MENOMINEE—All season long when the Menominee football team needed a spark, a number of different players stepped up in big situations, but at all times the Maroons’ knew they had one certain player they could fall back on if the offense was struggling at times.
Senior Aidan Bellisle was that player for Menominee, and after setting a new record for yards in a game (453), tying the modern-era record for touchdowns in a single game (6) and gaining 59 percent of the team’s total offense, Bellisle led the way for six Maroons’ honored by being named the Offensive Player of the Year in the Upper Peninsula by the Upper Peninsula Sportswriters & Sportscasters Association at Wednesday’s All-U.P. meeting on Wednesday.
“It took a lot of confidence and trust in my team because I could not have done it without them,” Bellisle said. “Every game I tried to go in with the mentality of doing more than what was expected of me. Even though the season didn’t end like we wanted to it still means a lot to be awarded with this. I hope some of the underclassmen and the youth look at us and work hard to achieve what we have because the hard work pays off.”
Bellisle, also a member of the Dream Team at running back, narrowly beat out Great Northern Conference rival Marquette quarterback Austin Ridl by two votes to secure the top award, and he did that by doing it all for Menominee this season.
On the ground Bellisle gained 908 yards on 186 carries and 13 touchdowns, completed 48-of-87 passes (55 percent) for 753 yards and nine touchdowns and caught 14 balls for 207 yards and two scores to put his season total at 1,868 yards and 24 trips to the endzone.
Joining Bellisle on the Dream Team is junior Kaeden Calcari at the punter position as he was clearly the best punter in the U.P. with his accuracy and ability to put a lot of hang time on the ball while still getting good distance.
Checking in as the only member of the First Team for the Maroons’ is senior defensive tackle Joe Gimble as he was a force on the defensive line for Menominee with 11 solo tackles and 22 assists, four tackles for a loss and 1.5 sacks.
Two Maroons were given at least two votes at their respective positions to earn a spot on the Special Mention list as senior offensive tackle Kade Lesperance and senior linebacker J.R. Tryan each made the cut.
Lesperance teamed up with the rest of his offensive line to open holes big enough a truck could drive through them for his backs this year and was a leader on the line while Tryan showed out defensively, leading Menominee’s defense with 33 solo tackles, 36 assists, one forced fumble, 7.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks.
After making the difficult switch from offensive tackle to end over the offseason, Menominee senior Cooper Conway was given an Honorable Mention nod at the wide receiver/end position for his 19 catches for 247 yards and three touchdowns.
Gladstone senior Hunter Potier was name the Defensive Player of the Year along with the Mitchell Snyder Linemen of the Year award. Westwood’s Scott Syrjyla was named the Coach of the Year and his Patriots were named the Small School Team of the Year while Marquette took home the Large School Team of the Year.
2021 All-U.P. Football Team
Offensive Player of the Year—Aidan Bellisle, Menominee
Defensive Player of the Year—Hunter Potier, Gladstone
Large School Team of the Year—Marquette
Small School of the Year—Westwood
Coach of the Year—Scott Syrjala, Westwood
Mitchell Snyder Lineman of the Year — Hunter Potier, Gladstone
Center—Spencer Harvala, Westwood, 5-11, 225, Sr.
Guard — Gavin Dawson, Westwood, 5-10, 245, Sr.
Guard — Lucas Maxon, Iron Mountain, 5-8, 180, Sr.
Tackle—Lucas Tappy, Kingsford, 6-0, 300, Sr.
Tackle—Alex Schlemm, Marquette, 6-1, 243, Sr.
Quarterback—Austin Ridl, Marquette, 5-11, 175, Sr.
Running back—Aidan Bellisle, Menominee, 6-0, 185, Sr.
Running back—Zach Carlson, Westwood, 5-11, 175, Sr.
Running back—Dryden Nelson, Calumet, 5-9, 170, Sr.
WR/End—Owen Beauchamp, Marquette, 6-0, 185, Sr.
WR/End—Zach Person, Kingsford, 6-5, 225, Sr.
Tackle—Lenny Bjorn, Calumet, 6-1, 250, Sr.
Tackle—Mason Kinnonen, Gladstone, 6-2, 240, Sr.
Tackle—Wyatt Kuhlman, Marquette, 5-8, 145, Sr.
End—Callen Campbell, Sault Ste. Marie, 6-4, 230, Soph.
End—Hunter Potier, Gladstone, 6-2, 225, Sr.
Linebacker — Alan Bjorn, Calumet, 6-2, 195, Soph.
Linebacker—Dustin Lohfink, Marquette, 6-0, 215, Sr.
Linebacker—Luke Olson, Westwood, 6-2, 185, Sr.
Back—Brody Kopp, Kingsford, 6-1, 175, Sr.
