Three seniors named football team’s MVPs

Brock Cota, Tyler Holly and Christian Whitfield were named Most Valuable Players for the Sweet Home football team at its awards banquet Wednesday night, Dec. 9.

The three, all seniors, led the Huskies to a 9-4 record in a season that included a run to the quarterfinals of the 4A state playoffs.

Coach Rob Younger called the team’s performance “one of the best seasons in school history,” noting that Sweet Home finished second in the Valco League and defeated LaGrande and Douglas in the state playoffs, before losing to Phoenix in the state quarterfinals.

Highlights of the season also included big victories over Sisters (28-12), Stayton (35-21), and a Homecoming victory over Newport (28-26).

The Huskies dominated the all-league team, with twenty-two players receiving all-league recognition. Levi Marchbanks received the Valco League Defensive Player of the Year award and Whitfield the league’s Lineman of the Year award.

Highlights included the two playoff game wins and big victories over Sisters 28-12, Stayton 35-21, and a Homecoming victory over Newport (28-26). The Huskies dominated the all-league team with twenty-two players receiving all-league recognition.

Levi Marchbanks received the Valco League Defensive Player of the Year award and Christian Whitfield the League’s Lineman of the Year award

The offense was the most balanced in school history, averaging 155 yards rushing and 160 yards passing for an average of 315 yards in total offense per game. Younger said the rushing attack was led by a very strong offensive line, allowing the two-man tandem of Cota and Brent Moyer to gain 805 and 466 yards respectively for the season. The two combined for 22 rushing touchdowns. In 13 games the Huskies rushed for 2,114 yards, averaging 4.8 yards per carry.

At quarterback, Holly completed a school-record 101 passes out of 188 attempts (54 percent) for 1,537 yards and 18 touchdowns, both also school records. Junior Keenan Martin, who played most of the season in tandem with Holly, completed 31 of 83 passes for 535 yards. Martin also rushed for 225 yards.

Sean Potter led the receiving corps with 44 catches for 871 yards, also a school record, averaging 19.8 yards per catch. Other receivers with significant catches were Taylor Tagle (22 catches), Tim McDowell (17), Marchbanks (15) and Cota (11).

The Huskies averaged 29.8 points per game over the 13 game season. The “Yellowjackets” defense developed into a dominant unit. In the two state-playoff wins they only gave up three touchdowns and in the three playoff games allowed a total of 106 yards rushing per game. The opponents averaged 154 yards rushing and only 194 yards passing against the Huskies.

Younger said specialty teams played “a very important part” in the Huskies’ success. Alex Coakley was named first team all-league punter after averaging 33.9 yards per punt with a net of over 32 yards per kick. Alex Santana handled the place kicking and kicked four field goals on the season, including a 38-yarder in the state quarterfinals.

Martin and Tagle were named Most Inspirational players, while sophomore lineman Jerohn Coleman and Potter, a senior, were named Most Improved.

Whitfield was named Outstanding Lineman, Cota and Moyer were named Best Backs, and Marchbanks and McDowell were recognized as the Top Defensive players.

Cody Daniels, Zach Jackson and Patrick Long received the Dick Reynolds Coaches Award, which is given to players who demonstrate the qualities coaches are looking for in a football player.

The Black Lion Award, which recognizes courage and leadership, went to veteran managers Polly Bond and Emily Delong, and to players DJ Burns, Matt Long and Bryce Seiber.

First-year letters were presented to Kendell Anderson, Steven Baugus, Steven Bidwell, DJ Burns,Alex Coakley, Jerohn Coleman, Jesse Comstock, Cody Felkins, Nick Lloyd, Cody Loewen, Zach Miller, Matthew Long, John Markert, Tyler Paulino, Grayson Reynolds, Alex Santana, Bryce Seiber, Kyle Sorenson, Taylor Tagle and Chris Webb.

Second-year letters went to Billy Canfield, Cody Daniels, Emily Delong, Zach Jackson, Tyler Holly, Patrick Long, Keenan Martin, Tim McDowell, Josh McLean, Kris Newport, Sean Potter, Christian Whitfield and Jason Whitlow.

Third-year letter winners were Polly Bond, Brock Cota, Levi Marchbanks and Brent Moyer.

Younger said the 2009 Huskies worked hard to improve each week, a goal set by the 12 seniors at the start of the season.

“The team played with a great amount of effort every week,” he said. “At all times the players represented themselves and the school extremely well. The Huskies were always first class on and off the football field.”