JLAS Football



All-Ski Valley Football Team 2010 ~ Gaylord Herald Times

OTSEGO COUNTY — It may have been a tough season for the Johannesburg-Lewiston
and St. Mary football teams but the Cardinals and Snowbirds were still well-represented on the All-Ski Valley Conference football squads.

Making the first team from J-L was junior offensive lineman Sean Aisthorpe, senior halfback Dallas VanDoren and senior punter John Cook, while St. Mary senior offensive lineman Joe Payton was also included on the First Team.

On the second team was J-L sophomore offensive lineman Jake Ormsbee, senior defensive lineman Adam Haskill and junior defensive back Nick Michael, as well as St. Mary junior linebacker Jacob Blanzy.

Making Honorable Mention was J-L sophomore quarterback Alex Payne and St. Mary halfback Justin Rutkowski, receiver/linebacker Gabe Nowicki and fullback/linebacker Josh Puroll.

The 2010 All-Ski Valley Conference team is as follows:

First Team

QB Ben Connelly, Inland Lakes; HB Dallas VanDoren, J-L; HB Taylor Borst, Mancelona; HB Austin Spires, Mancelona; E Cody Christmas, Mancelona; E Zach Patton, Central Lake; OL Sean Aisthorpe, J-L; OL Dalton Sulz, Mancelona; OL Nick Hoogerhyde, Mancelona; OL Doug Morse, Inland Lakes; OL Joe Payton, St. Mary; DL Drew Hanel, Inland Lakes; DL Trey Leach, Onaway; DL Luke Beal, Central Lake; DL Tom Hall, Forest Area; LB Laurel Tucker, Inland Lakes; LB Dustin Allen, Mancelona; LB Tanner Davis, Central Lake; LB Keith Adams, Forest Area; DB Trevor Hanel, Inland Lakes; DB Ian Beal, Central Lake; DB Mike King, Central Lake; K Sam McMurry, Pellston; P John Cook, J-L

Second Team

QB Dustin Derrer, Mancelona; HB Justin Gedda, Onaway; HB Robert Gruce, Central Lake; HB Ron Fall, Forest Area; E Jared Caldwell, Forest Area; E Ryan Burke, Forest Area; OL Travis Matthews, Pellston; OL Jake Ormsbee, J-L; OL Colby Squires, Mancelona; OL Jake Miller, Inland Lakes; OL Bryer McGinn, Onaway; DL Devin Pearson, Inland Lakes; DL Adam Haskill, J-L; DL Cliff Sizemore, Mancelona; DL Justin Warner, Pellston; LB Riley Southwell, Inland Lakes; LB Christian Tollini, Onaway; LB Jacob Blanzy, St. Mary; DB Nick Michael, J-L; DB Kevin Shepperly, Mancelona; DB Cory Grossman, Onaway

Honorable Mention

Alex Payne, J-L; Justin Rutkowski, St. Mary; Robert Steile, Forest Area; Josh Vantilburg, Pellston; Josh Sizemore, Mancelona; Sean Ricketts, Forest Area; Tyler James, Onaway; Dylan Buffman, Central Lake; Mike Schaefer, Pellston; Gabe Nowicki, St. Mary; Josh Puroll, St. Mary; Trevor Papineau, Central Lake; Alex Wright, Central Lake; Reece Freeman, Forest Area; Ben Veenstra, Central Lake; Dustin Witek, Forest Area.


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Player of the year VanDoren overcomes father's death, knee injury
By Jeremy Speer Sports Editor ~ Gaylord Herald Times

JOHANNESBURG — There are two dates that Dallas VanDoren remembers every day and every time he scored a touchdown this season for the Johannesburg-Lewiston football team.

With one, the pain was physical. That day was Nov. 6, 2009, when during a second-round playoff game against St. Ignace, a players helmet rolled against VanDoren’s knee, completely tearing his ACL and his meniscus in three places.

The other day is so much different. That day was May 23, 2010, when VanDoren’s father, Mark, was on duty as a United States Border Agent in Texas. An accident cost Mark his life and took away the man most responsible for VanDoren’s love of and talent in football.
Rather than sink into despair, VanDoren used both days as motivators as he prepared for his senior season. Not sure if he’d even be able to step on the field this season because of injury, VanDoren was J-L’s leading rusher, compiling 636 yards and seven touchdowns on the season. Every time he scored a touchdown he ended the play with a simple gesture — a point toward the sky for his dad. For what he’s done on the field, and what he’s been through, VanDoren is the 2010 Herald Times Player of the Year.

