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Prep football: Divsion II All-State announced; peninsula players help Silver to victory

Both the Soldotna and Lathrop football teams went into the Division II state championship game this season with 9-0 records. The Malemutes emerged with a 21-18 victory, and with it the majority of the spoils in the Division II All-State awards announced Monday.

Lathrop received four of the five major awards and 12 first-team selections, while the Stars did not receive any of the awards and had four first-team selections.

“To the victor goes the spoils,” Soldotna head coach Galen Brantley Jr. said. “If you lose, even if it’s close, that’s just the way it goes. You take a backseat.”

Lathrop’s Tyler Clooten was the Offensive Player of the Year, Lathrop’s Cherub Adeniran was the Defensive Player of the Year, Lathrop’s Nathan Zody was the Assistant Coach of the Year and Lathrop’s Luke Balash was the Coach of the Year. Filling out the group was Eagle River’s Seth Hatton at Lineman of the Year.

The four first-teamers for the Stars were junior Gehret Medcoff at fullback, senior Joe Whittom at guard and inside linebacker, and junior Hakoa Montoya at tackle.

Medcoff made first team for the second straight season and Brantley Jr. said it will be great to have Medcoff back for another season next year.

“He’s certainly our bell cow,” the coach said. “He has the most carries and most yards. He’s the guy offensively when teams play us, he’s the first person they try and take away. He still finds a way to gain yards and make plays.”

While Brantley Jr. would have liked to see sophomore Wyatt Faircloth on the first team at running back and linebacker, or junior Zac Buckbee on the first team at defensive back, the coach did say the lack of slots for the Stars shows all of the talent at the Division II level.

That makes Whittom and his selection at both guard and inside linebacker all the more impressive. Whittom started at guard since his sophomore year.

“He’s the epitome of what we want at the position — toughness, the ability to run and pull, and the ability to block people in space,” Brantley Jr. said.

The coach said Whittom really improved on defense this season. Brantley Jr. said teams knew they had to block Whittom and still failed a lot of the time.

“He’s one of those guys that’s going to be pretty tough to replace,” Brantley Jr. said. “Anytime you have an emotional leader who also played a great deal of the time, replacing him is the most difficult thing.”

Montoya started for a second straight season at offensive tackle. He also improved at defense enough this season to get reps on the interior line.

“He’s a big, physical, strong offensive lineman,” Brantley Jr. said. “He’s explosive. He gets off the ball and moves people. He’s kind of like Gehret, we can build around him next year too.”

Peninsula players help Silver to crown

Kenai Peninsula players helped the Silver team to a 21-3 victory Saturday at the AlAska Shriners Football Classic on Saturday at The Dome in Anchorage.

The game is put on to showcase seniors, and seniors from Kenai Central and Soldotna played on the Silver team.

For Kenai, Bridger Beck played quarterback, Owen Whicker played cornerback, Wade James played wide receiver and Carnell Gump played defensive tackle. Beck threw touchdowns of 38 and 59 yards in the game, and was named the offensive player of the game.

Brantley Jr. said Whittom played for the Silver team and had a great game defensively.

Division II All-State

Offensive Player of the Year — Tyler Clooten, Lathrop.

Defensive Player of the Year — Cherub Adeniran, Lathrop.

Lineman of the Year — Seth Hatton, Eagle River.

Assistant Coach of the Year — Nathan Zody, Lathrop.

Coach of the Year — Luke Balash, Lathrop.

Offense

First team — Quarterback: Jaidas Huffman, Wasilla; Running back: Via Skipps, North Pole; Tyler Clooten, Lathrop; Fullback: Gehret Medcoff, Soldotna; Tight end: Max Larson, Wasilla; Wide receiver: Tim Grisso, Wasilla; Earl Parker, Lathrop; Center: Cody Webb, Lathrop; Guards: Rotuma Tonu, Chugiak; Joe Whittom, Soldotna; Tackle: Seth Hatton, Eagle River; Hakoa Montoya, Soldotna.

Second team — Quarterback: Solomon Wade, Lathrop; Jenner Webb, Lathrop; Running back: Tyson Billman, Chugiak; Wyatt Faircloth, Soldotna; Drew Legenza, Eagle River; Fullback: Zaire Stebbins, West Valley; Tight end: Gabriel Hollett, North Pole; Wide receiver: Kaine Clayton, Lathrop; Center: Ala Tuisaula; Guards: Michael Davis, West Valley; Parker Glastetter, Palmer; Kevin Spears, Lathrop; Tackle: Ashton Edwin, North Pole; Wayne Snowden, Lathrop.

Defense

First team — Outside linebacker: Kobe Amio, West Valley; Tyler Clooten, Lathrop; Inside linebackers: Cherub Adeniran, Lathrop; Aiden Roschi, Eagle River; Joe Whittom, Soldotna; Interior lineman: Gabriel Hollett, North Pole; Eric Kolomeychuk, Wasilla; Cody Webb, Lathrop; Wayne Snowden, Lathrop; Defensive backs — Tim Grisso, Wasilla; Kayne Clayton, Lathrop; Elhiyah Domique, West Valley; Earl Parker, Lathrop.

Second team — Outside linebacker: Nolan Farr, Eagle River; Aiden Gavalis, Soldotna; Inside linebacker: Kayson Asay, Palmer; Daniel Conley, North Pole; Wyatt Faircloth, Soldotna; Zaire Stebbins, West Valley; Interior lineman: Kenai Lepule, Soldotna; Luke Miller, Soldotna; Mervyn Pangilinan, North Pole; Nehemiah Tauaefa, Eagle River; Anthony Boyels, West Valley; Defensive back: Zac Buckbee, Soldotna; Collin Drumhiller, North Pole; Kaden Lockwood, Chugiak; Kaleb Sherman, Eagle River.

Specialty

First team — Kicker: Andrew Nielsen, Chugiak; Ryan Thomas, Lathrop; Punter: Andrew Nielsen, Chugiak; Return specialist: Kaine Clayton, Lathrop; Long snapper: Dawson Myers, Eagle River; Utility player: Marlon Mease, Lathrop.

Second team — Punter: Ryan Thomas, Lathrop; Return specialist: Zac Buckbee, Soldotna; John Levi, Lathrop; Utility player: Brayden Taylor, Soldotna.

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