Lake Area Offensive Player of the Week
James Cooper 6-3 170 Sr WR Muskegon Oakridge: No receiver in Lake Area history caught more TDs in a game than Cooper’s six from junior QB Brady Luttrell in Oakridge’s statement defeat of Muskegon Catholic Central. At 6-3 he created a matchup problem that Oakridge exploited relentlessly, as Cooper’s six scores of six, four, 24, three, 27 and 30 yards, were one off the state record. The Lake Area record of five was shared by Johannesburg-Lewiston’s Nelson David in 1999, Ottawa Hills’ Sergio Pinto in 2000 and Kalamazoo Christian’s Joel Lindner in 2007. Cooper finished with 10 catches for 130 yards as Oakridge’s 45-26 triumph ended Catholic Central’s 26-game winning streak.
Lake Area Defensive Players of the Week
Kobe Burse 6-2 190 Sr DB/WR & Hunter Broersma 6-1 180 Sr DB/WR Mona Shores: They each had more defensive TDs individually than West Ottawa’s offense could mount in totum as the Sailors rolled 55-0. Burse recovered a fumble and Broersma returned a pick 91 yards for a TD. They also did it on offense, with Burse catching and Broersma running for a score. Both players are committed to the MAC, Burse to Miami and Broersma to Western Michigan.
Lake Area Northern Michigan Player of the Week
Jared McLean 5-9 170 Jr RB/DB Charlevoix: He’d already had what many would consider a good day when he brought back Elk Rapids’ opening kick for an 85-yard TD. But that wasn’t even his longest score. That came on a 93-yard run, one of five rushing touchdowns as McLean carried the ball just 10 times for 298 yards. He also made 10 tackles as Charlevoix beat the Elks 53-30.
Lake Area Small School Player of the Week
Spencer Peterson 6-5 225 Grand Rapids NorthPointe Christian: He had some strong competition from another QB, Saugatuck junior Blake Dunn, but it’s tough to ignore the tying of a state record. That came when Peterson ran for five first-quarter touchdowns against Hamtramck in the opening game of the Gridiron Classic at Grand Valley State. He added another, his longest of the afternoon 37 yards, in the second quarter. He ran 18 times for 189 yards in NorthPointe’s 55-20 win. Peterson becomes the fifth player in state history to score five times in a quarter and the third from the Lake Area. Mona Shores’ Lawrence Kimble did it against Zeeland East in 2005 as did Johannesburg-Lewiston’s Marcus Ewing against Bellaire in 1999.
Lake Area Coach of the Week
John Shillito, Zeeland West: The resume speaks for itself. Shillito has already been in the state football coaches’ hall of fame for a decade and won 240 games and three state titles. West’s 42-34 defeat of Oak Park in the Gridiron Classic was yet another impressive victory. The Dux’ wing-T moved the ball at will in the first half, scoring on every possession. Oak Park has a state championship coach of its own, Greg Carter, and the Knights, their roster heavy on FBS recruits, came out with a five-man front in the second half. That slowed down a bit an all-new offensive line. Until Shillito began to exploit what emerged as the strength of that group, 6-4, 235 senior Zach VanValkenburg at right tackle and 6-3, 250 junior tight end Connor Chupailo. VanValkenburg is a three-year defensive starter but a newcomer to offense and Chupailo was making his first career start. West ran not just off tackle, but sprung some big gains around Chupailo as well as the clinched the game in the fourth quarter.
Class of 2016
Christian Boyd 6-2 270 Sr DL Muskegon Mona Shores: Defensive MVP of the LMFR’s spring combine and the top 2016 prospect in the Lake Area without an FBS offer … which is kind of hard to believe if you saw him in last season’s D2 state final. Boyd is explosive off the grass, has violent hands, second and third effort and uses that bubble butt to generate power. Consistent effort instead of flashes this season will be key. While undersized for tackle, at only 16 with the season starting, his best football is ahead of him.
Tyler Lamica 6-3 205 Sr LB Grand Rapids Christian: He closed 2014 with a flourish, 16 tackles against St. Johns in the Division 3 playoffs. As an outside linebacker Lamica had five sacks and recovered two fumbles as a junior. He’s quick and fluid, but you can expect to find more helmets on him this season as he’s GR Christian’s leading returning tackler. There need to be 15-20 more pounds between now and the first practice at whatever college campus he finds himself. Lamica and his Eagles teammates won’t lack for ample chances at quality video, their schedule is among the state’s toughest with South Christian, Muskegon, Hudsonville and Zeeland East in addition to the always rugged league slate that includes Lowell, Caledonia and East Grand Rapids.
