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Tri-City Times unveils 2007 All-Area football selections



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November 28, 2007
TRI-CITY AREA — From late August to early November these were the athletes who made a name for themselves out on the gridiron.

Here is a glimpse at those players who were selected to the Tri-City Times All-Area football squad this fall.

Kicking

Steven Kunz, Almont.

The 6-1 and 190-pound senior proved true on 35 of 38 extra-point kicks and two out of two field goal attempts this fall. It was his first season at the varsity level.

Offensive Backs

Steve Brohl, Almont, quarterback.

Brohl completed 66 of 127 pass plays for 1,411 yards and 14 touchdowns during the 2007 campaign. He threw eight interceptions en route to those numbers.

The 6-2 and 205-pound senior also rushed for six touchdowns.

"He was a two-year starter for us," Almont Coach Jeremy Ferman said. "Steve led us to an 18-3 mark over the stretch and a pair of league championships," he noted.

"He is a great person and the hardest worker in the program. I look for Steve to play at the next level."

Brohl finished his final season on Almont's varsity as an All-Blue Water Area Conference first team selection and Associated Press Division 5-6 All-State honorable mention choice.

In addition to those honors, Brohl was the recipient of the Blue Water Area Conference's Most Valuable Offensive Player Award.

Eric Mann, Almont, halfback.

Mann generated a Tri-City best rushing output of 1,147 yards on 141 carries, an average of 8.1 yards per tote, while collecting 11 touchdowns this fall.

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Neal Zott, of Almont, looks to shed a Lake Fenton tackler during a Division 5 playoff game this season. Zott was named to the Associated Press Division 5-6 All-State first team last week. photo by Kevin Kissane.

"He was a very elusive runner and he had great vision," Almont Coach Jeremy Ferman said. "It was because of those assets Eric was able to lead the BWAC in rushing and rank second on our team as far as scoring was concerned," he noted.

The 5-8 and 165-pound senior wrapped up his second season at the varsity level as an All-Blue Water Area Conference first team pick.

Wes Jonik, Dryden, halfback.

Jonik amassed 817 rushing yards during the 2007 campaign.

The 5-8 and 160-pound junior took 109 totes to produce that total, leaving him with an average of 7.5 yards per carry. He registered 13 touchdowns and six PAT totes along the way.

Jonik also caught one pass for seven yards.

"Wes fought hard to come back from off season shoulder surgery that kept him in a sling until March," Dryden Coach Brian Tresnak said. "He caught on for us down the stretch rushing for 442 yards on 42 carries in our last three league games," he noted.

Jonik completed his third season on Dryden's varsity as an All-North Central Thumb League honorable mention selection.

Allen Clark, Dryden, fullback.

Clark notched an output of 615 yards on 120 carries, an average of 5.1 yards per tote, while contributing eight touchdowns and four rushing PATS to Dryden's cause this fall.

"We moved him from a guard to a fullback this year," Dryden Coach Brian Tresnak said. "Al is nicknamed "The Dozer" because of his running style," he noted.

"He was key to protecting a lead in the fourth quarter of games. Al was an excellent lead blocker for us."

The 5-11 and 225-pound junior has started all 27 games of his varsity career for the Dryden Cardinals.

Receivers

Neal Zott, Almont, split end.

The 6-1 and 175-pound junior made 38 catches for 1,001 yards, an average of 26.3 yards per reception, while hauling in 12 touchdowns during the 2007 campaign.

He also returned a punt and a kickoff for a touchdown.

"There is no doubt he will be receiving a lot of interest from colleges in the next year," Almont Coach Jeremy Ferman said. "Neal is a very talented athlete who has what it takes to compete at the next level," he noted.

Zott ended his initial campaign on Almont's varsity as an All-Blue Water Area Conference and Associated Press Division 5-6 All-State first team choice.

Tino Siewert, Capac, wide receiver/tight end.

The 6-3 and 222-pound senior, a second-year varsity performer, logged the second highest catch total among Tri-City players with 31 over seven games this fall.

Those receptions proved good for 334 yards, an average of 10.8 yards per catch. He collected six touchdowns en route to those numbers.

