The football season is over for the Lakeview Wildcats and Central Montcalm Hornets.
The Wildcats (7-3) qualified for the playoffs for the first time since 2006, but lost in the first round to Maple City Glen Lake. Central Montcalm did not qualify for the postseason and finished 4-5 overall.
While the Wildcats had a great season from beginning to end, the Hornets struggled at times. Still, the two teams combined to have 16 players earn All-conference honors from the Central State Activities Association.
Earning first team honors for the Wildcats were Jared Behrenwald (OL), Garrett Cavendish (RB), Calvin Englund (LB), Shawn Lindsey (DB) and Caleb Ruvalcaba (K). Cory Kindle (DL) earned first team honors for Central Montcalm.
Behrenwald — injured most of last year — did a great job opening up holes for the Wildcats rushing attack.
“Jared had a short season last year after an injury and was determined to make up for it this season,” Lakeview coach Sean Rinehart said. “He was the anchor of our offensive line and set the tone each and every day. Without Jared, we don’t have a lot of the success that we had this season.”
Cavendish benefited from the line play to have an outstanding season on the ground. The bruising back rushed for 1,148 yards (7.55 average) and scored nine touchdowns.
“Garrett is the prototypical running back for our system,” Rinehart said. “He is a workhorse that you can tell to get four or five yards a carry, and he will get it done. He is a leader by example and very deserving of the honor.”
Defensively, the Wildcats played sound football and held opponents to low scoring nights.
Englund had a team high 88 tackles and one interception, while keeping the opponents rushing attack in check.
“Calvin is the outspoken leader of our defense. Our ability to fly around to the football and make plays was directly related to his intensity and relentlessness,” Rinehart said. “I am very proud of his work ethic and his success this season.”
Lindsey did a little bit of everything on the football field. Defensively, he had four interceptions (three in one game), 37 tackles and one touchdown. Offensively, Lindsey had 16 catches for 442 yards and seven touchdowns. One of Linsdey’s interceptions even went viral getting tons of play at www.bleacherreport.com.
“Shawn is another senior who will be missed. He is a motivator on the practice field and during games,” Rinehart said. “He is a great athlete who refuses to be outworked. That is a quality I hope every one of our players emulates.”
Ruvalcaba was a first-year football player. The switch from soccer was easily seen every time he attempted an extra point or field goal. He also played both offense and defense for the Wildcats.
“Caleb hasn’t played football in a while, and having him out on the field was so pivotal for our team,” Rinehart said. “Not only does he play offense and defense, but he is also our main kicker. His kicking ability improved a great deal, and he will be such an important piece in our future.”
Kindle was the only player to earn honors on both sides of the ball. In addition to first team defense, Kindle earned second team honors for his play on the offensive line. Defensively, Kindle had 29 tackles, five for a loss and caused one fumble.
“Cory was a force on the interior defensive line for us this season,” Hornets coach Marty James said. “He demanded double teams and was still stout against the run. The most impressive thing about Cory is his hustle for a big guy. He had four tackles this season 15 yards downfield.”
Second team honors for the Wildcats went to Terry Grieser (DL). In addition to Kindle, Central Montcalm had Jacob Palmer (OL) and Keagan James (QB) earn second team honors.
Grieser finished the season with 69 tackles and three sacks.
“Terry is a dominating force on the defensive line,” Rinehart said. “His ability to get off the ball so quickly and get to the backfield can be a game-changer for any team.”
Palmer played right guard for the Hornets. He came back this year from major reconstructive ankle surgery to excel on the field.
“He did not have an offseason to get ready, but came back and started all nine games for us with great results,” James said. “He blocked with a 90 percent efficiency and was largely responsible for any success we had running the ball.”
James does it all on the field under center. He rushed for more than 1,100 yards for the second straight season and rushed for more than 700 yards with 18 touchdowns.
“It is very difficult to the coaches son, especially at quarterback,” James said. “Keagan was our captain and provided outstanding leadership. Playing quarterback in our offense is not an easy task.”
Lakeview honorable mentions went to Trevor Bacon (OL), John Zuluaga-Torres (DB), Nate Shurlow (QB) and Brad Hamlin (WR). Central Montcalm honorable mentions went to James Fancett (DL), Trenton Braman (RB) and Tylor Baker (WR).