By Mike Mattson
Local Sports Journal

Muskegon Catholic Central football coach Mike Holmes may have done his best job this season.

Holmes had to revamp a small offensive line, work with one of his youngest teams and weather another difficult independent schedule. When the dust settled, MCC bowed out in the Division 8 state semifinals with a heartbreaking 32-27 loss to Harbor Beach.

The Crusaders also shook off season-opening losses to Mona Shores and Grand Rapids Catholic Central to finish 9-4 and a spot in the Final Four.

For his guidance, Holmes was chosen the Local Sports Journal’s inaugural Division 5-8 Coach of the Year.

Homes, the dean of area coaches, concluded his 25th season as head coach of the Crusaders. He moved into second place on the area’s list of all-time winningest coaches and sports an impressive 212-75-1 record.

Only Oakridge’s Jack Schugars (262) has compiled more coaching victories in the Muskegon area.

Holmes’ steady guidance has been an influence at MCC over his long career.

Holmes led MCC to six state titles (1990, 1991, 1995, 2000, 2006, 2008) and a state runner-up finish in 2001. His teams qualified for the state playoffs 16 times.

Assisting Holmes this season were Mike Ribecky, Scott Fodrocy and Steve Czerwon.

Meet this year’s honor squad:




Spencer Peters, Shelby – Peters (6-3, 220) relied on good size, a strong accurate arm and powerful running skills to lead the Tigers. He threw for more than 1,400 yards and 15 TDs while completing more than 50 percent of his passes.

Running backs

Dan Shoop, Oakridge – Shoop (5-10, 172) was a junior captain who sparked the Eagles with his versatile contributions in the Eagles’ backfield. Shoop carried 196 times for 1,432 yards (7.3) and 22 TDs.

Alex Lewandoski, Muskegon Catholic – Lewandoski (5-11, 180) led the Crusaders on both sides of the ball. He played a key part in the offense, rushing for 1,121 yards on 136 carries and 12 TDs. He also caught 10 passes for 102 yards and a score and led the team with 83 tackles as a defensive back.

Nathan Lentz, Shelby –Lentz (5-8, 175) ran with power between the tackles, but also had good speed on the edge. He served as a team captain, rushed for more than 1,000 yards and also was a key receiver out of the slot.

Brandon Bouwkamp, Grant – Bouwkamp (6-0, 197) fueled the Grant offense as the key rushing threat. He carried 127 times for 1,066 yards and nine TDs. His senior season also was cut short by a broken collarbone in Week 8.

Wide receivers

Sam Powell, North Muskegon – Powell (6-3, 190) was the go-to receiver for the Norsemen. He caught 22 passes for 467 yards and seven TDs. He also positioned at tight end and provided effective blocking for the rushing attack.

Brandon Moore, Montague – Moore (6-3, 195) ignited the Wildcats at quarterback and wide receiver during an injury-filled season. The athletic senior and Division I wide receiver prospect completed 39-of-76 passes for 501 yards and three TDS, while rushing 73 times for 532 yards and 11 scores. He finished with 17 offensive TDs.

Offensive line

Zach Murphy, Oakridge – A senior and team captain, Murphy (6-4, 211) excelled at center. He opened holes and also was a stellar shotgun snapper en route to all-conference honors.

Kyle McGrew, Shelby – McGrew (6-3, 245) was the leader with quick feet up front for the Tigers. He excelled as a captain with 40 knockdowns and good downfield blocking skills.

John Zarzoza, Hart – Zarzoza was an intense two-way standout for the Pirates. The experienced senior was in the middle of all the action as a guard and linebacker and brought toughness to the team.

Dan Upton, Grant – Upton (6-1,212) was the Tigers’ best offensive lineman at right tackle. He used his strength and good technique to help the Tigers rush for more than 2,000 yards this season.

Christian Brower, North Muskegon – Brower (6-1, 225) played left guard and was an efficient drive blocker with his physical play. He made all the line calls up front. Brower also played on the defensive line, where he recorded 24 solo tackles and one sack.

At Large

Max Harrington, Newaygo – Harrington (5-10, 175) was a key player on both sides of the ball for the Lions, who captured the school’s first district title in school history. He rushed for more than 1,000 yards and also was a key player at defensive end.


Wyatt Ford, Montague – Ford used his strong leg to boot three field goals, convert 38 extra points and 14 touchbacks.



