Camanche senior LJ Henderson, Easton Valley senior Nate Trenkamp and Morrison senior Nick Allen are the 2019 Clinton Herald Football Player of the Year finalists after their work throughout their careers and in their senior seasons.
The Clinton Herald will have three player of the year finalists for each sport, football included. In Spring 2020, the Clinton Herald will host an event in order to announce the award winner out of the three finalists.
Watch the Clinton Herald in December for more information on the event and future announcements.
The Clinton Herald chose Morrison head coach Ryan Oetting as the 2019 Coach of the Year finalist for football.
The overall Coach of the Year will also be announced at the same event next Spring, with each sport offering a Coach of the Year finalists.
After successful seasons with the Clinton River Kings, the utility player transferred to Camanche. Although he was only able to play four games due to the state transfer rules, he impressed and made an impact in those four games for the Indians.
Those stats and his work with Clinton have gotten him looks at large colleges.
His impact was felt by the Indians as soon as he started playing in Week 6.
“If he would have played a full nine-game season, his stats would have been off the charts,” head coach Dustin Coit said.
Even with just four games he was a unanimous pick for 1st Team All-District. He had 373 rushing yards and added 135 yards on receptions, catching 12 passes.
He also finished the year with 29.5 tackles, 5.5 of those for a loss.
“LJ is a game changer,” Coit said. “He is explosive, smart and [has] great awareness, a really solid football player. he had the vision to find holes, the elusiveness in the open field to make people miss and the power to run through people if needed.”
Nate Trenkamp worked as Easton Valley’s quarterback for four years, ending with one of the most prolific quarterbacks in 8-man history.
Trenkamp and the River Hawks capped off this year with a trip to the state quarterfinals. Trenkamp 2826 yards, the second in the state.
He threw 41 touchdowns, the longest being 73 yards, and surpassed 100 touchdown passes for his career during that time, a feat few quarterbacks have completed.
As if that wasn’t enough, he added over 450 rushing yards this season.
He ended with the second most yards all-time and third most touchdowns. He had over 7,000 total passing yards and was instrumental in a prolific River Hawks offense.
Nick Allen led a defense-minded Morrison team to the state quarterfinals thanks to his leadership on the defensive side of the ball.
The Mustangs allowed just 81 points by opposing teams thanks to their lights out defense, including a number of shutouts. They held ranked Sterling Newman to just two field goals, a showing of their defensive prowess.
Even in their one loss in the playoffs to Wethersfield-Annawan they allowed just 20 points.
Allen was a team captain and a two-year starter, going through a little bit of everything in his time win red and white.
“Nick is my defensive leader and makes all the calls on the field for us,” head coach Ryan Oetting said. “He is one of those players that every coach wants to have on their team.”
On his way to a unanimous 1st Team Three Rivers Conference selection, he garnered 82 tackles.
He impressed with a team-high five interceptions as well as three fumble recoveries.
After a 2-7 season, the Morrison Mustangs turned a corner to an 11-1 season and an impressive playoff run, making head coach Ryan Oetting the finalist for Coach of the Year.
Oetting took over the program in 2018. In their seven losses four were by less than 20 and three were by less than ten, leaving them on the fence as to which direction they could go.
In Oetting’s second year, the Mustang started the season with an impressive 34-point win and just kept getting better and better.
They went undefeated in the regular season, taking the Three Rivers Conference crown.
They then won two dominant games in the playoffs, making their turnaround complete with a No. 4 state rankings and a narrow loss in the quarterfinals.