Whitepine League's football stars shine bright

Nov. 24—At the beginning of the year, it seemed like the Whitepine League Division I was about as wide open as it's been. However, that wasn't the case as Kamiah started the year on top and never relinquished its position.

That's one reason why Kubs seventh-year coach Nels Kludt earned coach of the year honors.

The front man led Kamiah to a 9-2 overall record and an unbeaten 7-0 league mark when things were said and done.

Despite Kamiah somewhat running away with the league, the WPL DI still proved to have its fair share of quality teams with Kamiah, Lapwai and Clearwater Valley all qualifying for the Idaho Class 1A Division I state tournament. The Kubs made it to the semifinal round of the end-of-the-year tournament where it fell 38-12 to Grace

With that, the league had many standout players. Wednesday's release of the all-league teams justifies as much.

This year, the league's coaches and the Daily News, along with cooperation from the University of Idaho, staged a photo shoot at the Kibbie Dome to commemorate their achievement.

Of the 21 spots on the first team — which were voted on by the league's coaches — seven went to players from Kamiah, five to Clearwater Valley, three to Potlatch, two to Genesee and Lapwai, and one to Troy and Prairie.

As far as the split on offense and defense goes, the Kubs had four spots on offense and three on defense; the Rams had two on offense and three on defense; the Loggers had two on offense and one on defense; the Wildcats and Bulldogs each had one player on offense and defense; the Trojans' lone all-league player was an offensive selection; and Prairie's was on defense. Players can be chosen both ways.

Player of the year honors went to Kamiah junior Porter Whipple. It's not every day that you'll see a lineman earn this distinction, but when you're as dominant as Whipple, the choice becomes easy.

Whipple was a freak on both sides of the ball, whether he was attacking opposing quarterbacks on the defensive line or opening holes for Kamiah's dominant rushing attack.

Whipple led the team with 14 sacks and 7.3 tackles per game.

He also helped junior running back Colton Ocain average 121 rushing yards per game.

His biggest play of the year came against Butte County in the first round of the Idaho Class 1A DI state football tournament.

Senior running back Connor Weddle took a toss 88 yards behind a pulling Whipple for the game-winning score in a 16-12 victory at home Nov. 4.

The offensive player of the year is Lapwai junior quarterback Terrell Ellenwood-Jones, the second year in a row a Wildcat quarterback took home the honor.

Ellenwood-Jones accounted for 46 touchdowns, averaging more than 170 yards per game on the ground.

He also began to develop as a passer late in the season, averaging another 150 yards through the air, helping the Wildcats end the regular season on four-game win streak to finish 5-3. Lapwai earned a state playoff berth but fell 78-28 to Butte County in the first round Oct. 29.

The defensive player of the year is Troy senior Chandler Blazzard.

Blazzard, who also was a first-team selection as a guard, was more dynamic defensively for Troy.

"He was my go-to guy," Troy coach Shawn Buchanan said. "There was no position he couldn't fill. He stepped up and played any position I asked him to without hesitation or complaint."

Blazzard finished the year with 158 total tackles, including 70 solo stops.

Also selected to the first team on offense were Genesee senior Angus Jordan at quarterback; Ocain at running back; Kamiah senior Kaden DeGroot and Potlatch senior Sam Barnes at tight end; Genesee senior Nolan Bartosz and Lapwai junior Ahlius Yearout at receiver; Potlatch senior Logan Amos and Clearwater Valley senior Isaac Goodwin at guard; and Kamiah senior Wyatt Wanaka at center.

DeGroot was Kamiah quarterback David Kludt's favorite target in 2022. He finished with 17 receptions for 446 yards, a 26.2 average, and eight scores.

In eight games, Jordan threw for 1,421 yards with 17 scores and just five interceptions. He also added 683 yards on the ground and 14 more touchdowns.

Bartosz caught 61 passes for 953 yards and 13 scores for the Bulldogs.

Also selected to the first team on defense were Clearwater Valley junior Bass Myers and Kamiah senior Will Millage at the ends; Goodwin and Lapwai senior Promise Shawl at tackle/nose guard; Potlatch senior Avery Palmer and Kamiah senior Colton Sams at linebacker; Prairie senior Colton McElroy and David Kludt at safety and Clearwater Valley senior Anthony Fabbi and Ocain at corner.

McElroy led the Pirates 35 total tackles, including 31 solo stops, and 2.5 tackles for loss in seven games.

Myers led the Rams in total touchdowns on offense with 14 and in rushing yards per game with 119. He finished the year with 839 yards on the ground.

Defensively, he was third on the team in tackles with 54, including 31 solo stops. He also led the team in tackles for loss (seven) as well as sacks (seven).

WPL Division II team announced

After repeating as the Class 1A Division II state champions, it's no surprise Kendrick dominated most of the spots as the Whitepine League also announced its best in the division.

The league's coaches voted for the team.

The Tigers (12-0), who beat Dietrich 42-34 in the state championship game Saturday at Holt Arena in Pocatello, won all the top awards but one.

