Stars dominate medium-schools all-state team

Photo by Rashah McChesney/Peninsula Clarion Soldotna's Reese Roberts pushes forward during their pre-game drills before their state championship game against Juneau's Crimson Bears Saturday October 26, 2013 in Anchorage, Alaska. Soldotna won their game 56-49.

The suspense that attended Soldotna’s pulsating, come-from-behind, 56-49 win over Juneau-Douglas in the medium-schools state title game Saturday was nowhere to be found as the Alaska Coaches Association voted on the all-state team Sunday.


Soldotna had finished the season 11-0. The best a defense had done against them all season was holding the Stars to 44 points.

SoHi was expected to dominate the all-state team, particularly on offense, and the Stars did.

The Stars grabbed three of the major awards, took 6 of 15 on the offensive first team and 5 of 14 on the defensive first team.

The major award winners were Daniel Rosin getting Lineman of the Year, Colton Young getting Offensive Player of the Year and Jake Kooly getting Defensive Player of the Year.

Also, Ketchikan’s Les Silva was Coach of the Year and North Pole’s Mike Holett was Assistant Coach of the Year.

Young and dynamic Juneau running back Demetrius Campos basically waged a battle for Offensive Player of the Year in Saturday’s title game.

“There is no question when we sat down at the table to vote, the deciding factor hinged on who won that state title game,” Soldotna coach Galen Brantley Jr. said. “Campos is an excellent football player and I don’t want to take anything away from him, but Colton was just as productive in that championship game.”

Young is a senior who made the first team at quarterback and defensive back.

He rushed 81 times for 859 yards and 19 touchdowns, and also hit 34 of 53 for 924 yards and 18 touchdowns with just one interception.

All this from a guy who had not played quarterback before this season.

“At the beginning of the season, Colton wasn’t really excited about moving from halfback to quarterback,” Brantley Jr. said. “He’d been a running back his whole life, but we convinced him that was what was best for the team.”

Young saw some varsity time as a freshman and was a two-way starter by the time he was a sophomore. That meant he always had others to lead, but Brantley Jr. said his quarterback stepped up to that role this year.

“When it was his turn, he stepped in and I couldn’t be happier from a leadership standpoint,” Brantley Jr. said.

Kooly, a senior, made the first team at fullback and inside linebacker. He rushed for 1,179 yards and 18 touchdowns, averaging 11.4 yards per carry.

He also set SoHi’s single-game rushing record with 345 in the semifinals against North Pole.

“He’s one of the toughest kids we’ve had in the 11 years I’ve been at SoHi,” Brantley Jr. said. “Some have been as tough, but none have been tougher.”

When teams would clog the middle, the coach said Kooly was just as happy to block and spring his teammates.

“From a defensive standpoint, he’s a natural linebacker with really good instincts,” Brantley Jr. said.

After making first-team all-state as a tackle last year as a junior, Rosin repeated at tackle and also earned a first-team nod at interior lineman on defense.

“He had a great career as a two-year starter,” Brantley Jr. said. “He really anchored our offensive line and was one of the team captains.

“He’s a special young man and a pleasure to coach.”

Rosin led a bunch of Stars linemen on the first team. Dylan Smith made it at guard and interior lineman.

“He had a great senior year as well,” Brantley Jr. said. “Either one of those two could have been Lineman of the Year.

“Both are going to be missed.”

Reece Roberts also made the first team at center.

“Without that group of young men up front, we don’t get the state title,” Brantley Jr. said. “They really bought into the program, learned the blocking rules and eliminated the mental mistakes.

“It’s rare groups are able to block everything beneath the sun and continue to move the football.”

Soldotna’s final two first-teamers were Drew Gibbs at running back and Blake Riley at utility player.

Gibbs, just a sophomore, rushed 87 times for 1,191 yards and 15 touchdowns. He also caught five passes for 103 yards and five touchdowns. He put up those numbers despite missing three games.

“He’s a special talent who should be a force the next couple of years.”

The rest of the first team was dominated by semifinalists Kenai Central, Juneau and North Pole.