“It made me feel like I had to get back and play,” VanDoren said of his father’s death. “I didn’t want to let him down. The reason why I’m good at football is because of my dad. He taught me everything. It was motivation to work harder to get back.”

If you were to ask J-L head coach and physical education teacher John Bush if VanDoren would be a part of his 2010 backfield in the spring, and he would have quickly said no. From the time he was hurt, VanDoren didn’t participate in gym class throughout the rest of last school year and once summer hit, VanDoren’s knee was not close to being ready for action.

“Coming into the season, I thought there was no way,” Bush said. “He couldn’t do anything. But he played through it being sore all the time and just kept on getting after it.”

Over the summer, VanDoren began to regain movement in his knee and worked hard to build strength. And then when football camp broke, he was back in action, not missing a game. Pain is something VanDoren has been used to, as he played through his freshman and sophomore seasons with a broken wrist.

While he said it still is only at 85 percent, it allowed him to be one of the most dangerous backs in the Ski Valley Conference. What made VanDoren so special was his combination of strength and speed. With a small frame (5-7, 160), he doesn’t look like a physical back, but he was strong both in the open field and up the middle.

What made VanDoren so special was his combination of strength and speed. With a small frame (5-7, 160), he doesn’t look like a physical back, but he was strong both in the open field and up the middle.

“I loved getting out in the open field and seeing a corner,” VanDoren said. “He would expect me to try to run around him, but I love just running him over.”

It’s the combination of speed and punch that are familiar to J-L fans who watched another smallish back, Dallas’ brother Curtis, run for 1,385 career yards and 15 touchdowns. Those numbers are very similar to Dallas’, who had 1,131 career yards and 16 touchdowns.

VanDoren, the son of Mindy VanDoren, plans on working for his uncle next year, while attending Gaylord’s M-Tec for schooling in plumbing, heating and cooling.

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J-L Cardinal Football Pictures



Fri Aug 27 7:00PM
vs. Central Lake High School
J-L offense can't take advantage in defeat
L 13-6
Fri Sep 3 7:00PM
vs. Pellston High School
J-L rebounds with victory vs. Pellston
W 36-0
Fri Sep 10 7:00PM
vs. Inland Lakes High School
Game Summary ~ Offensive Stats
Defensive Stats
L 34-26
Fri Sep 17 7:00PM
L 38-14
Fri Oct 1 7:00PM
W 34-0
Fri Oct 8 7:00PM
L 22-0
Fri Oct 15 7:00PM
W 44-14
Fri Oct 22 7:00PM
@ Saint Mary's High School
Game Summary ~ Offensive Stats
Defensive Stats
W 59-14

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2010 J-L Varsity Football Team
Dallas VanDoren
John Cook
Alex Payne
Brett Kortman
Gunnar Owens
Mike Pero
Brian VanCoillie
Jonathan Peterson
Nick Michael
Sean Aisthorpe
Blake Huff
Dakota Finnerty
Cody Kibby
Trenton Roberts
Tyler Bowling
Logan Miller
Jacob Ormsbee
Adam Haskill
Justin Huff
John Bush
Assistant Coaches:
Joe Smokevitch, Joe Bush & Tom Hausbeck

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J-L eliminated from playoff contention

