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Pickford’s Storey heads Michigan’s AP All-State 8-player football team

PICKFORD — Jimmy Storey has a textbook middle linebacker mentality.

Bringing the thunder is the Pickford High School senior’s favorite part of football.

“He’s all-out, all the time. He arrives at the hole with authority,” Pickford coach Josh Rader said. “He’s not dragging guys down either, that’s not how Jimmy tackles. He gets to the play and arrives with force.”

But what sets Storey apart is that he doesn’t alter that mindset when he steps under center as the Pickford quarterback. A hard-charging, body-knocking player on both sides of the ball, Storey rammed, bammed and battered his way to The Associated Press Player of the Year for eight-player football for the second straight season.

Storey is joined on the All-State team by a pair of Pickford teammates in two-way end Nicholas Edington and interior lineman Isaiah May. All three are repeat selections after powering the Panthers to the eight-player Division 2 state championship.

Division 1 state champion Colon is represented by lineman Brandon Crawford and receiver Jonathan West. Suttons Bay featured two All-Staters in running back Lucas Mikesell and defensive back Bryce Opie as did Powers North Central with lineman Lane Nehring and defensive back Noah Gorzinski.

The 16-player squad is rounded out by quarterbacks Brady Hunter of Gaylord St. Mary and Isaac Keinath of Deckerville, running back Tyler Hincka of Posen, receiver River Waisanen of Mio, linebacker Braden Butler of Climax-Scotts, and athletes Caleb Goss of Kingston and Jonathon Carpenter of Morrice.

Storey leads the charge, as he did the past two seasons for his Upper Peninsula powerhouse. Voted the U.P.’s defensive player of the year, he reeled in 59 tackles with five sacks and a pair of fumble recoveries.

He didn’t tone it down on offense, where he was a rough and rugged signal caller.

“I know it’s an odd combination to have your quarterback play middle linebacker,” Rader said. “He’s involved in a lot of contact. But he’s such a physical player and he prepares himself for that. A lot of times, he’s our leading ballcarrier and our leading tackler. He’s a workhorse.”

The 6-foot, 195-pounder ran for 1,281 yards and 18 touchdowns while passing for 1,036 yards and 13 scores on 57-of-96 accuracy during the regular season. Including the playoff run, he tallied 3,521 yards of total offense with 48 touchdowns.

The success doesn’t come by accident. An academic standout as well, he pushes himself toward greatness in everything he does.

“Every single drill, he’s going 100 miles per hour, getting himself ready,” Rader said. “Even when they’re running laps, he goes as hard as he can to condition himself.”

“He still runs to the water and runs back during breaks, that hasn’t changed. The guys make it a challenge to see if they can beat Jimmy back from the water. Then they’ll brag about it. “I beat Jimmy back, Coach!’ He just smiles and works harder.”

Mio’s Jason Socia is the eight-player football Coach of the Year. His team entered the season riding a 23-game losing streak but drastically turned things around, going 8-1 during the regular season and earning the program’s first playoff berth since 2013.

The team is chosen by a panel of sportswriters from around the state.

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