SPRING CREEK – Spartans football had an impressive year on the field in 2016 and had several players recognized at the state and league level.
With playmakers on both sides of the ball, Spring Creek went undefeated in league play and made it to the state title game.
Quarterback Jon Jund was recognized as the offensive player of the year in the state and most valuable player in the league.
Jund threw for 36 touchdowns and 3,315 yards. He was also a valuable part of the ground game, running for 12 touchdowns.
Jund benefited from solid blocking up front as well. Offensive lineman Dylan Kite was first team at the state and league level. Dakota Larson had 1,736 receiving yards and 22 touchdown receptions to earn his way onto the state and league first teams.
Brennan Reese was another important part of Spring Creek’s offensive line. Reese was second team offensive line in the league and an honorable mention at the state level.
Strong blocking up front helped Jason Painter emerge as a force on offense. Painter split his time between wide receiver and running back and was a first team athlete in the 3A North and received second team honors in the state.
Patrick Leedy received state honorable mentions and was second team on the defensive line. Leedy had 63 tackles last season.
Sheldon Wilkinson had 146 tackles last season and was recognized as a first team linebacker at the league and state levels. He was also a second team running back in the state and the league. Wilkinson had 427 yards and averaged 5.8 yards a carry, along with three touchdowns.
Xavier Edson also got state honorable mentions out of and was on the second defensive team in the league at linebacker. He led the team in tackles with 160.
Mitch Owsley was only able to carry the ball twice before suffering a season-ending knee injury in the first game of the season, but received a league honorable mention at running back.
Laine Keema and Matt Shanks got league honorable mentions at wide receiver. Both players battled injury throughout the season and Shanks missed his team’s playoff run when his shoulder injury required surgery.
Before getting hurt, Shanks was a valuable part of the receiving core and the secondary. Shanks had three touchdowns and 220 receiving yards.
Keema caught five touchdowns passes with 444 receiving yards despite battling a heel injury. He was also an important piece of Spring Creek’s special teams and averaged almost 29 yards per punt.
Bayley Porreca and Logan Thurston were a testament to the depth of the Spartans offensive line. Both players began earning regular playing time on the offensive and defensive lines.
On defense, Thurston had 31 tackles and Porreca came away with a sack.
Jake Oliphant provided pressure as an edge rusher to earn league honorable mentions. Oliphant had 63 tackles and came away with three sacks. As a tight end, Oliphant had four receptions for 79 yards.
K-Ci Slade was another Spartan who struggled with injuries. The junior was recognized as an honorable mention on defense. He played only nine games but came away with 79 tackles and 2.5 sacks before knee trouble ended his season.
Jacob Toombs was another honorable mention on Spring Creek’s defense. Toombs led the team with six interceptions and had 42 tackles.
Anthony Chavez received honorable mentions on defense from the league after making an impact in the postseason. Chavez had a big interception to swing the momentum in Spring Creek’s win against Chaparral. He also had 74 tackles.
Head Coach Joel Jund was also voted league coach of the year by other coaches in the 3A North for leading his team to a league title and a state championship appearance.
The Spartans had nine state honorees and 18 league honorees during its historic run to the state title game.
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