Soldotna senior Dylan Dahlgren accepts the team’s runner-up award after the Division II state football championship game against Lathrop at Service High School in Anchorage on Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021.(Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)

Soldotna senior Dylan Dahlgren accepts the team’s runner-up award after the Division II state football championship game against Lathrop at Service High School in Anchorage on Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021.(Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)

SoHi’s Taylor, Dahlgren win major all-state awards

Soldotna junior Brayden Taylor and Soldotna senior Dylan Dahlgren earned major awards in all-state football awards announced Sunday.

At the Division II level, Taylor made the first team at defensive back and was named the Defensive Player of the Year. Dahlgren made the first team at tight end and defensive line and was named the Lineman of the Year.

The Offensive Player of the Year went to Jarren Littell of Lathrop, the Assistant Coach of the Year went to Christopher Wentland of North Pole and the Coach of the Year went to Luke Balash of Lathrop.

Also making the first team for the Stars were sophomore Gehret Medcoff at fullback, senior Kaidan Spies at guard and senior Noah Harper at outside linebacker.

At the Division III level, Redington’s Jaden Spaulding was Offensive Player of the Year, Houston’s Kiderro Fono and Monroe’s Aaron Conwell were co-Defensive Players of the Year, Redington’s Mason Brouillet was Lineman of the Year, Houston’s Dave Reilly and Monroe’s Shaun Conwell were co-Assistant Coaches of the Year and Redington’s Mathias Weinberger was Coach of the Year.

The peninsula was represented on the Division III first team by Kenai’s James Sparks at halfback, Kenai’s Wade James at kicker and Homer’s Carter Tennison at punter.

Soldotna coach Galen Brantley Jr., whose team lost the Division II state title game to Lathrop, said his team did not have the volume of all-state first-teamers as in past years, but he said that’s because a realignment this year led to the most competitive division in which he has been head coach. Brantley Jr. took over the program in 2007.

He said this group of players will always stand out to him.

“I’ll remember how resilient they were through all the times things didn’t go their way with all the COVID nonsense,” Brantley Jr. said. “They persevered through all those things and that will help them when they are far away from football.”

Brantley Jr. said Dahlgren plans to play at the next level. In the regular season, Dahlgren caught 15 balls for 300 yards and five touchdowns.

“He’s talented and he’s one of the stronger leaders on the team,” Brantley Jr. said. “He’s a solid player we could run behind to get yards and he developed as a pass catcher after playing guard the year before.

“His strength was at defensive end, and that’s the position we feel he can play at the next level.”

Despite the tough competition, Brantley Jr. said Taylor at free safety was pretty much a unanimous selection for the top defensive player. He had multiple interception returns for touchdown and a few blocked punts, and Brantley Jr. said those big plays often came at big times.

“We’re excited for him,” Brantley Jr. said. “This is a steppingstone as he gets ready for next season. The best part about this is having him back for another year.”

Medcoff, who had 124 carries for 1,235 yards and 18 touchdowns in the regular season, is another young piece to build around.

“He’s gifted,” Brantley Jr. said. “For a young guy, he’s got great speed and he’s physical and runs through a lot of tackles.”

Spies was not the most physically imposing player, but Brantley Jr. said Spies more than makes up for that.

“He’s someone that plays really well in our offense, where the guards are pulling nearly every play out in front,” Brantley Jr. said. “He’s not as big as a lot of guys you see, but he’s technically sound, knows all the rules and he’s a really solid player for us.”

Harper was impressive enough at outside linebacker to get recognized despite missing time due to injury.

“From a cerebral standpoint, he’s like a coach on the field,” Brantley Jr. said. “For a young guy, he really understands football. Even going through film, he just understands at a higher level how they’re trying to attack him.

“He’s going to make a great coach someday.”

Kenai finished third in the Mid Alaska Conference and lost to eventual Division III champion Redington in the state semifinals. With Redington, Houston and Monroe Catholic all having standout seasons at Division III, spots on the first team were hard to come by.

James Sparks and Wade James were able to make it happen for Kenai.

“With James (Sparks), what it came down to was his athleticism, his quickness and just being able to make plays out of nothing,” Kenai coach Dustin Akana said. “We could always count on James to make plays whenever he got the ball.”

Akana said Wade James was rewarded for his incredible leg. The coach said James even had a 45-yard field goal in practice this season and only missed one extra point all year.

“The thing with Wade is we went against a lot of teams with good returners,” Akana said. “We’d tell him where to kick it, and he’s kick it right on the spot.”

Akana said he was proud of the way Kenai’s second-teamers worked too, particularly interior lineman Daniel Myers, who took on double teams all season.

All-State football

Division II

Offensive Player of the Year — Jarren Littell, Lathrop.

Defensive Player of the Year — Brayden Taylor, Soldotna.

Lineman of the Year — Dylan Dahlgren, Soldotna.

Assistant Coach of the Year — Christopher Wentland, North Pole.

Coach of the Year — Luke Balash, Lathrop.