Gaylord Herald Times

JOHANNESBURG — The theme of the season for the 2010 Johannesburg-Lewiston football team rang true one more time Friday night. If something can go wrong for the Cardinals, it will.
And it did again in an ultra-important home showdown with Forest Area. Needing a victory to keep its playoff hopes alive, J-L was handed a much-closer-than-it-looked 22-0 defeat.
Both teams had their chances — the Cardinals rolled out 245 yards on the ground — but it was the Warriors (5-2) who made the most of them in a field position battle.
“We shot ourselves in the foot more than a couple of times,” said J-L coach John Bush. “We’d get something good going and then we’d have a fumble or a dropped pass. We didn’t string things together.”
Hopefully, the Cardinals will be able to string those together in the future, such as next year, when J-L is expected to make another strong run for the playoffs. But for now, all the Cardinals can play for is a .500 record, which could happen with wins at rivals Atlanta and St. Mary the next two weeks.
Neither J-L nor Forest Area could capitalize on their drives early in this game, as the game remained scoreless with 3:00 remaining in the first half. A couple of nice Cardinal drives eventually stalled out, one thanks the one-two combo of a penalty and sack.
Forest Area’s balanced attack struck pay dirt late in the half, however, as quarterback Robert Steile suddenly caught fire, completing four straight-passes to push the ball 76 yards down field. The final of those was a beautiful strike to 6-foot-5 Ryan Burke, who cruised 31 yards into the end zone.
The Warriors again got the ball to start the second half and Steile again went to work, connecting with Burke on a 25-yard strike and then with Jared Caldwell on a 32-yard scoring pass. A conversion by Ron Fall allowed Forest Area to jump ahead to a 14-0 lead.
For the game, Steile was solid, completing 11-of-19 passes for 188 yards and the two touchdowns. Caldwell hauled in five passes for 99 yards, while Burke had three catches for 64 yards.
“That’s how the game goes,” Bush said. “A spurt here and a run there and they caught us a little bit. They completed some big passes and we didn’t get our guys over the top.”
J-L knew it needed a score on the next drive, and the Cardinals Wing-T ground game went to work. Brian VanCoillie, Dallas VanDoren and quarterback Alex Payne gashed the Forest Area defense, setting up a first and goal from the five-yard line. But when the Cardinals looked to get inside track for a touchdown around the left edge, an untimely fumble was scooped up by the Warriors’ Sean Ricketts.
The resilient Cardinal defense, led by linebacker sophomore Jake Ormsbee, forced a quick punt, breathing more life into the J-L attack. Ormsbee, taking over the role filled by injured junior Blake Huff, had an impressive 19 tackles on the game.
The Cardinals were able to piece together a pair of first downs, before another crucial sack derailed any scoring opportunity. On the next drive, J-L senior Jon Peterson stepped in front of a Steile pass and looked to be cruising into the end zone, but it ruled he dropped to a knee when picking it off. The ensuing Cardinal drive was a three and out.
Forest Area’s next drive put the nail in the coffin, although it didn’t produce any points. The Warriors burned off six minutes of clock before turning the ball over to J-L on downs, at the Cardinals’ 11-yard line. Following a fumble, Forest Area’s Tom Hall scored on the next-to-last play of the game on a two-yard run.
“It’s been one of those years,” Bush lamented. “If we’d have gotten a couple of more plays, who knows where we’d be at.”
J-L had a very balanced ground attack, with VanDoren leading the way with 57 yards. Also for J-L, VanCoillie had 48 yards, Payne 47 yards, John Cook 47 yards and Buddy Shoff 44 yards. Payne completed a pair of passes to VanDoren, for a total of 24 yards.
For the J-L defense, sophomore Wyatt Pelton had 13 total tackles, while senior lineman Adam Haskill had 11. Junior Nick Michael added 10 stops in the defeat, while junior Brett Kortman recorded a sack.
Hall had 64 yards on the ground to lead the Warriors, while Fall chipped in 50 yards. With the win, Forest Area kept its playoff hopes alive.
J-L shouldn’t have to look far for motivation in its next two games, as it will come against the school’s biggest two rivals. Up first is a trip to Atlanta (3-4), whom the Cardinals have dominated in recent years.
“We’re going to try to win out and keep it going for the Cardinals,” Bush said.

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Red Redemption: J-L blasts Onaway on Homecoming
Gaylord Herald Times

JOHANNESBURG — After a pair of gut-wrenching and costly losses, the Johannesburg-Lewiston football team emerged out of their bye week stronger Friday in a 34-0 Homecoming victory against Onaway.

The Cardinals (2-3) were sharp on both sides of the ball, putting up 450 yards of total offense and holding Onaway (2-3) to just 142 total yards. It’s a good sign heading into a huge game Friday, when J-L looks to keep its playoff hopes alive with a home battle against Forest Area.

“We played OK, we got a little better on some things but there are still some things to work on,” said J-L coach John Bush.

In losses to Inland Lakes and Mancelona, J-L lost its two leading tacklers — junior Blake Huff (broken jaw) and Brett Kortman (concussion). Neither played against Onaway, but the Cardinals’ ground game certainly came to play, led by senior Dallas VanDoren. VanDoren, who severely hurt his knee last season, continued to impress as a  senior, by rushing for 147 yards and two touchdowns.

“We were a little worried about him heading into the season and we’ve tried to take it easy on his snaps on offense and defense,” Bush said. “He’s been playing well and he really looks like he’s 100 percent.”

Both of his scores came in the first quarter, where the home team built a 14-0 lead. VanDoren turned the reigns over to junior Brian VanCoillie in the second quarter, who responded with an 18-yard touchdown run. VanCoillie rushed for 83 yards in the game, while sophomore quarterback Alex Payne and junior Buddy Shoff each had 50 yards on the ground.

