All season, Northern Lights Conference running backs like Kenai's Cory Janson and Soldotna's Cason Simpson were quick to recognize their blockers when they talked about their success.
Coaches took the same approach when they voted for this year's all-conference team.
Janson, a junior who racked up 1,233 rushing yards in eight regular-season games and ran for 17 touchdowns, was named the NLC's Offensive Player of the Year and halfback on the first-team offense.
Also joining Janson on the first team are senior tackle Dane Myers and junior guard Casey Crowder, the guys that cleared the way for Janson in Kenai's run-oriented attack.
Likewise, the players that cleared the way for Simpson to to pick up 941 yards and run for 11 touchdowns, senior tackle Roy Stonecipher and junior guard Tomas Shimmin, were named to the first-team offense.
Todd Ghormley, a senior from Soldotna, was named to the first team as a tight end for his ability to throw a block or to catch a pass. Ghormley had nine catches for 108 yards and two touchdowns for the Stars during the regular season.
Homer senior Aaron Smith was named the conference's top quarterback after finishing the season with 413 yards and four touchdowns passing to go with his team-leading 530 yards and seven touchdowns rushing.
Marcus Kuhns, a junior from Homer, was named to the first team as a center.
Skyview's Mark McGarry fills two spots on the first team, one as a wide receiver and the other as a return specialist. McGarry finished his senior season with 21 catches for 318 yards and five receiving touchdowns.
Joining McGarry on the first team from the Panthers is junior fullback Adam Kosydar, who 60 times for 253 yards and three touchdowns for Skyview.
Homer senior Joel Pfiel was named the top kicker in the conference while Kenai's Wally Ward, a senior, was voted the top long snapper.
Adam Crum, a senior inside linebacker from Homer, was named the NLC's Defensive Player of the Year after leading the Mariners' smashmouth defense all season.
Senior defensive back Tom Crandall and senior interior lineman Geoff Murphy, both Mariners, also were selected to the first team.
Six players were selected as two-way all-stars. McGarry takes up two spots on the first-team defense as a defensive back and utility player, giving him a total of four all-NLC first-team selections this year.
Ghormley was recognized for his work ethic at inside linebacker while Simpson received all-conference honors for his work at outside linebacker.
The same speed and agility that made Janson the conference's top running back also made him a first-team selection at defensive back. Myers made the first-team defense as an interior lineman and was honored as the conference's Lineman of the Year.
Kosydar was named to the first-team defense as a punter.
A pair of Stars join Simpson and Ghormley on the first-team defense, junior interior lineman Caleb Sizemore and junior outside linebacker Matt Meacham.
Skyview junior Ryan Staab round out the first team as an interior lineman.
Skyview head coach Wade Marcuson was named Coach of the Year while Kenai assistant Jim Dawson and Homer assistant Terry Fraley tied for Assistant Coach of the Year honors.
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