All-Lake Area: Division 3-4

This is the third of eight LMFR post-season honor teams, which include by school division, class of 2018 prospects, underclassman team, and the overall All-Lake Area Offense and Defense.

award

Muskegon senior linebacker Andrew Ward is the leading tackler for the Big Reds’ Division 3 state finalist team and the LMFR Division 3-4 defensive MVP.

Offense:

  • MVP Zac Saltzgaber  6-0  195  Sr  QB  Byron Center
  • QB La’darius Jefferson  6-2  210  Jr  Muskegon
  • OL Dane Stambaugh  6-3  335  Sr  Lake Odessa Lakewood
  • OL Erik Ditzhazy  6-5  270  Sr  Forest Hills Northern
  • OL Jacob Kochanny  6-4  260  Jr  Cadillac
  • OL Mason Shirrell  6-5  220  Sr  Muskegon Orchard View
  • OL Devin Sanders  6-0  250  Sr  Muskegon
  • TE Conner Chupailo  6-4  275  Sr  Zeeland West
  • RB Corey Hampton  5-9  190  Sr  Stevensville Lakeshore
  • RB Nolan Fugate  6-1  210  Jr  Grand Rapids Catholic Central
  • WR Kelvyn Valdez  6-3  185  Sr  Wyoming Godwin Heights
  • WR Jack Combs  6-2  180  Sr  East Grand Rapids

Defense:

  • MVP Andrew Ward  6-1  210  Sr  LB  Muskegon
  • DL Jayk Slager  6-5  235  Sr  Zeeland West
  • DL Jonathan Berghorst  6-3  275  Sr  Zeeland East
  • DL Eli Jackson  6-1  275  Jr  Muskegon
  • LB Austin Cline  5-11  180  Sr  Edwardsburg
  • LB Ali’vonta Wallace  6-1  210  So  Muskegon
  • LB Levi Six  5-10  185  Sr  Fruitport
  • LB Connor Bruinius  6-2  220  Sr  Forest Hills Northern
  • DB Jacorey Sullivan  6-3  205  Sr  Muskegon
  • DB Mitchell Dykstra  5-11  180  Sr  Hudsonville Unity Christian
  • DB Jalen Sartor  6-3  185  Sr  Grand Rapids Christian
  • DB Antonio Strong  6-0  180  Sr  Grand Rapids Catholic Central

Coach of the Year: Todd Kolster, Grand Rapids Catholic Central

All-Lake Area: Division 1-2

This is the second of eight LMFR post-season honor teams, which include by school division, class of 2018 prospects, underclassman team, and the overall All-Lake Area Offense and Defense.

xo3uools

Ian Hall was a three-year, two-way starter for Grandville and LMFR D1-2 Defensive MVP after leading the Bulldogs to an O-K Red title.

Offense:

  • MVP Jack Mandryk  6-2  185  Sr  QB  Hudsonville
  • QB David Kruse  6-0  185  Jr  Lowell
  • OL Nick White  6-0  245  Sr  Forest Hills Central
  • OL Sam Allen  6-3  265  Sr  Portage Central
  • OL Lane Potter  6-3  275  Sr  Hudsonville
  • OL Levi Seeley  6-3  265  Sr  Grandville
  • OL Cody Carone  6-5  305  Jr  Rockford
  • RB Josh Atwell  5-10  180  Sr  Grandville
  • RB Marcus Collins  5-11  215  Sr  Mona Shores
  • TE Keegan Cossou  6-5  235  Sr  Greenville
  • WR Xavier Wade  6-3  180  Jr  West Ottawa
  • WR Andre Welch  5-9  175  Sr  East Kentwood

Defense:

  • MVP  Ian Hall  6-1  230  Sr  DL  Grandville
  • DL Logan VanderMeulen  6-0  240  Sr  Lowell
  • DL Ryan Hayes  6-7  250  Jr  Traverse City West
  • DL Josh Jelenik  6-0  210  Sr  Rockford
  • LB Jeremiah Purnell  5-10  205  Sr  Wyoming
  • LB Evan Plate  6-3  220  Sr  Greenville
  • LB Khale Showers  5-11  205  Jr  Rockford
  • LB Luke Ensing  5-11  185  Sr  Grandville
  • DB Raine Potts  6-1  180  Sr  Portage Central
  • DB Marcus Remtema  6-0  185  Jr  Rockford
  • DB Bryce Clay  5-11  190  Jr  Forest Hills Central
  • DB Darius Pruitt  6-3  180  Jr  Kalamazoo Central

Coach of the Year: Noel Dean, Lowell

All-Lake Area: Underclassman Team

This is the first of eight LMFR post-season honor teams, which also include by school division, class of 2018 prospects, and the overall All-Lake Area Offense and Defense.

martinez

Muskegon Catholic Central freshman Cameron Martinez is the Lake Area’s Underclassman Offensive MVP after some breakout performances while platooning at QB for the undefeated Crusaders, who are favored to win another Division 8 state championship.

