Will Nagel had a big hand in the offensive success that contributed to the DeWitt football team adding to its streak of conference titles.
The junior quarterback was just as valuable on special teams.
Nagel gave DeWitt a field position edge with his ability to pin opponents back deep and is part of the Division 3-4 Associated Press all-state team as a punter.
“Last year being moved up I played punter and did pretty well,” Nagel said. “This year i kind of grew into it with all the encouragement of my friends. It was always my goal just to punt it inside the 20-yard line just to help the defense out.”
Nagel is one of three area players selected first team all-state in Division 3-4 and is joined by Mason senior receiver Nick Vondra and East Lansing senior defensive lineman Heath Williams.
Vondra was a record-setting receiver for Mason and set career and single-season marks with his success catching passes from Jarrett VanHavel. The success of the passing game helped Mason return to the playoffs.
“Jarrett and I – I guess I always just knew where Jarrett wanted to throw the ball,” said Vondra, who had 68 catches for 1,016 yards. “I knew what were his favorite routes to throw so he always asked me if it was a critical play to take that route. Obviously a lot of offseason work goes into to being able to know each other and exactly where he’s going to throw it and exactly where the route takes place. We worked countless hours together.”
Vondra never expected to emerge as big of a contributor as he was to the Mason offense and was more focused on trying to make a name for himself when he transitioned to receiver following his freshman year.
“I just kind of worked my way up in the ranks and put in time and effort,” Vondra said. “I didn’t think I would ever make any of these accomplishments I ever did or break any of these records or get all-state. Obviously I’m very glad I did.”
Williams was a big part of the defensive improvement for East Lansing, which had a four-win improvement this fall. He averaged 4.9 tackles per game, had seven for loss, two sacks and forced a fumble.
East Lansing coach Bill Feraco said Williams closed down the A gaps in the middle of the Trojan defense with great quickness, strength and technique.
Nagel averaged 42 yards per punt and landed 15 of 27 inside the 20 yard line. He had a long of 55 yards and just one touchback.
“Both him and Matt Meagher were instrumental in the success we had as a team,” DeWitt coach Rob Zimmerman said. “Our special teams were outstanding and those guys were the key to it. Will’s numbers were tremendous and the field position that he helped give us was definitely a big plus for us on both sides of the ball.”
Haslett lineman Rob Boughton and DeWitt defensive back/running back JD Ross were tabbed special mention all-state.
Contact Brian Calloway at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @brian_calloway.
DIVISION 3-4 ALL-STATE
The 2015 Associated Press Division 3-4 All-State football team, which is selected by a statewide panel of Michigan sports writers:
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Josh Ross, Orchard Lake St. Mary’s, Junior
Omar Salih, Detroit Cesar Chavez, Senior
Pat Naughton, Comstock Park, Senior
Isaiah Miller, Edwardsburg, Senior
Mitch Meger, Tecumseh, Senior
Forrest Jackson, Marshall, Senior
Darius Perisee, Zeeland West, Senior
Nick Turowski, Comstock Park, Senior
Nick Vondra, Mason, Senior
Khylin Barton, Zeeland East, Senior
Jalen Martin, Harper Woods Chandler Park, Senior
Zach VanValkenburg, Zeeland West, Senior
Cameron Kolwich, Orchard Lake St. Mary’s, Senior
Johnathan Berghorst, Zeeland East, Junior
Ty McTaggert, Chelsea, Senior
Heath Williams, East Lansing, Senior
Kyle Sassack, Pontiac Notre Dame Prep, Junior
Jeremiah Tyler, Detroit Country Day, Senior
Josh Ross, Orchard Lake St. Mary’s, Junior
Hunter Buczkowski, Mount Pleasant, Senior
Luke Adams, Pontiac Notre Dame Prep, Junior
Loren Sauve, Trenton, Senior
Alonzo McCoy, Redford Thurston, Senior
Chris Bergin, Detroit Country Day, Junior
John Wixson, Remus Chippewa Hills, Senior
John Kwiecinski, Orchard Lake St. Mary’s, Senior
Will Nagel, DeWitt, Junior
Noah Sargent, Flint Powers, Senior
KJ Hamler, Orchard Lake St. Mary’s, Junior
COACH OF THE YEAR
Elliot Uzelac, Benton Harbor
SPECIAL MENTION (nominees receiving two or more votes from the voting panel)
CJ Otteman, Zeeland East; Brent Murray, Petoskey; Dominic Forbes, Grand Rapids Catholic Central; Monterio Smith, Comstock Park; Tre Gray, Niles; Drew Couturier, Allendale; Rob Boughton, Haslett; Nate Umler, Allendale; Trent Hillger, Lake Fenton; Keegan Golder, Grand Rapids Forest Hills Eastern; Brendan Oosse, East Grand Rapids; Cortez Gray, Milan; Jared Mika, Grand Rapids Catholic Central; JD Ross, DeWitt; Austen Cooper, Parma Western; Jake Bushu, Stevensville-Lakeshore; Sean Akins, St. Joseph; Austin Taggert, Dowagiac.
