ESCANABA - With eight All-Class selections leading the way, Superiorland placed 18 players on the 2012 All-Upper Peninsula prep football team as selected Wednesday by members of the U.P. Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association.
Meeting at the Hereford & Hops restaurant in Escanaba, the UPSSA membership picked players from Large Schools (Divisions 1-7) and Small Schools (Division 8 and 8-man).
Ishpeming and Marquette placed two players apiece on the All-Class list among Marquette County teams.
Marquette Senior High School’s Alex Sherbinow evades a tackle by Negaunee’s Tyler LaJoie during a 64-yard touchdown run in the second quarter of their game Oct. 12 in Marquette. Sherbinow was named by the UPSSA to the Upper Peninsula All-Class team as a running back while LaJoie was an All-Large Schools defensive back. (Journal file photo by Zach Jay)
Senior offensive lineman Brad Wootke (6-foot-2, 255 pounds) and senior linebacker R.J. Poirier (5-11, 205) - both named the top players on the line and on defense, respectively, in the Mid-Peninsula Conference - picked up All-Class nods for the Hematites.
"Brad's our strongest player, an excellent lineman and a great drive blocker," Ishpeming head coach Jeff Olson said. "He also has good technique."
"Poirier's our smartest football player and is extremely strong," he added, noting the player recorded 69 tackles (19 solo) to lead the Hematites.
Joe Iwanicki, OG, Marquette
Brad Wootke, OT, Ishpeming
Kenner Brouillire, B, Manistique
Alex Sherbinow, B, Marquette
Max Nelson, E, Manistique
Alex Dempsey, DT, Negaunee
Mat Gonzalez, DE, Manistique
R.J. Poirier, LB, Ishpeming
Senior offensive guard Joe Iwanicki (5-11, 225) - the Great Northern Conference Lineman of the Year - and senior running back Alex Sherbinow (6-0, 200) picked up All-Class spots for the Redmen.
"Joe was the leader of our offensive line and made all our line calls," Marquette head coach Dave L'Huillier said. "When we needed some tough yards, he was the person we ran behind."
Sherbinow ran the ball 211 times for 1,287 yards (6.1-yard average) and 14 touchdowns. Against Negaunee in a 34-26 Marquette victory, the All-Great Northern Conference back rushed for an unofficial 252 yards against the-then undefeated Miners.
"He's durable and can break tackles," L'Huillier said. "He can run people over or run outside."
Negaunee senior Alex Dempsey (6-0, 225) made the All-Class list as a defensive lineman for the M-PC champion Miners. He came up with 68 tackles, six sacks and five fumble recoveries.
"He has a good nose for the ball, is very intelligent and is a hard worker," Negaunee head coach Paul Jacobson said.
For Manistique, running back Kenner Brouillire, offensive end Max Nelson and defensive end Mat Gonzalez all gained top nods at their positions.
Brouillire (6-0, 185), a senior who also made the All-U.P. list as a kicker (16 of 16 PAT kicks), led the M-PC with 1,247 yards rushing (5.7 average) and scored 18 TDs; Nelson caught the ball 18 times for 448 yards and six scores in seven games; and Gonzalez reportedly recorded 22 sacks.
Gaining Large School offensive nods were seniors Jared Gigot (6-4, 265) of Marquette and Eric Kostreva (5-7, 185) of Ishpeming.
"He has worked hard in the weight room and with our run-dominant team, we ran behind Joe (Iwanicki)?and Jared (Gigot)?all year," L'Huillier said.
Kostreva, named the M-PC Back of the Year, picked up 1,153 yards rushing (7.3 average) while scoring 17 TDs. He also caught five passes for 65 yards.
"He only played three full games, as we'd get him out early," Olson said. "He has good speed and vision and can make great cuts. He can run inside the tackles or outside."
On defense, senior Adam Francis (6-0, 195) and junior Tyler LaJoie (5-10, 165) of Negaunee; senior C.J. Redfearn (5-10, 290) of Gwinn; senior Joey Lyle (6-1, 180) of Ishpeming; and senior A.J. Grazulis (6-6, 220) of Marquette gained spots on the Large Schools squad.
"Adam is a tough, hard-nosed kid who just loves the game of football," Jacobson said of Francis, who recorded 112 tackles, three sacks and two interceptions.
LaJoie made the All-U.P. list as a safety and as a return specialist. He came up with two interceptions and 64 tackles on defense. On kick returns and punt returns, he averaged 27.4 yards and 11.5 yards, respectively.
"He's headsy and always around the ball," Jacobson said.
Gwinn's Redfearn posted 50 tackles (eight solo) at defensive end while forcing three fumbles.
"He moves well for a big man - he bench-presses 300 pounds - and is a vocal leader," Modeltowners' head coach Darren Sinnaeve said.
Lyle came up with 41 tackles (17 solo), four sacks and a fumble recovery at defensive end for the Hematites.
"He's just solid, particularly at not letting the (opposing) quarterback get outside," Olson said. "He's a talented, strong player."
Grazulis is a defensive end who recorded 39 tackles, two sacks, two pass deflections and a fumble recovery for Marquette.
In the Small Schools and eight-player division, senior end Dan Steward (6-3, 175) of Superior Central and junior end Jimmy Veker (6-3, 200) of L'Anse, as well as senior linebacker Cody Goldsworthy (6-3, 215) of L'Anse pocketed All-U.P. laurels.
Steward caught 40 passes for 820 yards and 10 scores for SC; Veker snagged 16 aerials for 271 yards and six TDs for L'Anse; and teammate Goldsworthy turned in 128 tackles (52 solo) and three sacks for the Purple Hornets.
Craig Remsburg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 251. His email address is email@example.com.