J-L also had its best passing game of the season, as Payne completed 2-of-3 attempts for 68 yards. One was a 37-yard third-quarter touchdown strike to junior Nick Michael and the other was a 31-yard pass to junior Gunner Owens. The Michael touchdown, followed by a two-point pass from Payne to VanDoren, gave the Cardinals a 28-0 lead in the third quarter.

Homecoming king Jon Peterson added to the fun in the fourth quarter, when his 20-yard scamper marked the final score of the game.

Because of the injuries, the Cardinals called up three players from the junior varsity, and all made immediate impacts. Wyatt Pelton had eight tackles and a fumble recovery, while Dylan Helms had five tackles and Drake Skowronski had three tackles.

“It was to the point where we needed some bodies and they did a nice job and made some plays for us,” Bush said. “It’s nice to have the numbers we do on the junior varsity team.”

Jake Ormsbee led the team with 11 tackles overall, while Adam Haskill chipped in six. Payne had an interception, while Michael scooped up a fumble recovery.

The Cardinals will now have their final home game of the season against Forest Area (4-2), a team who is also angling for a playoff spot.

“They are explosive and definitely have some weapons,” Bush said. “They have speed and decent size. We’re going to have to keep them in front of us.”

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J-L falls to Ski Valley power Mancelona

Gaylord Herald Times
MANCELONA — The Johannesburg-Lewiston football team will now have a week off to regroup following a start few would have imagined.

Friday’s 38-14 loss to Mancelona spun the Cardinals to a 1-3 start and the team will have to win its remaining four games in order to salvage the season and earn a playoff spot.

It’s not without question — the team’s final four games are against Forest Area (2-2), Onaway (2-2), Atlanta (2-2) and St. Mary (0-4) — but it has obviously has been a different season than it was during last year’s Ski Valley Conference title run.

The Cardinals were in a hole from the start of Friday’s game in Mancelona, as during the week, it was made known that junior Blake Huff, who had 52 tackles in the first three games, will likely be out for the season with a broken jaw suffered in the week three Inland Lakes game. Huff, also a starting guard, is a team leader on both sides of the ball.

Mancelona’s top leader, senior Taylor Borst, was healthy and on top of his form. Borst was simply tremendous, scoring four touchdowns and rushing 166 yards and receiving for 52 yards. The bruising, yet speedy Borst also added three game-changing interceptions on defense.

“He’s a very good player,” said J-L coach John Bush. “He’s a next-level type of talent. I’ve been able to see him a couple of times and he’s very good.”

His running left J-L shell shocked in the first half. Borst scored on the second play of the game on a 60-yard run. The Cardinals came out throwing the ball behind sophomore quarterback Alex Payne, but after a few completed passes, the drive stalled.

Then, the Ironmen (3-1) got the ball back, and Borst and fullback Austin Spires drove the ball down field, ending in a 27-yard run by Borst. Borst then intercepted passes on the next two J-L possessions, before capping off another drive with a one-yard run.

His pass from Dustin Derrer with 1:20 left in the second quarter marked his fourth touchdown of the half (he also ran in all three two-point conversions). At halftime, the scoreboard read: Borst 30, J-L 0.

Mancelona added to the lead in the third quarter, when Spires scored on a 15-yard run. With the running clock enacted, the Cardinals played their best ball of the evening, marching down field on back-to-back scoring drives.

First, the Cardinals drove 60 yards down the field through tough Wing-T running. Buddy Shoff capped things off with a one-yard touchdown plunge. Moments later, Shoff would score his second one-yard touchdown of the night, when he capped an impressive 96-yard drive.

“I thought we did a good job of settling down and getting after it,” Bush said.

In both drives, Payne, senior Dallas VanDoren and junior Brian VanCoillie showed adept running. For the game, Payne led the way with 60 rushing yards, while VanDoren added 46 yards.

Defensive leaders were juniors Sean Aisthorpe and Brett Kortman and sophomores Jake Ormsbee and Payne, who each finished with eight total tackles. Senior Tyler Bowling and junior Nick Michael each added seven tackles for the Cardinals. Payne added a fumble recovery.

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J-L rebounds with victory vs. Pellston
By Jeremy Speer • Sports Editor ~ Gaylord Herald Times

JOHANNESBURG — The Johannesburg-Lewiston football team improved offensively and defensively in Friday’s 36-0 victory against Pellston.

But it was another part of the game that coach John Bush was most impressed with.

