Jamestown High School's Jacob Hilgemann lost his footing and gave up a 38-yard, second-quarter touchdown pass to Mandan's Elijah Klein during the Blue Jays' final football game of the 2019 season.

Not a highlight-reel moment for Jamestown's breakout junior in a season where splash plays were plenty. But nothing would prove just how far Hilgemann had come in the eyes of JHS head coach Bill Nelson.

"He ended up slipping and they had like a 35-yard touchdown pass to Klein," Nelson said. "I still come back and I think about the resiliency, and the three or four balls that he knocked down, and how physical he got with him.

"It's like, you know what? It's not going to happen again."

Hilgemann and Jamestown senior quarterback Tommy Falk were both selected to the North Dakota Class AAA football all-state second team. The honor, voted on by the state's coaches, was announced Thursday, Nov. 28.

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Hilgemman, while recording three interceptions for 91 yards and a touchdown as Jamestown's top cover cornerback, earned his honor on the offensive side of the ball. His 825 receiving yards during the regular season on 43 catches, averaging 91.67 yards per game, was best in the state, and his nine receiving touchdowns tied Klein for the state lead.

Jamestown's Jacob Hilgemann snags the ball out of the air for a reception and touchdown against Mandan at Ernie Gates Field on Oct. 25, 2019. John M. Steiner / The Sun
Jamestown's Jacob Hilgemann snags the ball out of the air for a reception and touchdown against Mandan at Ernie Gates Field on Oct. 25, 2019. John M. Steiner / The Sun

"He just kept working and he kept evolving," Nelson said. "There were a couple games where, in the past, I told him his head might have got down, but it didn't get down. If something happened negatively he'd have a short-term memory and, boom, we're right back working."

Falk, the team's leader at quarterback for three seasons, completed 128 of 256 passes for a state-leading 1,762 yards (195.78 per game) in the regular season. His 12 touchdown passes tied Grand Forks Red River's Parker Monette, Bismarck Legacy's Rhett Clements and Mandan's Dane Carlson for tops in the state.

Falk also rushed for 96 yards and five more touchdowns, helping the Blue Jays to a record of 2-7 -- picking up victories over Fargo North and Dickinson -- in Jamestown's reintroduction to Class AAA football. The state's coaches select 25 first-team performers and 26 second-team.

"He's one of the better signal-callers I've ever had the opportunity to work with," Nelson said of Falk. "There's never anything in his mind that he's not willing to try and do, and he's gonna fight his tail off no matter what. He's a very persevering young man, a very competitive young man, and he became a very good leader throughout the course of his time.

"There's not too many kids that put in more time than he does."

Falk and Hilgemann developed a quick bond following a season-ending knee injury suffered by senior receiver and former all-state cornerback Jeremy Williams in Week 2. Falk and Williams enjoyed much success together during Jamestown's previous two seasons at the Class AA level.

"Tommy always knew where Jeremy was going to be at, whereas that changed really fast," Nelson said. "Tommy's comfortability level switched over to Jacob. They put in a lot of time after practice."

Hilgemann broke out during Jamestown's 22-21 Week 3 victory over Dickinson. Falk found the junior for touchdown passes of 35 and 75 yards, en route to eight catches for 171 yards.

Hilgemman ran for a 54-yard touchdown and ran back a 72-yard interception for a TD against Williston in Week 5; went for seven catches, 157 yards and two TDs against Bismarck in Week 8; and posted a season-high 188 receiving yards on 10 catches in the season finale vs. Mandan.

"He stepped up to the challenge and I'm not gonna lie," Nelson said. "I'm glad to see him back for another year."

Falk's role in that production was obviously major. The senior passed for a season-high 289 yards in Week 2 against Shanley, the game in which Williams was lost.

Jamestown's season was better than the 2-7 record would indicate. The Jays narrowly lost to Williston (27-21) and Minot (21-13) and led Mandan 17-6 at the half before the Braves pulled away 36-24 in the second half.

Placing Falk and Hilgemann on the all-state second team shines a light on the type of production that isn't found by simply looking at the season standings.

"There's only 51 spots," Nelson said. "You get honored by coaches for what you do on the field? That's a pretty special thing."

N.D. High School Football

Class AAA all-state

First-team offense

Quarterback -- Cade Feeney, Bismarck Century; Rhett Clements, Bismarck Legacy; running back -- Barika Kpeenu, West Fargo Sheyenne; Austin Frey, Mandan; wide receiver -- Talon Hoffer, Fargo Shanley; Elijah Klein, Mandan; Tyler Terhark, Sheyenne; offensive line -- Peyton Lotysz, GF Red River; Joe Kava, Shanley; Elijah Kirkeby, Sheyenne; Andrew Leingang and Konnor Stordalen, Century.

First-team defense

Defensive line -- Jaxon Duttenhefer and Kobe Poitra, Mandan; Lucas Schweigert, Century; Tommy Bright, Sheyenne; linebackers -- Marcus Gulley, West Fargo; Zach Rodgers, Sheyenne; Damon Dixon, Century; Derry Lentz, Minot; defensive backs -- Sibomana Enock, Fargo South; Ty Satter, Fargo Davies; Peyton Fisher, Fargo North; Nick Hinsz, Bismarck; Cody Sorenson, Century.

Second team

No positions designated

Tommy Falk and Jacob Hilgeman, Jamestown; Brady Dvorak, Red River; Jack Carlson, Arthur Harris, Reid Hartness and Truman Werremeyer, Fargo Davies; Justin Milliard, Fargo North; Cooper Mattern, Fargo Shanley; Bless Flomo, Fargo South; Dustin Mertz, Carter Birrenkott and Carson Hegerle, West Fargo; Grant Anderson, Cade Garcia and Skyler Reidinger, Century; Isaiah Huus, Thomas Colby and Caleb Dockter, Bismarck; Josh Haag, Legacy; Peyton Hanson, Dickinson; Dane Carlson and Will Kleinknecht, Mandan; Payton Philion, Minot; Denver Sheets and Caleb Doeden, Williston.