/Pope John, and then Kuester took a quarterback draw 18 yards for a touchdown on third-and-8.

“I think that everyone was just pretty fired up,” Kuester said. “We all knew the other team had some studs on their team, so we were just having fun and letting it fly.”

The Red team roared back with a 10-play, 80-yard drive that included a 34-yard pass from Scholting to Grant Arens that put the Red team at the 19. Five plays later, Kerkman plunged in from the 2.

The White team came up empty the rest of the first half. It was held to just 38 yards in the entire second quarter, while the Red team scored three touchdowns.

The first turning point in favor of the Red team was an interception by Alex Phelps of Wayne. The Red team converted a third-and-inches, and on the next play, Scholting rolled right and threw left to Agoumba for a 29-yard play. Kerkman then took off down his own sideline on the next play for a 29-yard touchdown run.

A failed fourth down stopped the White team on its next possession again, and the Red team again took advantage with an 11-play drive that featured 10 rushes, capped by Kerkman’s 5-yarder up the middle for a 21-7 lead with 2:30 left in the first half, and the defense’s three-and-out led to the Red’s final first-half possession.

“It was just an honor to coach guys like these,” Wemhoff said. “They’re kids who are leaders in their school … they want to come here and they want to do football. It’s just fun. I mean, it was a joyful week. I enjoyed every moment of coaching them.”

Game notes:

* Kerkman wasn’t the only individual to set a game record. Quinton Heineman of Pender successfully made all six of his extra-point kicks, breaking the previous record of five set in 2016 by Aaron Wilken of Norfolk High.

* It was the first win for the Red team since a 14-7 triumph in 2017, and the highest-scoring contest since the White’s 40-35 victory in 2018. Until Saturday, the 2018 game was the most points the Red team had scored in an all-star game.

* The White team had won the previous four, and six out of the last seven since the Red team won each of the first two contests.

Northeast Nebraska All-Star Football Classic

Red 7 21 7 7 — 42

White 7 0 0 7 — 14

Scoring summary


W: Aiden Kuester (N-O) 18 run, Jake Licking (NOR) kick, 9:02.

R: Karter Kerkman (NC) 2 run, Quinton Heineman (PEN) kick, 5:05.


R: Kerkman 29 run, Heineman kick, 10:26.

R: Kerkman 5 run, Heineman kick, 2:30.

R: Sedjro Agoumba (WAY) 46 pass from Abram Scholting (PIE), Heineman kick, 0:20.


R: Avery Overfelt (HOM) 5 run, Heineman kick, 2:28.


W: Will Hamer (BC) 5 pass from Kuester, Licking kick, 9:02.

R: Jaxson Bernecker (HCC) 21 pass from Scholting, Heineman kick, 4:39.

Thank you to Jay Koozer for his beautiful Star Spangled Banner and the American Legion & VFW for raising the flag!

Red Team Awards:

Captains:  Abram Scholting #4, Alex Phelps #10, Dawson Raabe #55, Jaxson Bernecker #89

Offensive MVP: Karter Kerkman #32

Defensive MVP: Jay Steffen #62

Best Teammate (voted on by players): Abram Scholting #4

White Team Awards:

Captains:  Aiden Kuester #1, Jackson Bos #90, Jestin Bayer #28, Drew Beeson #13

Offensive MVP: Aiden Kuester #1

Defensive MVP: Carson Bloom #15

Best Teammate (voted on by players): Drew Beeson #13

2023 Banquet Speaker 

Bill Busch Speaks Directly to Players

A banquet for the players, coaches, parents, officials, and Board is held yearly the night before the game.  This year’s speaker was Bill Busch, former defensive coach for the Nebraska Huskers. Both he, along with our Board past president Jeff Bellar and head coaches Mark Brahmer and Greg Wemhoff, spoke to the players about seizing the moment when it comes.  You just never know what your future holds! The meal was catered by First Choice.

Bill Busch, a Pender, NE native, earned his bachelor’s degree in education from Nebraska Wesleyan in 1988. Busch added a master’s degree in 1990 from Nebraska-Kearney. He married the former Laura Bonta in April of 2019, and the couple has three children: Sydney, Olivia, and Gianna. He began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Nebraska Wesleyan in 1989, after playing wide receiver there from 1985 to 1987. He has coached at LSU Rutgers, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Utah State, Utah, New Mexico State, with his first full-time coaching job at Northern Arizona State.

Busch served as a defensive analyst for Nebraska in 2021, helping the Huskers develop one of their best defenses in recent yearsIn 2022, Busch helped dramatically improve Nebraska’s special teams, as the Huskers ranked sixth nationally in punt return average (16.5), seventh in blocked punts (3) and 19th in blocked kicks (3).

