Local Sports

35 area athletes named to MHSFCA All-Region list

By Calli Newberry

Last week, the Michigan High School Football Coaches Association announced its 2021 All-Region list. The Blue Water Area can proudly boast 35 athletes across eight teams who earned All-Region honors. 

DIVISION 4 REGION 3

Croswell-Lexington (10-2, BWAC Champs, District Champs, Regional Finalists): 

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Tony Groppi ’22 — DL

  • 33 solo tackles, 55 assists, and 3.5 sacks

Matt Lyons ’22 — OL

  • Four total tackles 

Saige Slanec ’22 — WR 

  • 50 receptions for 889 yards and 13 touchdowns
  • 11 solo tackles, nine assists

Jake Townsend ’22 — QB 

  • 128-244 passing for 2333 yards and 24 touchdowns
  • 132 carries for 904 yards and nine touchdowns

Kirk Wilson ’22 — LB

  • Six receptions for 117 yards and two touchdowns 
  • 14 carries for 86 rushing yards
  • 64 solo tackles, 92 assists, and three sacks
  • Two interceptions and five passes deflected

“It just means that we’re starting to trend in the right direction. It shows that if you work hard, you’re going to get recognized for it. Those five on that list are some of our hardest workers,” head coach Mike LeGrow said. “Having that many shows that you have a very good team, not just one very good kid, but a very good team.”

“In reality we had a solid linebacker, a solid defensive line, and on offense we had a good quarterback-wide receiver combination,” he added, “and we also had a good offensive line and Matt Lyons helped protect everything and run blocks for us.”

North Branch (7-3): 

William Damaska ’23 — ATH

  • 36-54 passing for 512 yards and six touchdowns
  • 585 rushing yards for 16 touchdowns
  • 38 solo tackles, 16 assists

Griffin Mabery ’23 — DB  

  • 19 solo tackles, 12 assists 
  • Three interceptions, two fumble recoveries

Landen Swoish ’23 — SPEC 

  • 32-35 in extra points, averaged 51 yards on kickoffs and five touchbacks
  • 18 solo tackles, six assists
  • One interception

Division 4 Region 4

St. Clair (8-3, MAC-Gold Champs; District Finalists): 

Luke Ellis ’22 — QB 

  • 58-117 passing for 1054 yards and 13 touchdowns
  • 102 carries for 604 yards rushing and 11 touchdowns

Maddox Mozal ’22 — OL 

  • 48 pancake blocks

Kai Pennewell ’22 — DL 

  • 38 tackles and four sacks
  • Three passes deflected

Drew Schweihofer ’22 — DL 

  • 41 tackles and three sacks 

DIVISION 5 REGION 3 

Armada (7-4): 

Cole Mahaffy ’22 — LB 

  • 94 solo tackles, 33.5 assists, and five sacks
  • Two interceptions

DIVISION 5 REGION 4

Richmond (4-6): 

Blake Esselink ’23 — DL 

  • 23 solo tackles, 30 assists, and eight sacks
  • One safety, four blocked kicks, and seven passes deflected

Kevin McKiernan ’22 — DL 

  • Nine receptions for 190 yards and one touchdown
  • 11 solo tackles, 15 assists, and five sacks

Wesley Peters ’22 — LB 

  • 39 solo tackles, 70 assists, and four sacks

Marine City (13-0, MAC-Silver Champs, District Champs, Regional Champs, State Finalists) 

Carter Ames ’22 — OL 

  • Two solo tackles, four assists, and one sack

Kaden Chapman ’22 — DB 

  • 20 solo tackles, and 26 assists
  • 12 passes deflected and two interceptions 

Nolan Distelrath ’22 — TE 

  • 13 receptions for 201 yards and one touchdown


Jeff Heaslip ’23 — QB

  • 81-148 passing for 1435 yards and 16 touchdowns
  • 78 carries for 519 yards and 10 touchdowns

Scott Kretzchmar ’22 — DB 

  • 36 carries for 290 yards rushing and two touchdowns
  • 29 solo tackles, 49 assists
  • Five passes deflected and one interception

Ty Nelson ’22 — DB 

  • 29 solo tackles and 29 assists
  • Seven interceptions and four passes deflected

Kyle Smalstig ’22 — OL 

  • Three solo tackles, 12 assists, and one sack 

Zach Tetler ’23 — RB 

  • 136 carries for 1359 yards and 27 touchdowns
  • 10 receptions for 226 yards and three touchdowns 
  • 2 solo tackles, 16 assists
  • Two passes deflected and one interception

Charles Tigert ’22 — ATH 

  • 93 carries for 994 yards and nine touchdowns
  • 15 receptions for 250 yards and one touchdown
  • 25 solo tackles, 33 assists, and 12 sacks
  • One interception

Wyatt Walker ’22 — LB 

  • 20 carries for 144 yards and seven touchdowns
  • Three receptions for 40 yards and two touchdowns
  • 32 solo tackles, 62 assists, and one sack
  • Nine passes deflected and one interception

Tyler Woznak ’22 — DL 

  • 11 solo tackles, 28 assists, and four sacks
  • One interception

Danny Zweng ’22 — DL 

  • 11 solo tackles, 29 assists, and five sacks
  • One pass deflected

“It’s great. It’s a byproduct of what they’ve done. You earn awards as a player, obviously because your team has success, successful teams get more players on teams like this so it’s a credit to the team and what they’ve been able to accomplish,” head coach Daryn Letson said. “It’s also a credit to those players in regards to the season they’ve had to this point and the preparation they’ve done to allow themselves to have a very successful season.  It’s a testament to the type of program we’ve had here for close to or embarking on for four decades or so.”

“And really it’s a testament to the buy-in these kids have with this program and have had for years,” he added. “As younger players make these teams, it shows you their commitment from a young age.”

DIVISION 6 REGION 3

Almont (6-5, District Finalists): 

Brandon Hunsaker ’22 — LB 

  • 25 solo tackles, 72 assists, and three sacks

Matthew Measel  ’23 — RB 

  • 82 carries for 698 yards rushing and nine touchdowns
  • 17 receptions for 196 yards and three touchdowns

Mason Smith ’22 — DB 

  • 21 solo tackles, 38 assists
  • 89 carries for 631 yards and eight touchdowns 

DIVISION 8 REGION 4

Marine City Cardinal Mooney (7-3:

Garrison Brown ’22 — DL 

  • Six solo tackles, 27 assists

Brendon Haisenleder ’22 — RB 

  • 137 carries for 1131 yards for 16 TD

Trent Rice ’23 — WR 

  • 16 receptions for 486 yards and six touchdowns 
  • Two returned touchdowns

Marco Taranta ’22 — QB 

  • 85-149 passing for 1382 yards
  • 25 carries for 123 yards rushing

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Calli Newberry

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