First team


Quarterback — Jarren Littell, Lathrop; Halfback — Cashes Reaves, Eagle River; Tyler Clooten, Lathrop; Fullback — Gehret Medcoff, Soldotna; Wide receiver — Dylan Jeffus, Wasilla; Kaden Bostwick, North Pole; Dean Silva, Lathrop; Tight end — Dylan Dahlgren, Soldota; Tackle — Cal Tipton, Palmer; Justice Nelson, Lathrop; Guard — Parker Glastetter, Palmer; Kaidan Spies, Soldotna; Cody Webb, Lathrop; Center — Wyatt Nelson, Lathrop.


Defensive line — Justin Tagle, Chugiak; Seth Halton, Eagle River; Dylan Dahlgren, Soldotna; Gabriel Hollett, North Pole; Justice Nelson, Lathrop; Inside linebacker — Jacob Skelton, Eagle River; James Opp, Lathrop; Keegan Laughlin, Lathrop; Outside linebacker — Noah Harper, Soldotna; Tyler Clooten, Lathrop; Defensive back — Kolton Carlson, Eagle River; Brayden Taylor, Soldotna; Tim Grisso, Wasilla; Peyton George, Lathrop.

Special teams

Kicker — Jadon Sheveland, Wasilla; Punter — Keegan Laughlin, Lathrop; Return specialist — Peyton George, Lathrop; Long snapper — Colter Thomas, Chugiak; Utility player — Elijah Deans, Lathrop.

Second team


Quarterback — Brayden Taylor, Soldotna; Halfback — Brock Wilson, Soldotna; Nic Clark, North Pole; Fullback — James Opp, Lathrop; Wide receiver — Elijah Barnes, Palmer; Tight end — Gabriel Hollett, North Pole; Tackle — Seath Hatton, Eagle River; Logan Katzenberger, Soldotna; Ashton Edwin, North Pole; Guard — Rick Davidge, Lathrop; Center — Gage Delozier, Eagle River.


Defensive line — Hayden Buckley, Palmer; Payson White, Wasilla; Wyatt Nelson, Lathrop; Wayne Snowden, Lathrop; Inside linebacker — John Rajek, Chugiak; Brock Wilson, Soldotna; Nic Clark, North Pole; Outside linebacker — Auston Littledog, Eagle River; Kaden Bostwick, North Pole; Defensive back — Elijah Barnes, Palmer; Devin Clark, North Pole; Chancen Rombawa, Kodiak; Kobe Amio, West Valley.

Special teams

Kicker — Jarren Littell, Lathrop; Punter — Kadon Friesen, Chugiak; Return specialist — Elijah Barnes, Palmer; Long snapper — Kaden Bostwick, North Pole; Utility player — Wayne Mellon, Soldotna.

Division III

Offensive Player of the Year — Jaden Spaulding, Redington.

Co-Defensive Players of the Year — Kiderro Fono, Houston; Aaron Conwell, Monroe.

Lineman of the Year — Mason Brouillet, Redington.

Coach of the Year — Mathias Weinberger, Redington.

Co-Assistant Coaches of the Year — Dave Reilly, Houston; Shaun Conwell, Monroe.

First team


Quarterback — Wayde Bowman, Redington; Fullback — Marlon Mease, Monroe; Halfback — Jaden Spaulding, Redington; James Sparks, Kenai; Wide receivers — Logan Seymore, Redington; Barney MC, Monroe; Tight end — Evan Puryear, Monroe; Center — Clinton Curren, Houston; Guards — Mason Brouillet, Redington; Siu Sasiu, Houston; Tackles — Kiderro Fono, Houston; Samuel MacDonald, Redington.


Inside linebackers — Mason Brouillet, Redington; Kiderro Fono, Houston; Aliljah Agree, Monroe; Samuel MacDonald, Redington; Interior linebacker — Branden Fina, Houston; Aaron Conwell, Monroe; Outside linebackers — Keldin Nicol, Houston; Marlon Mease, Monroe; Defensive backs — Carter Barney, Monroe; Eric Preboski, Houston; Trevor Bowman, Redington.

Special teams

Kicker — Wade James, Kenai; Punter — Carter Tennison, Homer; Robert McGee, Monroe; Dallas Mattson, Redington; Returner — Carter Barney, Monroe.

Second team


Quarterback — Robert McGee, Monroe; Ervin Feleti, Barrow; Halfbacks — Josh Baczuk, Valdez; Truit McCaughey, Nikiski; Wide receivers — Bryce Murdock, Redington; Brett Gilmore, Seward; Tight end — Keldin Nicol, Houston; Center — Jabin Collins, Monroe; Guards — Charlie Chamberlain, Nikiski; Alijah Agee, Monroe; Tackles — Aaron Conwell, Monroe; Dennis Mott, Valdez.


Interior lineman — Charlie Chamberlain, Nikiski; Alijah Agee, Monroe; Dennis Mott, Valdez; Daniel Myers, Kenai; Inside linebacker — Pomai Vargas, Redington; Truit McCaughey, Nikiski; Outside linebacker — Wyatt Williams, Valdez; Kamdyn Doughty, Homer; Defensive backs — Brady Bostic, Nikiski; Bridger Beck, Kenai; Tommy Cronin, Seward.

Special teams

Kicker — Tommy Cronin, Seward; Punter — Alijah Agee, Monroe; Long snapper — Roc Riggle, Kenai; Utility player — Stephen Felix, Monroe; Returner — Jaden Spaulding, Redington.

Honorable mention


Inside linebacker — Ervin Feletti, Barrow.

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