All-Lake Area: First Team Defense

DL Zach VanValkenburg 6-4 240 Sr Zeeland West
A middle linebacker as a junior who moved back to his more natural hybrid end spot, where VanValkenburg dominated for the Division 4 state champion Dux. He made 60 tackles, including 20 behind the line. He also started on offense at right tackle.

DL Carl Myers 6-3 260 Sr Grand Rapids West Catholic
He continues the West Catholic tradition of having dominant defensive linemen on state championship teams. Myers was bull strong at his right end position making 55 tackles and also went the other way as the Falcons’ right tackle on offense.

DL Nate Umlor 6-6 245 Jr Allendale
With St. Joseph’s Corey Hatcher-Malone injured, Umlor emerged as the top active college prospect in the Lake Area’s 2017 class, a high-major recruit as either a defensive end or tight end.

LB Dom Shermeta 6-0 215 Sr Muskegon Mona Shores
He was Mona Shores leading tackler for three years, which coincided with the best seasons in school history. He made 75 tackles for the Sailors and was also their leading rusher.

LB Max Dean 5-11 185 Sr Lowell
The stalwart of a defense that got the Red Arrows to the Division 2 state championship game. Dean led Lowell with 76 tackles, including 9 ½ sacks, during their regular season which included an undefeated O-K White title.

LB Nate Jones 6-1 205 Sr Muskegon Catholic Central
He was a four-year starter for the Crusaders, including three state championship teams. Jones made 80 tackles and fie interceptions for the Division 8 state titlist.

LB Luke Sage 6-1 195 Sr Boyne City
A repeat selection who led the Ramblers to consecutive Division 6 district crowns. Sage had 141 tackles, including 21 for loss, and over 400 as a three-year starter.

DB Jacob Buchberger 6-1 185 Sr Montague
He led the Lake Area with 11 intceptions and made 70 tackles for a team that went undefeated in the West Michigan Conference. As Montague’s QB, Buchberger ran for 1,531 yards and 21 TDs and threw for 1,005 and 15 TDs.

DB Tyler Bradfield 6-0 200 Sr Rockford
A repeat All-Lake selection, and justifiably so as Bradfield will go down as one of the best all-around players in Rockford history. He had 70 tackles, including six for loss, and two interceptions (one of them a 74-yard TD return). Bradfield also ran for two TDs, passed for a TD, caught seven TDs and returned two kicks for TDs.

DB Brayden Smith 6-4 180 Jr Byron Center
A rangy safety with a three-foot vertical leap who made 53 stops for the Bulldogs’ Division 2 playoff team. On offense he 626 yards and 10 TDs, while from special teams Smith was named an all-state punter.

DB Jake Sypniweski 5-10 160 Sr Grand Rapids Forest Hills Eastern
Key member of a defense that helped FHE to an historic season, winning a regional in Division 4. Sypniewski’s eight interceptions were the most of anyone from an O-K conference team, while making 50 tackles. Offensively he scored six TDs.


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