German football player dominating at Sedgwick

SEDGWICK, Kan. (KWCH) -- Eric Kohncke, a foreign exchange student from Hamburg, Germany, is dominating his first football season in Kansas for the Sedgwick Cardinals.

Kohncke played cornerback for his club team in Hamburg, but with his size and mobility, he moved to linebacker at Sedgwick. One main reason he moved to the states earlier this year was to play at a more competitive level.

"You can't compare it with here because America is just a whole other level," he said. "The basics I got in Germany and then I just improved a lot here in America."

Sedgwick head coach Jeff Werner said he's seen foreign players before, but nothing like Kohncke.

"First couple days of practice, you could tell he was very instinctive and he knew the terminology, which is very unusual," he said. "Even half my kids on the team don't know our terminology. And he is a super high motored kid, and that's something that you don't see all of the time, especially in a foreign exchange kid."

Something you also don't typically see is a student coming from over seas and breaking school records. The single-season solo tackle record for Sedgwick High School was set in 2009 at 81, but Kohncke wants his name up on the wall.

The junior linebacker has 66 solo tackles after five games, leading all of class 1A. The school record is 81. With an average of 13.2 solo tackles per game, he's on pace for 105.6 after an eight game season.

"He's one of the best defensive players we've had in the last five years, so to have him was a very good lucky draw," Werner said.

He's surely a rare addition to the Sedgwick team, yet he's just one of the Cardinals. In fact, the thing that shocked him the most about American culture is actually the one thing that makes him so quintessentially "American teen".

"I still feel that I get fatter," he said behind laughter. "People say I don't look like it, but I just feel like it because I don't really eat healthy. I try to but lunch is not everything."

Nutrition aside, Kohncke is thrilled with his time in Kansas so far and with leading his Cardinals to a winning record more than halfway through the season.

Read the original version of this article at www.catchitkansas.com.