Pickford’s Storey named AP 8-player football Player of Year
By LEE THOMPSON
The Bay City Times
BAY CITY, Mich. — Even break time is no time to rest for Jimmy Storey.
He’s an all-go, all-the-time kind of athlete.
“His motor doesn’t stop. Even on water breaks, he sprints to the water and back — and that’s not an exaggeration,” Pickford coach Josh Rader said. “Sometimes I say, ‘What in the world? Who does that?’ But that’s Jimmy.
“It’s no act. That’s who he is.”
A hard-hitting, high-energy middle linebacker — who doubles as Pickford’s tough-to-tackle quarterback — Storey is the 2018 Associated Press Player of the Year for eight-player football.
Storey powered Pickford to its greatest season, a 12-1 march that turned the Panthers into state runners-up eight-player Division 1.
The 6-foot, 185-pound junior has been a fixture the past two seasons at linebacker, but Pickford pictured an expanded role for him this year on offense. He moved from tight end to quarterback and proved to be an uncanny X-factor.
He was 58 of 91 passing for 1,248 yards and 25 touchdowns — and just one interception — during the regular season. He also averaged 8.8 yards per carry, going for 504 yards with eight TDs.
It was his play on defense that separated him as a leader. He notched 75 tackles and three interceptions, aggressively covering sideline-to-sideline and bringing the thunder as a rare quarterback-middle linebacker combo.
“I’ve had people say, ‘You sure you want to keep your quarterback there?’ But with him it’s a no-brainer,” Rader said. “He’s an obvious choice for middle linebacker. He tackles people with authority.”
Storey is joined on the All-State team by a pair of Pickford teammates in receiver Nicholas Edington and lineman Isaiah May.
Edington is a massive target at 6-8, 220 pounds, an advantage that helped him turn 23 receptions into 609 yards and 13 touchdowns. May was a force for an offense that averaged 51.4 points per game and a defense that allowed 0.8 yards per rush.
Hunter Nowak repeats as an all-state quarterback after leading Morrice to the Division 1 title. The 5-10, 170-pound senior was 18 of 31 passing for 449 yards and eight touchdowns, but he rushed for 1,301 yards and 25 TDs in eight regular season games.
Au Gres featured a 1-2 punch of all-staters in quarterback Caden Zeien and all-purpose athlete Ryan Schwiderson. Zeien was 82 of 115 passing for 1,550 yards and 29 TDs. Schwiderson scored every 2.7 times he touched the ball, tallying 28 TDs.
Wyoming Tri-Unity landed a pair of all-staters in running back Benson Heath and multi-skilled Braydon Ophoff. Heath accounted for 1,703 yards and 17 touchdowns rushing and receiving while Ophoff compiled 2,736 yards of offense with 34 TDs.
Stephenson’s Montell Glover, the 2017 Player of the Year, was hampered by injury but rushed for 1,195 yards and 23 TDs. Roubens Fink of Eben Junction Superior earned all-state as a receiver after hauling in 28 catches for 605 yards and six scores.
Central Lake’s repeat all-stater Grant Papineau, a 6-4, 225-pound linebacker, registered 82 tackles. At defensive back, Powers North Central’s Noah Gorzinski picked off six passes while Engadine’s Andrew Blanchard had 10 interceptions.
Colon’s Brendan Shelton, Bellevue’s Nicholas Briggs and Cedarville’s Jarron Masuga join May on the line. The 6-5, 190-pound Shelton created havoc with 35 tackles for loss. The 6-3, 215-pound Briggs didn’t allow a tackle for loss at offensive guard and notched 29 sacks on defense. The 6-2, 225-pound Masuga had 11 forced fumbles.
Au Gres’ Chad Zeien is the Coach of the Year after leading the Wolverines to a program-best 11-1 while landing his 100th career victory.
8-Player Football All-State List
By The Associated Press
The 2018 Associated Press Division Eight-Player, All-State football team, selected by a statewide panel of Michigan sports writers:
Quarterback: Caden Zeien, Au Gres
Quarterback: Hunter Nowak, Morrice
Running back: Montell Glover, Stephenson
Running back: Benson Heath, Wyoming Tri-Unity
Receiver: Nicholas Edington, Pickford
Receiver: Roubens Fink, Eben Junction Superior
Lineman: Brendan Shelton, Colon
Lineman: Nicholas Briggs, Bellevue
Lineman: Isaiah May, Pickford
Lineman: Jarron Masuga, Cedarville
Linebacker: Grant Papineau, Central Lake
Linebacker: Jimmy Storey, Pickford
Defensive back: Noah Gorzinski, Powers North Central
Defensive back: Andrew Blanchard, Engadine
Athlete: Ryan Schwiderson, Au Gres
Athlete: Braydon Ophoff, Wyoming Tri-Unity
Player of the Year: Jimmy Storey, Pickford
Coach of the Year: Chad Zeien, Au Gres
RB/LB Ben Acton, Onekama; RB/DB Sam Brunet, Posen; QB Gino Costello, Bellevue; RB/LB Brandon Crawford, Colon; RB/DB Patrick Ervin, Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart; OL/DL Jacob Fritz, Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart; TE/LB Eric Halvorsen, Suttons Bay; QB Hunter James, Kingston; QB/DB Ty Knoblock, Kinde North Huron; FB/LB Connor Lucas, Morrice; WR/DB Gunner Mellingen, Hillman; OL/LB Lenny Menary, Rapid River; OL/DL Sam Orth, Rapid River; LB Hunter Perkins, Forest Area; OL/LB Curt Vogel, Deckerville; RB/DB Jonathan West, Colon; Coach: John Neph, Onekama; Coach: Robbie Hattan, Colon