Class of 2013
Michael Custer 6-2 175 Sr QB Zeeland East
He doesn’t pile up ridiculous passing numbers because ZE has two 1,000-yard rushers. In that mix, Custer does his job as a high IQ QB who does a good job spreading the ball around and making adjustments and is a huge reason they’re 9-0. His poised belies the fact that his is his first year as the starting quarterback. Custer has stepped up and made big throws when the Chix really needed him, most recently in Zeeland East’s one-point win over Muskegon. Custer completed 21-of-33 passes for 340 yards and two TDs in that one. For the season he’s hit on 103-of-163 throws for 1,421 yards and 17 TDs to only one interception. He’s also run for five TDs.
Zach Shepard 6-1 280 Sr OL East Jordan
It was a breakthrough season for a number of Lake Michigan Conference teams. East Jordan wasn’t one of them. But it was through no fault of their center, Shepard, who looks headed towards all-league honors for the second straight season. He’s been terrific as both a snapper and blocker for the Red Devils, with no missed snaps either on offense or special teams. Shepard finished in the top 10 for bench press at our Traverse City combine in July. As good as he is with his technique and strength, Shepard will have to show he’s fast enough to get out and contribute at the second level to keep plays alive.
Johndries Betts-Render 5-9 180 Sr RB Muskegon Reeths-Puffer
Reeths-Puffer’s junior offensive line got better and better as the season went on — including a season-ending win against Mona Shores — and Betts-Render was one of the main beneficiaries. He finished the season with 142 carries for 1,163 yards and 16 TDs.
Class of 2014
Spencer Viening 6-0 215 Sr RB/LB Zeeland East
There was a lot of talent on the field for Zeeland East’s win over Muskegon. But two players stood above the rest, because they weren’t just big, they weren’t just fast, but they played with a motor and great football instincts — Viening and another junior, Muskegon’s 6-4, 265 junior Kenneth Finley. Viening is a patient cutback runner who you aren’t going to bring down if you try to fool around above the waist. His 69-yard TD had a little bit of everything — speed, power, a spinning evasion and a nose to finish the play. He was just as good from his linebacker position, making the right reads to fill the holes and busting through Muskegon’s highly touted line to make plays in the backfield. Viening was the first one to put a helmet on Jalen Smith when East stymied the Big Reds’ go-ahead two-point attempt with a minute to play.