(Neola) -- Tri-Center’s Brecken Freeberg was healthy in just six games during his senior season. His impact, though, was immeasurable.
Despite a high ankle sprain in the season’s fifth game, the Trojans standout is this year’s A/1A/2A KMAland Defensive Player of the Year.
Even in just six full games, Freeberg made his presence felt with 74.0 tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks.
“I just try to read (the plays) well,” Freeberg said. “I use my eyes. I’m not even close to the fastest guy on the field, but I just use my eyes and try to get to the play.”
Freeberg’s presence was most felt in a trio of games against three of their toughest opponents this season — Underwood, Treynor and Logan-Magnolia. Against the Eagles, the 6-foot-1, 215-pound linebacker had 14.0 tackles and 2.5 tackles for loss. Against Lo-Ma, he finished with 17.5 tackles. And finally, against Treynor, it was one of the most dominant individual defensive performances of the area this season, finishing with 24.0 tackles, 9.0 tackles for loss and 4.0 sacks.
“I just try to be the leader on the defensive side,” Freeberg said. “I try to be there for every tackle. Even if I wasn’t the one making the tackle, I try to be there most of the time.”
The Trojans took a hit on defense when Freeberg suffered a high ankle sprain in a 16-6 loss to IKM-Manning. They allowed 21 points against Lawton-Bronson and 23 against Woodbury Central — both wins — before Freeberg returned for the final two games of the year.
“I thought we all played really well,” Freeberg said of the season. “When I went down with injury, it sucked, but the team stepped up and won three straight.”
Freeberg says he felt like he was near 100% for the regular season finale and then re-tweaked the injury in the playoff loss to Hartley-Melvin-Sanborn.
“Every year you’re thinking playoffs,” he said. “We wanted to get our first playoff win in school history. We came up short, but I’m still proud of what we were able to do this season.”
Freeberg is the second Tri-Center of the A/1A/2A defensive award, joining former teammate Trevor Carlson, who won in 2019. Listen to the full interview with Freeberg below.
PREVIOUS KMALAND A/1A/2A DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR WINNERS
2020: Brayden Wollan, Underwood
2019: Trevor Carlson, Tri-Center
**The Defensive Player of the Year split into small school and large school in 2019.
PREVIOUS KMALAND 11-PLAYER DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR WINNERS
2018: John Shields, Mount Ayr
2017: Caleb Sanders, Glenwood
2016: Caleb Sanders, Glenwood
2015: Matthew Smith-Petersen, Audubon
KMA Sports will not respond to any questions or comments on our award choices.