Brent Murray 5-11 195 Sr RB/LB Petoskey: The Northmen are the favorite in the Big North and feature the league’s most talented backfield, with fullback Murray having run for 1,300 yards and 22 TDs in 2014; senior Garrett Lundteigen is a big-play threat (he had the Northmen’s only TD in their playoff loss to Muskegon); and 6-3, 210 senior QB Evan Whitmore has the athleticism and intangibles to play somewhere in college even if not under center. Murray tested as the strongest player at the LMFR’s combine last March in Grand Rapids, and then caught the ball well at the LMFR’s Traverse City camp in May.
Spencer Peterson 6-5 225 Sr QB Grand Rapids NorthPointe: The last time we saw Peterson in pads it was in 2013 for Forest Hills Northern in a one-point Division 3 district final loss to Grand Rapids Christian. He could end up one of the Lake Area’s fastest rising prospects if he produces after a year off with his transfer from Forest Hills Northern. Supply and demand are on Peterson’s side because the 2016 class lacks big pocket passers other than he and Holland’s 6-6, 205 Wade Buckman. Peterson has the better arm and is a good athlete — he could be a small college basketball player if not a scholarship QB. As a sophomore he completed 34-of-84 passes for 631 yards and 6 TDs. Another transfer QB who set out last year and is poised for a big season is 6-1, 190 senior Lucas Fotis of Grand Rapids Christian.
Ian VandenBerg 6-1 190 Sr ATH Paw Paw: As good as Paw Paw QB Jay Doll was, it’s not like he ws getting the ball to chumps. VandenBerg has one of the most impressive combinations of speed and power in the Lake Area, a threat as a runner or receiver. The proof is ink, he holds school records with a 99-yard TD and both the 100 and 200 meter dashes in the spring. And he’s one of the most recruit-able players, with 4.5 speed and a 4.0 gpa.
Michael Williams 5-8 170 Sr ATH Wyoming: Even on a 1-8 team Williams’ talent stood out. Put him at, say, Zeeland West and he’d be a 1,500 yard, 30 TD running back. He’s one of the Lake Area’s fastest players with 4.4 speed, then adds to the package with a 36″ vertical. He was a major YAC threat as a junior with 47 catches for 900 yards and eight TDs. He was also Wyoming’s top defensive player as a strong safety/outside linebacker.
Class of 2017
John Pupel 6-1 180 Jr ATH Traverse City Central: A possible “three-way” player for TC Central as he’ll share time at QB with senior Reagan Cotton, play running back when he’s not, and his college position is at safety. Pupel was outstanding at the LMFR’s Northern Michigan exposure camp, when he ran a 4.68 second 40 and 4.28 second pro agility.
DL Corey Malone Hatcher 6-3 245 Jr St. Joseph: The Lake Area’s No. 1 prospect in the 2017 class, recruited as a defensive end but has also starred at middle line backer for St. Joe. He has over a dozen offers, including Alabama, MSU, Ohio State, Notre Dame, Penn State and UM.
DL Christian Boyd 6-3 285 Sr Muskegon Mona Shores: A three-year starter and probably the top performer for the Sailors in last year’s state final. Boyd was Defensive MVP at the LMFR spring combine and could be one of as many as five FBS recruits in Mona’s senior class.
DL Carl Myers 6-3 250 Sr Grand Rapids West Catholic: Has any team had a better run on defensive linemen than West Catholic with Dan Green, Mitchell Stanitzek and Bryce Witham? All are different players, Myers an interior brawler who has started on consecutive state championship teams. He’s a two-way starter and state champion shot putter.
DL Johnathan Berghorst 6-3 255 Jr Zeeland East: Slowed by injury last fall, showed just how good he was on the camp circuit. Added size and strength have turned Berghorst from a MAC defensive end recruit to a likely Big Ten tackle prospect. He has offers from Illinois and WMU.
LB Zack VanValkenburg 6-4 235 Sr Zeeland West: He’ll be a third-year starter and the Dux are 25-2 in that time. He switched from D end as an underclassman to middle linebacker in 2014 and made 97 tackles. The Ivy League recruit will also start at offensive tackle.
LB Dom Shermeta 6-0 215 Sr Muskegon Mona Shores: He was the leading tackler for the Division 3 state runner-up. He’s put on 10 pounds since then, and will also start at running back for the Sailors.
LB Luke Sage 6-0 185 Sr Boyne City: He was the defensive leader for the Division 6 semifinalists Ramblers. Sage had 142 tackles, including 10 sacks, two interceptions and four fumble recoveries.
DB Jamari Booker 6-0 185 Sr East Kentwood: Strong safety who can also play outside linebacker in a Falcons’ defense that favors speed over size. He had 72 tackles including four sacks as a junior and ran a 4.6 40 at the LMFR’s spring combine.