Busch was elevated to interim defensive coordinator after the first four games of the season, helping lead a turnaround for the Blackshirts. After Nebraska allowed 35.5 points and 514.0 yards per game in the first four games, the Blackshirts limited opponents to 23.6 points and 364.6 yards per game in Busch’s eight games as interim defensive coordinator.

Busch served as an assistant coach at Nebraska from 2004 to 2007. In his first season, he coached the outside linebackers and served as special teams coordinator. Busch then coached the safeties and continued to handle special teams duties from 2005 to 2007. During his tenure, the Huskers blocked 16 kicks, including seven in 2005. Nebraska ranked in the top 25 nationally in net punting (24th in 2006) and punt returns (17th in 2005) under Busch. NU’s kickoff coverage unit ranked 15th nationally in 2006 after finishing 22nd the previous year.

Busch also spent four seasons as a graduate assistant with the Huskers from 1990 to 1993. Busch worked with the secondary at Nebraska, helping the Huskers to three straight Big Eight titles from 1991 to 1993.

Busch won a national championship as an assistant at LSU in 2019, and he coached in one national title game as a graduate assistant at Nebraska. He has served on the staff of three national championship head coaches (Urban Meyer, Ed Orgeron and Tom Osborne).

Coach Busch won Football Scoop National Defensive Backs Coach of the Year (2012).

During the halftime of the game, the Board recognized this year’s award winners for contributing to the world of football and life.

2023 Outstanding Lifetime Achievement Award

Tom Olson

Tom Olson has been coaching for 41 years, both in Nebraska and South Dakota.  He started in 1981 at Lexington, NE, where he coached football, basketball, and track for two years, followed by coaching the same sports in Eureka, SD, for three years. After that, Tom settled in Norfolk, NE where he coached football and track for 35 years. He is now coaching football at Bennington, NE. Tom has also coached in two Shrine Bowls (2004, 2006) and two NEN All Star Football Classic games (2014, 2016).

Tom attended Spearfish High School in SD. Black Hills State University in SD and received his Master’s in psychology at Wayne State College. He was a founding member of the NEN All Star Football Board and served as President in 2016. Tom also served on the NCA Board and Executive Board for 14 years, and as president in 2017.

Tom has been married to his wife Valorie for 43 years.  They have four children, all Norfolk High School graduates, and 7 grandchildren.

2023 Outstanding Contributors Award

Jay Bellar

Jay Bellar graduated from Walthill High School where he participated in football, basketball, and track. Jay continued his post-secondary education at Wayne State College where he was a member of the basketball team for four years and football team for one. Upon graduating from WSC, Mr. Bellar taught physical education and coached football, girls’ basketball, and track at Trenton, Nebraska. While at Trenton, his girls’ basketball team qualified for the state tournament. Leaving Trenton, Jay spent 3 years coaching and teaching at Johnson-Brock Public Schools in Johnson, Nebraska. After teaching and coaching football, girls’ basketball and track for 1 year, Bellar completed his time at JBHS as head football coach, activities director and principal. During his tenure, Coach Bellar’s football team qualified for the state playoffs.

Crossing the river into Iowa, Mr. Bellar was hired at Tri-Center in Neola, Iowa as the principal/athletic director as well as head football coach and was honored as Coach of the Year as the Trojans qualified for the state playoffs. After7 years at Tri-Center, Bellar was hired at Battle Creek, Nebraska where he spent 20 years as the superintendent of schools. Although he hung up his coaching whistle, he continued to be involved in activities coaching his sons’ youth basketball team. As superintendent, Jay worked tirelessly to help the community pass a bond to build a new high school.

In 2015, Jay was named Superintendent of the Year for the state of Nebraska. In 2018, Mr. Bellar was honored, again, being named NRCSA Superintendent of the Year. During his time at Battle Creek, Jay was privileged to represent Northeast Nebraska as a board member for the Nebraska School Activities Association (NSAA), a position he held for 11 years.

Completing a 35-year career as a teacher, coach, athletic director, principal, and superintendent, Mr. Bellar accepted the position of Executive Director of the NSAA in 2018. As the Executive Director, Jay enjoys working with all activities offered by member schools for their students from speech and drama to athletic events including unified sports for special needs students. Although his job is certainly challenging at times, Jay feels the rewards of watching students compete and achieve easily outweighs the challenges and he is proud to play a role in  the lives of Nebraska students and school personnel.  After five years, Jay will retire from the NSAA, looking forward to a new chapter.

Jay’s supportive family includes wife, Lori, who is a school counselor for the Lincoln Public Schools and twin sons, Zach and Jared, who work for US Bank.