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The Mirror's All-City football team
By COLE COSGROVE
The Mirrors All-City Football Team for 2002 is headed by versatile Decatur junior quarterback Darin Harris, who was chosen as the citys Offensive Player of the Year.
Running and passing, Harris was responsible for 1,856 yards of total offense this season to help the Gators to a 6-3 overall record, almost making the playoffs for the first time in school history. He was also a leader on the field as a defensive back.
Of all the players in the league, hes the one that a team couldnt do without, both offensively and defensively, Decatur coach Rik Haines said. I think he was the best quarterback in the SPSL, bar none. If you look at all the teams and if they would have won without their quarterback, I think Bethel would win without Johnny DuRocher. We wouldnt have done as well without Darin. He is a very recruitable Division I player next year, probably more so than anyone in the league. He has great leadership, that showed when he was overwhelmingly voted a captain as a junior.
Harris carried the ball 155 times for 1,238 yards and 14 touchdowns. He averaged 137 yards per game and was ranked No. 3 in the SPSL in rushing yards.
In the air, Harris completed 36 of 73 passes (49 percent) for 618 yards and five touchdowns.
He was recognized by SPSL coaches as the All-Purpose Player of the Year.
With the multi-dimensional Harris running and throwing his way to the Offensive Player of the Year award, Jefferson senior Jared Bronson is recognized as the All-City quarterback.
Bronson completed 71 of 153 passes (46 percent) for 872 yards and four touchdowns. He averaged 109 yard per game passing, which was good enough to be ranked No. 7 in SPSL. He also carried the ball 41 times for 147 yards and four rushing touchdowns.
He has a quiet leadership and an intense competitiveness, Jefferson coach Kevin Hanis said.
Joining Bronson in the All-City backfield are three of the best running backs in the league all three earned second team, all-SPSL honors.
Jefferson senior Michael Smith was a nose guard last season before converting to running back this year. He had 161 carries for 984 yards and eight touchdowns. He averaged 109 yards per game and ranked No. 9 in the SPSL in yards.
Hes a tough kid, Hanis said. When hes coming at you, you better be ready. He was in the weight room every day in the summer and it paid off.
Federal Way senior Anthony Dotson had 157 carries for 984 yards and 13 touchdowns. He averaged 92 yards per carry, good enough to be No. 10 in the SPSL.
Anthony is kind of the heart and soul of our team, Federal Way coach John Meagher said. Hes a hard worker and he runs hard on offense.
Decatur junior Kyle Bressler, playing fullback, carried the ball 88 times for 672 yards and three touchdowns.
At the All-City wide receiver positions are Jefferson junior Kyle Jenkins and Federal Way senior Andre Piper-Jordan.
Jenkins caught 36 passes for 432 yards and three touchdowns and was ranked No. 7 in the SPSL in receptions. Piper-Jordan caught 23 passes for 400 yards and seven touchdowns. He was a second team, All-SPSL wide receiver.
Both Jenkins and Piper-Jordan also were recognized by coaches as All-SPSL special teams players of the year. Jenkins averaged 28.2 yards on kickoff returns. Piper-Jordan ran for 326 yards in punt and kickoff returns and ran back a kickoff 89 yards for a touchdown against Puyallup. All together, Piper-Jordan scored 12 touchdowns and ran for 970 all-purpose yards this season.
Andre is electrifying with the ball in his hands, Meagher said. He has a way of making people miss that you really dont see at any level. Ive never seen people do the things he does.
Decatur senior Nathan Marotta earned a place as the All-City tight end. He scored three touchdowns on nine catches, with just about every one of them coming in a clutch situation. Marotta also was one of the All-SPSL special teams players of the year.
The offensive line is anchored by Jefferson senior Aaron Gilbert. At 6-foot-3 and 320 pounds, Gilbert was honored as a first-team, All-SPSL selection by the leagues coaches.
Joining him are Federal Ways Steve Ottenad, a junior who was a second-team, All-SPSL selection, and Olan Carlson, a senior. Decatur juniors Chris Corey and Barry Driskell earned recognition on the All-City offensive line.
On the All-City defense, Federal Ways Dotson and Piper-Jordan share the Defensive Back of the Year award.
The biggest thing for Anthony is the hits that he has, Meagher said. He just blasts people. Interceptions and fumble recoveries are fun, but theres nothing like a big hit on defense to pump up the team.
Piper-Jordan intercepted nine passes before teams quit throwing the ball his direction.
For Andre, it was an oddity when the ball was in the air going his way and he didnt pick it, Meagher said. He had more picks this year than guys had catches on him. Toward the end of the season, it was a disappointment if a ball was incomplete and he didnt intercept it.
Joining Dotson and Piper Jordan are Decatur defensive backs Justin Smith and Tracy Ford, two of the best cover corners in the league.
At linebacker, Decatur seniors Gavin Johnson and Joe Isaac lead the way. With them are Federal Way junior Omar Arizpe and Jefferson juniors Nick Vincent and Tyler Walker.
On the defensive line, Federal Way junior Antonio Lindsey was one of the best in the league, earning first-team, All-SPSL honors. Decatur junior Lance Witherspoon, Jefferson senior Ricky Leiser and Federal Way senior Brett Davis earned places on the line as well.
All-City kicker goes to Federal Ways Jeff Thatcher, who made 28 of 28 extra point attempts and had one field goal of 25 yards.
At All-City punter, Decaturs Ryan Burks was ranked No. 2 in the league in punting. Burks averaged 39.3 yards per punt, with a season best punt of 55 yards. He punted 30 times for 1,178 yards
Offensive player of the Year
Darin Harris, Decatur, junior, quarterback
Backs and receivers
Quarterback: Jared Bronson, Jefferson, senior
Running back: Anthony Dotson, Federal Way, senior
Running back: Michael Smith, Jefferson, senior
Fullback: Kyle Bressler, Decatur, junior
Receiver: Kyle Jenkins, Jefferson, junior,
Receiver: Andre Piper-Jordan, Federal Way, senior
Tight end: Nate Marotta, Decatur, senior
Aaron Gilbert, Jefferson, senior
Steve Ottenad, Federal Way, junior
Olan Carlson, Federal Way, senior
Chris Corey, Decatur, junior
Barry Driskell, Decatur, junior
Anthony Dotson, Federal Way, senior
Andre Piper-Jordan, Federal Way, senior
Tracy Ford, Decatur, junior
Justin Smith, Decatur, senior
Joe Isaac, Decatur, senior
Gavin Johnson, Decatur, senior
Nick Vincent, Jefferson, junior
Tyler Walker, Jefferson, junior
Omar Arizpe, Federal Way, junior
Antonio Lindsey, Federal Way, junior
Lance Witherspoon, Decatur, junior
Ricky Leiser, Jefferson, senior
Brett Davis, Federal Way, senior
ALL-CITY SPECIAL TEAMS
Kicker: Jeff Thatcher, Federal Way, senior
Punter: Ryan Burks, Decatur, junior
Jeremy Day, Federal Way, senior, defensive back
Chris Herndon, Federal Way, junior, defensive line
Chris Marsh, Jefferson, senior, offensive line
Steve Dennis, Jefferson, offensive line, senior
Steve Mohn, Jefferson, sophomore, punter/kicker.