Kards, Stars dominate all-NLC team

Posted: Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Kenai and Soldotna dominated the Northern Lights Conference honors, which were announced Monday night.

The Kardinals, who have not lost an NLC game the last two years, had six players on first-team offense and three players on first-team defense. The Stars, who lost a close game to Kenai in the final week of the regular season, had six players on first-team offense and six on first-team defense. The other three teams in the conference combined for just six slots on first-team offense and defense.

The Stars took most of the major awards. Garrett Gardner was Offensive Player of the Year, Dan Spindler was Lineman of the Year, Sarge Truesdell was Coach of the Year and Galen Brantley was Assistant Coach of the Year.

The other major award went to Kenai's Dakota Craig, who was named Defensive Player of the Year.

Gardner was a first-team all-conference halfback last season. He made the first team as both a running back and a defensive back this season. In the regular season, he rushed 143 times for 1,206 yards and 15 touchdowns. He also was one of the conference's leading receivers, catching six balls for 180 yards and two touchdowns.

Last season, Craig was the conference's Offensive Player of the Year and a first-team selection at both halfback and inside linebacker. This season, he made first team at both those positions again. Craig was the conference's leading rusher, carrying the ball 195 times for 1,483 yards and 22 touchdowns.

He also was a pivotal player in the conference's leading defense. Kenai gave up just 723 yards rushing and 535 yards passing during the regular season.

Spindler repeated as the conference's Lineman of the Year. Last season, he was first team at guard and second team at interior lineman. This year, he made the first team at both positions. Spindler was a key cog in Soldotna's offense and defense, which were both ranked second in the conference behind Kenai.

In addition to Craig, Kenai first-teamers on offense included tackle Sonny Nelson, guard Zach DeMello, kicker Ju Kim, fullback Ryann Hansen and long snapper Papapa Nicholas. In addition to Craig, Kenai first-teamers on defense included Michael Scheffert at defensive end/outside linebacker and Nicholas at interior lineman.

In addition to Gardner and Spindler, Soldotna's players on first-team offense were quarterback Cameron Schneider, wide receiver Aleks Pfaffe, tight end Kory Wilbanks and tackle Matt Hicks.

In addition to Gardner and Spindler, Soldotna's players on first-team defense were Schneider at defensive back, Kurt Romberg at interior lineman and Wilbanks at punter.

Homer's Cody Crum, at center, and Kodiak's Stuart McFarland, at return specialist, broke through the dominance of Kenai and Soldotna on first-team offense.

Skyview, which improved on defense under first-year coach Phil Sheridan, had three players on first-team defense after being shut out in the category a year ago. First-teamers for the Panthers were Zack Rowell at defensive end/outside linebacker, Richard Derkevorkian at interior line and Gregor Bosick at utility player.

Homer's Justin Smith also made the first team as a defensive back.

All-Conference Selections

Defensive Player of the Year Dakota Craig, Kenai.

Lineman of the Year Dan Spindler, Soldotna.

Coach of the Year Sarge Truesdell, Soldotna.

Assistant of the Year Galen Brantley, Soldotna.

Quarterback: Cameron Schneider, Soldotna.

Running backs: Dakota Craig, Kenai; Garrett Gardner, Soldotna.

Wide receiver: Aleks Pfaffe, Soldotna.

Tight end: Kory Wilbanks, Soldotna.

Tackles: Sonny Nelson, Kenai; Matt Hicks, Soldotna.

Guards: Zach DeMello, Kenai; Dan Spindler, Soldotna.

Center: Cody Crum, Homer.

Kicker: Ju Kim, Kenai.

Return specialist: Stuart McFarland, Kodiak.

Fullback: Ryann Hansen, Kenai.

Long snapper: Papapa Nicholas, Kenai.

Second Team

Quarterbacks: Tyler Chappell, Kenai; Canyon McKinstry, Homer.

Running backs: Clark Buffington, Skyview; Zack Rowell, Skyview; Jason West, Homer.

Wide receiver: Brandon Moffet, Homer.

Tight ends: Richard Derkevorkian, Skyview; Josh Bennett, Kenai.

Tackles: Levi Baldwin, Kodiak; Erik Rasmussen, Homer.

Guards: Elwyn Delos Santos, Kodiak; Nic Warton, Soldotna.

Center: Michael Scheffert, Kenai.

Kicker: Christos Asimokopoulos.

Return specialist: Brandon Miles, Kenai.

Fullback: Noah McWilliams, Homer.

Long snapper: Tad Martin, Homer; Cameron Schneider, Soldotna.

Honorable mention

Halfback: Mark Doctolero, Kodiak.

Fullback: Mike Reed, Soldotna.

Tackle: Ben Watkins, Kodiak.

Guard: Les Krusen, Kenai.

Center: Nick Hann, Skyview.

Defensive backs: Garrett Gardner, Soldotna; Cameron Schneider, Soldotna; Justin Smith, Homer.

Defensive end/outside linebacker: Michael Scheffert, Kenai; Zack Rowell, Skyview.

Interior linemen: Richard Derkevorkian, Skyview; Papapa Nicholas, Kenai; Kurt Romberg, Soldotna; Dan Spindler, Soldotna.

Inside linebackers: Dakota Craig, Kenai; Jake Howarth, Soldotna.

Utility player: Gregor Bosick, Skyview.

Punter: Kory Wilbanks, Soldotna.

Second team

Defensive backs: Corey Fowler, Skyview; Aleks Pfaffe, Soldotna; Joe Hoanin, Homer.

Defensive end/outside linebacker: Cory Whiteley, Kenai; Ben Breakfield, Soldotna.

Interior linemen: Ben Watkins, Kodiak; Dan Fox, Kodiak; Camron Hagen, Homer, Nick Hann, Skyview; Clint Keener, Kenai.

Inside linebackers: Kyle Christiansen, Homer; Matt Smith, Skyview; Stuart Stretch, Kenai.

Utility player: Clyde Valdez, Kodiak.

Punter: Ryann Hansen, Kenai.

Honorable mention

Outside linebacker: Corey Gron, Kodiak.

Inside linebackers: Doug Starrett, Kodiak; Brandy Goracke, Soldotna.

Defensive backs: Marcus Reemtsma, Kenai; Louden Greiner, Homer; Stuart McFarland, Kodiak.

Interior linemen: Elwyn Delos Santos, Kodiak; Dustin Stelljes, Kenai.

Utility players: Kelly Seggerman, Soldotna; Ronnie Rainey, Kenai; AJ Isenhour, Homer.

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