ESCANABA - Reed Larson of Kingsford, Austin Grinsteiner of Stephenson and Joe Ostman of St. Ignace no doubt faced some tough challenges during the Upper Peninsula prep football regular season just concluded.
But Wednesday in Escanaba, the three experienced no competition when it came to pocketing major player awards at the annual U.P. Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association meeting.
Larson and Grinsteiner earned the Large School (Divisions 1-7) and Small School (Division 8 and 8-man) Offensive Player of the Year nods, respectively, by a unanimous vote.
Also unopposed was Ostman, named the Small School Defensive Player of the Year.
Larson, the co-Offensive Player of the Year in the Great Northern Conference, rushed for 1,407 yards (7,5 average) and scored 20 touchdowns for the U.P. Team of the Year Kingsford Flivvers.
A quarterback, Grinsteiner passed for 1,148 yards and 12 TDs for the Eagles. He also scored nine times on the ground.
U.P. Players of the Year
Offensive Player of the Year
Reed Larson, Kingsford Small School:
Austin Grinsteiner, Stephenson
Defensive Player of the Year
Clark Kangas, Calumet Small School:
Joe Ostman, St. Ignace
Ostman is a Saints linebacker who recorded 85 tackles and two sacks. The Ski Valley Conference Defensive Player of the Year has made a verbal commitment to Central Michigan University. In balloting for the Large School defensive award, Clark Kangas of Calumet gained 14 votes to four for Manistique's Mat Gonzalez. A linebacker, Kangas came up with 131 tackles (61 solo) for the Copper Kings. He recorded 17 tackles for a loss and three sacks. Gonzalez is reported to have made 22 sacks for the Emeralds at defensive end.