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Crouch, Wilson named All-UP

Eddie O’Neill/Daily Mining Gazette Lake Linden-Hubbell’s Carter Crouch turns upfield during a game against Gladstone at Warner Field.

LAKE LINDEN — As the smallest of the small schools in the WestPAC Football Conference, the Lake Linden Lakes knew they had their work cut out for them on the gridiron for the 2018 football season. In short they would be facing teams bigger in size and with larger roster numbers. The Lakes had only 16 guys on their roster for 11-man football. They finished the season at 2-7. Their two wins came against L’asne and Bark River.

“It was a battle,” said Lakes coach Andy Crouch. “We were playing bigger schools. However, at one point in all these games we were ahead. Our kids fought every game and that was good to see.”

Two of his fiercest fighters were Ben Wilson and Carter Crouch. These two standout players were recently named to the 2018 U.P. Sportswriters and Sportscasters All-U.P. Teams. Crouch was named an All Dream Team return specialist as well as an All-U.P. Defensive Back.

“Having Carter on the field was like having a coach in the game,” said Crouch, who is also Carter’s father. “He had a good year calling the offense and the defense. We leaned on Carter a lot to handle pressure in tight games.”

As a return specialist, Crouch was a 2018 WestPAC Conference Special Teams Player of the Year. He won the same award in 2017. This year the 5-foot-9, 160lbs. junior had 19 carries for 407 yards. He averaged 21.4 yards a carry.

As a defensive back, Crouch was also named to the 2018 WestPAC Conference Team. He had 34 solo tackles and 78 assisted tackles. He had one interception and one fumble recovery.

Andy Crouch had equal high praises for Wilson, a 5-foot-8, 190 lbs. senior.

“Ben had an outstanding season on both sides of the ball,” he said. “He led the blocking for much of our offensive-running game throughout the season. He has had two fine years for us.”

Wilson was named to the 2018 WestPAC All-Conference Team as a linebacker. He had 10 solo tackles and 84 assisted tackles for 94 tackles.

“Our team rushed for more than 2,000 yards with most of the yards coming from behind him. He moved around a lot on the line to find a spot he could help us the most,” said Crouch. “He is a very intelligent lineman. He made others play better.”

In looking ahead, Andy Crouch noted that he is only losing four seniors.

He said, “We have a strong nucleus of players returning so we should a better season next year.”

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