All-Lake Team: Small School

Unlike our player rankings, the All-Lake Team isn’t based on college potential (though there are certainly potential college players on the list) but for their performance in the 2012 high school season. The small school team covers Division 5-8 teams.

MVP: Daniel Green  6-0  280  DL/OL  Grand Rapids West Catholic

Coach of the Year: Andy Busch, Newaygo
Busch became Newaygo’s head coach a week before practice started in August. All the Lions did was go 9-3 and reach a Division 5 regional where they lost to Grand Rapids West Catholic, but gained nearly unanimous respect in the game. All this at a school that as recently as 2009 and 2010 had consecutive 0-9 seasons.

OFFENSE

QB  Jake Swander  5-11  170  Jr  Grayling
It was his first year as Grayling’s starting quarterback in what proved to be the perfect merger of arm and system. Swander simply lit it up. He completed 175-of-340 passes for 2,888 yards and 22 TDs and 8 interceptions. He also ran for two TDs.

RB  Geovante Weston  5-11  190  Sr  Kalamazoo Hackett
Weston was a classic workhorse back for Hackett. He carried the ball 197 times for 1,575 yards and 14 TDs. He had a game to remember against Parchment, when Weston’s number was called 52 times — the third-highest single-game total in state history — and ended up with 423 yards, the 16th best effort in state history.

RB  Adam Vosberg  6-2  185  Sr  RB  Gobles
A Division 7 Eric Dickerson, this was Vosberg’s third season topping 1,000 rushing yards. He ran 223 times for 1,707 yards and 26 TDs. For his career Vosberg ran for 4,314 yards and 60 TDs.

WR  David Kuzma  6-3  175  Sr  Grand Rapids West Catholic
The varsity transition for West Catholic sophomore quarterback Travis Russell was eased by the presence at receiver of Kuzma, a big, veteran target. At no time did that connection prove more crucial than in their comeback playoff opening win at Hopkins, when Kuzma had two fourth-quarter TD catches.  Going into the Division 5 semifinals, Kuzma has caught 93 passes for 1,486 yards and 15 TDs.

WR  Brandon Moore  6-3  195  Sr  Montague
He started the season at QB, but also got in some reps at receiver along the way, and is the Lake’s No. 1 senior prospect at the position.  He ended up passing for 506 yards and three TDs, running for 535 yards and 11 TDs and receiving 219 yards and three TDs. A four-year letter winner and state champion, Moore will be remembered as one of the all-timers in the proud history of Montague football.

OL  Dalton Sulz  6-2  255  Sr  Mancelona
He just leveled defenders trap blocking in Mancelona’s double-wing offense. Mancelona coach Boo Derrer called Sulz the toughest, most hard-nosed kid he’s had in 18 years coaching. He was also a standout linebacker for the Ironmen, who went 9-0 in the regular season.

OL  Devin Ruppert  6-2  195  Sr  Pine River
Ruppert was Pine River’s top player on both sides of the ball. He was the offensive leader at tackle, while collecting 131 tackles as a linebacker. He’s the school’s all-time leader with 238 tackles.

OL  Matt Modreske  6-7  300  Sr  Hopkins
There was nothing fancy about Hopkins’ power offense, or Modreske’s approach, but they worked. At left tackle, he was the most physically intimidating small school lineman in the Lake area. Modrekse man-handled the competition in the O-K Silver as Hopkins went 9-0 in the regular season.

OL  Tony Kucharski  5-11  200  Sr  Hartford
How versatile and valuable is Kucharski? A one-time running back, as a senior he was first-team SAC South as both an offensive lineman and linebacker. He helped clear the way for an Indians rushing game that totaled over 3,000 yards in while averaging over 8 yards per carry. Defensively he totaled 99 tackles, including three sacks.

OL  Zach Murphy  6-3  210  Sr  Muskegon Oakridge
An outstanding center who also played on the defensive line and blocked a field goal attempt on special teams. Opened holes for talented junior running back Dan Shoop as Oakridge went 9-0 in the regular season and won the West Michigan Conference crown.

TE  Zach Decker  6-5  210  Sr  Schoolcraft
Schoolcraft could line him up from various spots, and with his size was a very tough cover at the Division 6 level. Decker was the leading receiver for a Schoolcraft team that went 9-0 in the regular season.

K  Tanner Nutting  5-10  140  Jr  Saugatuck
Nutting connected on 6-of-10 field goals, including a long of 41, and 26-of-29 extra points. He hit the game-winning field goal in overtime against Bangor. On kickoffs, Nutting had 14 touch-backs on 42 attempts.

