Traverse City Record-Eagle

November 26, 2013

New Lothrop's Coleman is Division 7-8's top player

Traverse City Record-Eagle

---- — EAST LANSING (AP) — Some of the unbelievable plays that New Lothrop football star Amari Coleman managed to pull off on the gridiron this season were simply amazing.

Hornets coach Clint Galvas could go on and on about the highlights and breathtaking touchdowns that he personally witnessed the Central Michigan-bound playmaker complete on the field in his senior campaign.

But if one game stands out the most in Galvas’ mind it would have to be Coleman’s five-touchdown effort against previously unbeaten Pewamo-Westphalia in a season finale victory. He rushed for 232 yards with five touchdowns and caught a pair of passes for 50 yards.

Performances like those are the reason Coleman is the Associated Press Player of the Year for Division 7-8.

“Even for me as a coach to watch him was kind of a ‘wow’ moment,” Galvas recalled. “That was a ‘wow’ game. Every time he touched the ball he was doing something big. He scored five touchdowns, but he was just all over the place. Pewamo had given up (34 points) all year long, and he scored five touchdowns alone.”

Barely 17 years old because he started school early, Coleman earned unanimous AP first-team All-State honors as a receiver for the second year in a row. The 5-foot-11, 185-pound athlete starred at running back, wide receiver and on defense as a cornerback. He played a major role in helping New Lothrop end the regular season 9-0 for the fourth year in a row.

Before the conclusion of the season, Coleman already held school records for most interceptions in a season (8), career (12), best average per carry (22.2), and best average per reception (25.8).

This season, Coleman averaged 20.8 yards per carry and amassed 10 rushing touchdowns along with five more receiving touchdowns and a 17-yard average per reception.

Through semifinal play of the postseason, Coleman scored 15 individual touchdowns. He made up for lost time after missing New Lothrop’s last two postseason runs due to injuries. Every time he touched the ball, Coleman felt he had a good chance at scoring.

“I love just playing football and getting the ball in my hands and doing my best to score and show my abilities,” Coleman said. “I feel like I can compete against anyone. I have self-confidence in my abilities. It’s not arrogance. I’m a really humble person. I don’t like to give myself a lot of credit. I like to give my teammates a lot of credit and my coaches.”

Traverse City St. Francis lineman Jake Khoury earned a spot on the first team and was one of 11 area players who received all-state mention in some capacity. Khoury, a 6-foot-3, 295-pound senior, recorded 20 tackles, three tackles for loss, one sack and one fumble recovery for the Gladiators. He is committed to play for Buffalo next season.

Joining Coleman on the 2013 AP Division 7-8 All-State team is his New Lothrop teammate Taylor Krupp at defensive back. Krupp is a senior captain who amassed 42 tackles and four interceptions.

Harbor Beach’s Eli Kraft and Ishpeming’s Alex Briones are the first-team quarterbacks.

Josh Golkiewicz (Petersburg Summerfield), Lee Graff (Crystal Falls Forest Park), Nathan Fettes (Lincoln Alcona) and Ty Rollin (Beal City) were selected as running backs. Bridgman’s Cooper Mojsiejenko and Jacob Hopkins of Evart are the other All-State receivers.

Besides Khoury, the other linemen on the first team were Michael Caughey of Muskegon Catholic Central, Brad Gustafson of Felch North Dickinson, Detroit Loyola’s Kajohn Armstrong, Mendon’s Logan Slaughter and Carson City-Crystal’s Brad Osterman made the team.

The All-State linebackers are Lincoln Alcona’s Garrett Norling, Saginaw Nouvel Catholic Central’s Tyler Jacqmain, Detroit Loyola’s Paul Engram, Lenawee Christian’s Brad Harrah and Eric Prestay of Powers North Central.

Alex Lewandoski (Muskegon Catholic Central), Krupp and Gage Kreski of St. Ignace made it as cornerbacks, and Climax-Scotts’ Sam Eshuis is on the team as a specialist. Lawton’s Brendan Wimes was named as a kicker, and Fowler’s Austin Feldpausch was picked as a punter.

Carson City-Crystal’s Devin Pringle won the Coach of the Year award.

Special mention went to Forest Area wide receiver Justin Burke, who hauled in 1,103 yards worth of passes and had 11 receiving touchdowns, and Lake City quarterback Drew Marion, who had 1,425 yards passing and 14 touchdowns to go with 1,182 yards rushing and 25 touchdowns.

Eight others received honorable mention, including Mancelona center Tristan Fleet, Manistee Catholic Central lineman Jason Kaminski, St. Francis linebacker Adam Armour, Mancelona linebacker Luke Smigelski, Lake City punter Dylan Allard, Harbor Springs running back David Walker, Lake City defensive back Kevin Kunkel and Gaylord St. Mary quarterback Nick Harrington.