Old and young make up Telegram all-area team
Seniors were hard to come by for the Northwestern Tigers and Northwood-Solon Springs Evergreens this year. Both football programs fielded young teams, but they may see some payoff next season with the extra year of experience.
In Superior, the Spartans utilized their returning seniors and a strong junior class to qualified for the WIAA playoffs for the second straight year. The Spartans finished the regular season with a 7-2 overall record and a 5-2 record in the Big Rivers Conference.
Joining Superior quarterback Nick Mehlum on the 2013 Superior Telegram All-Area Football Team are six senior, three juniors and two sophomores.
Members of the team are listed below in alphabetical order.
When Elias Alexandrou was sidelined late in the season with a broken wrist, the Northwestern Tigers struggled.
The two-way starter played a key role for Northwestern at center, but his presence was missed most on defense.
"An outstanding defensive player," said Dennis Scherz, head coach of the Tigers. "He was a leader on our defense."
The Tiger players chose Alexandrou as this year's defensive MVP. The senior was also a Heart O' North Conference All-Conference honorable mention selection.
For four years running, the Northwood-Solon Springs Evergreens have had at least one player run for more than 1,000 yards.
This year, junior Mason Barth was the go-to player on the ground.
At fullback, he rushed for 1,203 yards in eight games this season, averaging 10.4 yards per carry. He finished the year with 16 touchdowns, 14 rushing and two receiving.
"Mason is a great athlete who loves the game of football," said Brian Amys, head coach of the Evergreens. "He understands the game and can read the defense and make cuts. He is an all-around athlete that can change a game and the momentum in one play."
Defensive back Morgan Johnson drew all the tough assignments this season.
"He was our corner that we tried to match up on the other team's best receiver," said Bob DeMeyer, head coach of the Spartans.
The senior was a two-year starter for Superior, who this season provided key leadership in the defensive backfield.
"We leaned on his experience early on as he was the only returning starter in our secondary," DeMeyer said. "He was very technically sound and was very competitive in coverage.
"Morgan played at the same intensity whether in practice or a game; he always would contest every ball thrown in his direction and run down every play."
DeMeyer said Johnson also became a valuable asset as the team's punt returner.
Whether scrambling for a fumble or delivering a big hit, senior Jay Karich was an important part of Northwestern's line this season.
"A very good high school football player; very nice young man," Scherz said. "He worked hard all season."
Karich led the Tigers in tackles multiple times this season and was voted outstanding linemen by the team. He was also named to the HON All-Conference second team as a defensive end.
Ross Kennelly was among the younger players starting for Superior this season, but he has a bright future with the Spartans and beyond, said Coach DeMeyer.
"Ross is a football player in every sense. He would be successful at any position on the field," DeMeyer said. "His success is a product of his work ethic; he does not miss a workout."
Kennelly, a sophomore, played at linebacker and running back for the Spartans this season. He finished the year with 83 tackles and averaged 4.2 yards per carry at tailback.
"He was our middle linebacker and defensive signal caller, which is unheard of for a sophomore in the Big Rivers Conference," DeMeyer said. "Ross is a sideline-to-sideline linebacker who is able to excel in coverage and the run game.
"One of the reasons we were able to be dynamic on defense was because Ross put the time into film study and formation recognition. It was exciting to see him improve week in and week out this season."
Kennelly was named to the BRC All-Conference second team this season.
"Next year he will be one of the premiere players in the Big Rivers Conference," DeMeyer said.
On an offensive line with four seniors and one junior, Joey McDonald anchored the group at center.
"They were a very cohesive, hard working group, and Joey was a huge part of the success they had," DeMeyer said. "It's very difficult to single out one of those kids because of what they all meant to our team. He would be the first to tell you that the entire offensive line played as one unit and the work they did every offseason to build that trust and camaraderie set the pace for our team."
McDonald, a senior, was named to the BRC All-Conference second team.
"Joey has a heart the size of a football field and his motor never stops," DeMeyer said. "Our team fed off his energy and passion for the game. His intelligence, understanding of our scheme, toughness and consistency will be hard to replace."
Junior Logan Moreau had a big influence on both sides of the ball for the Northwestern Tigers.
The lineman was solid on defense, and on offense his blocking created opportunities for Northwestern's running backs to break free.
"Logan was a big reason Nate (Pearson) rushed for 1,089 yards," Scherz said. "He's another great young man with a bright future."
Moreau was named to the HON All-Conference second team as an offensive lineman.
With Jordan Orme on the roster, the Tigers have added a new dimension to their game.
The junior kicker is a very hard worker, Scherz said, and he has improved every year since starting as a freshman.
Orme finished the season with 20 extra points and two field goals. He holds the school record for the longest field goal and averaged 44 yards on kickoffs this season.
"Jordan has become a very important weapon for Northwestern football," Scherz said.
Orme was named the HON All-Conference first team kicker this season.
Before the season began, Coach Scherz said Nate Pearson was a player to watch.
The sophomore delivered in a big way, rushing for 1,089 yards this year to lead the team.
"Nate is an outstanding young man with a bright future," Scherz said. "He works hard and is a true team player."
Pearson, who spent time at running back and defensive back, was voted as the Tigers MVP by his teammates.
He was also named an HON All-Conference honorable mention selection.
Senior Addison Schwarz put in the time this season to become an impact player for the Spartans.
The wide receiver didn't rely on his speed to get open, DeMeyer said. What set Schwarz apart was "his ability to run great routes, get open and catch the football."
"Addison is a great example of someone who puts the time in and reaps the benefits because of the persistent and consistent effort," DeMeyer said. "The qualities that really stand out with Addison are his competitiveness and the confidence he has in his abilities. He wants the ball when the game is on the line. It's not a being selfish; it's simply having the mindset that he can help his team he'll get the job done."
Schwarz finished the season with 35 receptions for 549 yards and five touchdowns.
"Addison also developed his blocking skills, which are equally important," DeMeyer said. "Many times throughout the season he would come up with a big catch for a first down, a touchdown or a key block for a teammate."
After spending his junior season on the offensive line, Will Stream switched to defensive end for his senior year.
For the Spartans, it was a fortuitous change.
"Will is a long athletic lineman who depends on speed and technique to master his position," DeMeyer said. "There were times this year when he completely wreaked havoc on the opponent's backfield."
Stream finished the season with eight sacks and was a team leader on defense.
"He was always someone the other team had to account for," DeMeyer said. "Will's athletic ability allowed him to run down plays that were away from him in pursuit. Will's motor and attention to detail will be something that will be hard to replace next season."