“We played with more intensity than we did the first game,” Bush said. “There was more of a sense of urgency and it’s going to have to continue this week.”

This week, a pair of 1-1 teams will square off in the host Cardinals and Inland Lakes. If J-L continue to rack up 339 yards on the ground, like it did against Pellston, it could be in for another big day against the Bulldogs. Improved offensive line play was the key in the week two victory, as Bush and offensive coordinator Joe Smokevitch reworked the unit following a 13-6 loss to Central Lake and allowed junior center Sean Aisthorpe to make more calls at the line of scrimmage. Logan Miller was moved to tackle and Dakota Finnerty also returned to the lineup, and the results were much better.
“Last week we started three sophomores and two juniors,” Bush said. “It took a little while for us to get synched. But we’re healthy, knock on wood, and we’re looking to get better every practice and each Friday night.”

The backs also did a nice job, as senior fullback Dallas VanDoren had a career night with 142 yards and two touchdowns. It must have been a sweet feeling for VanDoren, who missed a big chunk of last season with a knee injury.

Sophomore quarterback Alex Payne added 81 yards and two touchdowns on the ground, while Jon Peterson had the other score. Payne had a pair of two-point conversions, while Peterson also had one.

Senior John Cook made his varsity debut and added 33 yards on the ground.

“We did a lot of things better,” Bush said. “We had a good week at practice and did a lot of nice things.” Defensively, J-L held the Hornets (0-2) to a meager 54 total yards, as junior Blake Huff continued to be a one-man wrecking crew from his linebacker slot. Huff had 12 tackles, including a pair of big sacks in the victory. Senior Adam Haskill got the start at nose tackle and responded with a big game, including 10 tackles. Jake Ormsbee added seven tackles, while Nick Michael and Brett Kortman added six apiece. The game against Inland Lakes will be the last of three-straight J-L home games before the Cardinals hit the road for the first time next Friday at Mancelona.

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J-L offense can't take advantage in defeat
By Jeremy Speer • Sports Editor ~ Gaylord Herald Times

JOHANNESBURG — It was very clear that both teams were playing their first game of the season Friday night. But in the end, it was Central Lake who capitalized more on Johannesburg-Lewiston’s transgressions with a come-from-behind 13-6 victory.

The Trojans turned the ball over on their first seven possessions, but all the host Cardinals could muster was one touchdown. Once Central Lake was able to hang onto the ball, it was able to engineer a pair of scoring drives in the second half to spur the victory.

“We just did not match their intensity,” said J-L coach John Bush. “We just could not get anything going on offense. We should have taken advantage of more of our opportunities. Central Lake kept coming at us, and they made more plays than we did.”

Despite the bevy of turnovers — which included four interceptions, two fumbles and a muffed punt — nearly every time J-L received the ball, it was deep in its own territory. Most of the game, in fact, was played on the Cardinals’ side of the field, as J-L had trouble stringing together first downs.
The killer stat came in the second half, where the home team could not muster a single first down . That allowed the Trojans to have the ball often, and they made good, behind the strong running of Mike King and the timely passing of Ian Beal.

The Trojans had just 27 yards to march late in the third quarter, when Beal hit Gus Meriwether on a nine-yard strike to even the score at 6-6. King booted the extra point to give Central Lake the go-ahead point. The capper came in the fourth quarter, when the Trojans marched 61 yards, culminating on a 18-yard pass from Beal to Zach Patton.

“We have to keep our offense on the field more,” Bush said. “Eventually, they’re going to score on us. It’s the law of averages.” The Cardinals mustered just 87 yards of total offense, led by senior Jon Peterson, who had 43 yards on the ground. Junior Brian VanCoillie added a 10-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. The defense was much better, as junior Blake Huff had a monster game, with 20 total tackles, an interception and a fumble recovery. Junior Brett Kortman added two interceptions and 12 tackles, while VanCoillie also had an interception. Senior Justin Huff and sophomore Alex Payne each had fumble recoveries, while senior Adam Haskill added 14 total tackles.

King led Central Lake with 75 yards on the ground, while Beal was 3-for-9 for 54 yards.

It was a stunning loss for J-L, the 2009 Ski Valley Conference co-champions, but not one that cannot be overcome. The Cardinals will look to take care of business Friday at home against Pellston, who lost 14-12 to Hale in its season opener.

“Pellston has a different look than it has in the past,” Bush said. “They are a spread team with quickness and a running quarterback. We had some good efforts (against Central Lake), but we just didn’t do it at the same time. Our kids have good character and they will come back.”

 Updated 11/15/10
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