All-State football team is full of Stars

Posted: Monday, October 18, 2010

The day after rolling to an undefeated small-schools state championship, Soldotna also commanded the 2010 Alaska Coaches Association Small Schools All State team.

The Stars took three of the five major awards, with Dakota Elsey winning State Lineman of the Year, Robbie Smithwick winning Offensive Player of the Year and James Knoebel winning Assistant Coach of the Year.

The other two major award winners were Kenai's Kyle Rogers taking the Defensive Player of the Year and Nikiski's Ted Riddall taking Coach of the Year.

The Stars also led all teams by placing six players on first-team offense and five players on first-team defense.

Soldotna coach Galen Brantley Jr. said Elsey had a great year on offense and defense. The coach said Elsey plays pulling guard on offense. He said having great guards is essential to doing well running the Wing-T.

"He's as good of a guard as we've had," Brantley Jr. said of the first-team guard.

On defense, Brantley Jr. said the first-team interior lineman had a great year. He was second on the team in defensive points, which totals things like tackles, assisted tackles and tackles for loss. Usually, the top points scorers are linebackers.

"That shows you what kind of a motor he has," Brantley Jr. said.

Smithwick was first-team running back, kicker and punter. Only one other player, Skyview's Albert White, received three first-team nods. White made it at wide receiver, return specialist and defensive back to take all three of Skyview's first-team selections.

At running back, Smithwick had 68 carries for 1,291 yards and 17 touchdowns. That's an average of about 19 yards per carry.

Brantley Jr. said Knoebel did a great job of filling Sarge Truesdell's shoes. Truesdell was the defensive coordinator for the team last year and had been the head coach of Soldotna's first small-schools state title team.

"We were lucky to have another guy on staff who is a former college player and a quality coach," Brantley Jr. said.

Rogers, a first-team inside linebacker and guard, helped lead Kenai's defense. Kenai coach Jeff Baker said Rogers is the best physical athlete he has ever coached. Rogers is 6-foot-4, 220 pounds and Baker said Rogers runs faster than first-team quarterback and defensive back AJ Hull.

"We played Service and we watched West play," Baker said of the two top teams in the large-schools division. "I didn't see another player out there like him."

Riddall was awarded for leading the Bulldogs to the Greatland Conference crown. Riddall said the award meant a lot to him, and said Skyview coach Eric Pomerleau also was very deserving of the award.

Pomerleau led the Panthers to the small-schools state playoffs for the first time.

"It's humbling," Riddall said. "All the coaches at that table put in a lot of time for the kids."

Other first-teamers for the Stars on offense were Phil Bennett at fullback, Tyler Marcuson at center and David Anthony Lopez at tackle. The other defensive first-teamers were Garrett Bosick at outside linebacker, Tate Syverson at inside linebacker and Tyler Marcuson at interior lineman.

Bennett had 957 yards and 13 touchdowns on 97 carries. Auston Tennis, who scored five touchdowns in the championship game, did not make first or second team.

"We were obviously a little disappointed not to see Auston on there," Brantley Jr. said. "We really felt that he and Robbie were the two best halfbacks in the state."

In addition to Rogers and Hull making first-team offense and defense, the Kards were represented on the first team by Richie Ziehmer at interior lineman.

Nikiski had four players on first-team defense, second only to the Stars. Those players were Colton Anderson at defensive back, Stephen Hartley at outside linebacker, Kaden Spurgeon at inside linebacker and Tyler Peek at interior lineman.

One peculiarity of the all-state team was that no players from Thunder Mountain were represented. Thunder Mountain was undefeated in the regular season before losing to the Stars in the first round of the playoffs.

Brantley Jr., Riddall and Baker all agreed that the Falcons should be incorporated into the voting process in the future.

"I'm not blaming anyone," Riddall said. "If we're going to have an all-state team, we should make it include the best players from around the state. They definitely had some kids that were deserving."

The Greatland Conference all-conference team was selected Friday. It will be released on Monday morning.

2010 Alaska Coaches Association Small Schools All State

State Lineman of the Year: Dakota Elsey, Soldotna.

Offensive Player of the Year: Robbie Smithwick, Soldotna.

Defensive Player of the Year: Kyle Rogers, Kenai.

Coach of the Year: Ted Riddall, Nikiski.

Assistant Coach of the Year: James Knoebel, Soldotna.


First team

Quarterback -- AJ Hull, Kenai.

Fullback -- Phil Bennett, Soldotna.

Running back -- Robbie Smithwick, Soldotna; Howard Smith, Eielson.

Wide receiver -- Albert White, Skyview.

Tight end -- Scot Delauder, Eielson.

Center -- Tyler Marcuson, Soldotna.

Guard -- Dakota Elsey, Soldotna; Kyle Rogers, Kenai.

Tackle -- David Anthony Lopez, Soldotna; Devin Fry, Eielson.

Kicker -- Robbie Smithwick, Soldotna.

Long snapper -- Jake Debaur, Delta.

Return specialist -- Albert White, Skyview.

Second team

Quarterback -- Pat Brown, Eielson.

Fullback -- Stephen Krogseng, Nikiski.

Running back -- Kai Risung, Kenai; Kaden Spurgeon, Nikiski.

Wide receiver -- Chris Lowe, Valdez.

Tight end -- Alex Nason, Kenai.

Center -- Garrett Corsen, Nikiski.

Guard -- Allan Oskolkoff, Nikiski; Brian Robertson, Eielson.

Tackle -- Todd Kruger, Kenai; Lincoln Johnson, Nikiski.

Kicker -- Sam Taylor, Nikiski.

Long snapper -- Tyler Marcuson, Soldotna.

Return specialist -- Chad Fellman, Delta.


First team

Punter -- Robbie Smithwick, Soldotna.

Defensive back -- Pat Brown, Eielson; Colton Anderson, Nikiski; Albert White, Skyview; AJ Hull, Kenai.

Outside linebacker -- Garrett Bosick, Soldotna; Stephen Hartley, Nikiski.

Inside linebacker -- Tate Syverson, Soldotna; Kyle Rogers, Kenai; Kaden Spurgeon, Nikiski.

Interior lineman -- Tyler Peek, Nikiski; Dakota Elsey, Soldotna; Tyler Marcuson, Soldotna; Richie Ziehmer, Kenai.

Utility player -- Jake Kendall, Valdez.

Second team

Punter -- Beau Crosby, Seward.

Defensive backs -- Dan Ellis, Monroe; Robin Glosser, Homer.

Outside linebacker -- Taylor Downs, Homer; Zack Ellingston, Eielson.

Inside linebacker -- Nate Samuela.

Interior lineman -- Alex Rodriguez, Skyview; Christian Duffy, Valdez; Devin Fry, Eielson; Erich Pili, Barrow.

Utility player -- Cody Shealy, Homer.

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