The Gatorade State Football Players of the Year were selected based on athletic production and impact in the 2015-16 season. Each winner also demonstrated high academic achievement and exemplary personal character, including volunteerism, sportsmanship and community leadership.
For the list of the other 2015-16 Gatorade State Football POY’s, click here.
THE WINNER: Ethan Falaniko
School: Bartlett (Anchorage, Alaska)
Position: Running back and linebacker
Weight: 220 pounds
Athletic achievement: He rushed for 2,053 yards on 207 carries and 33 touchdowns this past season, leading the Golden Bears (6-3) to the Large School quarterfinals. A two-time First Team All-State selection, he set a single-game school record on Sept. 19 when he scampered for 351 yards in a 50-31 win over Nikiski.
Academic excellence: Falaniko has maintained an A-minus average.
Exemplary character: A member of the National Honor Society, a student government representative and a devoted parishioner of his church community, he is a talented vocalist in his school’s swing choir ensemble.
“Not only is Ethan Falaniko an incredible player, he is also an excellent student and one of the best kids I have ever met,” said Roger Spackman, head coach at Chugiak High. “He is the most complete and impressive student athlete I can remember for many years in our state.”
THE FUTURE: Falaniko remains undecided upon a collegiate destination.