Chugiak senior Derryk Snell won the Gatorade Alaska Boys Football Player of the Year on Monday.
Soldotna senior Brenner Furlong was looking to become the first player since the award was first given out in 1985 to win the award twice.
Snatching the award away from the big schools is always a tough task, and that task was made tougher this season by the 6-foot-2, 220-pound Snell. According to Gatorade, the running back and wide receiver had 2,197 yards of offense and scored 37 offensive touchdowns. He also had four sacks, recovered three fumbles, forced three fumbles and snared an interception.
Snell also won the Railbelt Conference and Division I offensive players of the year the past two seasons. He has verbally committed to Montana State University and led the Mustangs to a 9-1 record this season, losing to Bartlett 75-62 in the Division I state semifinals.
The award is about more than what happens on the football field, and Snell checked that box by being an active volunteer in his church, the Lions Club, Eagles Club and Chugiak-Eagle River Chamber of Commerce.
Meanwhile, Soldotna head coach Galen Brantley Jr. said Furlong improved his stats from last season. During the regular season, Furlong rushed for 1,214 yards and 16 touchdowns, averaging 9.4 yards on his 129 carries. Brantley Jr. pointed out Furlong’s numbers came in a four-back system where touches are limited.
In a 35-12 Division II semifinal victory over North Pole, Furlong scored four touchdowns while running for 225 yards on 15 carries.
In a 21-0 victory over Palmer in the championship, Furlong had one score and 109 yards on 15 carries as the Stars won their sixth-straight title and 59th straight game.
“Snell is a great player,” Brantley Jr. wrote via text message. “His numbers were absolutely ridiculous. Individual awards often go with statistics.
“Brenner is a great player and an even better teammate. He wouldn’t trade any of his state championships for another Gatorade award.”
Furlong did repeat at offensive player of the year for the Northern Lights Conference and Division II all-state teams this season.