In mid-December Kansas Pregame contacted 8-Man football coaches in an effort to name a first ever Top 8 team of seniors for both divisions of 8-Man football in Kansas. After an overwhelming response from coaches, and once all the votes were tallied, 16 players were selected.
This is the 12th of 16 individual player profiles highlighting the Top 8 selections in each division and released in no particular order. Look for more in the coming days.
Colin Jueneman, RB/DE, 6-2, 180, Hanover, Sr.
Dynamic senior running back and defensive end Colin Jueneman is one of two Jueneman’s from Hanover on this 8-Man Top 8 list. Colin’s cousin, and quarterback, Jacob Jueneman also made the list and a large amount of Hanover’s success is owed to their combined talents.
Jueneman is a multi-talented back with the ability to hurt defenses in a number of ways. While his skills running the ball are on par with nearly any back in the state, his ability as a receiver added a significant degree of difficulty for opposing defenses, but he got a slow start before emerging as a high school star.
“After missing his freshmen year due to injury Colin found himself playing more and more as the season went on as a sophomore,” veteran Hanover coach Matt Heuer said. “ His junior year is really when he came into the spotlight with a fantastic season in all phases of the game. His impact as a playmaker especially on special teams and offense was an integral part of why we were able to make it to (2019) semifinals.”
Jueneman caught three passes for 140 yards and two touchdowns and also returned three kicks for 104 yards and another touchdown as a junior in the 2019 quarterfinal game against St. Paul, before losing to Axtell in the semis. On the year, he finished with 1,945 all-purpose yards and 23 total touchdowns.
“This year was no different as his ability to make plays was key in us having solid success throughout the year,” coach Heuer said of Jueneman’s 2020 performance. “Even if he didn't have the ball in his hands he was still impacting plays with the attention he was getting. He is extremely dynamic in space and was a scoring opportunity every time he touched the ball.”
In the running game, the senior back accounted for 687 yards and 14 touchdowns on 54 carries, a startling 12.7 yards per carry. He accompanied his ground numbers with 48 receptions for 474 yards and eight more touchdowns. While his all-purpose totals were significantly lower his senior year (1,304 yards) he still managed the same touchdown total at 23. It’s important to note, he had half the kick return opportunities of a year ago with nine instead of 20.
His offensive talents gained him recognition from the Wichita Eagle as their 8-Man II first team receiver selection and first team with the Topeka Capital-Journal as an at-large selection. He was also selected as a member of the first ever Kansas Pregame 8-Man II Top 8 team.
On the other side of the ball Jueneman’s impact was felt as well. After getting recognition as a first team all-state defensive end by the Topeka Capital-Journal during his junior season, he came back his senior year with another strong performance resulting in 68 total tackles, five tackles-for-loss, two sacks, an interception, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.
Jueneman's contributions helped lead Hanover to a perfect 11-0 season and a 2020 8-Man II state title victory over St. Francis, 46-24. Jueneman’s continued development into one of the best players in the state was a substantial part of the Wildcats’ success, but was not the only way in which the all-state athlete made an improvement.
“I thought this year he really took a step forward in being a leader and was able to help in keeping our focus throughout each day with all the uncertainty of 2020,” coach Heuer said. “He has a good work ethic that transfers well to many other areas than just the football field.”
Check out the Jacob Jueneman to Colin Jueneman connection in the clip below: