Editor’s note: The honorable mention section of The Associated Press all-state teams was eliminated this season.
It’s no secret, some really good football is played in the West Michigan Conference. It’s been that way for years.
The conference typically hauls in some nice individual postseason honors and this season is no exception. Three players have received first-team all-state recognition from The Associated Press for the 2022 season, while three other players and a coach have earned second-team accolades.
Manistee lineman Caden VanSickle was named first-team all-state by the AP in Division 6, while Ravenna specialist Hunter Hogan and North Muskegon lineman Sam Gallo received first-team honors in Division 7.
VanSickle, a 6-foot-4, 275-pound senior, was a two-way starter this season at offensive tackle and defensive end. This season, the team captain and three-year starter helped Manistee (7-4) rush for nearly 3,000 yards and 40 touchdowns. He led the Chippewas to victory in the playoffs twice during his career — the first two postseason wins in school history.
In his career, VanSickle allowed only one sack. On defense this season, he totaled 31 tackles, including six for lost yardage and three sacks. The Michigan Tech commit projects as an offensive guard or tackle there and he plans to study computer engineering there.
Hogan, a 5-9, 175-pound senior, was the heart-and-soul of a Ravenna team that finished 7-4 against a tough slate for a Division 7 squad. He literally did it all and did it well for the Bulldogs: Starting quarterback, free safety, kicker, punter, return man. That’s why he was selected as an all-state specialist, which is another word for all-purpose.
The fast, fearless and aggressive Hogan finished with 71 tackles and a whopping eight interceptions on defense, where he really shined. On offense, he completed 65 of 136 passes for 1,237 yards with 12 TDs and eight interceptions. He ran 154 times for 938 yards (6.1 per carry) with 16 TDs. On special teams, Hogan had two kickoff returns for TDs, one punt return for a TD, went 34-for-40 on PATs and 1-for-2 on field goals, including the eventual winner in a 10-7 upset at North Muskegon in a Division 7 first-round playoff game.
Gallo, a 6-3, 220-pounder, was a two-way starter for North Muskegon and the Norsemen’s best lineman on both sides of the ball.
Gallo led the Norse in tackling last season and this season. This fall, he totaled 55.5 tackles with 15 for lost yardage and 5.5 sacks. On offense, he helped North Muskegon average 36.2 points per game.
North Muskegon finished the season with an 8-2 record and an outright WMC Rivers Division title. The Norsemen’s two losses came against Muskegon Catholic Central in the season opener (24-22) and Ravenna in a Division 7 playoff opener (10-7).
On the AP’s Divisions 3-4 all-state squad, Whitehall coach Tony Sigmon and senior two-way lineman Winton Napier received second-team honors.
Sigmon completed his 10th season as Whitehall’s head coach and it was the Vikings’ best in school history. The Vikings finished 11-1 and were ranked No. 1 or 2 nearly the entire season depending on the poll. They captured WMC Lakes Division and Division 4 district titles before dropping a 28-21 regional finals heartbreaker to eventual state champion Grand Rapids South Christian. Overall, Sigmon is 65-38 in his coaching career with all 10 seasons at Whitehall.
The 6-2, 265-pounder Napier was a two-way starter for Whitehall. With Napier leading the way, the Vikings blew away the school record for points in a season with 528 — 48.0 per game based on 11 contests instead of 12, as one game was a forfeit win. They were the first football team in Whitehall history to win 10 or more games.
On the AP’s Divisions 5-6 squad, Oakridge junior running back Trever Jones and Montague senior lineman Rodney Brassfield received second-team all-state honors.
The 6-1, 185-pound Jones is known as a powerful runner. The workhorse back finished with 1,545 rushing yards on 218 carries (7.1 per carry) with 22 TDs. Jones also caught 21 passes for 330 yards (15.7 average) and two TDs. The Eagles were 10-2 on the season, finishing runner-up to Whitehall in the WMC Lakes, winning a Division 5 district title and falling to eventual state champion Gladwin in the regional finals, 26-8.
Brassfield, a 6-2, 230-pounder, is a very good athlete for his size. The three-year starter shined the most at defensive end for the Wildcats (3-7) this season, finishing with 91 tackles this in the nine games he played, including 13 tackles for loss and seven sacks with one forced fumble. On offense, he started the season as a tight end, but the Wildcats moved him to guard in Week 5 because they needed him at the point of attack.
Here are the complete AP all-state football lists for divisions where West Michigan Conference players were selected:
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