Two coaches bow out at football awards night
by Gregory R. Norfleet · Sports · November 23, 2012

The West Branch High School football team said good-bye to two coaches Sunday night while marking the end of the season with awards and accolades.

Scott Kelly and Brad McCloskey both were applauded by the crowd in the West Branch High School auditorium for their years of service to the Bears football program.

Kelly has been coaching football since 2005. He also coaches girls track.

McCloskey, who has helped since 2010, also coaches boys track.

McCloskey said his wife, Natalie Stevens, who teaches Spanish, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. He said he will fulfill his track coaching duties, but is not sure what he will do after that.

“My family will need me a little more next fall,” he said. “I have an 11-month-old daughter, (Carigan) too. (Natalie) will be fine. But I will need to be a better husband and father.”

The varsity team had a tie vote and will have five captains next year: Michael Gould, Tyler Donovan, Justin Roth, Mitch Skay and Casey Pence.

Head Coach Butch Pedersen listed off dozens of people and organizations to thank for their support this season.

“And we have been blessed by a lot of good players over the years,” he said. “And our captains lead us very, very well. We’re going to miss you. You did it the right way.”

He noted that once again the team that knocked out the Bears in the playoffs was the eventual state champion.

Assistant Coach Corey Scott said the team “ran into a buzz saw” against Regina.

“We’re the only team that played with them,” he said, referring to the close 15-13 loss near the beginning of the season.

Assistant Coach Matt Hills said the second round of the playoffs, also against Regina, should have been playing for the championship.

“It’s unfortunate that two of the best teams in the state are in the same district,” he said.

Certificates were given to players and managers who made the All-District Academic Team for maintaining a 3.25 grade point average or better: Danielle Gould, Emylee Skay, Drake Martens, Dalton Grell, Michael Madsen, Cody Miller, Justin Roth, Garett Lynch, Bo Bower, Cade Jones, Tyler Donovan, Austin Hills, Drew Walter, Brandon Wasion, Cole Cook and Casey Pence.

Wasion had the third-best extra-point kicking percentage — of kickers with 20 or more attempts — in all of Class 1A, sinking 48 of 51 attempts for 94.1 percent.

The coaches handed out varsity letters, playoff certificates and quarterfinal medals, then handed out Team Awards: Norman Pedersen Memorial Award for Best Team Player: Cole Cook; the Brian Hoffman Memorial Award for Most Improved Player: (tie) Jon St. John and Colton Carter; Most Valuable Defensive Back: (tie) Bo Bower and Tyler Donovan; Most Valuable Scout Player: Michael Guetzko; Most Valuable Special Teams Player: Michael Gould; Coaches Appreciation Award: Austin Hills and Mathis Kane; Most Valuable Offensive Lineman: Michael Madsen; Most Valuable Linebacker: Garett Lynch; Wayne Rummells Memorial Award for Most Valuable Offensive Back: Cade Jones; Most Valuable Receiver: Drew Walter; Most Valuable Front 7 Defensive Player: Josh St. John. Chad Gates Memorial Award for Most Valuable Player: Cade Jones.

Jones, a senior, was named to the Des Moines Register’s Class 1A First-Team Offense as a back. Madsen, a senior, was named to Second Team Offense as a lineman, and Bower, a senior, was named to Second Team Defense as a linebacker.

The Iowa High School Athletic Assoc., in a vote by district coaches, named 11 Bears to the All-District teams. On First Team are Lynch as a linebacker, Madsen as a center, Wasion as MVP kicker, Jones as MVP running back, and Bower as MVP defensive back.

On Second Team are Josh St. John as defensive end, Gould as linebacker and Walter as defensive back. Receiving honorable mentions are Colton Carter as tackle, Donovan as receiver and Cook as quarterback.

Freshman-sophomore coach Terry Ruess said his team got in shape quickly and ended the season with a 7-1 record. He thanked the parents for their support and admonished the players to do the same.

“You need to tell them you love them and say please and thank you,” he said to some chuckles from the players. “No, I mean it.”

By a vote of the FS players, several team awards were presented: Best Weight Room Lifter: Ryan Grosvenor and Devin Kindon; Most Improved Player: Jacob Gingerich; Most Valuable Special Teams Player: Mason Hays; Most Valuable Defensive Linebacker: Nick Westcott; Most Valuable Receiver: Mason Hays; Most Valuable Offensive Lineman: Matt McIlrath; Most Valuable Offensive Back: Austin Black; Most Valuable Player: Lucas Lamont; Most Valuable Defensive Back: Austin Black; Most Valuable Scout Team Player: Jack Miller; Most Valuable Front Defensive Player: Drew Finnegan; Coaches Appreciation Award: Cole Lacina.

Cheerleading Coach Christa Diemer thanked the football program for “letting us feel like part of the team.” She noted that some people think cheerleading is easy, but they forget the stunts.

“In other sports, if you miss a catch, all you drop is the ball,” she said.

Courtney Braun and Kara Rex were recognized for three years on the squad.

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