Madras football earns handful of honors
The Madras White Buffalos football team had 15 different players earn all-league honors this season, five earning first team honors. Senior linebacker Kody Zemke also earned Defensive Player of the Year.
"Zemke was unanimous," head coach Kurt Taylor said. "Yamhill-Carlton had a guy that was a stud, that was kind of both a lineman and defensive player. Coaches thought he should win Lineman of the Year for both offense and defense. Once that took place, the Scio and Yamhill coach said if he is Lineman of the Year, 45 (Zemke) is the Defensive Player of the Year. Period. We did not even vote on it. It is just what happened.
"That is a testament to how good he is, and not just this year, but last year as well," Taylor said. "He was one vote away last year to earn the award as a junior. He is a hell of a middle linebacker. There are teams who legitimately ran away from Kody. Teams would look to his where he was and run somewhere else because he will knock your head off. I love how physical he is. He is going to be hard to replace."
Zemke earned first team honors as well.
Senior Robert Pacheco earned first team offense and honorable mention defense for the Buffalos. Power running back Treyvon Easterling earned another first team honor as a White Buffalo, and offensive lineman Andrew Ganuza earned first team honors, despite it being only his second year as a football player.
"The pleasant surprise with that one was Ganuza and Bobby (Pacheco) too," Taylor said. " He (Pacheco) hardly played any offense during league. He is just such a threat that when he is in the game, those teams have to account for him. He has played everywhere on the field, and we're going to miss that kid tremendously. Same thing with Ganuza.
"Ganuza was placed lower than most of the linemen in the league on the initial ballots, but the other teams recognized how awesome he was and voted him first team," he said. "When theoretically he was going to be a second team or honorable mention, the other coaches just loved him. He is a great leader, and he only played in his second year, and he gets first team.
"Trey is Trey. He was 124 yards away from being a 1,000 yard rusher before Rainier," said Taylor. "He probably had around 60 yards in that game. He did not get to 1,000 yards, which is a bummer, but he is who he is. He will move on to the next level and do something. He just has to figure out where he is going to fall and go from there. He can still make it to that Division 1 level if he finds a good place, works, finds that speed. He can always get somewhere."
Joining Zemke in first team defensive honors is senior safety Erik Boynton.
"Erik might be the best inserting free safety I have ever coached," said Taylor. "He is not the most athletic or talented free safety I have ever coached, but that kid can come downhill and tackle anybody in the state, and he is 140 pounds, 5 foot, 7 inches. It is a true testament to his wrestling background and his grit. The other coaches in the league loved him and had nothing but good things to say about him and how crazy fast he could insert as a safety. He is the real deal as a run stopping safety. He was second on our team in tackles. He is a stud."
Three seniors earned second team defense honors for the Buffs — linebacker Liam White, defensive lineman Tony Salazar and corner Mathew Bunt.
"Tony was an awesome surprise as well," said Taylor. "He is probably the smallest defensive lineman in the state, but he is faster than snot, and he fit our defensive scheme perfectly. I am very proud of him."
"I might be the most proud of Liam White," he said. "It is hard to be impartial because I love them all, but I really struggled with Liam for two to three years. He was really hard to motivate and was kind of doing his own thing. He just finally flipped a switch and has turned into the most amazing, beautiful young man. He is awesome and worked his tail off all summer long. He finds that motivation in the summer to get in the weight room, and he is a dude. He will play at the next level. Whether it is baseball or football, we will get him somewhere. He has the frame, he looks like a legitimate D3 outside linebacker. I am so proud of him."
"Matt decided to come out his senior year. I wish he would have came out the other years," said Taylor. "He is just a great athlete. Tall, skinny kid that can jump out of the building, great coverage guy. He has a good attitude, and he is a great kid to be around. I will miss him a ton too."
Offensive lineman David Sumner was the lone Buffalo to earn second team honors on offense for Madras, and fellow lineman Jacob Hulsey earned honorable mention as a junior.
"David was a surprise because I thought he was going to be a first team guy," Taylor said. "He is looking to play at the next level, the Division 3 level. Linfield, Pacific have both made offers to play. He has all the physical tools, and he is working on the leadership skills as well."
"Jacob Hulsey, I am very glad he got that mention." Taylor said. "I think it is really motivating him this year to really work hard and get ready next year. He has been working his tail off with me since the season ended, and he deserves it because on the field he is tough, gritty, doesn't put up with anything and just gets after it. I think if he can figure it out, getting that mindset in the classroom and weight room, he is going to be really good. He is getting bigger everyday."
Joining Pacheco for honorable mention defense were defensive lineman Seth Colton, linebackers Tyrell Rodriguez and Jeremiah Smith and corner Derek Main.
"I am really proud of Seth," said Taylor. "Last year he had a better year, but teams really picked on him a bit. He was double teamed a lot and he still had a good year. He is motivated heading into next year because teams really did pick on him. Seth is right where we need him to be, and we are glad he is coming back. He will be an all-league kid next year."
"Buddy (Jeremiah Smith) is the hardest working kid on the team," he said. "I don't think I have ever met a kid that I have had to legitimately say, 'Do not work out. You need to stop, just stop and rest.' He constantly wants to be in the gym working out, and I know he is lifting his tail off at home, lifting his tail off with us, and then goes back home and chops wood for like six hours. He is always grinding, and he is a great young man. He could be a small college guy as well, and he will be a leader for us next year moving forward."
"I am really proud of Tyrell," said Taylor. "He was going into the start of the season and I don't think he wanted to be there. There was talk of him quitting, and I don't know what turned things around for him, but he found something within our defense. He found that confidence, and he has some big shoes to fill, replacing Kody Zemke. I wholeheartedly believe he will do it. He is the real deal. Can he stay motivated to lift? He has really came out of his shell."
"Derek is a great coverage corner, physical corner," he said. "We put him on an island all year long, and I don't think he ever got scored on. That kid is an athlete, can jump and is fast, He can play college football."
Punter Tyriek Rodriguez was awarded for his skills, earning second team honors.
"He punts the ball really well and just has such a powerful leg," Taylor said. "He deserved every bit as a punter. Tyriek pinned Scio in between the 15 and goal line two or three times. Same with against Corbett. We are proud of him. He got all league in two different sports (soccer), which is dang special."
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