Vote for the GHT player of the week from 28/08 to 03/09

GAYLORD — The return of fall sports means the return of the Gaylord Herald Times Player of the Week awards. Each week, four athletes from Gaylord, St. Mary and Johannesburg-Lewiston will be eligible to win, and it will be up to you to decide who takes home the crown each week.

Polls will be posted online at on Sunday afternoon and close Monday at 11:59 p.m.

Winners from previous weeks:

Week One: Brady Pretzlaff, Gaylord Football

Check out this week’s nominees:

Donovan Blust, Gaylord St. Mary’s Football

St. Mary's Donovan Blust takes an outside run during a Ski Valley Conference football game Wednesday, August 31 between Gaylord St. Mary and Central Lake/Ellsworth.

The St. Mary Snowbirds football team climbed into the win column last Wednesday night, beating Ski Valley Conference opponent Central Lake/Ellsworth 48-36 to improve to 1-1 on the season.

With Gavin Bebble and Brody Jeffers out for the foreseeable future, the Snowbirds backfield has gone from a committee of defenders to a two-man show with Donovan Blust and Dillon Croff.

In week one, Croff led the way as his move to quarterback allowed him to rack up more than 300 offensive yards against Pickford. Against Central Lake/Ellsworth, when both had their way, it was Blust who finished atop most St. Mary’s statistical categories as he racked up 162 yards and three touchdowns on 20 carries in the win Snowbirds.

“Donny is the fastest guy on the team,” head coach Kevin O’Connell said after Wednesday’s win. “Everyone thinks everyone thinks so, but Donny is the fastest kid on the team.”

In two games, Blust has 167 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 27 carries to go along with nine receptions for 137 yards.

Connor Byram, Gaylord Football

Gaylord's Connor Byram throws what turned out to be the winning basket during a match between Gaylord and Kingsley on Thursday September 1.

Very rarely do high school kickers get a ton of shine, but what Gaylord’s Connor Byram was able to accomplish in the Blue Devils’ 17-16 win over Kinglsey last Thursday earned him some recognition and a spot on this list.

After his lone field goal attempt in the opening week win over Lake Fenton went off the rails, Byram more than redeemed himself against the Stags, scoring a 29-yard field goal to put Gaylord lead for good in their home opener victory.

Byram was also two-for-two on extra points while his four punts averaged 30.5 yards. In a match where special teams proved important, Byram was the difference maker for Gaylord.

Jocelyn Tobias, Johannesburg-Lewiston Volleyball

Johannesburg-Lewiston's Jocelyn Tobias celebrates during a triangle on Monday August 22 at Johannesburg-Lewiston High School.

The train continues to roll for the Johannesburg-Lewiston volleyball team as their latest win, a four-set win over Ski Valley opponents Forest Area, improves their perfect record to 12-0 this season.

And while it was primarily Jayden Marlatt and Grace Baragrey who paced the offense this season, it was Jocelyn Tobias who led the Cardinals to last Wednesday’s win, finishing with a team-high 13 kills. 18 service receptions and 12 recoveries in four sets. conference victory.

The senior is part of a strong core for the Cardinals looking to triple as Ski Valley champions. They will have the opportunity to take a big step towards that goal with a clash with rivals Gaylord St. Mary on Tuesday, September 6.

Ty Bensinger, Gaylord Football

Gaylord's Ty Bensinger reaches out to Kingsley's stiff-armed Connor Johnson during a clash between Gaylord and Kingsley on Thursday, September 1.

Gaylord is off to a 2-0 start, something the program hasn’t seen since 2018, and they have a number of players and coaches to thank for that. It has taken impressive comeback efforts in consecutive weeks but the Blue Devils have managed to escape with one-point wins every time they have taken the field so far this year.

“At the end of the day, it’s our fitness and our mentality to outplay everyone who comes onto the pitch,” head coach DJ Szymoniak said after the team’s latest 17-16 win over Kingsley.

While the Lake Fenton and Kingsley games had their individual heroes, one constant across two games has been the production of junior Ty Bensinger.

As a primary target on offense at wide receiver and an important defensive player in a flexible linebacker/defensive back role, Bensinger was a major contributor to the Blue Devils’ two comeback wins. Against Lake Fenton, he had five catches for 60 yards and a late touchdown along with 8.5 tackles.

He gets the nod this week after rushing for 34 yards and a touchdown on six carries along with five catches for 32 receiving yards in the win over Kingsley. He also added 3.5 tackles, bringing his season total to 92 receiving yards, 34 rushing yards and two touchdowns with 12 tackles.

About Mitchel McMillan

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