Offense:

  • MVP  Cameron Martinez  5-11  180  Fr  QB  Muskegon Catholic Central
  • QB Eric Wenzel  6-1  185  So  Kalamazoo United
  • QB Tobin Schwannecke  6-3  175  So  Traverse City Central
  • OL Peyton Young  6-4  310  So  Muskegon Oakridge
  • OL Logan Miller  6-5  270  So  Allendale
  • OL Logan Brown  6-6  260  So  East Kentwood
  • OL Marquis Cooper  6-2  280  So  Muskegon
  • OL Tyler Sikkema  6-5  260  So  Wayland
  • RB Shane Baker  5-11  185  So  Grandville
  • RB Owen Burk  5-10  175  Fr  Allendale
  • RB Donavon Webb  5-11  180  So  Holland
  • WR Damari Roberson  6-2  185  So  Mona Shores

Defense:

  • MVP Ali’vonta Wallace  6-1  210  So  LB  Muskegon
  • DL Mazi Smith  6-3  300  So  East Kentwood
  • DL Bryce Neff  6-2  235  So  Gaylord
  • DL Matt Bilski  5-11  225  So  Grand Rapids West Catholic
  • LB Ian Rodriguez  5-11  175  So  Rockford
  • LB Traven VanOss  6-0  200  So  Three Rivers
  • LB Ryan Ringler  5-9  180  So  Cedar Springs
  • LB Boone Bonnema  6-3  215  So  Zeeland East
  • LB Jacob Wahlberg  6-3  190  So  Mona Shores
  • DB TJ VanKoevering  6-3  185  So  Hudsonville Unity Christian
  • DB Bryce Stark  5-11  175  So  Montague
  • DB Tyrese Hunt-Thompson  5-11  160  So  Cassopolis

Lake Area Honors: Week 12

Lake Area Offensive Player of the Week

Kalil Pimpleton  Sr  QB  Muskegon: The Big Reds had little trouble with Byron Center in this D3 regional. Pimpleton ran for 160 yards and three TDs.

Lake Area Defensive Player of the Week

Raquis McDonald  Sr  DB  Muskegon: In the Big Reds’ D3 dismantling of Byron Center, McDonald had an interception that led to a Muskegon score and returned a fumble for a TD.

Lake Area Small School Player of the Week

Brandon Anderson  Jr  RB  Cassopolis: He ran for 172 yards and three TDs for Cassopolis, which beat Concord for the school’s first regional title.

Lake Area Northern Michigan Player of the Week

Mason Powell  Sr  QB  Pine River: He ran for 240 yards and three TDs in Pine River’s defeat of Ravenna in a D6 regional to give Pine River it’s first-ever semifinals berth.

Prospect Watch: Week 12

apsey

Junior Nick Apsey is a two-way playmaker for D6 semifinalist Maple City Glen Lake.

Class of 2017

Mike Doyle  6-4  240  Sr  DL  Lowell: He was one of the few starters back from the Red Arrows’ 2015 state finalist team. And now here they are again, one win away from a return visit to Ford Field. While Lowell mixes their fronts he looks best as a one technique tackle with the strength to hold the gap against double teams allowing linebackers to blitz and a swim move to get some QB pressure going up the middle. With his frame, toughness and Lowell pedigree, should be a popular D2 target.

Cameron Ekanayake  6-2  200  Sr  ATH  Edwardsburg: This QB has led the Eddies to an undefeated season including playoff wins over Hamilton, Stevensville Lakeshore and Chelsea. Their reward? A date in the D3 semis with Muskegon. Edwardsburg runs the wing T and while Ekanayake is a fine ball-handler, he’s not the smaller, quick, clever type of QB that often thrives hiding behind the dual tight ends. He’s a big, power runner who will take guys with him. He also plays cornerback for Ekanayake, and while he may not have the speed for that spot at the next level this is a physical winner that can help a team somewhere.

