Kansas Pregame polled 8-Man coaches earlier this month who voted for the top four seniors they coached against this season. Kansas Pregame staffers then used those votes to develop a Top 8 list of seniors for each division. Check out another Top 8 capsule below, and find the complete list of Top 8 selections, and the honorable mention list, here for 8-Man I and here for 8-Man II.
Since first starting for the varsity program at Victoria midway through his freshman season, Seth Schwien has been a perfect fit for the Knights.
Over those four seasons, Schwien totaled 78 catches for 1,147 yards and 26 TDs - leading the team in receiving for three consecutive seasons from his sophomore through senior seasons - and also recorded 212 tackles, 22 sacks, and 28 tackles-for-loss.
“Seth's importance to our team has been his consistency and toughness,” head coach Doug Oberle said. “He showed up every day on time and worked hard. He was available, spring, summer, fall. I don't believe he missed a practice in four years for any reason.”
The Knights are a model of consistency holding a 40-6 record with four deep playoff runs over the last four seasons.
As a freshman, Schwien joined an already loaded team that featured two Top 8 selections in senior Jayvon Pruitt and sophomore Carson Werth. It wasn’t until mid-season that Schwien broke into the offensive and defensive starting lineup.
The Knights ran the table through the regular season with a 28-14 Week 5 win against Central Plains as their lowest scoring output and closest margin of victory.
It wasn’t until the 8-Man II state semifinals when Victoria was finally knocked off by St. Francis in a 44-22 contest, allowing the Indians to advance to their second straight state championship appearance after finishing second in 8-Man I the season prior.
Schwien managed to impact the game in multiple ways.
“Seth was an offensive and defensive starter who was a huge part of our special teams,” Oberle said. “Just contributed any way possible to help the team.”
The Knights returned significant talent the next season, with Schwien chiefly among them.
Neither fell below expectations, as Victoria put together a 10-2 season with a Week 3 42-40 loss to a tough Trego squad with their next loss coming in the state semifinals, this time in a 42-30 defeat at the hands of Wheatland-Grinnell leaving the Knights just one game short of the state championship game.
Offensively, Schwien caught 17 passes for 337 yards and seven TDs - catching over half of QB Thaddeus Wohler’s 30 completions - while defensively he was key for the Knights up front as they held five teams to 12 total points during a mid-season stretch.
Following his sophomore season, Schwien continued to toil at improving his team and himself, and making that effort his own brand of leadership.
“Seth led by example, worked hard in the weight room, practice field, and game. He did not back down from a challenge.”
The results showed individually in his junior campaign. Defensively, he made 81 tackles with nine sacks, while offensively he tallied 23 receptions for 402 yards and eight TDs.
Schwien’s efforts earned him first team All-State on the defensive line, and also helped his team to a 10-1 record with a trip to the state quarterfinals before they were finally knocked out by Thunder Ridge, 62-46. Like their two previous playoff opponents that ended their season, the Longhorns went on to take second.
Prior to that final game the Knights allowed only one close contest all year in a 30-28 win over Wallace County and held eight of their 11 opponents to two TDs or less.
Entering his final year of high school, the senior and his class were poised for another big season, and delivered just that.
After an opening season loss to a surprise Kinsley squad, the Knights ran the table through the rest of the regular season, beating La Crosse 44-22 in their Week 2 contest and then outscoring their next eight opponents 435-56 with four shutouts in the mix.
As for Schwien, he put together another All-State year defensively, and also became the centerpiece for the team offensively.
“Senior year we really made an effort to get him the ball in different ways on offense,” Oberle said. “Defensively he was a very impactful defensive lineman. He could change a game in all three phases.”
At D-end, Schwien recorded 59 tackles, five sacks, seven tackles-for-loss, and two forced fumbles, while on offense he was used as a runner as well as receiver, gaining 852 total yards and scoring 14 total TDs.
Schwein’s efforts helped his team make a return to the state semifinals, where for the fourth year they lost to the soon to be runner-up, this time in the form of another of 2023’s surprise teams, South Central, 42-20.
“Seth has had tremendous growth since his freshman year,” Oberle said. “Again his hard work paid dividends for him to improve as a football player and athlete. Worked hard to improve his speed and made good strides in his four years.”
After high school, Schwien has plans to keep making strides at the next level and is currently considering Independence Community College, Bethel, and Sterling to continue his football career and education.