Three GJ football players make all-state team
With the Denver Post releasing only one All-Colorado football team and the absence of all-state football teams by classification, the Colorado High School Activities Association, along with Max Preps and Colorado Preps, released its first set of all-state football teams Tuesday.
In Class 5A, three Grand Junction players were second-team all-state selections: senior Tanner Griffin as a linebacker; senior Theron Verna as a tight end; and linebacker and senior Quinton Walton as an offensive and defensive lineman.
“I would have liked to see (senior quarterback) Tyler (Heinsma) and (senior running back) Austin (Lewis) on the list as well, but I realize they’re at higher-profile positions,” Grand Junction coach Robbie Owens said. “It still means a great deal to this program to have some of our players selected to that team. With there only being two (5A) schools on the Western Slope, I was concerned this might not be beneficial to us. But it turned out all right for us, and it was nice to see some of our guys get that honor.”
Verna, who played halfback in Grand Junction’s high-octane power-pistol offense, was among the top five receiving backs in the state. Verna committed to play football at Northern Colorado where he likely will play tight end.
Griffin was tabbed as the Southwestern Conference’s defensive player of the year. Verna, Griffin and Walton were also All-SWC selections.
The rest of the classes only had a first team for their all-state selections.
Class 4A runner-up Montrose had three all-state picks — senior running back Angelo Youngren, junior fullback Mike Rocha and junior lineman Matt Maestas.
Rocha was fourth in Class 4A with 1,572 yards rushing. Most of his yardage came with Youngren sidelined by injuries. Youngren, despite playing in only nine games, still finished 14th in Class 4A with 1,063 yards rushing.
Palisade senior linebackers Levi Hoaglund and Zach Marengo were Class 3A all-state selections.
They were joined on the 3A all-state team by Rifle seniors Austin Shepard, a linebacker, and Kellin Leigh, a running back, and Delta senior Ryan Whiteside earned 3A all-state as a wide receiver.
Class 1A state champion Paonia had five all-state selections: senior running back Will Austin, senior lineman Tony Darling, junior linemen Dylan Geisler and Josh Kimball and sophomore quarterback Taylor Walters.
Walters led Class 1A in rushing with 1,946 yards, averaging almost eight yards a carry. He also had the third-most rushing yards of any player in the state.
Cedaredge junior lineman Corey Reynolds was also selected 1A all-state.