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Downstate running back tops all-state team in 8-player football

Jameson Chesser does more than display his blazing speed and amazing moves on a football field.

The Adrian Lenawee Christian senior running back huddles with teammates and opponents, leading them in prayer after every game.

“We decided to invite the other team to be a part of it, and Jamie’s responsible for that,” Lenawee Christian coach Bill Wilharms said. “There is a brotherhood in football and it doesn’t matter if we’re all on the same team. We are so thankful, especially this year, for making it through a season of ups and downs, and he reiterates that in each prayer.”

Chesser was voted the 2020 Michigan Associated Press Player of the Year for eight-player football as a do-it all performer. He has committed to play at Indiana Wesleyan next year.

Wilharms was voted Coach of the Year, leading his team in its first year as an eight-player program.

He was looking for someone to set a positive tone for his team and zeroed in on the 5-foot-10, 175-pound Chesser with the makings of something special.

Chesser ran for 1,155 yards and 25 touchdowns on 79 carries, good for 14.6 yards per carry. He went over 200 yards in the past two games, leading the Cougars into the state semifinals before the season was halted by the coronavirus shutdown.

“After he makes a cut, he’s back to full acceleration on the next step,” Wilharms said. “His ability to cut, twirl and go fast again is incredible. He leaves people grabbing air.

“We put 12 of 13 guys on the field in practice, just so Jamie doesn’t think he can run through everybody. It forces him to keep his eyes going back and forth and seeing everybody.”

Chesser was voted Division 7-8 All-State last season when he scored 30 touchdowns,

This season, he also caught 26 passes for 427 yards and three scores and was 12 of 16 passing for 172 yards and two touchdowns. He is a skilled punter and kicker, averaging 43.3 yards per punt and booming a 47-yard field goal. Chesser is one of the top linebackers in the state. He had 82 stops, including 18.5 tackles for losses, four interceptions and five fumble recoveries.

The 18-player All-State first team also includes Portland St. Patrick’s Connor Cross and Powers North Central’s Luke Gorzinski at quarterback; St. Patrick’s Derec Fedewa at running back; Mayville’s Steven Gilbert and Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart’s Luke Predum at receiver; Colon’s Brandon Crawford, North Central’s Carter Eichmeier, Lenawee Christian’s Jacobus Keggereis and Sacred Heart’s Ben Wilson as linemen; Cedarville’s Grant Fountain and Suttons Bay’s Michael Wittman at linebacker; and Indian River Inland Lakes’ Derick Armstrong and Merrill’s Logan Heath at defensive back.

Genesee’s Alton Davis and Mayville’s Austin Middleton were selected as athletes while Lenawee Christian’s Clay Ayers is the kicker and Burr Oak’s Branson Hernandez is the punter.

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