SANDPOINT — Junior linebacker Alex Stockton was named Defensive Most Valuable Player, and George Yarno won his first Coach of the Year, highlighting a strong showing of 12 Sandpoint members represented on the 4A All-Inland Empire League football team, as voted on recently by the league’s coaches.
Stockton, a 6-3, 230 pound athlete with speed, roamed sideline to sideline making tackles to anchor the Bulldogs’ defense. Along with junior Payton Cox, who set a physical tone for the team, and sophomore linebacker Tyler Lehman, the trio of underclassmen will all return next year with all league experience. Senior safeties Thomas Riley and Dustin Norris joined senior nose guard Chris Jones to round out the defensive players honored.
Junior running back Dillan Mitton finished with 492 yards rushing and 233 yards receiving while scoring five touchdowns, leading five Bulldog offensive players honored.
Senior receivers Julian Barajas (469 yards, seven touchdowns) and T.J. Davis (405 yards and two touchdowns) joined senior offensive linemen Trey Flint and Tyrone Larson with all-league honors.
Yarno on what each player did to earn a spot on the all-league team:
n Stockton: “Alex is one of the best athletes in our league, if not the state. He could have easily been voted for the offensive MVP not just the defensive MVP.”
n Mitton: “Dillan is a physical, punishing runner who fits perfectly into what we do in our power run game.”
n Davis: “T.J. is our deep threat and has the ability to go to the house on any play because of his breakaway speed.”
n Barajas: “Julian has the quickness and speed to turn a five yard catch into a 50 yard touchdown.”
n Flint: “Trey emerged as a leader on our team this year through effort and dedication to his craft and it showed in his play on the field.”
n Larson: “Tyrone is extremely athletic for a man of his size and it showed this year with his hustling down field to get a second and third block.”
n Riley: “Thomas is a quiet grinder. He speaks softly and carries a big stick.”
n Norris: “Dustin is one of the fastest players on our team and he used that speed to excel in our return game and in our defensive secondary.”
n Jones: “Chris developed one of the best motors I’ve ever seen this year. He was around the ball on every play he was in the game.”
n Cox: “Payton is a tremendous athlete, which helped us on both sides of the ball and has a knack for finding the ball and making plays.”
n Lehman: “Tyler is a very advanced athlete for his age and has an amazing nose for the football. He seems to always put himself in position to make a play.”
2017 4A All-Inland Empire League football
Offensive MVP — Josh Brandt, Lakeland, Sr.
Defensive MVP — Alex Stockton, Sandpoint, Jr.
Skill Player of the Year — Derrick Rauch-Edwards, Moscow, Jr.
Kicker of the Year — Ammon Munyer, Lakeland, Fr.
Punter of the Year — Collin Bell, Lakeland, So.
Coach of the Year — George Yarno, Sandpoint.
QB: Payton Broenneke, Mos, Sr.
RB: Dillan Mitton, Spt, Jr.
TE: Brysen Gottschalk, Mos, Sr.
WR: T.J. Davis, Spr, Sr.; Julian Barajas, Spt, Sr.; Trey McAurthur, LL, Sr.
OL: Adam Wallace, Mos, Sr.; Jack Peed, LL, Sr.; Trey Flint, Spt, Sr.; Tyrone Larson, Spt, Sr.; Bradley Allen, LL, Sr.
DB: Thomas Riley, Spt, Sr.; Dustin Norris, Spt, Sr.; Ezra Griggs, LL, So.
DL: Nathaniel Dansereau, LL, Sr.; Lucas Gardner, LL, Sr.; Chris Jones, Spt, Sr.; Tanner Newton, Mos, Sr.
LB: Wyatt Gatten, LL, Sr.; Travis Derrick, LL, Jr.; Payton Cox, Spt, Jr.; Tyler Lehman, Spt, So.