Standout players decide football championships, but holes in the lineup can, too.
That was the message delivered by the 2006 Alaska Coaches Association Small-Schools All-State Teams announced on Sunday.
Soldotna was the king of small-schools football, winning the Northern Lights Conference with an undefeated mark and storming to the school’s first state championship.
The Stars did not enjoy the same dominance in the all-state voting. For first-team offense, state runner-up Kodiak had four slots while Soldotna and Skyview had three, Eielson and Homer had two and Nikiski and Houston had one each.
For first-team defense, Houston, Eielson, Kenai and Soldotna all had two selections. Skyview, Kodiak, Nikiski and Valdez had one.
The Stars also did not enjoy dominance in the major awards. Soldotna’s Austin Roberts was the lineman of the year, but Skyview’s Gregor Bosick was the defensive player of the year, Kodiak’s Todd Cook was the coach of the year, Kodiak’s Dave Jones was the assistant coach of the year, and Kodiak’s Stuart McFarland and Eielson’s Nick Rogers split offensive player of the year honors.
“There were a lot of very talented players in the state,” Soldotna offensive coordinator Galen Brantley Jr. said. “(Soldotna) was just a great team. We didn’t have a lot of holes like some teams did.
“We were solid all through the lineup. We didn’t have to play as many players both ways.”
Soldotna’s offensive and defensive lines dominated the small schools all year. At the fore of that effort was Roberts, a first-team guard and defensive end.
Brantley Jr. said Soldotna’s offensive system gives linemen a good shot at getting noticed.
“He’s more visible,” Brantley Jr. said of Roberts. “He’s out in the open, running around and knocking defensive backs down instead of just playing in the box.”
Brantley Jr. said Roberts played just as big of a role on defense.
“He’s the perfect high school lineman,” Brantley Jr. said. “He has good size and he’s athletic. He’ll do well at the next level. He’s a kid we expect to go on and play college ball.”
Other Stars to make first team were fullback Mike Reed, center Les Baker and outside linebacker Kelly Seggerman.
While the major awards usually go to teams that pile up wins, Bosick was the defensive player of the year, as well as a first-team running back, return specialist and defensive back, despite playing on a team that went 1-4 in the Northern Lights Conference and 3-5 overall.
“He’s tough. He plays the game the way it’s supposed to be played,” Kenai coach Jim Beeson said. “For him to still get that award is a testament to the way he plays.”
Skyview coach Phil Sheridan said there was not a team the Panthers played that didn’t leave the field with an immense respect for Bosick.
“It was like watching a highlight reel after each game,” Sheridan said. “Almost every game, he hit somebody so hard it was unbelievable.”
Skyview’s Richie Shirnberg also made the first team at long snapper.
Kenai Central had a stout defense all year. The Kardinals did not have any first-team offensive players, but Bill Chimphalee, at defensive back, and Michael Dormady, at interior lineman, made the first team on defense.
Nikiski, which was left out of the playoffs after losing a coin toss to Eielson and Houston, was represented on the first team by Jaramiah Hundley at tackle and Tyler Payment at inside linebacker.
Homer’s first-team players were Eric Rasmussen at tackle and Collin Hagen at utility player.
2006 Alaska Coaches Association All-State Teams
Lineman of the year: Austin Roberts, Soldotna.
Co-offensive players of the year: Stuart McFarland, Kodiak; Nick Rogers, Eielson.
Defensive player of the year: Gregor Bosick, Skyview.
Coach of the year: Todd Cook, Kodiak.
Assistant coach of the year: Dave Jones, Kodiak.
Quarterback: Stuart McFarland, Kodiak.
Fullback: Mike Reed, Soldotna.
Running backs: Gregor Bosick, Skyview; Nick Rogers, Eielson.
Wide receivers: Curtis Catt, Kodiak; Travis Pew, Eielson.
Tight end: David Gilbert, Kodiak.
Center: Les Baker, Soldotna.
Guards: Austin Roberts, Soldotna; Ben Watkins, Kodiak.
Tackles: Eric Rasmussen, Homer; Jaramiah Hundley, Nikiski.
Kicker: Matt Gardner, Houston.
Long snapper: Richie Shirnberg, Skyview.
Utility player: Collin Hagen, Homer.
Return specialist: Gregor Bosick, Skyview.
Punter: Donovan Parker, Houston.
Defensive backs: Travis Pew, Eielson; Bill Chimphalee, Kenai; Gregor Bosick, Skyview.
Outside linebackers: Nick Rogers, Eielson; Kelly Seggerman, Soldotna.
Inside linebackers: Ben Watkins, Kodiak; Tyler Payment, Nikiski.
Interior linemen: Karl Thistle, Houston; Michael Dormady, Kenai; Austin Roberts, Soldotna; Nate Rogers, Valdez.
Quarterback: Corey Smith, Nikiski.
Fullback: Tyler Payment, Nikiski.
Running backs: Bryce Gardner, Soldotna; Israel Morales, Nikiski.
Tight end: Josh Vance, Nikiski.
Center: Hunter Gallien, Nikiski.
Guards: Caleb Adelmann, Seward; Dan Serfass, Eielson.
Tackles: Josh Denna, Soldotna; Mike Brown, Eielson.
Kicker: Jake Bauer, Skyview.
Long snapper: Elliot Tuttle, Nikiski.
Utility player: Kenny Fagan, Nikiski.
Return specialist: Kenny Fagan, Nikiski.
Punter: Anthony Griglione, Soldotna.
Defensive backs: Donovan Parker, Houston; Beau Calderwood, Nikiski; Taylor Layland, Homer.
Outside linebackers: Israel Morales, Nikiski; Andy Dittman, Kodiak.
Inside linebackers: Stuart Stretch, Kenai; Seth Grove, Houston.
Interior linemen: Dan Serfass, Eielson; Steve Kohout, Homer; Caleb Adelmann, Seward; Michael Holden, Kodiak.
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