Four Vikings sign to play college football
A permanent grin was attached to the face of Lakeview football coach Kurt Frenzen on Wednesday afternoon.
Like a proud papa, Frenzen shook hands, posed for photos, shared hugs and recounted stories in the commons area at LHS. Frenzen, though, wasn’t on hand to be recognized for any personal achievement.
He was there for perhaps the highest honor a coach can ever experience - moving players on to the next level.
In a signing ceremony that included four members of the Lakeview football team, Kaylob Kobza and Lucas Thather put pen to paper for Nebraska Wesleyan University in Lincoln.
Frenzen’s nephew, Jacob Frenzen, and Cody Thompson gave their signatures to Midland University in Fremont.
In 18 years at the held of Viking football, it was the largest contingent of recruits Frenzen had the pleasure of holding a ceremony for on National Signing Day.
Though he’ll deflect all the credit toward the players for their hard work and commitment, Frenzen also has a tremendous sense of pride for playing whatever part, small as he might claim it to be, in setting up young men such as his nephew, Kobza, Thatcher and Thompson for an opportunity to succeed at life thanks to the path provided by football.
“I’m really excited about having all four of those guys have the opportunity not only to go on and play football but get a chance to trade in that football ability for a degree here in the next four or five years,” he said.
“Hopefully, in four or five years, they’re walking out with that degree. That’s what’s really exciting about their future.”
Lakeview football went 6-3 this past fall, missing out on the playoffs by one spot in the Wildcard Points.
Each of the four played a major role for a squad that put together a third straight winning season for the Vikes.
Kobza’s role wasn’t as major due to a near season-ending knee injury in the first game of the year. But despite that, he served as an Honorary Captain, and returned for the final two games finishing with two sacks.
Thatcher carried the ball 81 times with a 7.2 yards-per-carry average and four touchdowns. He was a threat to score every time he took a handoff, a kickoff or a punt and was named Class C-1 All State Honorable Mention.
Jacob Frenzen bruised through defenses as a fullback with a 5.7 per-carry average and nine scores. Defensively as the main cog at linebacker, Frenzen amassed 82 tackles, 20 unassisted and three sacks.
He was chosen as an All-State linebacker and the team MVP.
Thompson, an anchor on the line at 6-1 and 295 pounds, made 42 tackles defensively with two sacks and graded out highly on the offensive line after each game.
Thompson was chosen an All-State defensive lineman and named the team’s defensive MVP.
The word all four returned to, when discussing their experiences as a Viking, was family.
“I grew into loving all the guys, came really close to everyone and realized I want to play college football,” Kobza said.
He gave the game up in junior high but returned to the gridiron when he came to Lakeview, fell in love with the brotherhood aspect of the sport and realized he had some ability.
“I started getting quite a few sacks during games, and I thought, ‘This is getting fun. I think I’m getting pretty good at this,’” Kobza said. “I talked to coach (Frenzen) talked to my dad and decided to pursue the next level.”
Similarly, Thatcher began to grow into his speed as a freshman and found out he too had a knack for success between the lines.
“I’m really excited right now about what the future holds for me, and I’m super blessed,” he said. ”(What I love about football is) the team atmosphere, having brothers right beside you and playing for your team. I just love the game.”
Jacob Frenzen set his sights on college as far back as he can remember. After his junior year, he began getting regular letters in the mail and began attending football camps.
“I’m really excited. It’s something I’ve been telling my dad I want to do since … since I could talk. It’s a dream of mine to play college football,” he said.
“I really like hitting other guys. It’s just a man’s sport. It’s something that’s been in my family. Coach Frenzen went there, my grandpa, my uncle and some great cousins have all gone to Midland. It’s just a tradition to be a Warrior.”
Thompson always kind of knew, just based on his size, he’d have an opportunity to suit up somewhere at the next level. But he found an all new love and appreciation for the game because of the family at Lakeview.
“The team aspect. I love being on a team and getting close to people,” he said. “Coach Frenzen really made it an enjoyable sport. More than a sport, he made it about life. Pregame talks he always gave examples of how football can make us better men.”
Coach Frenzen expects that all four could see the field as early as next year on at least special teams. Some might even break through and find regular offensive or defensive snaps.
If they “continue to work hard and get their minds right” the chances will be there.
Of course though, moving on the largest contingent of players coach Frenzen has ever had to the next level certainly leaves spots to fill for Lakeview football in 2019.
Thanks to their efforts, he’s confident the example they set will leave a lasting impact.
“That’s going to be the key. The group we have coming in has to pick it up and keep that tradition growing. Tradition doesn’t graduate,” he said. “These players will graduate and move on, but our tradition is still here. It’s something we need to ensure we keep building upon.”
On a more personal level, Frenzen and the 2018 group had one of the closest relationships he can remember of any of his previous 18 teams. It was more so than just coach and player.
It was a dynamic built on mutual respect and admiration, if not also very similar senses of humor.
“What I’ll personally miss about these guys is, they’re just a blast to coach. They were so much fun. I loved having them on our team, whether it was just being positive or competing at a high level, and we could joke around a lot, too,” coach Frenzen said. “I’ve known these guys for a long time, and just having that kind of a relationship, joking around and having a good time, I’m really going to miss that about them.”
Nate Tenopir is the sports editor for The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org