By Nate Thompson
They are what make players like Mona Shores junior Brady Rose such a force on the gridiron. Listed at just 5-foot-7 and 155 pounds, Rose has been one of the top playmakers in all three areas for the 6-1 Sailors this season — offense, defense and special teams.
Rose started the season as Mona Shores’ quarterback, helping the Sailors go 2-0 when returning senior All-State starter Caden Broersma recovered from a broken hand. Since then, he’s become one of Broersma’s favorite targets at slot receiver, hauling in eight catches for 124 yards and two touchdowns.
His breakaway speed is also a major weapon on jet sweeps. He’s amassed 272 yards and four touchdowns on the ground.
Defensively, Rose is the team’s second-leading tackler from his free safety position, recording 35 stops and four interceptions. On special teams, he returns punts and kicks, has punted twice for 81 yards, is the holder on extra points, and is the long-snapper on punts.
Basically he does everything but drive the team bus to away games, and he does it all very well. Rose will be one of the players that rival Muskegon will have to track carefully on Friday night, when the Sailors host the Big Reds in a showdown that will likely determine the O-K Black Conference champion.
“He’s actually got three touchdowns called back because of penalties,” said Mona Shores head coach Matt Koziak, adding that Rose had a long punt return, a long kickoff return and a 76-yard interception return negated by flags. “He’s been really dynamic for us.”
How has Rose done it? According to Koziak, he’s is always in the right place at the right time, showing an uncanny ability to out-think and out-execute the competition.
“This is my 20th year coaching and my 10th as head coach, and he’s one of the best I’ve coached as far as knowledge of the game,” Koziak said. “He’s one of those players who always knows what the other 21 guys on the field are doing and where they’re supposed to be at prior to the snap.
“I think it’s helped watching his dad coach. I’m sure he’s been around the game quite a bit.”
Rose’s father, Ken Rose, was the head coach at Mona Shores from 2004 through 2010. The school chose not to renew his contract for 2011 and was replaced by Koziak. Rose said his father prepared him well for varsity action.
“We’ll go over a lot on what he’s seeing out there and ways I can get better,” Rose said. “We’ll watch film together a lot, almost daily. We’ve watched a lot of our practice film, and film of every game that Muskegon’s played this year.”
Rose said the Sailors will need to play a near-perfect game to upset unbeaten crosstown rival Muskegon on Friday at Sailor Stadium. The Big Reds have won four straight in the series, with the last Sailors’ win coming during Week 8 of the 2015 regular season.
If the Sailors are to do the same this Friday, Rose will likely have a hand in the upset. In fact, Koziak compares Rose’s talents to a player that Broersma knows quite well – his older brother Hunter Broersma, a 2016 Mona Shores graduate. Hunter Broersma starred at receiver and safety for the Sailors and is currently on the roster at Grand Valley State.
“I’d say he’s more similar to Hunter, just due to his ability to make an impact all over like Hunter did,” Koziak said about Rose.
Koziak said Rose was outstanding at the Sailors’ junior varsity quarterback last season, and he was called up to varsity late in the fall.
“I didn’t know I’d get into the mix as much as I did,” Rose said. “I played a lot against Jenison in the district game and I was on kickoff and kick return teams for the rest (of the playoff games).”
Rose said the opportunity to be a part of the Sailors’ playoff run to the Division 2 state finals at Ford Field in Detroit was “awesome.” And if they limit turnovers, continue to be efficient offensively and fly to the football on defense, Rose believes the Sailors can do it again.
If the Sailors do have another exciting playoff run, the undersized Rose will probably play a very big part.
“I’ve heard people joke around about my height,” Rose said. “They’re just messing around, but I’ve heard you can’t do this or that. But I’m a hard worker, I work hard in the weight room and I know what I’m doing out there.”