DEFENSE

DL  Daniel Green  6-0  280  Sr  Grand Rapids West Catholic
Green has been a stalwart of three West Catholic teams that won the Division 5 state championship his sophomore season, and has now won two more regional titles. He gives you everything you need at defensive tackle, as he can occupy double teams, bull rush one-on-one or avoid blockers altogether with surprising agility. As a senior Green had 51 tackles, including 11 for loss.

DL  Nate Schafer  6-0  200  Sr  Beal City
Schafer is a two-way defensive tackle and center for Beal City, which is undefeated and playing in the Division 8 semifinals. In the regular season, Shafer had 43 tackles, including two sacks, and two fumble recoveries.

DL  Cari Campbell  6-2  220  Sr  Muskegon Catholic Central
He’s been a three-year starter on some terrific MCC teams, including the current version which is still alive in the Division 8 playoffs. He dominates as a rush end at the Class D level, recording 54 tackles and returning an interception for a 68-yard TD.

LB  Mike O’Brien  6-3  215  Sr  Maple City Glen Lake
An all-state basketball player, O’Brien’s athleticism and strength served him on the grid as well. He was named Northwest Conference MVP after Glen Lake went through the league schedule with a clean slate. He also started at tight end. He had the play of the game in Glen Lake’s Division 6 playoff win against Boyne City, shutting down a fourth-and-goal attempt. O’Brien was also at his best against the best team on the Lakers’ schedule, leading the way with 12 tackles in a playoff loss to Shelby.

LB  Ben Schroeder  5-11  175  Sr  Shelby
Shelby’s defense has strong players at all three levels, with the likes of  Kyle McGrew and Dillion Ankney up front, and Nathan Lentz and Shane Kajtazi in the backfield. Cleaning up at linebacker is Schroeder. Going into Shelby’s Division 6 state semifinal with Ithaca, Schroeder has 140 tackles (including 20 against Whitehall) and two interceptions. In Shelby’s second-round playoff win, it was Schroeder’s hit on Glen Lake’s QB that caused a fumble resulting in a 39-yard TD.

LB  Jacob Marsh  5-11  205  Sr  Montague
He leads the All-Lake team with 145 tackles, two more than his junior campaign when Marsh had 143 stops. He had some ridiculous efforts, like 27 against Mason County Central and 26 against Whitehall. A three-year starter, Marsh had two sacks and two interceptions.

LB  Larry VanBuren  5-10  190  Jr  Evart
VanBurn anchored a defense that helped Evart reach a Division 6 district final, the best playoff run in school history. He had 97 tackles, including nine sacks, and recovered three fumbles.

LB  Ben Mallo  5-7  170  Sr  Constantine
Mallo is bueno, a two-way standout for Constantine’s 2011 Division 6 state finalist team, and this year’s state semifinalist version. He is the Falcons’ leading tackler and also the top rusher having run for 1,251 yards and 12 TDs.

DB  Andon Ware  5-11  170  Sr  Baldwin
He’s so talented, Ware is receiving GLIAC and MAC recruiting attention despite playing at a Division 8 school. He had 74 tackles and eight interceptions — three of which he returned for TDs. As a running back, Ware ran 90 times for 1.074 yard. He had 20 total TDs.

DB  Alex Lewandoski  5-10  180  Jr  Muskegon Catholic Central
Even on a team with a lot of speed for Division 8, Lewandoski stands out with his playmaking ability. After starting at linebacker as a sophomore, he’s evolving into the star MCC needed back there after the graduation of Jacob Budde, and he’s still playing into the state semifinals. He had 70 tackles in the regular season, while rushing for 806 yards.

DB  Travis Bolin  5-9  165  Sr  Watervliet
When you can run in the 4.5 range at a Division 6 school, you’re likely to make an impact, and Bolin put together monster back-to-back years as a two-way receiver and defensive back. He made six interceptions and recorded 30 tackles as a senior. Bolin ended up with 15 career picks. Offensively he caught 45 passes for 969 yards and 24 TDS and ran for 448  yards and 5 TDs. He also served as the Panthers’ kicker, averaging over 40 yards a punt while converting 35 PATs.

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4 responses

  1. Paul M. Bonaccini | Reply

    Can’t tell you how much we have enjoyed your comments and analysis throughout the course of the year. Congratulations and continued success.

    1. Senior Staff Writer | Reply

      Thanks Paul!

  2. Just curios to how close Drew Marion was to being on the list for QB? The kid is one of the best players in northern michigan..

    1. Senior Staff Writer | Reply

      Verrrrry close, terrific player. Wrote about him a couple times this year.

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