Austin McCullough  6-5  185  Sr  WR  Portage Central: He’s one of the Lake Area’s top dual-sport athletes, a scholarship talent in either basketball or football. There are a lot of similarities to Tyler Conklin, a basketball star at L’anse Creuse North who briefly played hoops at Northwood, walked on at CMU, and is now on NFL scouts’ radars as a tight end. For that to happen, he’d have to get more serious in the weight room, as he’s prioritized basketball thus far. At his size one might think McCullough does most of his damage using his size to post up on hitch or hook routes. But in reality he’s a true receiver, a natural route runner who doesn’t break stride and stretched the field for the Mustangs’ run-heavy offense for five TDs. Nor is just a finesse hooper running around out there, McCullough is a diligent blocker.

Class of 2018

Nick Apsey  6-1  200  Jr  ATH  Maple City Glen Lake: His brother, Trevor Apsey, was a terrific player now at Central Michigan, but never saw the team success like this, as Glen Lake will meet Pine River in the D6 semifinals. While he’s their top running and receiving threat, like his brother Apsey’s future is on the defensive side of the ball and gives the Lakers have a pair of college linebackers with Duke Angers inside and he outside. While he may play up North, speed is speed, and will be his ticket to the next level.

Elijah Gurley  6-3  220  Jr  OL  Forest Hills Central: The junior class will be yet another strong one on the offensive line in the Lake Area. Gurley isn’t one of the biggest or strongest right now, but one whom recruiters may take a flier on. He has good length and pass block technique at left tackle, a finesse complement to the terrific senior Nick White at right tackle, buying time for senior QB Tanner Hallock who loved to put up deep balls to junior Bryce Clay and senior Jack Uecker.

David Kruse  6-0  185  Jr  QB  Lowell: Few positions in the Lake Area come with the historic ramifications, pressure and storied excellence as being Lowell’s quarterback. Kruse has lived up to it, handling the veer like a vet and is undefeated so far in his first season as a starter replacing Ryan Stevens. He’s led Lowell to big-time comeback victories over Rockford and now, twice, Forest Hills Central. He ran for three TDs in the Rangers rematch for the D2 regional crown. Kruse’s oldest brother, Connor Kruse, was a starting offensive lineman at MSU, and this miniature version plays with a similar toughness. Kruse looks much bigger and stronger than his listed dimensions when running the ball, less surprising given that like so many of his teammates he also wrestles. He also had a good left arm on him.

Class of 2019

Tyrese Hunt-Thompson  5-11  160  So  Cassopolis: He’s been a major playmaker for Beatty High, and brought the entire arsenal in their D7 regional win over Concord. He caught a TD pass, ran for two TDS, and returned a fumble 75 yards for a score. If he can do just half that against Detroit Loyola in the state semifinals Hunt-Thompson can claim one of the top young talents in the Lake Area regardless of school size.

Lake Area Honors: Week 11

kelly

Frankfort junior Griffin Kelly is the most talented running back in Northern Michigan regardless of school size.

Lake Area Offensive Player of the Week

Nate Stephens  Sr  RB  Lowell: The future Harvard baseball player carried the ball 20 times for 145 yards and three TDs. Lowell beat Traverse City Central for a D2 district crown.

Lake Area Defensive Player of the Week

Connor Fischer  Sr  LB  Grandville: OK, technically it was a special teams play that earned the nod for Fischer. The Bulldogs trailed until the second half when he blocked a Rockford punt recovered by teammate Isaak Opatik for their first score. Grandville won the D1 district final 20-9.

Lake Area Small School Player of the Week

Cameron Martinez  Fr  QB  Muskegon Catholic Central: The freshman played with the efficiency of an upperclassman in MCC’s shutout win over Beal City in a D8 district final. Martinez was 6-of-7 passing for 130 yards and two TDs while running nine times for 63 yards and three TDs.

Lake Area Northern Michigan Player of the Week

Griffin Kelly  Jr  RB  Frankfort: He had the game-winning score, a 38-yard TD reception, with 13 seconds left to give the Panthers a 38-24 defeat of Lincoln Alcona in a D8 district final. Kelly also ran for 121 yards and a pair of TDs.

Lake Area Coach of the Year

Joseph Hyland, Grand Rapids West Catholic: He stepped into both a dream position, but one with great expectations replacing one of the Lake Area’s very best, Dan Rohn, under whom anything less than a state title was a disappointment. So far so good for Hyland, after West Catholic got its second playoff road win, 10-7 at Portland, in defense of their D5 state crown.

Prospect Watch: Week 11

childresss

Big Rapids’ quarterback/tight end combo Braeden Childress is a top 10 Lake Area prospect for the class of 2018.