Back—Desmond Mullen, Marquette, 5-10, 187, Sr.
Back—Phil Nelson, Negaunee, 6-1, 180, Jr.
Kicker—Diego Przeslakowski, Kingsford, 5-10, 175, Sr.
Punter—Kaeden Calcari, Menominee, 5-11, 180, Jr.
Return specialist—Phil Nelson, Negaunee, 6-1, 180, Jr.
Center—Chris Ricker, Marquette, 6-2, 275, Sr.
Guard—Adam Horrigan, Sault Ste. Marie, 5-11, 255, Jr.
Guard—Brett Boudreau, Gladstone, 6-3, 250, Sr.
Tackle—Bode Bonovetz, Negaunee, 6-1, 240, Sr.
Tackle—John Burke, Sault Ste. Marie, 6-3, 275, Jr.
Quarterback—Jakob Davie, Sault Ste. Marie, 5-8, 170, Sr.
Running back—Trevor Lippens, Bark River-Harris, 6-1, 190, Sr.
Running back—Toby Wilcox, Kingsford, 5-10, 155, Sr.
Running back—Easton Palomaki, Negaunee, 5-11, 170, Jr.
WR/End—David Eberhard, Marquette, 6-1, 189, Sr.
WR/End—Gaborik Carlson, Houghton, 6-1, 170, Jr.
Line—Chance Bridgers, Hancock 5-11, 270, Sr.
Line—Joe Gimbel, Menominee, 6-0, 195, Sr.
Line—Levi Fiorucci, Kingsford, 5-10, 276, Sr.
Line—Corbin LaFave, Bark River-Harris, 5-9, 205, Jr.
Line—Charlie Guenette, Bark River-Harris, 6-0, 225, Soph.
Linebacker—Eli VanBuren, Negaunee, 5-11, 215, Jr.
Linebacker—Dawson Delongchamp, Ishpeming, 5-10, 190, Sr.
Linebacker—Josh Hansen, Gladstone, 6-0, 160, Sr.
Back—John Robinson, Sault Ste. Marie, 5-11, 185, Sr.
Back—Marcus Boase, Westwood, 5-10, 175, Sr.
Back—Luke Wolfe, Iron Mountain, 5-11, 170, Soph.
Kicker—Cole Hawker, Sault Ste. Marie, 6-0, 165, Sr.
Punter—Hunter Stanaway, L’anse, 5-6, 170, Sr.
Return specialist—Nic Nora, Kingsford, 5-10, 170, Jr.
Special mention (received two or more votes)
Matthew Zimmerman, Escanaba, 6-0, 205, Sr. (center); Victavian Hanson, Westwood, 6-3, 290, Sr. (off. tackle); Kade Lesperance, Menominee, 5-10, 240, Sr. (off. tackle); Gerald Johnson, Negaunee, 6-2, 200, Sr. (quarterback); Dysean Allen, L’Anse, 5-10, 205, Sr. (running back); Karson Krutina, Escanaba, 6-0, 175, Sr. (running back); Cole Potier, Gladstone, 5-10, 185, Jr. (running back); Braydon Lee, L’Anse, 6-1, 165, Sr. (WR/end); Justin Jurmu, Marquette, 6-1, 200, Sr. (WR/end); Hunter Fortner, Iron Mountain, 5-7, 160, Sr. (linebacker); J.R. Tryan, Menominee, 5-8, 179, Sr. (linebacker); Eli Berthaume, Gladstone, 5-11, 175, Soph. (d-back); Josiah Javuerk, Bark River-Harris, 5-9, 150, Jr. (d-back); Ben Johnson, Escanaba, 5-9, 170, Soph.; Tom Erkkila, Calumet, 5-10, 165, Sr. (kicker).
Cliff Jurmu, Calumet, 5-9, 205, Sr. (center); Gideon Bell, Marquette, 5-11, 210, Sr. (guard); Eli Ostermeyer, L’Anse, 6-6, 275, Sr. (off. tackle); Zach Beckman, Westwood, 6-2, 210, Sr. (quarterback); Nate Young, Gladstone, 5-9, 165, Soph. (quarterback); Michael Meneguzzo, Kingsford, Sr. (quarterback); Noah Gagne, Bark River-Harris, 5-7, 150, Soph. (running back); Ryan LaPlaunt, Sault Ste. Marie, 6-0, 220, Sr. (running back); Cooper Conway, Menominee, 6-5, 230, Sr. (WR/end); Trevor Brown, Escanaba, 6-2, 180, Sr. (WR/end); Austin Mosier, Bark River-Harris, 6-1, 275, Jr.; Carl Peterson, Gwinn, 5-10, 176, Sr. (linebacker).