2017-12-07 / Sports

2017 All-Thumb Football Teams

By: Mike Gallagher
Sports Reporter - mgallagher@mihomepaper.com


The Deckerville Eagles, shown here with their 8-Player Division 1 runner up trophy, was named the 2017 All-Thumb 8-Player Team of the Year. Deckerville went 11-2 this season, won the North Central Thumb League Stars Division title, and barely lost in the state finals, losing to Central Lake, 32-30. The Eagles scored 616 points, a school record, and allowed only 213. Deckerville is coached by Bill Brown, who picked up his 200th career victory this season. The Deckerville Eagles, shown here with their 8-Player Division 1 runner up trophy, was named the 2017 All-Thumb 8-Player Team of the Year. Deckerville went 11-2 this season, won the North Central Thumb League Stars Division title, and barely lost in the state finals, losing to Central Lake, 32-30. The Eagles scored 616 points, a school record, and allowed only 213. Deckerville is coached by Bill Brown, who picked up his 200th career victory this season. THUMB AREA - The 2017 football season saw some impressive talent, great games, and long playoff runs.

The 2017 All-Thumb football team reflects that, and Huron County was well represented on the teams.

For Huron County, 12 athletes earned first team honors in 11-Man, and 15 were named to the second team.

In 8-Man, five Huron County football players earned All-Thumb honors.

Leading the way in 11-Man was Player of the Year, James Schelke.


Kingston quarterback Hunter James was named the 2017 All-Thumb 8-Man Player of the Year. Kingston quarterback Hunter James was named the 2017 All-Thumb 8-Man Player of the Year. Schelke, a quarterback for Harbor Beach, had 2,071 total yards of offense, and scored 30 total touchdowns this season.

Jacob Kretzschmer, a running back for Laker, had 78 carries this season, gaining 669 yards on the ground. He also caught 18 passes, for 311 yards, and had 15 total touchdowns. Kretzschmer was named first team running back, along with Brendan Hamilton and Nick Perry of Cass City, and Briar Bearss of Millington.

Two other Lakers were named to the offensive first team, lineman Brayden Smith, and quarterback Brennan Wissner, who earned an At-Large bid.

Wissner, a three-year starter at quarterback for EPBP, completed 50-of-92 passes, for 817 yards. He also ran for 172 yards, and had 16 total touchdowns.

Smith was at the leader for an offensive line that helped the Lakers average 40.6 points per game this season, and ran for 2,410 yards.

“Brayden was our starting tackle, and a key component to our offensive production,” said head coach Steve VerBurg.

Smith was also named first team defensive lineman, after recording 13 tackles, two tackles for loss, two sacks, and five quarterback hurries.

“Because of what we asked him to do, he was double teamed almost every play on defense,” said VerBurg.

Two other Laker players earned first team defense, lineman Cody Brownell, and defensive back Brennan Wissner.

Harbor Beach put three players on the first team defense, lineman Zack Schweitzer, linebacker Cole Anderson, and defensive back James Schelke.

“Zack was a real run stuffer for us,” said Harbor Beach head coach Troy Schelke. “He took up blockers which freed our linebackers to make plays. He is one of the best run stuffers in the area.”

Anderson led the Pirates in tackles, with 54, and also recorded three interceptions.

“Great tackler,” said Schelke. “Studies film to gain an edge, and is one of our team leaders. He is a smart, hard-hitting linebacker who really stepped up this year.”

Schelke had 20 tackles for Harbor Beach and also intercepted five passes.

“He played centerfield safety for us,” said Schelke. “He is a determined player and a very hard worker. Strong instincts and a real willingness to study opponents.”


Elkton-Pigeon-Bay Port head coach Steve VerBurg was named the 11-Man All-Thumb Coach of the Year, after leading the Lakers to a 10-2 record this season. Elkton-Pigeon-Bay Port head coach Steve VerBurg was named the 11-Man All-Thumb Coach of the Year, after leading the Lakers to a 10-2 record this season. Two Ubly linebackers, Anthony Sweeney and Skylar Lesoski both earned first team defensive honors.

Sweeney had 118 tackles on the season.

“Anthony was our leader on defense,” said head coach Dave Kaufmann. “He was always in the right spot to make plays. He is a hard hitter and played the pass well. He is a four-year starter, and made all the defensive calls for us.”

Lesoski had 114 tackles, two fumble recoveries, and two interceptions.

“Skylar improved greatly from last year,” said Kaufmann. “He was a great compliment to Anthony at linebacker. He read well, and reacted to the ball quickly.”

Second team offensive players included running back Cole Anderson of Harbor Beach (107 carries, 436 yards, 10 touchdowns), running back Gregory Keller of Ubly (105 carries, 757 yards, 13 touchdowns), lineman Jacob Deer of Harbor Beach, lineman Cody Brownell of EPBP, lineman Cooper Kauffold of USA, receiver Brendan Prime of USA, receiver Austin Roberts of Harbor Beach (15 catches, 356 yards, eight touchdowns), and Alan Rabun (131 carries, 715 yards, five touchdowns), a USA running back, who earned an At-Large spot.

Second team defensive players included lineman Myles Geiger of USA (71 tackles, one sack), lineman Nathan Particka of Ubly, lineman Jacob Deer of Harbor Beach, EPBP linebacker Preston Warren (54 tackles, four tackles for loss, three sacks), Ubly defensive back Ryan Sweeney (32 tackles, two interceptions), Ubly defensive back Casey Sweeney, and EPBP defensive back Andrew Seigfried.

Five North Huron players earned All-Thumb honors on the 8-Man team.

Running back Mike Craig had 1,255 yards rushing on 105 carries this season, and scored 20 touchdowns.

“The quality of defense we faced did not slow down his production a whole lot as you can see by his yards per carry,” said head coach Issac Viers. “It should also be noted that he ran not only to the outside, but inside as well.”

Tom Toner made the first team offense and defense as a lineman, Andrew Pechette made both the offensive and defensive teams, Austin Leavine was an All-Thumb defensive lineman, and Ty Knoblock was named to the defensive team as a defensive back.

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