That one was offensive MVP, which went to Timberline senior Rylan West. The running back and linebacker, who made the first team at both spots, helped the Spartans to a 4-5 overall record and a 1-2 mark in the league, good enough for third place.

Kendrick junior quarterback Ty Koepp was the offensive MVP and received first-team quarterback honors, and junior linebacker Lane Clemenhagen was the defensive MVP, also receiving a first-team spot. Zane Hobart, who just finished his 10th season with the team, was the coach of the year. The Tigers have won 15 consecutive games.

Koepp finished the year 106-of-167 passing (63 percent) for 2,001 yards and 32 touchdowns. He also added 567 yards rushing with 10 more scores.

Junior tight ends Jagger Hewett and Hunter Taylor notched first-team honors. Hewett finished with 50 receptions for more than 1,000 yards and 16 scores. Wyatt Fitzmorris got the second all-league running back spot. He finished with 50 rushes for 321 yards and 10 touchdowns. Seniors Jack Silflow and Tommy Stamper, as well as junior Dallas Morgan, earned all-league honors on the offensive line.

All three of Kendrick's offensive linemen also earned nods on the defensive line. Taylor and Hewett each earned first-team all-league honors as defensive backs and Fitzmorris got the nod as a linebacker.

Whitepine League Division I All-League selections

FIRST TEAM

Offense

QB — Angus Jordan, Genesee. RB — Colton Ocain, Kamiah; Anthony Carter, Clearwater Valley. TE — Sam Barnes, Potlatch; Kaden DeGroot, Kamiah. WR — Nolan Bartosz, Genesee; Ahlius Yearout, Lapwai. OG — Logan Amos, Potlatch; Isaac Goodwin, Clearwater Valley; Chandler Blazzard, Troy. C — Wyatt Wanaka, Kamiah.

Defense

DE — Bass Myers, Clearwater Valley; Will Millage, Kamiah. LB — Avery Palmer, Potlatch; Colton Sams, Kamiah. DT/NG — Goodwin; Promise Shawl, Lapwai. DB — Anthony Fabbi, Clearwater Valley; Ocain. S — Colton McElroy, Prairie; David Kludt, Kamiah.

Player of the year — Porter Whipple, Kamiah.

Offensive player of the year — Terrell Ellenwood-Jones, Lapwai.

Defensive player of the year — Chandler Blazzard, Troy.

Special teams player of the year — Fabbi.

Coach of the year — Nels Kludt, Kamiah.

SECOND TEAM

Offense

QB — Fabbi. RB — Wyatt Johnson, Potlatch; Myers. TE — Eli Stoner, Troy; Quenten Kipp, Lapwai. WR — Carson Schilling, Clearwater Valley; Seamus Wilson, Logos; Dillon White, Lapwai. OG — Shane Hanson, Prairie; Millage. C — Austin Curtis, Clearwater Valley.

Defense

DE — Carter; Wanaka. LB — Wyatt Jordan, Genesee; Johnson; Yearout; DeGroot. DT/NG — Jacob Keck, Potlatch; Noah Behler, Prairie. DB — Bartosz; Everett Oatman, Kamiah; Jalisco Miles, Lapwai. S — Johnson; Tiago Pickering, Clearwater Valley.

HONORABLE MENTION

Offense

QB — Kludt; Jack Driskill, Logos. RB — Trenton Lorentz, Prairie; Sams. TE — Benny Elven, Prairie. WR — Lucius Comis, Logos; Pickering; OG — Carter Shears, Prairie; Shawl. C — Grant Wolf, Genesee.

Defense

DE — Logan Amos, Potlatch; Lorentz. LB — Fabbi; Kipp. DT/NG — Shears; Layson Morrell, Lapwai. DB — White; Clark; Levi McCully, Troy. S — Marcisio Noriega, Lapwai; Driskill.

Whitepine League Division II All-League selections

FIRST TEAM

Offense

QB — Ty Koepp, Kendrick. RB — Rylan West, Timberline; Wyatt Fitzmorris, Kendrick. TE — Jagger Hewett, Kendrick; Hunter Taylor, Kendrick. OL — Dallas Morgan, Kendrick; Jack Silflow, Kendrick; Tommy Stamper, Kendrick.

Defense

DL — Morgan; Silflow; Stamper. LB — Lane Clemenhagen, Kendrick; Fitzmorris; West. DB — Hewett; Taylor.

MVP — Koepp.

Offensive player of the year — West.

Defensive player of the year — Clemenhagen.

Coach of the year — Zane Hobart, Kendrick.

HONORABLE MENTION

Offense — Logan Hunter, Timberline; Wyatt Webb, Lewis County; Dale Fletcher, Deary.

Defense — Elvis Rickert, Deary; Parker Brown, Timberline; Gavin Christopherson, Timberline.

Pixley may be contacted at (208) 848-2290, tpixley@lmtribune.com or on Twitter @TreebTalks.