John Kocher and Jim Bishop, Richmond
HONORABLE MENTION (nominees receiving one or no votes from the voting panel)
Justin Doyle, Alma; Jarrett VanHavel, Mason; Jake Tahaney, Haslett; Michael Lynn III, Lansing Sexton; Tristain Stewart, Sturgis; Steve Mann, Detroit Country Day; Tyler Santangelo, Cranbrook-Kingswood; Shamond Halbert, Flint Northwestern; Patrick Czarnecki, Trenton; Joe Ens, Grand Rapids Catholic Central; Jack Clark, Grand Rapids Forest Hills Eastern; Kristen Valliere, Bay City John Glenn; Steven Linton, St. Johns; Ryan Ellul, Marysville; Marcus Matiere-Bey, Flint Southwestern Academy; Ryan Young, Linden; Christopher Dennis, Detroit Northwestern Collegiate Prep; DJ Griffin, Harper Woods Chandler Park; Obie Ricumstrict, Mt. Pleasant; Evan Conn, DeWitt; Liam Adams, Sturgis; Patrick Burmeister, Marquette; Jordan Brewer, St. Joseph; Eric Hildebrand, Goodrich; Landin Mitchell, Goodrich; Spencer Mort, Corunna; Blake Roe, Haslett; Kyle Augustine, Gaylord; Sean Fitzgerald, Mount Pleasant; Brandon Martinez, DeWitt; Deron Irving-Bey, Flint Southwestern Academy; Dalton Adams, Goodrich; Anderson Muenzer, Lake Fenton; Daurel Tolbert, Flint Powers; Logan Poll, Lake Odessa Lakewood; George Gillespie, Romulus; Case Overweg, Hudsonville Unity Christian; Ryan Cornejo, Alma; Levi Six, Fruitport; Taylor Jackson, Corunna; Landon Pelham, Tecumseh; Tanner Motz, St. Johns; Chris Upright, Marshall; Sam DeMeester, Coldwater; Hunter Viau, Escanaba; Andrew Hamel, Richmond; Mike MacLean, Detroit Country Day; Jayson O’Mara, Lake Odessa Lakewood; Nate Berrelez, Allen Park; Kingsley Enchukew, Romulus; David Williams, Holland Christian; BJ Powell, East Lansing; Dante Razzano, Edwardsburg; Michael Clifford, East Grand Rapids; Luke Beckhusen, Coldwater; Kalebb Perry, Mount Pleasant; Steele Fortress, Parma Western; Brevan Bender, Alma; Matthew Meagher, DeWitt.
Kyle Robinson, Corunna; Nick Boucher, Lake Odessa Lakewood.
Voting panel: Bill Broderick, Battle Creek Enquirer; James Cook, Traverse City Record-Eagle; Dave Goricki, The Detroit News; Brian Calloway, Lansing State Journal; Steve Kaminski, MLive.com-The Grand Rapids Press; Mark Opfermann, MLive.com-The Muskegon Chronicle; George Pohly, The Macomb Daily (Mount Clemens); Eric Woodyard, MLive.com-The Flint Journal; Dan Chalk, Midland Daily News; Jason Schmitt, The Oakland Press.