2013 All-U.P. Football: Ishpeming QB Briones named best of the big schools on offense

MARQUETTE – He usually only played half a game due to Ishpeming High School’s implementation of a running clock for its foes.

But Alex Briones still wowed members of the Upper Peninsula Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association at a meeting in Marquette on Thursday as he was named the Large Schools Offensive Player of the Year by a unanimous vote.

The senior quarterback – also named the UPSSA’s “Dream Team” signal caller – hurt opposing teams with his arm and his legs.

Briones (6-foot-2, 215 pounds) completed 43-of-65 passes (66.2 percent) for 1,050 yards and 13 touchdowns. He also ran for 814 yards (7.35 average) and 13 scores.

“He’s the best quarterback I’ve ever coached,” IHS head coach Jeff Olson said. “He could have had ungodly statistics if he had played full games.”

Named the Large Schools Defensive Player of the Year was Menominee’s Ryne Francour (6-1, 255 senior) by a 17-5 vote over West Iron County’s Andrew Peterson (6-2, 205 senior).

A linebacker, Francour made 74 tackles – 40 solo – recorded seven sacks and had an interception.

Peterson posted 29 solo tackles and 17 assists from his defensive end position. He also came up with 17 sacks and three fumble recoveries for the Wykons.

In the Small Schools selections, which includes players from 8-man teams, Jake Pearson (6-3, 220 senior) of Rapid River took the Offensive Player of the Year nod by a 21-vote total.

He ran for 1,067 yards and 29 touchdowns and passed for 762 and nine, respectively.

Eric Prestay (6-1, 220 senior) of North Central picked up nine votes to earn the Defensive Player of the Year award for the Small Schools division.

He came up with 110 tackles as a linebacker, tallying nine for loss. Prestay also had two fumble recoveries.

Senior defensive tackle Brad Gustafson (6-0, 250 senior) of North Dickinson picked up six votes. He made 30 tackles, nine for loss.

Gage Kreski (6-2, 176 sophomore) of St. Ignace collected five votes for the defensive honor. The defensive back came up with 10 interceptions, 62 tackles and a fumble recovery.

Junior linebacker Lee Graff (6-0, 190 junior) gained one vote. He made 60 tackles.

Craig Remsburg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 251. His email address is cremsburg@miningjournal.net