ESCANABA - His name is Clark Kangas, not Clark Kent, but this linebacker was a super man for the Calumet defense in 2012.
In recognition of his prowess, Kangas was named the U.P. Defensive Player of the Year in the large-school division at the 63rd annual U.P. Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association fall meeting Wednesday.
"I'm just out there trying to do my job, reading my keys, their offense. When the guys around me are doing their job, it comes out good," he said after recording his third of four 20-tackle games, in Week 7 against L'Anse.
Calumet’s Clark Kangas, seen here celebrating after a Copper King fumble recovery, was elected 2012 U.P. Defensive Player of the Year in the large-school division. (DMG photo by Brandon Veale)
Kangas' efforts ensure the title of Defensive Player of the Year remains in Calumet, where it was won by Ben Storm in 2011.
The 6-foot, 185-pound senior missed the Copper Kings' Week 3 trip to Ishpeming after suffering a neck stinger in practice, yet still accumulated 131 tackles - 61 solo and 17 for loss - in eight games. He had three sacks.
Kangas outpolled Manistique defensive end Mat Gonzalez to earn the award, the fourth Player of the Year given to a Calumet player after Storm, Matt Helminen (2002) and George Oikarainen (1966).
He has been in the middle of a Calumet defense allowing less than 20 points per game for the fourth sesaon in a row.
The award for the best small-school defender went to Joe Ostman of St. Ignace. The Central Michigan University recruit is a two-time state champion in Division 4
wrestling. He had 88 tackles for the undefeated Saints, plus two sacks and an interception.
On the offensive side, Kingsford's Reed Larson was named Large School Player of the Year. The senior racked up 20 touchdowns and 1,407 yards for the Flivvers on 186 carries.
The Small School Offensive Player of the Year is Stephenson quarterback Austin Grinsteiner.
Grinsteiner took over the starting job in the playoffs of his freshman season and has starred ever since. He's thrown for nearly 4,500 career rushing yards in three-plus years, with 1,148 of them coming this season alongside 12 touchdowns.
Kingsford (Class A-B) and Negaunee (Class C) nabbed Team of the Year awards unanimously in their respective classifications.
Faced with a difficult decision in the smallest classification:?Class?D/Division 8, the voters pointed to 8-0 North Dickinson in a narrow decision over 9-0 St. Ignace.
The Saints received three of five first-place votes in the UPSSA's final football poll, released Tuesday, but a majority of the 19 voters present at the meeting picked the Nordics, who are the smallest school in the U.P. to field an 11-man football team.
Coach of the year awards went to Kingsford's Chris Hofer in the large-school division and North Dickinson's Joe Reddinger among small schools.