116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Tyler Linderbaum is a lineman with a history — and the feet — of a skill-position player.
'Coming up through the ranks, he was a quarterback,' Solon football coach Kevin Miller said.
Then he grew. And his role changed.
'When I got bigger, I knew my quarterbacking days were over,' Linderbaum said.
Linderbaum became the anchor of Solon's offensive and defensive lines. The Spartans allowed only 6 points per game in an 11-1 season that ended in the Class 3A semifinals.
A University of Iowa recruit, Linderbaum is the 2017 Gazette defensive player of the year.
'He's certainly been a difference-maker on both side of the ball,' Miller said. 'He's an athletic kid, playing on the line. He has outstanding feet and gets off the ball very, very well. And as a wrestler, he understands leverage.'
All-everything two-way player Mitchell Snitker of 2A state-champion Waukon is the offensive player of the year.
Class 4A state runner-up Iowa City West leads the 40-man honor team with five players, led by quarterback Evan Flitz, the team's overall player of the year.
Duane Schulte of 3A state champion Cedar Rapids Xavier (13-0) is the coach of the year. The Saints have three all-area players, as do Cedar Rapids Washington, Solon and Williamsburg.
Linderbaum was a quarterback through middle school.
'His freshman year, he just got too big,' Miller said. 'But he grew into his body and it served him well on the line.'
This season, Linderbaum tried to coax the Solon staff into a few backfield moments.
'I tried talking them into putting me back there in a goal-line package,' he said. 'It never happened, but I tried.'
Snitker ranked second in the state — all 11-player classes — in points scored (264) this season as Waukon went 12-1 and marched to its first state title in school history.
He rushed for 2,066 yards (8.6 per carry) and 27 touchdowns, and caught 23 passes for 324 yards and six more TDs.
On defense, he accumulated 38 tackles, intercepted six passes (returning one for a touchdown) and recovered two fumbles (one for a TD).
He returned a kickoff for a score and converted all six of his PAT attempts and both of his field-goal tries.
'He scored a lot of different ways,' Waukon Coach Chad Beermann said. 'He's one of those kids, you can throw it up to him in the back of the end zone, or get it out to him on a screen pass.'
The Indians won their first three games, dropped a 25-20 decision at Cascade in Week 4, then won their last eight, including a 36-19 conquest of defending-champion Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley in the semifinals and a 29-0 victory over Williamsburg in the championship game.
'It was a great season,' Snitker said. 'Every game, we kept getting better and better. Every week, we went to practice and got to work.
'Track helped me a lot. Getting in the weight room, getting ready for the season. The coaches put us in the right places to be successful.'
Snitker is a four-sport athlete — he's fully into basketball now — and is trying to determine his college plan.
'He's a kid who could work into a Division-I program, or could go Division-III and start right away,' Beermann said.
Linderbaum, meanwhile, already is preparing for his next football chapter.
'All I can do is keep working hard, get in the weight room and stay on top of my studies,' he said.