Defensive line

Cari Campbell, Muskegon Catholic –A two-way standout at end, Campbell (6-2, 220) provided solid leadership as a three-year starter. He earned all-state first team honors after registering 68 tackles (11 for loss), two sacks and a 68-yard TD interception return. Campbell also caught 11 passes for 202 yards.

Drew Rau, Grant –Rau (5-11, 191) moved sideline to sideline and excelled with quickness and strength. He recorded 91 tackles (15 for loss) and eight sacks en route to all-conference honors.

Brandon Jasso, Oakridge – Size didn’t hinder Jasso (5-11, 158), who was a force in the middle with his quickness at noseguard. He led the Eagles with 80 tackles, including 29 solos and 10.5 for loss. Jasso also forced two fumbles and recovered two fumbles.

Joey Warren, Oakridge – Warren (6-4, 188) was a dominant edge player for the Eagles at defensive end. The senior captain recorded 36 tackles, including 20 solos and 6.5 for loss, with four pass breakups and one recovered fumble.


Nick Timlin, Ravenna – Timlin (6-1, 175), a three-year two-way starter and captain, finished his Ravenna career off in impressive fashion. He recorded 74 tackles, including 15 for loss, and had eight quarterback hurries. Timlin also forced four fumbles, recovered three fumbles, blocked three extra points and blocked one punt.

Phil Mesker, Muskegon Catholic – Mesker was the latest in the line of talented MCC linebackers. He registered 67 tackles, including six for loss, intercepted one pass and recovered two fumbles.

Jacob Marsh, Montague – Marsh (5-11, 195) anchored the Wildcats’ defense at linebacker with an all-state senior season. Marsh recorded 141 tackles, including 110 solos and 11 for loss. He added six sacks, eight hurries and recovered two fumbles.

Ben Schroeder, Shelby –Schroeder (6-0, 180) excelled as a plug linebacker, sure tackler and sideline-to-sideline defender. He totaled 127 tackles, including 13 for loss with three interceptions and three fumble recoveries. Schroeder also was a captain and key part of Shelby’s first district championship team.

Defensive backs

Todd Brown, Ravenna – Brown (5-8, 140) was rock solid in the secondary, giving up only two pass completions during the season. He finished with 45 tackles, including five for loss, eight pass breakups and two interceptions. Brown also excelled at quarterback and returned one punt and on kickoff for touchdowns.

Francis Decker, Oakridge –Decker (5-9, 145) showed great diversity on both sides of the ball, but made his mark on defense. He often guarded the opponent’s top receiver. Decker totaled 35 tackles, including 22 solos, with three interceptions and nine pass breakups. The senior captain also was a key running back and punt returner.

Jack Gautraud, North Muskegon –Gautraud (5-9, 160) was an impact defender for the Norsemen. He finished with 44 tackles, including 42 solos, seven interceptions and three fumble recoveries. The unselfish Gautraud also played guard on offense to help out the team.

At Large

Adrian Anderson, North Muskegon –Anderson (6-0, 200) did it all for the Norsemen, playing quarterback, defensive back and handling punting and kicking duties. He threw for 790 yards and eight TDs on offense and recorded 24 solo tackles and one interception on defense. Coach Mike Belmonte also cited Anderson for his toughness and leadership skills as a captain.


Brandon Moore, Montague – Moore punted 18 times for a 40-yard average. He was consistent all season and placed eight punts inside the 20-yard line.



Quarterbacks – Zach Campbell, Muskegon Catholic; Jake Krueger, Kent City.

Running backs – Brandon Stine, Montague; Jessie Anderson, Muskegon Catholic.

Wide receivers – Alex VanVleet, Montague; Austin Jensen, Grant.

Offensive line – Billy Welch, Montague; Preston Cross, Newaygo; Jeremy Lambrix, Shelby; Wyatt Conkle, Hesperia; Doug Wyman, Mason County Central.

At Large – Conor Bradley, Newaygo.

Kicker – Andrew Dent, Grant.



Defensive line – Michael Garzelloni, Muskegon Catholic; Sawyer Smith, Montague; Eldon Graham, Hesperia; Ryan Gannon North Muskegon.

Linebackers – Brant McCollum, Muskegon Catholic; Mark Sloan, Mason County Central; Trevor Boyd, Grant; Lamar Jordan, Muskegon Catholic.

Defensive backs – Dillon Lohman, Montague; Riley Foster, Grant; Shane Kajtaz, Shelby.

At Large – Chase Smith, Holton.

Punter –Zach Campbell, Muskegon Catholic