A dual-threat quarterback who’s equal parts dangerous with his arm and his legs, junior Hunter James was the straw that stirred the drink for Kingston on offense this football season.
The best part about his impressive statistical output is that it guided the Cardinals to a 7-3 season that ended with an 8-Player playoff appearance.
James headlines this year’s Thumb Sportswriters Association 8-Player football All-Thumb awards as its Player of the Year.
The TSA consists of voters from The Advertiser, Huron County View, Huron Daily Tribune, Sanilac County News, Let’s Talk Sports of I-92 FM Classic Rock, and Thumb Tailgater Sports.
The 6-foot signal-caller was 69-for-125 passing this year for 1,269 yards with 21 touchdowns and just two interceptions. He also ran the ball 86 times for 777 yards and 12 TDs, giving him 33 total touchdowns over the course of the nine-game regular season.
Player of the Year voting came down to James and Deckerville’s Kenton Bowerman, with James securing 24 voter points compared to 22 for Bowerman. North Huron’s Mike Craig was third in POY voting with seven points, while Mayville senior quarterback Mike Redfield received five points, Deckerville’s Cruz Ibarra had four, and his Eagles’ teammate Wyatt Janowiak rounded out those receiving votes with one.
With the 6-foot, 3-inch Redfield under center, Mayville made its way into the 8-Player playoffs before finishing its season with a 5-5 mark.
He beat defenses in a variety of ways, but most notably with his feet, running the ball 138 times for 1,421 yards and 17 scores with a better than 10 yards-per carry average.
Redfield was good when called upon to throw, completing 39 of 84 attempts for 593 yards with six TDs and an interception. His versatility created matchup problems for defenses to contend with, as he added three TD receptions and a kickoff return for yet another score.
Team of the Year was awarded unanimously to Deckerville (35), but also considered were North Huron (21), and Kingston (7).
First-year Cardinals’ coach Brandon Jones was among those considered for Coach of the Year, but those honors went to North Huron’s Issac Viers (35) in unanimous fashion. Deckerville’s Bill Brown (16) was next in line, while Jones (8) and Mayville’s Mike Campbell (1) also drew recognition.
Advertiser-area players making the 8-Player All-Thumb Offensive Team are Kingston’s James, Cardinals’ offensive lineman Gunnar Thompson, another Kingston player in at-large selection Dez Carter, a running back, and Mayville teammates Redfield and Jeffrey Frost, a tight end, as at-large picks.
Advertiser-area representatives on the 8-Player All-Thumb Defensive Team include Mayville defensive linemen Jackson Schenk and Vinny Damiani, and Kingston defensive back Brian Hobson.
8-Player All-Thumb Football
QB: Hunter James, Kingston
QB: Isaac Keinath, Deckerville
RB: Cruz Ibarra, Deckerville
RB: Mike Craig, North Huron
RB: Kenton Bowerman, Deckerville
OL: Tom Toner, North Huron
OL: Gunnar Thompson, Kingston
OL: Curtis Vogel, Deckerville
OL: Travis Trigger, Deckerville
TE/WR: Wyatt Janowaik, Deckerville
AT LARGE: Garrett Overstreet, Peck
AT LARGE: Andrew Pechette, North Huron
AT LARGE: Dez Carter, Kingston
AT LARGE: Jeff Frost, Mayville
AT LARGE: Mike Redfield, Mayville
K: Wyatt Janowaik, Deckerville
DL: Jackson Schenk, Mayville
DL: Austin Leavine, North Huron
DL: Vinny Damiani, Mayville
LB: Andrew Pechette, North Huron
LB: Wyatt Janowaik, Deckerville
LB: Curtis Vogel, Deckerville
DB: Brian Hobson, Kingston
DB: Kenton Bowerman, Deckerville
DB: Ty Knoblock, North Huron
AT LARGE: Mike Cooney, CPS
AT LARGE: Tom Toner, North Huron
AT LARGE: Nolan Sarnac, Peck
P: Wyatt Janowaik, Deckerville