"He was a surehanded target who ran good routes," Capac Coach Tom Manney said. "When Tino was in the lineup we were a much tougher team to stop," he emphasized.

Mike Guerrero, Imlay City, wide receiver.

The 5-6 and 130-pound senior made 30 catches for 529 yards, an average of 17.6 yards per catch, while hauling in six touchdowns during the 2007 campaign.

"He played much bigger than his size," Imlay City Coach John Forti said. "Once he caught the ball Mike knew how to make things happen," he noted.

Guerrero finished his second campaign on Imlay City's varsity as an All-Blue Water Area Conference first team pick.

Mason Duke, Imlay City, tight end.

Duke hauled in 23 receptions for 331 yards, an average of 14.4 yards per catch, while making a pair of touchdown grabs for Imlay City this fall.

"He provided us with a surehanded target," Imlay City Coach John Forti said. "When we were in need of picking up a first down it was Mason we went to often and he delivered," he noted.

The 6-4 and 240-pound senior concluded his third season at the varsity level as an All-Blue Water Area Conference first team selection.

Linemen

Alex Wegner, Capac, center.

Reliability game in and game out was the forte of Wegner during the 2007 campaign.

"He took care of the football consistently which is the number one job of someone who plays his position," Capac Coach Tom Manney said. "Alex was definitely a key component to our running and passing games with his play up front," he noted.

"His importance to our team did not stop there either. He also provided us with excellent leadership out on the field."

The 6-1 and 257-pound senior completed his third season on Capac's varsity as an All-Blue Water Area Conference first team choice.

Nick Vicari, Dryden, center.

Vicari, a 5-10 and 280-pound junior, proved an impact performer for the Dryden Cardinals up front this fall.

"He was a solid power blocker at the point of attack," Dryden Coach Brian Tresnak commented. "Nick has quick feet and moves well for someone of his size," he noted.

"He has good recognition of the changes in defensive fronts. Nick was the most consistent linemen on our team and was not afraid to get down and dirty while doing whatever it takes to get his job done. He does not make or tolerate excuses. Nick was a key to us generating 2,936 yards of offense this fall."

Vicari wrapped up his second season at the varsity level as an All-North Central Thumb League first team pick.

Travis Litkovitz, Dryden, guard.

Like Vicari, Litkovitz was a force to be reckoned with during the 2007 campaign.

"He made the move from center to guard this year and excelled as a result," Dryden Coach Brian Tresnak said. "Travis was a great power blocker head-on, but also had the ability to really blast someone when he was called on to pull," he noted.

"As a team we finished with 2,936 yards of offense this fall. Much of that output was due to the play of Travis."

Litkovitz, a 6-1 and 260-pound senior, ended his fourth season on Dryden's varsity as an All-North Central Thumb League second team selection.

Andrew Grant, Almont, tackle.

The Almont offense proved a potent one this fall, thanks in part to the contributions of Grant.

"He was a two-year for us and helped anchor the right side of our offensive line. "His presence up front proved key to us gaining 2,800 rushing yards," he noted.

"He was also a good pass blocker for us."

The 6-5 and 268-pound senior capped his final season at the varsity level with All-Blue Water Area Conference honorable mention plaudits.

Defense

Linemen

Alex Wegner, Capac, noseguard.

Though known primarily for his prowess on the offensive side of the football, Wegner also excelled defensively for the Capac Chiefs this fall.

The 6-1 and 257-pound senior drove that well-taken point across by registering 28 solo stops over nine games, an average of 3.1 per outing.

"He was an impact performer on both sides of the football," Capac Coach Tom Manney said. "When an opponent lined up across from him they knew they had better be prepared to play," he emphasized.

Wegner wrapped up season number three at the varsity level as an All-Blue Water Area Conference first team choice.

Jeff Simian, Almont, tackle.

The 5-9 and 235-pound senior amassed 37 solo stops during the 2007 campaign.

His defensive credentials also featured five tackles for a loss and five quarterback sacks.

Simian also recovered a fumble and broke up a pass play.

"He was a high energy athlete," Almont Coach Jeremy Ferman said. "Jeff was the second strongest player in our program and used that to his advantage out on the field," he noted.

"His presence on the line demanded a double team and that freed up Ethan Coucke (linebacker) to make the amount of tackles that he did."

He wrapped up his third season on Almont's varsity as an All-Blue Water Area Conference honorable mention selection.

Travis Litkovitz, Dryden, tackle.

The 6-1 and 260-pound senior, a four-year veteran at the varsity level, provided Dryden with 22 solo stops, 33 assisted tackles, eight quarterback sacks, three forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and one pass breakup this fall.

"He was asked to play out of position at defensive end for much of the season," Dryden Coach Brian Tresnak said. "Travis was still able to put up pretty good numbers," he emphasized.

"When he got to move back to inside he was one of the most dominant tackles in the NCTL."

Joe Tiseo, Almont, tackle.

Despite seeing his season cut short due to an injury, Tiseo made what time he did have with the Almont Raiders count during the 2007 campaign.

He finished with 28 solo stops, requiring just four games to post those formidable statistics.

His defensive credentials also included six tackles for a loss and two quarterback sacks.

"There is no telling what kind of numbers Joe might have put up had he stayed healthy," Almont Coach Jeremy Ferman said. "To his credit, he stayed positive and supported his teammates from the sidelines both in practice and on game days the rest of the season," he noted.

"Joe was a leader in every sense of the word. He will definitely be missed when next season begins."

The 6-0 and 250-pound senior concluded his third season on Almont's varsity as an All-Blue Water Area Conference first team choice.

Joe Harvey, Capac, tackle/end.

Harvey checked in with 25 solo stops during the 2007 campaign.

"Wherever we needed him to line up he did so without questioning it," Capac Coach Tom Manney said. "Joe was a team player in every sense of the word," he noted.

"He led not only on game night but in practice as well. "

The 6-3 and 240-pound senior completed his second season on Capac's varsity as an All-Blue Water Area Conference first team selection.

In addition to that honor, Harvey earned his team's Most Inspirational Player Award at the Capac Fall Sports Awards Banquet.

Linebackers

Mason Duke, Imlay City.

Duke supplied 73 solo tackles in nine games, an average of 8.1 per contest, this fall.

In addition to those numbers, Duke contributed one interception to Imlay City's cause.

"He was a force for us," Imlay City Coach John Forti said. "It seemed as if Mason was in or around almost every defensive stop we had this year," he noted.

The 6-5 and 240-pound senior lineup completed season number three at the varsity level as an All-Blue Water Area Conference first team selection.

Steven Mack, Almont, linebacker.

Mack provided 86 solo tackles, including five stops for a loss, two fumble recoveries and one interception during the 2007 campaign.

In addition to those numbers, Mack contributed two fumble recoveries and one interception to Almont's cause.

"He has anchored our defense the past four years," Almont Coach Jeremy Ferman said. "Steve had a good nose for the football," he noted.

The 5-9 and 175-pound senior finished his final campaign as an All-Blue Water Area Conference honorable mention pick.

Ethan Coucke, Almont, linebacker.

Coucke supplied 63 solo stops and 13 assists despite missing two games this fall.

His defensive credentials featured five tackles for a loss, one quarterback sack and one interception.

"He was the best linebacker on our team," Almont Coach Jeremy Ferman said. "Injuries limited Ethan to just nine games this season," he noted.

"He improved every game. That was due to a great off season in the weight room which helped improve his strength and speed."

The 6-1 and 200-pound senior, a two-year starter, ended his final season on Almont's varsity as an All-Blue Water Area Conference honorable mention selection.

Ruben Nino, Capac, linebacker.

Nino supplied 46 solo stops over nine games, an average of 5.1 per outing, during the 2007 campaign.

In addition to those numbers, Nino wound up with a pair of fumble recoveries.

"He was a leader for us out on the field," Capac Coach Tom Manney said. "Ruben was responsible for relaying the defensive signals to our team and did a good job doing that," he emphasized.

"Week in and week out he ranked among our most productive tacklers. His consistency allowed him to lead us in that category this fall."

The 5-11 and 197-pound senior wrapped up season number two at the varsity level as an All-Blue Water Area Conference first team choice.

In addition to that honor, Nino was named his team's Defensive MVP at the Capac Fall Sports Awards Banquet.

Allen Clark, Dryden, linebacker.

Clark collected 25 solo stops, 58 assisted tackles, four sacks, four forced fumbles, a fumble recovery, a pass interception and a pair of pass breakups for Dryden this fall.

"He is the best player on our team," Dryden Coach Brian Tresnak said. "Al was responsible for our defensive calls and adjustments," he noted.

"He is extremely intelligent and a hard worker. His dedication in the off season is unequalled. Al is a true workhorse who leaves everything on the field. He is also an honor student and an excellent citizen off the field."

The 5-11 and 225-pound junior finished his third season on Dryden's varsity as an All-North Central Thumb League first team pick.

Defensive backs

Mike Guerrero, Imlay City.

Guerrero generated 17 stops, including six solos, for Imlay City during the 2007 campaign.

In addition to those numbers, Guerrero intercepted seven passes and recovered a pair of fumbles.

"He was often outsized but he never used that as an excuse," Imlay City Coach John Forti said. "Mike used his quickness and knowledge of what our opponent was likely to do in a given situation to produce the numbers he did," he noted.

The 5-6 and 130-pound senior defensive back saw his second season at the varsity level draw to a close as an All-Blue Water Area Conference first team honoree.

Neal Zott, Almont, defensive back.

The 6-1 and 175-pound junior furnished 20 solo stops, nine assisted tackles, one tackle for a loss and five passes defensed in this rookie season at the varsity level.

His defensive credentials also featured four interceptions.

"Neal was quick, leaped well and had excellent speed," Almont Coach Jeremy Ferman said. "It wasn't often that he got beat in our defensive backfield," he noted.

Josh Walker, Almont, defensive back.

Before being sidelined with a season-ending injury versus Richmond, Walker had contributed 26 solo stops for Almont during the 2007 campaign.

Those defensive credentials also included three passes defensed and two interceptions.

"He was the second best athlete and best cornerback on our team," Almont Coach Jeremy Ferman said. "Josh had an excellent season despite missing several games," he noted.

The 6-0 and 215-pound senior finished his second season on Almont's varsity as an All-Blue Water Area Conference first team pick.

Eric Tietz, Dryden, defensive back.

Tietz amassed 24 solo tackles, 31 assisted tackles, a half sack, one forced fumble, four fumble recoveries and two pass breakups this fall.

It took the 5-8 and 150-pound junior, a two-year veteran on Dryden's varsity, six-and-a-half games to produce those numbers.

"He was our leading tackler and top defender until he got hurt against North Huron," Dryden Coach Brian Tresnak said. "Eric has a natural nose for the football and is a hard hitter," he noted.

Second team - Jon Botwin, Capac, quarterback; Eric Tietz, Dryden, halfback; Steve Mack, Almont, halfback; Mark Mersino, Almont, halfback; Chris Bruce, Capac, halfback; Kevin Bollaert, Capac, wide receiver; Frank Calabro, Dryden, offensive tackle/guard; Evan Crean, Dryden, defensive tackle; Frank Palermo, Imlay City, defensive tackle; Anthony Theel, Capac, defensive end; Chris Walters, Imlay City, defensive end; Wes Jonik, Dryden, linebacker/defensive back; Mike Owen, Almont, linebacker; Ryan Baker, Imlay City, linebacker; Jacob Zuby, Capac, defensive back; Darren Hunsucker, Capac, defensive back; and Paul Parzynski, Almont, defensive back.

Coach of the Year - Jeremy Ferman, who guided Almont to a 10-1 overall mark, a 9-0 regular season showing and a pacesetting 7-0 Blue Water Area Conference record, garners Tri-City Times All-Area Coach of the Year accolades.

Sports Editor, Kevin Kissane has been covering sports for the Tri-City Times for over 20 years and is one of the most recognizable personalities in the area. Kevin when not covering anything from little league baseball to football, or softball to basketball, can be found on the links playing his favorite sport, golf.
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