Crete’s A.J. Page signs to play football for Briar Cliff on Wednesday

Crete’s A.J. Page signs to play football for Briar Cliff on Wednesday
Crete linebacker AJ Page (bottom center) along with his family and Crete head football coach Reed Manstedt.

CRETE, NE – Crete Cardinals middle linebacker A.J. Page put pen to paper Wednesday, signing his national letter of intent to play football for Briar Cliff.

Wednesday’s signing marked the end of a roughly two-month long recruiting process.

“I started talking with coach (Kenny Scott) a couple months ago,” Page said. “He’s the wide receivers coach and also a grad assistant there. I met with (head coach) Dennis Wagner starting in January.”

Briar Cliff, located in Sioux City, is still a young football program. The Chargers played their inaugural season in 2001, and have had only one winning season – 2018.

Briar Cliff finished 6-5 this past season, setting a new school-record in wins.

“First winning season, and they’ll only go up from there,” Page said.

Briar Cliff played hard, but ultimately fell to Doane in Crete, 17-7, on Oct. 20. The Tigers, along with Nebraska Wesleyan, had been in recent contact with Page, but he ultimately decided on the Chargers.

Page ended his senior year with 127 rushing yards on just nine carries and a touchdown as a fullback. At middle linebacker, the position to which he was recruited, the 6-foot, 205-pounder ended up with a team-high 47 tackles, six tackles for loss and a fumble recovery.

In all four years of Page’s career, Crete never won more than three games. The Cardinals finished 3-6 in 2018 and are a combined 10-26 over the last four seasons.

Regardless of all that, Page has valued his time wearing the Crete uniform, and looks forward to strapping on the pads again this fall.

“I just had fun,” Page said. “I really love football, and I’m excited to go play four more years. (Briar Cliff) is smaller, and that’s what I like. Everything’s really close. The players I’ve talked to seem to really like it, so I’m looking forward to it.”

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