Each season, Gatorade recognizes one student-athlete from each of the 50 states and Washington, D.C. who embodies its Player of the Year program’s three pillars: athletic production, academic achievement and exemplary character.
Name: Jake LaCoste
School: West Albany (Ore.)
Athletic Production: LaCoste rushed for 377 yards and both touchdowns in a 14-7 win over Dallas over the weekend, and he didn’t come close to his best career rushing performance — a ridiculous 508-yard effort against Silverton as a sophomore in 2011.
Now a 5-foot-10, 195-pound senior, LaCoste’s effort against Dallas raised his season total to 1,449 yards for the Bulldogs (6-1).
The state’s returning Gatorade Football Player of the Year rushed for 2,741 yards and 38 touchdowns on 277 carries as a junior last season, leading West Albany (9-2) to the 2012 Class 4A state quarterfinals.
Academic Achievement: He has maintained an A-minus average.
Exemplary Character: LaCoste has volunteered locally on behalf of multiple school fundraisers, an area homeless shelter and as a youth football coach.