DB Tyler Bradfield 6-0 190 Sr Rockford: He led Rockford with 81 tackles. A versatile, athletic playmaker who also had two picks, blocked a kick and returned a fumble for a TD. Ran a 4.6 40 at the LMFR spring combine.
DB Dante Razzano 6-2 190 Sr Edwardsburg: He made five picks at cornerback in 2014. Razzano is also one of the Lake Area’s top QBs with 1,230 yards total offense and 23 TDs.
DB Marlon Dorsey 6-1 165 Sr East Kentwood: Cornerback had what would have been a good season for many in just the 2014 regional final with three picks against Hudsonville. He had 65 tackles and five interceptions for the year.
- DL Gabe Baumann 6-3 245 Sr Rockford
- DL Nate Umlor 6-6 240 Jr Allendale
- DL Taylor Woodwyk 6-2 250 Sr Hudsonville
- DL Jon Pierre Nkolo 6-3 220 Sr East Kentwood
- LB Michael Holdship 6-0 215 Sr Cadillac
- LB Nate Jones 6-0 200 Sr Muskegon Catholic Central
- LB Terrion Hill-McKay 6-1 205 Sr Muskegon
- LB Evan Plate 6-3 220 Jr Greenville
- DB Kobe Burse 6-2 190 Sr Muskegon Mona Shores
- DB Darece Robertson 5-10 160 Sr Muskegon Mona Shores
- DB Keyante Carpenter 5-9 175 Sr Muskegon
OL Jacob Cerny 6-5 290 Sr Traverse City West: TC West may have lost one Big Ten tackle, MSU pledge Thiyo Lukusa, for his senior season to New Jersey, but returns another Big Ten tackle in Cerny, who recently committed to Illinois.
OL Michael VanHoeven 6-5 305 Sr Paw Paw: He’s a two-time all-conference guard for the Redskins and was Offensive MVP of the LMFR’s spring combine. VanHoeven has committed to EMU.
OL Derices Brown 6-2 275 Sr Muskegon: He’s started at guard for two straight state finalist teams. Also a productive defensive tackle.
OL Trenton Fincher 6-8 315 Sr East Kentwood: EK will be looking for a leader on the O Line with center John Keenoy matriculating to WMU. Fincher has an offer from EMU and recently visited Wisconsin.
OL Kyle Augustine 6-3 315 Sr Gaylord: The Big North is an offensive line hotbed, and here’s another prospect. Augustine has been a stalwart in the resurgence of the Blue Devils’ program under Will Cleaver. He’s a big-time run blocker at right tackle.
QB Jake Martin 5-11 175 Sr Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern: He led the Huskies to the playoffs in 2014, and they look to get past their Cedar Springs bane in 2015. Martin completed 90-of-131 passes for 1,289 and 10 TDs while rushing 122 times for 917 yards and 12 TDs. He’s also a standout in the defensive backfield.
RB Monterio Smith 5-10 160 Sr Comstock Park: He got stronger as his junior season went on and finished having rushed 105 times for 1,140 yards and 12 TDs. Smith also caught 4 TD passes.
RB Nolan Meekhof 6-1 220 Sr Grandville: One of the top all-around football athletes in the Lake Area. He missed the first three games last season with a hamstring injury but closed strong to finish the season with 145 carries for 984 yards and eight TDs.
TE Keegan Cossou 6-5 220 Jr Greenville: He caught six TDs last season. Also a standout on the defensive line. Cossou has offers from CMU and Toledo.
WR Gabe Steed 6-1 175 Sr Lowell: He’s been making big plays for the Red Arrows since he was called up late in his sophomore season. In his first year as a full-time varsity starter Steed caught 34 passes for 818 yards and 10 TDs. He also scored TDs on interception and kickoff returns.
WR Hunter Broersma 6-1 180 Sr Muskegon Mona Shores: He missed Mona Shores’ 2014 state final because of an illness, and the Sailors certainly missed his game-breaking athleticism on defense, offense and special teams. He scored seven TDs last season and made five interceptions. He’s committed to WMU.
Second Team Offense
- OL Juanye Johnson 6-4 275 Sr Muskegon
- OL Mike Bordeaux 6-3 255 Sr Muskegon Mona Shores
- OL Karson Murley 6-1 280 Sr Lowell
- OL Jake Boonstra 6-3 285 Sr Grand Rapids Kenowa Hills
- OL Ben Sherwin 6-5 240 Jr Traverse City Central
- QB Pat Naughton 6-2 190 Sr Comstock Park
- RB Brent Murray 5-11 195 Sr Petoskey
- RB Ian VandenBerg 6-1 185 Sr Paw Paw
- TE Sam Matthews 6-2 180 Sr East Grand Rapids
- WR Daryn Snow 6-3 190 Sr Portage Northern
- WR Adam Farah 6-1 165 Sr Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern