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Times All-Area grid team named


Squad dominated by upperclassmen


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Austin Dunnigan, of Dryden, hauls in a catch during a Genesee Area Conference gridiron clash versus Atherton. photo by Kevin Kissane.

December 01, 2010
TRI-CITY AREA—From the opening play until the final snap, these competitors set the bar high in their respective pursuits of a success-filled 2010 campaign.

So, it should come as no surprise, when you read their accomplishments have led to an appearance on this fall's edition of The Tri-City Times All-Area football lineup.

Here is a look at who made the ball club and the numbers they generated en route:

Kicking

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Peter Deppe, Almont, placekicker.

The 5-10 and 145-pound freshman connected on 26 of 27 extra-point kicks and this fall.

"Peter was automatic on the balls that he kicked this season," Almont Coach Jeremy Ferman said. "His commitment to getting better is awesome," he noted.

"He spends a lot of time working on his fundamentals. I should have brought him up sooner from the junior varsity. He will have a great career kicking for us and hopefully will play at the next level.

Offensive backs

Austin Morgan, Capac, quarterback.

Morgan completed 42 of 75 pass plays for 651 yards, including nine touchdowns, during the 2010 campaign. The 6-0 and 185-pound senior threw just two interceptions en route to those numbers.

"He had a great senior season for us," Capac Coach Tom Manney said. "Austin made few mistakes at the position and will be tough to replace when next year rolls around," he noted.

Sean Murphy, Dryden,

fullback.

Murphy supplied a Tri-City best output of 1,130 yards this season.

It took him 164 totes, an average of 6.9 yards per carry, to produce that total. He generated 15 touchdowns and nine PAT's along the way.

"This was Sean's first year on the offensive side of the football," Dryden Coach Brian Tresnak said. "He was moved to fullback from halfback after our scrimmage," he noted.

"Sean is perhaps the hardest runner we have had here since I took over. He has great vision and cutback ability at the second level."

Murphy, a 6-0 and 180-pound junior fullback, ended his second season on Dryden's varsity as an All-Genesee Area Conference second team selection.

Evan Shelton, Almont,

halfback.

Shelton rushed the ball 123 times for 970 yards, an average of 7.9 yards per carry, during the 2010 campaign.

He also had six receptions for 64 yards, leaving himself with an average of 10.7 yards per catch.

Shelton finished with 12 touchdowns to his credit.

"He was a very consistent player, dependable and fast," Almont Coach Jeremy Ferman said. "Evan became a huge contributor to our program from day one," he noted.

"He is very shifty, yet is a powerful runner. As a junior, he had the respect of his peers because of his focus and commitment. He is an awesome team player. Evan will be one of our captains next season as he should have an eventful senior year.:

The 5-10 and 165-pound junior halfback finished his first campaign on Almont's team as an All-Blue Water Area Conference first team choice.

Aaron Sammut, Capac, fullback.

Sammut pulled up third on the Tri-City rushing list, chewing up 855 yards of territory, this season.

It took him 138 totes, an average of 6.2 yards per carry, to amass that total. He collected 10 touchdowns along the way.

Sammut also caught eight passes for 56 yards, an average of 7.0 yards per reception.

"The image a lot of people have of him is as a bruising runner who would just as soon run over an opponent as around them," Capac Coach Tom Manney said. I am not going to disagree with that entirely but he also had deceptive speed to pull away from defenders once he got out into the open field," he noted.

The 5-10 and 220-pound fullback concluded his second season on Capac's squad as an All-Blue Water Area Conference first team pick.

Dave McKee, Capac,

halfback.

McKee rushed the ball 97 times for 746 yards, an average of 7.7 yards per carry, while collecting seven touchdowns during the 2010 campaign.

He also caught seven passes for 141 yards, an average of 20.1 yards per reception, with four touchdown catches.

"Dave probably would have approached 1,000 yards rushing had he not started out as our quarterback this season. "We made the decision to play him at a runningback position a few games into the season and it proved a good move for us."

McKee, a 5-8 and 170-pound junior, wrapped up the 2010 campaign as an All-Blue Water Area Conference first team selection.

Jordan Stanek, Almont, halfback.

Stanek pulled up fourth on the Tri-City rushing list, chewing up 726 yards of territory, this season.

It took him 112 totes, an average of 6.5 yards per carry, to amass that total.

He also caught 17 passes for 206 yards, an average of 12.1 yards per reception.

Stanek finished with 13 total touchdowns to his credit.

"He was a quick, fast, strong tough runner that missed one game due to an injury," Almont Coach Jeremy Ferman said. "Jordan had an outstanding senior season for us," he noted.

"He made a huge commitment last offseason to become a better athlete and it definitely showed this fall. Hopefully, he will get a chance at the next level."

The 5-10 and 182-pound senior wrapped up his second season on Almont's squad as an All-Blue Water Area Conference first team choice.

Anthony Closurdo, Capac, halfback.

Closurdo rushed the ball 91 times for 650 yards, an average of 7.1 yards per carry, while collecting seven touchdowns during the 2010 campaign.

He also caught 10 passes for 221 yards, an average of 22.1 yards per reception, with one touchdown catch.

"He was a patient runner who followed his blockers well," Capac Coach Tom Manney said. "Once he turned the corner and got outside of the defender it was a tough assignment to stop his progress," he noted.

The 5-11 and 174-pound senior concluded his second season on Capac's squad as an All-Blue Water Area Conference first team pick.

Receivers

Aaron May, Almont,

receiver.

May furnished 19 receptions for 258 yards, an average of 13.5 yards per catch, with four touchdowns this season.

"His competitive attitude was contagious among the team," Almont Coach Jeremy Ferman said. "Aaron was very coachable and dependable," he noted.

May, a 5-9 and 140-pound senior, wrapped up his second season on Almont's squad as an All-Blue Water Area Conference first team selection.

Austin Dunnigan, Dryden, senior, tight end.

Dunnigan hauled in 17 receptions for 323 yards, an average of 19 yards per catch, with three touchdowns during the 2010 campaign.

"He had one 17 of the 21 receptions we had as a team and threw one of the other four," Dryden Coach Brian Tresnak said. "Austin did an outstanding job getting open, despite the fact that he was the only consistent target we had this year," he noted.

"He was also a good downfield blocker and leader for us."

Dunnigan, a 6-4 and 180-pound senior, concluded his second season on Dryden's squad as an All-Genesee Area Conference honorable mention selection.

Dakota Perry, Capac,

tight end.

Perry had 11 receptions for 125 yards, an average of 11.4 yards per catch, with two touchdowns this fall.

"He is a surehanded target," Capac Coach Tom Manney said. "When we needed a clutch catch to sustain a drive Dakota was our go-to guy," he noted.

The 6-3 and 285-pound junior finished his second season on Capac's squad as an All-Blue Water Area Conference first team choice.

Linemen

Randal Flannigan, Dryden, center.

The Dryden offense got off to a solid start each play with Flannigan manning the middle.

"He did an awesome job of recognizing fronts and making adjustments at the line of scrimmage," Dryden Coach Brian Tresnak said. "Randal was a solid technical blocker with great power for key blocks," he noted.

"He and Brian Ladner did an excellent job opening holes inside for Sean Murphy."

Flannigan, a 6-0 and 235-pound senior, wrapped up his second year as a starter on Dryden's varsity with All-Genesee Area Conference honorable mention accolades.

Brian Ladner, Dryden, guard.

Like Flannigan, Ladner proved a force up front for Dryden this fall.

"He is one of the strongest offensive lineman we have had here in a long time," Dryden Coach Brian Tresnak said. "Brian is just a nasty, strong aggressive blocker who was key to us opening up holes all over the field," he noted.

"Whether pulling or blocking head-up, he is a force to be reckoned with."

The 6-0 and 245-pound junior completed his third year on Dryden's squad as an All-Genesee Area Conference first team pick for his offensive prowess.

Thomas Bolday, Capac, guard.

The Capac offense rolled up 2,429 rushing yards this season, aided by the blocking of Bolday.

"He is a great athlete," Capac Coach Tom Manney said. "Thomas gets out on the edge faster than anyone I have coached," he noted.

"He led by example. We will miss him a lot when next season rolls around.

The 5-11 and 185-pound senior ended his third season on Capac's varsity as an All-Blue Water Area Conference first team selection.

Jake Ferrell, Almont, guard.

A standout on both side of the football, Ferrell's presence up front often provided the impetus for Almont chewing up large chunks of territory at a time.

"He missed the final three games of the season due to a thumb injury," Almont Coach Jeremy Ferman said. "Jake was a powerful and explosive player who played with great leverage," he noted.

Ferrell, a 5-11 and 231-pound senior, completed his third year as a starter on Almont's varsity as an All-Blue Water Area Conference first team choice.

Chase Orzel, Almont,

tackle.

Regarded as Almont's top offensive lineman, Orzel had another outstanding season for Almont this fall.

"This is his third season as a starter," Almont Coach Jeremy Ferman said. His ability to play anywhere along the offensive line is a major asset to what we try to do," he noted.

"We look forward to Chase having an outstanding senior campaign. He was one of our captains this year and will be next year as well."

The 6-2 and 242-pound tackle finished his third year on Almont's squad as an All-Blue Water Area Conference first team pick.

Punting

Sean O'Brien, Capac, punter.

The 6-2 and 180-pound junior punted the ball 29 times for 885 yards, an average of 30.5 yards per kick, this fall. Four of those aforementioned kicks were inside the opposing 20-yard line.

This was his first year on Capac's varsity.

Defense

Defensive linemen

Brian Ladner, Dryden, tackle.

Ladner provided 16 solos and 26 assists, including one quarterback sack, to go along with one fumble recovery during the 2010 campaign.

"He was an excellent run stopping defensive tackle," Dryden Coach Brian Tresnak said. "Brian had a good burst to get upfield and pressure when needed and was strong enough to clog up the middle when asked of him," he noted.

The 6-0 and 245-pound junior wrapped up his third campaign on Dryden's squad as an All-Genesee Area Conference honorable honorable mention selection.

Jake Ferrell, Almont, tackle.

Ferrell was credited 38 total stops, including 23 solos, two one-and-a-half tackles for a loss, two quarterback sacks and contributed one fumble recovery to Almont's cause this fall.

The 5-11 and 231-pound senior, a three-year starter, was able to put up those numbers despite missing the final three games of the year due to a thumb injury.

"He was the heart and soul of our defensive line," Almont Coach Jeremy Ferman said. "When he went down with an injury we lost the major piece of the puzzle,"he noted.

"We will sorely miss his physical presence next season."

Ferrell finished his final season on Almont's squad as an All-Blue Water Area Conference first team choice.

Sean Murphy, Dryden, defensive end/linebacker.

Murphy wound up with 23 solos, 21 assists, three quarterback sacks, three forced fumbles and two blocked kicks (one field goal and one extra-point kick) during the 2010 campaign.

"He would have had better numbers but teams ran away from his side of the defense," Dryden Coach Brian Tresnak said. "Sean was a natural defender (aggressive with a great burst) with the ability to finish plays," he emphasized.

The 6-0 and 180-pound junior concluded his second season on Dryden's varsity as an All-Genesee Area Conference second team pick.

Ken Polzin, Capac, end.

Polzin collected 13 unassisted and 19 assisted stops, including two-and-a-half quarterback sacks this fall.

"He was a picture of intensity out on the field," Capac Coach Tom Manney said. "Ken could be counted on to produce week in and out," he noted.

Polzin, a 5-11 and 185-pound senior, wrapped up his second season on Capac's squad as an All-Blue Water Area Conference first team selection.

Dakota Perry, Capac, end.

Perry managed 12 solos and 17 assisted stops, with four-and-a-half tackles for a loss and pair of quarterback sacks during the 2010 campaign.

"He would have had more tackles but opposing teams often ran the other way," Capac Coach Tom Manney said. "Dakota's intimidating size and able to pursue was a reason for that offensive strategy," he noted.

The 6-3 and 285-pound junior finished his second season on Capac's varsity as an All-Blue Water Area Conference first team choice.

Linebackers

Thomas Bolday, Capac, linebacker.

Bolday accumulated 66 solos and 70 assisted stops, featuring seven-and-a-half tackles for a loss and one half quarterback sack this fall.

In addition to those numbers, Bolday provided Capac with one interception, one fumble recovery and one forced fumble.

"It seemed as though his name was called as the one who made the tackle on every play," Capac Coach Tom Manney said. "Thomas read what opposing teams were going to do well and always seemed to be in the right position out of the field," he noted.

"He led by example out on the field. Thomas gave 100 percent every snap and expected the same effort from his teammates."

Bolday, a 5-11 and 185-pound senior, closed out his third and final season on Capac's squad as an All-Blue Water Area Conference first team pick and was named the recipient of his league's Defensive MVP Award.

He also claimed his team's Defensive MVP Award and Chief Pride (Most Inspirational) Award at the Capac Awards Banquet.

Dustin Morgan, Capac, linebacker.

The 5-10 and 180-pound junior supplied 25 solo stops and 53 assisted tackles, with four-and-a-half tackles for a loss and one-and-a-half quarterback sacks during the 2010 campaign.

It was his first season on Capac's varsity.

"He was the mark of consistency on our defense," Capac Coach Tom Manney said. "Dustin ranked at or near the top of our defensive statistical leaders each week," he noted.

"That enabled him to post our second highest tackle total. It will be great having him back for one more season."

Aaron Sammut, Capac, linebacker.

Sammut contributed 38 solos and 28 assisted stops, with three tackles for a loss and two-and-a-half quarterback sacks this fall.

In addition to those numbers, Sammut logged two fumble recoveries, notched one interception, supplied a forced fumble and blocked a kick.

"He was one of our hardest hitters," Capac Coach Tom Manney said. "When you met up with him on the field and were tackled you went back to the huddle realizing that you had been hit," he noted.

Sammut, a 5-10 and 220-pound senior, wrapped up his second season on Capac's squad as an All-Blue Water Area Conference first team selection.

Nick Ouillette, Almont, linebacker.

Ouillette managed 63 solo tackles and 14 assists, with three tackles for a loss and a pair of quarterback sacks during the 2010 campaign.

"He is one of the most dedicated athletes that I have had the opportunity to coach," Almont Coach Jeremy Ferman said. "His commitment and leadership is what motivated us to earn back the BWAC championship," he emphasized.

"We will miss him next season."

The 5-8 and 192-pound senior finished his second and final season on Almont's varsity as an All-Blue Water Area Conference first team choice.

Rene Santana, Almont, linebacker.

Santana provided 52 solos and 26 assisted stops, including four tackles for a loss, this fall.

"He is a good football player and person," Almont Coach Jeremy Ferman said. "Rene is very coachable and eager to become the best that he can be," he noted.

"He will be one of our 2011 football captains and should have an outstanding senior season."

Santana, a 6-1 and 208-pound junior, completed his debut season on Almont's varsity as an All-Blue Water Area Conference honorable mention pick.

AJ Caldwell, Imlay City, linebacker.

The 6-0 and 190-pound junior was credited with 35 unassisted tackles during the 2010 campaign.

"He came into the season coming off an outstanding sophomore year," Imlay City Coach Ken Day said. "AJ once again stepped up, did what was asked of him and excelled," he noted.

"I am expecting big things from him next year.

This was Caldwell's second season on Imlay City's varsity.

Jake Jonik, Dryden,

linebacker.

Jonik supplied 23 solo and 16 assisted stops, including three-and-a-half quarterback sacks this fall.

In addition to those numbers, Jonik notched three fumble recoveries while playing just four-and-a-half games.

"He broke his hand at our scrimmage and missed the first month of the season," Dryden Coach Brian Tresnak said. "Despite that he was first or second in all major defensive categories except interceptions," he noted.

"He has great vision for a linebacker and a killer ability to close once he finds the ball. His return was one of the reasons why we were able to finish the season strong."

This was Jonik's third season on Dryden's varsity.

Defensive backs

Dave McKee, Capac,

cornerback.

McKee amassed 29 unassisted, 20 assisted tackles, notched six interceptions and broke up two pass plays during the 2010 campaign.

"He was coming off a solid sophomore campaign that saw him collect five interceptions," Capac Coach Tom Manney said. "This fall he picked up right where he left off and once again proved an impact performer for us," he noted.

The 5-8 and 170-pound junior wrapped up his second season on Capac's varsity as an All-Blue Water Area Conference first team choice and an Associated Press All-State honorable mention pick for Divisions 5-6.

Chad Jordan, Dryden,

cornerback.

Jordan wound up with 26 solo tackles, 12 assists, three pass interceptions (including one that was returned for a touchdown), three pass breakups, one fumble recovery and one forced fumble this fall.

"He was an excellent cover corner who would have had more impressive numbers if teams would have thrown the ball more against us," Dryden Coach Brian Tresnak said. "Chad did an impressive job making tackles on the perimeter when the contain was broken," he noted.

Jordan, a 5-10 and 145-pound senior, finished his second season on Dryden's squad as an All-Genesee Area Conference second team selection.

Kevin Creger, Almont,

safety

Creger furnished 33 total tackles, including 25 of the solo variety, during the 2010 campaign.

In addition to those numbers, Creger contributed five interceptions and two fumble recoveries to Almont's cause.

"Kevin is our best overall athlete," Almont Coach Jeremy Ferman said. "His competitive will to win is second to none," he emphasized.

"He really came into his own this season and we expect great things from him in the future."

This was Creger's first season on Almont's varsity.

Second team- Travis Tullio, Capac, placekicker, Tom Nowicki, Almont, quarterback; Ryan McDonald, Capac, center; Josh Clark, Almont, runningback; AJ Caldwell, Imlay City, runningback; John Loveless, Imlay City, runningback; Kenny Polzin, Capac, offensive line; Nick Ouillette, Almont, offensive guard; Derek Kopp, Almont, offensive tackle/defensive end; Josh Tucker, Capac, offensive line/defensive back; Mike Smith, Dryden, offensive tackle; Josh Harvey, Capac, wide receiver; Ryan McDonald, Capac, defensive line; Aaron May, Almont, cornerback; Sean O'Brien, Capac, defensive back; and Korbyn Anderson, Capac, safety.

Coach of the Year- Jeremy Ferman, who directed Almont to a 7-3 overall mark and a three-way tie for the BWAC's top spot with Capac and Cros-Lex at 6-1, as well as a Division 5 state playoff appearance, earns Tri-City Times All-Area Coach of the Year plaudits.

Ferman shares that distinction with Capac's Tom Manney. This fall he guided Capac to a 6-4 overall record and a share of the Blue Water Area Conference championship with Cros-Lex and Almont as well as Division 5 state playoff appearance.

Kevin Kissane has been covering high school sports for the Tri-City Times since 1985. When not standing on a field or court with his camera and notepad, he enjoys golf, travel and family. Kevin is a 1980 graduate of Capac High School, and is also a grad of St. Clair Community College and earned a degree in journalism from Central Michigan University.
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