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18 Bulldogs named to all-4A IEL football team

by SAMMY BERRYMAN
Sports Reporter | November 24, 2022 1:00 AM

Notable names on the all-Inland Empire League list include coach of the year, Ryan Knowles; player of the year, senior Parker Pettit; defensive MVP, senior Wes Benefield; offensive newcomer of the year, junior Hunter Garcia; and defensive newcomer of the year, junior Blayne Kanning.

Pettit has been the starting quarterback for Sandpoint for three years. He’s a two-year captain and a bonafide leader of the team, according to Knowles.

“Parker is a tremendous leader,” Knowles said. “He’s a two year captain and really had his best year this year.”

Pettit threw for 1,523 total yards for the season, was 97 for 155 passing (62.58%), had 19 touchdowns, and eight interceptions. He also had 589 rushing yards and nine touchdowns.

Benefield, the defensive MVP, is no newcomer to awards. He was named newcomer of the year as a sophomore, is a two-time defensive MVP, and was named first-team all-state last year.

“Wes is the middle of our defense,” Knowles said. “He’s the leader, the motivator, the vet of the group.”

Garcia, who was named offensive newcomer of the year, was praised for being a fantastic player by Knowles. The Bulldogs wide receiver made some critical catches this year.

Kanning, a defensive end, started every game for Sandpoint this year. He won player of the game against Coeur d’Alene and showed to be an extremely consistent lineman for the Bulldogs.

“I’m not sure what we would've done without him,” Knowles said.

Out of the 11 total players chosen for the 4A IEL offensive team, six of the spots went to Sandpoint. Senior and captain Arie VanDenBerg played a hybrid role for the Bulldogs this year. He was a wide receiver and a tight end who did a lot of the dirty work for the team, Knowles said.

Junior Max Frank proved to be an all-around player for Sandpoint this year. Named to the all-league team as a wide receiver, Knowles said that Frank was a good receiver, and an even better runner. On defense, Frank had two sacks for the Bulldogs.

Junior Kody Brewster, was named to the team as a running back.

“Kody stepped into some big shoes and did a fine job being our every-down back,” Knowles said.

Wylan Dorrel, Carson Laybourne and Austin Smith, all seniors, were all awarded spots as offensive lineman. Dorrel, left tackle for the Bulldogs, made the all-state team last year and lived up to it as a senior, Knowles said. Laybourne was said to be the fire of the offensive line.

“He was really fun to watch,” said Knowles.

Senior Austin Smith, took the final offensive spot. Smith, described as someone who shows up every day and puts the work in, started playing football as a sophomore.

“He’s our most steady offensive lineman,” said Knowles.

Five of the 11 defensive spots went to Sandpoint. Described as the heart of the weightroom, Levi Balison earned a spot as a defensive lineman.

“He’s definitely one of the leaders of our team without the captain title,” Knowles said.

Linebackers Owen Wimmer and Jack Zimmerman, both seniors, took up two more spots for the Bulldogs. Wimmer was side-by-side with Benefield all year. He led Sandpoint in 106 total tackles, 36 of which were solo, and 70 assists.

“He plays so hard, so intense,” Knowles said.

Zimmerman, an all league player last year, played a lot of different roles for the Bulldogs this year. Knowles said he was a solution to a lot of problems and a great teammate in the weight room. Zimmerman had 67 tackles and one fumble recovery for the season.

Junior Eli Allshouse and senior Koby Barlow each earned spots as defensive backs. Allshouse found his groove as a lockdown corner for Sandpoint and got better every game he played, Knowles said. Barlow, stepped up into the Bulldogs’ boundary corner this year and made three interceptions.

“He’s had two fantastic years for us,” said Knowles.

Senior Jacob Gove earned the spot as top punter for the 4A IEL. Gove played as both a kicker and punter for Sandpoint this year. He averaged about 40 yards per kick and had five inside the 20-yard line.

“We didn't punt a lot but when he did it was awesome,” Knowles said.

Junior Joe Bohanack earned a spot as the returner for Sandpoint. He averaged 18.4 yards per return on punts and had an incredible touchdown return against Moscow, Knowles said.

It’s no surprise that the coach of the year award went to Sandpoint’s very own Ryan Knowles.

Knowles, who is in his fifth year as head coach for the Bulldogs, has proved to be a consistent and tenacious leader of the team. The Bulldogs more than doubled their opponents’ rushing yards, had 34 rushing touchdowns to their opponents’ eight, and averaged just one turnover per game.

“It's a coaching staff award, not a coaching award,” said Knowles. “The whole staff deserves credit, there's no way I could do this alone.”

As Knowles continued to reinforce that winning the award is a group effort, it’s clear to see why he has been able to bring so much success to their program.

ALL-4A INLAND EMPIRE LEAGUE

Coach of the Year — Ryan Knowles, Sandpoint

Player of the Year — Parker Pettit, sr., Sandpoint

Offensive MVP — John Cornish, sr., Lakeland

Defensive MVP — Wes Benefield, sr., Sandpoint

Offensive Newcomer of the Year — Hunter Garcia, jr., Sandpoint

Defensive Newcomer of the Year — Blayne Kanning, jr., Sandpoint

Offense

Quarterback — Cayson Loutzenhiser, sr., Lakeland. Running backs — Thomas Calder, sr., Lakeland; Kody Brewster, jr., Sandpoint. Tight end — Arie VanDenBerg, sr., Sandpoint. Wide receivers — Max Frank, jr., Sandpoint; Mike Kiblen, sr., Moscow. Offensive linemen — Wylan Dorrel, sr., Sandpoint; Carson Laybourne, sr., Sandpoint; Preston Jeffs, sr., Lakeland; Taylor Winklecotter, sr., Lakeland; Austin Smith, sr., Sandpoint. Punter — Jacob Gove, sr., Sandpoint. Kicker — Owen Forsman, jr., Lakeland. Returner — Joe Bohanack, jr., Sandpoint.

Defense

Defensive linemen — Hutton Hegbloom, sr., Lakeland; Carter Vanek, so., Lakeland; Levi Ballison, sr., Sandpoint. Linebackers — Owen Wimmer, sr., Sandpoint; Chase Burcham, sr., Lakeland; Jack Zimmerman, sr., Sandpoint. Defensive backs — Eli Allshouse, jr., Sandpoint; Koby Barlow, sr., Sandpoint; Gabe Means, sr., Lakeland; Toby Frei, jr., Moscow; Jamison Elliott, sr., Lakeland.

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