Kenai had three on offense and one on defense, Juneau had three apiece on offense and defense, and North Pole had three on offense and three on defense.

Senior Jace Daniels made the first team at running back for the Kards.

Daniels had 1,632 yards and 26 touchdowns on 173 carries. Daniels lost a game and a half to injury, and another game to a Valdez forfeit.

Kenai assistant Jim Beeson said Daniels was able to get his yards even though the Kards struggled passing the ball the entire year.

“He had everybody gunning for him and he never quit and played hard,” Beeson said.

Nolan Scarlett made the first team as a kicker and punter.

Beeson knew Scarlett could kick from his soccer abilities, it was just a matter of convincing him to come out for the team.

He missed just three extra points, and hit a 42-yard field goal in nasty conditions to beat Wasilla. He set the school record with a 72-yard punt against Soldotna, and 32 percent of his kickoffs were touchbacks.

Finally, Jace Baker was a first-team long snapper. Beeson said Baker made 64 snaps for punts and kicks, and had just one bad snap all year.

The small-schools all-state selections are expected to be released sometime during this week.

2013 Alaska Coaches Association Medium Schools All State

State Lineman of the Year — Daniel Rosin, Soldotna.

Offensive Player of the Year — Colton Young, Soldotna.

Defensive Player of the Year — Jake Kooly, Soldotna.

Coach of the Year — Les Silva, Ketchikan.

Assistant Coach of the Year — Mike Holett, North Pole.


First team

Quarterback — Colton Young, Soldotna.

Fullback — Jake Kooly, Soldotna.

Running back — Jace Daniels, Kenai; Drew Gibbs, Soldotna; Demetrius Campos, Juneau.

Wide receiver — Kris Hill, Juneau; Lance Wright, North Pole.

Tight end — Shane Hursh, North Pole.

Center — Reece Roberts, Soldotna.

Guard — JD Hudson, Juneau; Dylan Smith, Soldotna.

Tackle — Daniel Rosin, Soldotna; Andrew Risner, North Pole.

Kicker — Nolan Scarlett, Kenai.

Long snapper — Jace Baker, Kenai.

Return specialist — Demetrius Campos, Juneau.

Second team

Quarterback — Dorian Isaak, Juneau.

Fullback — George Sua, Juneau.

Running back — Waylon Soptick, Houston; Connor Hicks, Ketchikan.

Wide receiver — Tyler Howell, Soldotna.

Tight end — Trevor Walden, Soldotna.

Center — Austin Thomas, Thunder Mountain.

Guard — Anthony Schwendner, North Pole; Zack Koziczkowski, Kenai.

Tackle — Hunter Hickok, Juneau; Leo Sega, Kodiak.

Kicker — Garrett Wollmann, North Pole.

Long snapper — Ryland Ellis, North Pole.

Return specialist — Colton Young, Soldotna.


First team

Punter — Nolan Scarlett, Kenai.

Defensive backs — Colton Young, Soldotna; Demetrius Campos, Juneau; Jordan Copeland, North Pole; Ben Jahn, Thunder Mountain.

Outside linebacker — Dartanian Campos, Juneau; Lane Bonham, North Pole.

Inside linebacker — George Sua, Juneau; Jake Kooly, Soldotna.

Interior lineman — Daniel Rosin, Soldotna; Leo Saga, Kodiak; Dylan Smith, Soldotna; Ben Davis, North Pole.

Utility player — Blake Riley, Soldotna.

Second team

Punter — Riley Olson, Thunder Mountain.

Defensive backs — TJ Wagoner, Kenai; Waylon Soptick, Houston; Eric Nordgren, Juneau.

Outside linebacker — Drew Gibbs, Soldotna; Andre Mandapat, Kodiak.

Inside linebacker — Chase Logan, Kenai; Derick Vance, Juneau.

Interior lineman — Jace Baker, Kenai; George Grummett, Juneau; Kage Zink, Ketchikan; Rich Johnson, Thunder Mountain.

Utility player — Ben Jahn, Thunder Mountain.