Whitehall and Montague combined for six all-West Michigan Conference first team selections this year on the soccer field, four of them Vikings.
It was another strong year for Whitehall, which earned a WMC co-championship with North Muskegon. Whitehall’s four all-league first team picks were Jack Houtteman, Yahir Gonzalez, Taden Brandel and Bailey Taranko.
Gonzalez was the Vikings’ top scorer, posting 12 goals and six assists from the forward spot. This season was Gonzalez’ first on the field at Whitehall after transferring from Hart.
“A smooth addition to our team, and made a huge impact with his ability to be in the right place at the right time,” Whitehall coach Bryan Mahan said of Gonzalez.
Second on Whitehall in scoring was Taranko, with 10 goals and three assists. Taranko was an all-league defender last year and was equally effective as a forward in 2020.
“His speed and drive kept defenses on their heels as he pressed the goal,” Mahan said.
Brandel had six assists and scored three times as the center midfielder for Whitehall. Also a kicker on the football team, Brandel was “the strong steadying force” for the Viking midfield, Mahan said.
Houtteman played all over the field this year for Whitehall and had three goals and four assists.
“His speed and skill created many chances for the offense and for the flow of the team,” Mahan said. “He is our most explosive player on the field.”
Whitehall also had two honorable mention all-WMC players, Matthew Goodrich and Evan Mikkelson. Each player scored one goal, but their main contributions were as defensive forces. Mikkelson was the team’s sweeper, and Goodrich was a defensive-minded midfielder. The Vikings allowed only five goals to WMC foes this year, thanks in large part to those two players’ efforts.
For Montague, senior Brenden Mahoney and sophomore Zachariah Henderson each made the all-WMC team. Mahoney was the team’s headliner, and in fact earned honorable mention all-state honors.
The coach’s son led the Wildcats in both goals and assists for the third straight season. He scored 14 goals and had 16 assists. He also served as a team captain for the third straight year. Henderson was a strong defensive option for the Wildcats all season long.
Also for Montague, Lance Grattafiori and Andrew Kooi joined Mahoney and Henderson as all-district selections.