Youngren tops SWC honor roll
Even though he hadn’t fully recovered from a high ankle sprain, Montrose running back Angelo Youngren played in the Indians’ first-round game of the Class 4A state football playoffs Friday.
The junior still rushed for 104 yards and a touchdown, and although the Indians’ 35-14 loss to Mesa Ridge wasn’t the way Montrose wanted to end its season, Youngren, for one, went out impressively.
Youngren, a junior, rushed for 1,602 yards and 18 touchdowns and was named the Southwestern Conference player of the year.
Montrose coach Todd Casebier was named the SWC coach of the year.
“You could see he wasn’t 100 percent,” Casebier said of Youngren’s game against Mesa Ridge. “But Angelo at 80 percent is still better than most backs.”
Montrose (7-4) was the SWC champion, defeating each of its four conference opponents.
The Indians also had the most first-team selections with eight: quarterback Drew Casebier, linebacker/guard Conner Huskey, wide receiver Brennan Woodruff, safety/tight end Blake Alexander, linebacker/wide receiver Anthony Crow, linebacker/running back Pete Shearer, lineman Allen Tieme and Youngren.
“We felt good about the kids we had on there,” Casebier said. “And you’re always disappointed because there are always a couple other kids that could have been on there.”
Fruita Monument had six first-team selections: Jake Lynch, Vince Grasso, Spencer Fair, Matt Story, Brody King and Zach Griggs.
“You always get as many nominations as where you finish (in conference),” Fruita coach Sean Mulvey said. “It was a good representation of the best kids in the conference.”
Grand Junction had five first-team selections: Jon Pauli, James Diamanti, Kyler Rose, Austin Berk and DeShaun Harris.
Central had two first-teamers: Josh Weller and Justice Morrow.
Diamanti, who has signed to play football at the University of Wyoming, was the defensive player of the year.
He averaged 8.8 tackles per game and had 4.5 sacks and two fumble recoveries.
Fruita Monument, which placed second in the conference, will return its quarterback, Lynch, and Story, an offensive lineman and linebacker.
But the Wildcats will lose Grasso (1,296 yards rushing), lineman King (7 tackles per game), and Griggs, a wide receiver who returned three kickoffs for touchdowns, one of which was perhaps the conference’s biggest play of the season in the Wildcats’ 20-14 win over Grand Junction.
Griggs injured his shoulder against the Tigers, however, and missed the next three conference games.
Grasso said he’s received interest from Colorado Mesa University, and Fair, who made eight field goals, including a 49-yarder, could play basketball and football in college, Mulvey said.
Fruita Monument received coach and player of the year honors on the boys soccer All-Southwestern League team.
Wildcats coach Dan McKee and junior attacker Wesley Padgett were given the top honors, and Fruita (8-7-1), which finished second in the SWL and made it to the first round of the Class 5A state playoffs, had three first-team selections: Noah Nelson, Avery Kuper and Padgett.
Montrose (10-6-1), the SWL champion, had four first-team selections: Nick Hanson, Tyler Cayo, Saul Perez and Alec Rose.
“It was a shock this morning when I got the results,” McKee said Tuesday. “Nick Hanson of Montrose had an outstanding year, but Wesley also had a good year. He scored in every conference game this year, so we’re real proud of him and how hard he played.”
Padgett, who scored 14 goals, improved most on his ball awareness, McKee said.
“And being able to find the places where he needs to be to get open to take a shot,” McKee said. “He’s aggressive and willing to score, and he’s not afraid to shoot.”
It’s the second consecutive year Fruita has had a player of the year.
Peter Martinez, a striker, won the award last year.