Lake Area Honors: Week 1

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.


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