Bonner honored

Steamboat back one of league's best players

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Brad Bonner doesn't do a lot of talking, celebrating or worrying about his numbers. He just works hard.

And recently, Western Slope League coaches recognized Bonner's season with a special award.

Bonner, a senior member of the Steamboat Springs football team, was named to the Western Slope's All-League team after rushing for 1,025 yards on 152 carries in nine games, an average of 6.7 yards a carry.

Bonner broke the famed 1,000-yard mark without postseason games or even a 10th game after the Sailors had a bye toward the end of the season because of a scheduling conflict.

"Brad does everything full speed," Steamboat coach Aaron Finch said. "He never complains. He plays with injuries. We all love watching Brad run, but the most impressive thing is the yards after the contact. He never took a play off the entire season."

Bonner was the only member of the Steamboat football team who garnered first-team honors because the Sailors finished fifth in the league as a team, but Finch said others on his team deserved to be up there.

Three other seniors were recognized by league coaches as honorable mention All-League players: Chris Baumann, Tyler Fosdick and Clay McKenzie.

Baumann was an offensive and defensive lineman. He finished with 51 tackles at the defensive end position.

"He is a man amongst boys often in games," Finch said. "He had the opportunity, often defensively, to manhandle the opponent. We played him on the weakside because he's as good a defensive lineman on outside contain as you are going to find."

Fosdick was a quarterback, receiver, safety and special teams player. He was the place-kicker, back-up punter and punt returner for Steamboat.

"He was one of our all-around players," Finch said. "What I appreciate most about Tyler was making the change in position offensively and becoming a key contributor and our leading receiver in the last couple games. He's a man of many talents."

Fosdick began the season at quarterback but switched to receiver, which allowed him to play defense, as well. Both moves worked well for the Sailors. Fosdick finished with 288 receiving yards on 10 catches.

McKenzie, like Bonner, doesn't have a lot to say. But like Bonner, McKenzie did plenty of talking by the way he played this season. He was a starting linebacker and back-up tailback this year.

McKenzie finished as Steamboat's second-leading tackler with 65 tackles and one sack. He also was the second-leading rusher with 198 yards on 40 carries this fall.

"Every game he's there," Finch said. "Defensively, we knew he would be a key member, and he proved that as the second-leading tackler. We weren't expecting him to be the second-leading rusher, but he became such an effective ball carrier by the end of the season. His talents gave us the ability to take some pressure off Brad."

Finch said the play from those players, as well as the other members of Steamboat's squad, helped spark the late-season turnaround for the program. After starting 0-5, Steamboat finished 4-5 overall and .500 in the league and in fifth place.

"If it was only effort that mattered, we'd be in the playoffs," Finch said.

Steamboat held its annual postseason banquet Wednesday night and handed out other awards, including Academic All-State selections.

For the first time, the Steamboat football team was named an Academic All-State team. As a varsity team, the Sailors had a cumulative GPA of 3.1. Finch said he was most pleased with that award.

Individually, junior Thomas Allen was named to the Academic All-State team with a GPA of 3.63.

Other Sailors named to the honorable mention Academic All-State team were seniors Trace Adams, Daniel Coloccia, Fosdick and McKenzie. Junior Justin Howard also was on the honorable mention team. Those five players have GPAs between 3.3 and 3.59.

In addition to league and state honors, Finch and the coaching staff also awarded team honors as voted on by coaches and players.

The players selected Bonner, Baumann, Coloccia, Fosdick and senior Charlie Pappas as captains this year.

The coaches named Bonner the Most Valuable Player, gave Fosdick Special Teams Player of the Year, named McKenzie Defensive Player of the Year and tagged Pappas as Offensive Player of the Year.

Pappas, a tight end, finished with a team-high 499 yards receiving but also had a team-high 109 tackles.

Baumann was given the Eric Small Memorial Award as the top lineman.

Sophomore Westin Cofer, who started the last two games at middle linebacker, was named Scout Team Player of the Year.

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