Local football players received plenty of all-conference hardware this fall after an abbreviated 2020 season.
The county’s most successful team this year, Hesperia, had four first team all-Central State Activities Association Silver players after a 4-2 regular season. Mack Baird, Johnny Majersky, Gabe Prado and Brandon Quinn were each first teamers.
Baird, who with Prado was a team captain and all-league performer, led the Panther offense with over 700 yards rushing in his team’s seven games, including a pair of 200-yard performances. Defensively, Baird recorded 26 tackles and a couple of interceptions. The senior scored touchdowns via rush, punt return and interception return during the season.
Majersky was Hesperia’s quarterback and was a first-team pick for the second straight season. The senior had about 700 yards of total offense in seven games and was a valuable defensive piece, with 29 tackles and a couple of interceptions.
“We went how Johnny went this season,” outgoing Hesperia coach Doug Bolles said. “He was our best cover guy. Johnny was a key member of this team.”
Prado was Hesperia’s third senior and second captain to make the all-league team. He was named the team’s “Heart of a Panther” award winner, Bolles said, due to his dedication and leadership qualities. Prado totaled 43 tackles on the season and also had three sacks and two fumble recoveries. After battling injuries in his sophomore and junior seasons, Prado posted his best season as a senior.
“It couldn’t have happened to a better kid,” Bolles said.
Quinn, a junior, also earned all-league honors. Bolles said Quinn never left the field; he was a running back on offense, a linebacker or lineman on defense, a kick returner, a long snapper on punts, and a gunner on kickoff coverage. Despite being only 5-8 and 150 pounds, Quinn used his quickness to be effective on both sides of the ball. Quinn had a couple of 100-yard games on the ground and rang up a team-best 64 tackles.
“One of his biggest assets is he’s a true team player and was our best blocking back,” Bolles said. “Very unselfish.”
Also for Hesperia, lineman Logan Hernandez earned honorable mention by being a steady player all season.
“You never had to worry about a bad snap, he always did his job,” Bolles said. “Logan is a kid that coaches love to coach, he does what he’s supposed to and never gives you any grief.”
Hart had one all-West Michigan Conference first team performer, Braeden Carskadon. Carskadon earned the honor at punter but was also honorable mention at quarterback.
Carskadon was the centerpiece of Hart’s offense all year, ringing up over 1,100 yards of total offense and carrying the Pirates to their lone win, over Shelby. Hart coach Eric Anderson said Carskadon’s performance has gotten him some attention from colleges.
In addition to Carskadon at quarterback, two other Pirates got honorable mention: Chance Alvesteffer, at kick returner, and Ian Mesler, at blocking back.
Alvesteffer averaged over 15 yards per kick return and never fumbled, Anderson said.
“I don’t think he ever came off the field,” Anderson said of Alvesteffer. “He got hurt in a couple of games but was clearly a leader. He’s also an all-state wrestler. He’s a phenomenal athlete and had a great attitude with the other kids.”
Mesler showed his versatility by moving around the field when other players got injured. When he took the blocking back position, Anderson said he had all the nuances of the position down within a couple of days of practice.
“He’s an outstanding player,” Anderson said. “He’s a tough kid and has a lot of grit. He’d get hurt in a game, catch his breath and come right back in. He had over 400 receiving yards and was a main blocking back for Braeden.”
Shelby got one player on the all-WMC team, lineman Isaac Aebig. Outgoing Tigers’ coach Lorenzo Rodriguez said Aebig is also on the all-region team. Aebig totaled 40 tackles on the season and six tackles for a loss. Even though he was only 5-10 and 220 pounds, Aebig was the focal point of the Shelby line.
“He was a quiet leader and led by example,” Rodriguez said. “He was a hustle player that played from whistle to whistle. He was pretty much on the field 24/7. He was just a humble young man that worked his tail off to grow in his knowledge of the game.”
In addition to the Hart and Shelby honors, Pentwater student Khole Hofmann earned an all-WMC honor at running back, playing for Mason County Central. Hofmann was the centerpiece of the Spartan offense and had some big games against his county opposition, running for 245 yards against Hart and 230 against Shelby, both Spartan victories.