Class of 2017

Jack Combs  6-1  175  Sr  WR  East Grand Rapids: There are a lot of talented uncommitted senior receivers. Combs has been one of the best averaging a TD per game for 8-2 EGR and if I’m a MAC school would love him as a preferred walk-on for special teams and a likely rotation slot receiver as an upperclassman. Combs is fast, catches the ball away from his body, is a QBs best friend with the way he adjusts to broken plays and a leader with he way he brings energy and blocks with as much enthusiasm as he runs routes.

Ian Hall  6-1  230  Sr  LB  Grandville: He’s a third-year, two-way starter on the line for Grandville, a quick-hitting technician at guard and explosive rusher off the end. He’s fast enough to have caught the O-K Red’s swiftest QB, Jack Mandryk, a couple times when they met in the regular season. If I’m a D2 that runs a base 30 defense, I’m all over Hall as a potential all-league weakside outside linebacker.

Class of 2018

Liam Cavanaugh  6-3  190  Jr  LB  West Ottawa: We profiled West Ottawa’s Xavier Wade, the Lake Area’s top junior receiver, early in the season. The Panthers have two more legit college prospects in the 2018 class, Cavanaugh and 6-5, 320 Bryan Johnson. Cavanaugh has a nice frame and wingspan. What he lacks in explosion and flexibility he counterbalances with coaching and fundamentals to end up in the right spots, whether filling holes against the run or dropping back in pass coverage. The same attention to footwork and detail make Cavanaugh an effective receiver as well.

Braeden Childress  6-4  215  Jr  TE/QB  Big Rapids: It was a down season for Big Rapids after winning a playoff game in 2015. A clone of Childress could have helped. He was the Cardinals’ most dangerous downfield receiving threat, and also the QB with the arm to make those throws. He has offers as a tight end from Central Michigan, where his brother Brandon Childress is a RS freshman receiver, and Toledo. The younger Childress runs precise routes often split wide, has soft hands and is deceptively fast for his big frame — so no surprise he was the sixth man on BR’s Class B runner-up basketball team. Would like to see more angry running and yards after the catch.

Darius Pruitt  6-3  190  Jr  DB/WR  Kalamazoo Central: Key part of an improved season for the Maroon Giants finishing 5-4. Still the kind of prospect we’ve come to expect from K-Central athletic if a bit raw and undisciplined. But Pruitt has the kind of talent, and playing in that color helmet, at times looks like he could be out there doing it for Muskegon. Puts the free in free safety, covering a lot of space to make plays on balls. Would be interesting to see Pruitt in coverage in a better league against better QBs where every pass play was a serious threat.

Niner Stark  6-3  185  Jr  DB/WR  Gull Lake: Wild name, man, smooth aware game.  Big high school cornerback with nice combination of ball skills, unhindered feet and hips, and the wingspan to get to the ball and cover space to offset lack of elite speed. If he doesn’t run in the 4.5s for college coaches still has the frame to move to safety where he’d be plus in coverage, or receiver as he has hands.

Lake Area Honors: Week 10

fisher-2

TC Central linebacker made a crucial pick in the Trojans’ biggest game of the season.

Lake Area Offensive Player of the Week

Matt Ellis  Sr  RB  Grand Rapids Christian: When GR Christian and Zeeland West meet in the postseason it’s always entertaining. While they didn’t combine to top 100 points like in 2012, the Eagles’ win came down to a winning score with 18 seconds to go in this D3 opener. Ellis had nine carries for 195 yards including TDs of 78 and 72 yards.

Lake Area Defensive Player of the Week

Grand Rapids West Catholic: Have to give it to a unit after what the Falcons did to commence the defense of the Division 5 crown. For the fourth time in the playoffs in as many years they beat Lansing Catholic holding a Cougars offense that had topped 40 points for the past month to a sole TD 28-6. LCC junior QB Michael Lynn III came in highly regarded in the Capital Area but ended up with enough interceptions to match the numeral in his name including one returned 36 yards for a TD by West Catholic’s Sam Neville.

Lake Area Small School Player of the Week

Ricky Clark  Sr  QB  Schoolcraft: He didn’t let a repeat of last year, when Constantine upset Schoolcraft, occur, leading them to a D6 district final with a 40-28 win. Clark threw for 226 yards and four TDs and ran in a pair of scores for unbeaten Schoolcraft.

Lake Area Northern Michigan Player of the Week

Jordan Fisher  Sr  LB  Traverse City Central: He made the crucial fourth-quarter interception against Traverse City West. It set up the Trojans’ winning score to beat their crosstown rival 13-12. They advance in Division 2 to play Lowell.

