M-P football reflects on historic season

MARYSVILLE — In the uniquely American sport of football, stories of hard work and overcoming adversity tug at a little harder at the heartstrings of even the most hardened figures.

But even after some 30 years of coaching, M-P offensive coordinator Scott Stokes got a little choked up as he presented the team's Most Inspirational award to senior running back Caleb Posey.

While professing a resistance to personal awards in such a team-oriented sport, Stokes spoke with a slight tremor as he introduced Posey. "I'm sure this guy would trade it in in a heartbeat to change the scoreboard of our final game," he said.

It was a rare sober moment in a generally buoyant celebration of the team's first league championship season since 1975.

Players were called up individually by their position coaches, who shared personal memories from the season that defined the player's impact. More than once, the coaches credited the support and selfless attitude of back-ups as critical to the team's success. One such player, senior quarterback Nick Forsythe, shared the annual Coaches Award.

"How could we put a face to our team, especially a team that went 9-0? It's not just who's our best player or who's the best student," said assistant coach Bill Hodgins, explaining the coaches' voting process. "Even if he's not in the limelight, he holds himself in a way that you would admire."

Forsythe shared the award with senior running back Travis Sanderson who, Stokes said in the senior's introduction, selflessly accepted a change in roles as a senior that other athletes might have rejected.

"For Travis, the team came first, always," Stokes said.

Coaches and players shared memories of moments when they realized the school's 100th year of football would be a special one. For Stokes, it was a key fourth-down conversion for a touchdown against Snohomish when, the year before, the team had gone for three in the same scenario.

Sanderson fondly remembered the Tomahawks' game against Stanwood when, he said he realized, "We were a team that could have fun." He added, "Coach Carson saw potential in me and I appreciate it. The good part of our season has come from their coaching."

At the Nov. 20 banquet, captain Mike Stone learned that he had been named an all-league first-teamer after shifting to the offensive line from halfback as a senior.

"We totally exceeded my expectations. I thought we'd have a winning season after last year," Stone said, counting the team's 28-7 win over Snohomish his favorite game of the season. "It's a great rivalry game."

The team was captained by quarterback Devin Peterson, linebacker Ryan Sterley, Stone and Posey.

Coaches also revealed the team's all-league athletes. The first team included offensive linemen Mike Stone and Jeff Trappe, running back Austin Denton, return specialist Levi Cartas, defensive lineman Brennen Steinbaugh, inside linebacker Ryan Sterley, defensive back Andy Abadam and outside linebacker Devin Peterson. The second team included running back Caleb Posey and defensive lineman Jerome McClain. The honorable mention list included offensive lineman Tannon Hillis, defensive back Chris Larson, defensive lineman Brett Parsons, defensive lineman Mitch Pearson and kicker Danny Stokes.

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