Lake Area Coach of the Week

Randy Vanderveen, Rockford: In his 20th season as the defensive coordinator for HOF coach Ralph Munger, Vanderveen continues to shut ’em down in one of the state’s ultimate grinder leagues. The latest victim was Hudsonville as a week after giving up two TDs losing the Rams gave up just one to Hudsonville this time to advance in the Division I playoffs 24-7. They held the O-K Red’s most explosive running QB, Hudsonville senior Jack Mandryck, to 32 yards on 20 carries.

Prospect Watch: Week 10

ager

“Boyne Tough” Jacob Ager has emerged as one of the Lake Area’s top 2018 linebacker prospects.

Class of 2017

Phil Paea  6-4  300  Sr  OL/DL  Berrien Springs: It’s never been an easy thing for a Lake Area prospect to get a U-M offer as the program historically favored Detroit and Ohio. For every  glaring exception like Drake Harris, there are those like Desmond Morgan, Ben Braden, David Harris, Rob Renes or Terrance Taylor that have gotten a chance and delivered. Paea is a physically dominant small school prospect who remains somewhat raw but should contribute to the Harbaugh Experience as an upperclassman. Against Berrien Springs schedule, he’s so athletic he looks like an overinflated fullback on offense, and linebacker on defense. A terrific run blocking guard who delivers with power on multiple hits per play.

Chase Tarwacki  6-0  180  Sr  DB  Edwardsburg: He’s missed some time with a groin injury with the undefeated Eddies. They’ll need him for their D3 playoff opener against Hamilton and dangerous sophomore running back Trenton Lane. Tarwacki is good in flow, where he’s able to hit smaller runners, wrap up the bigger ones. Looks more quick than fast, though can pile up yards on kick and interception returns.

Class of 2018

Jacob Ager  6-1  220  Jr  LB  Boyne City: He was all-league on the offensive line as a sophomore, and showed his athleticism and versatility this year starting at mike linebacker and h-back. While not a savant back there like his predecessor 2x All-Lake LB Luke Sage, Ager makes smart reads himself and is a good open field tackler. As you’d expect given his offensive line background, he delivers some nasty hits coming around the ends opening things up downfield for Ramblers runners. Should be a popular GLIAC recruit.

Class of 2019

Logan Miller  6-5  270  So  OL  Allendale: One of two key underclassmen starting for Allendale’s prolific offense, Miller at left guard and freshman Owen Burk at running back. Miller surprises with his quickness and moves well trapping. He had the finishing Block for Burk’s first TD in Allendale’s win over West Catholic to win a share of the O-K Blue title. The Falcons will have both their tackles back next year for their senior season, but could see Miller ending up there eventually. Needs to work on pad level, strength at point of attack.

Bryce Neff  6-2  235  So  OL/DL  Gaylord: There were underclassmen starting at both left tackles in Traverse City West’s win over Gaylord, West’s Andy Schollett and Neff for the Blue Devils. Neff also started at defensive tackle, and was Gaylord’s starting right tackle as just a freshman. On offense, Neff showed his versatility as he was able to get a hand on smaller speed rushers, and in one series when matched up against the Lake Area’s No. 3 2018 lineman got low and moved Ryan Hayes for a nice run gain. He showed decent wheels when pursuing the ball in West’s backfield. Good all-around player who is kind of a tweener now but has time to grow.

Lake Area Honors: Week 9

 

rendo

Watervliet senior QB Cameron Rendo concluded the regular season with a seven touchdown performance.

Lake Area Offensive Player of the Week

Zac Saltzgaber  Sr  QB  Byron Center: In what was the O-K Green championship game agaisnt Unity Christian, Saltzgaber ran for 259 yards and five TDs and threw for 103 yards and one score as Byron Center beat the Crusaders 40-19.

Lake Area Defensive Player of the Week

Jacob Milward  Sr  LB  Gobles: He came up huge in a 14-13 overtime win against Delton Kellogg with four sacks and an interception.

Lake Area Small School Player of the Week

Cameron Rendo  Sr  QB  Watervliet: He rushed for five TDs while throwing for 270 yards and two TDs in a blowout of Bangor.

Lake Area Northern Michigan Player of the Week

Danny Passinault  So  QB  Traverse City St. Francis: Playing for the NMFL Legends Division title against Boyne City, Passinault threw for two TDs and picked off a pass as unbeaten St. Francis blanked the Ramblers 22-0.

Lake Area Coach of the Week

Dave Lidgaard, Hudsonville: By beating Rockford 14-7 Hudsonville forced a three-way tie for the O-K Red title with Grandville and the Rams, the Eagles’ first time atop the Lake Area’s strongest league since 2007. It’s deja vu for 8-1 Hudsonville as they host Rockford in the playoff opener.