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Mustang Football: Smith named MVP for Malta in playoff year


Malta senior Tanner Smith was named Malta's Most Valuable Player in the 2019 football season. Photo by Pierre Bibbs.

The 2019 Mustang Football Team started preparation for the season in June with a team camp in Spearfish, South Dakota by competing against teams from South Dakota, Wyoming, and Colorado. The season included eight wins, two losses, a second place finish in the North Division, and a first round playoff victory. The season ended with a Quarter-final loss in Red Lodge. Many great memories were made along the way.

This team was a very unselfish group that was a ton of fun to coach. They were led by five seniors who will be greatly missed. They are Callan Mears, Tanner Smith, Marcus Woods, Franky Werk, and Ezra Judd. From freshman to seniors, it has been fun to watch these guys grow into fine young men that will be leaders of their community in the near future. They have been positive role models for the young kids in our community, including my own, to look up to.

Having great team success, other coaches in our division recognized some of our players with All-Conference and All-State selections. 1st Team Offense: OL – Pierce Mortenson, OL – Parker Mortenson, RB – Tanner Smith. 2nd Team Offense: RB – Rex Williamson. 1st Team Defense: DE – Pierce Mortenson, LB – Callan Mears, DB – Tanner Smith. 2nd Team Defense: DE – Parker Mortenson, DL – Cordel Salsbery, LB – Cash Salsbery, DB – Kooper Oxarart. 2nd Team Specialty Player: Punter – Rex Williamson. All-State: Pierce Mortenson and Tanner Smith. Big Sky Class B All-Star Game: Callan Mears, Tanner Smith and Franky Werk. East-West Shrine Game: Tanner Smith and Coach Nick Oxarart.

Team Awards (voted on by coaches and players): Outstanding Lineman: Pierce Mortenson. Pierce was the leader on a very talented offensive line. He brought tenacity and physicality to the offensive line that was able to produce rushing averages of 252 yards/game and 5.9 yards/carry.

Outstanding Offensive Player: Rex Williamson. Rex was a very dynamic offensive threat that helped the Mustangs put up 33.6 points/game. He had 120 carries for 903 yards and 10 touchdowns, 11 receptions for 205 yards and 6 touchdowns, 9 punt returns for 227 yards and 1 touchdown, 10 kick returns for 195 yards, 2 PAT runs, and 1 PAT kick accounting for 107 points scored for the Mustangs.

Outstanding Defensive Player: Callan Mears. Callan was the leader of a defense that allowed under 90 yards/game rushing and under 100 yards/game passing. Callan always brought the "never give up" attitude that made him the leading tackler on the Mustang defense for the past two seasons. Callan was always around the football and gave opposing offenses a lot of troubles.

Most Valuable Player: Tanner Smith. Tanner was a vital part of our success this year. Tanner's athleticism made it difficult for offenses to pass against. On offense and special teams, Tanner had 121 carries for 781 yards and 9 touchdowns, 12 receptions for 85 yards and 1 touchdown, 4 punt returns for 71 yards, 3 kick returns for 95 yards, 8 PAT runs, and 1 PAT reception accounting for 78 points for the Mustangs. Whether it was scoring the go-ahead touchdown or converting some key fourth downs, Tanner came up big and delivered in all those situations this year.

Burlsworth Character Award: Marcus Woods. This award is given to a player that exhibits outstanding character and sportsmanship. Marcus was an outstanding teammate that always encouraged his teammates, gave 100% every day, and was always willing to do what was best for the team. His unselfishness and "team first" attitude will be greatly missed next year.

Each player on the 2019 Mustang Football Team from #2 to #88 was a vital part in each of the individual's awards mentioned above. I would like to thank the players and their families for another memorable football season and look forward to next season. Thank you to the players and their families from Dodson, Saco and Whitewater for all the sacrifices you make to contribute to Mustang Football. I would like to thank my assistant coaches (Aaron DeVries, Kevin Ebert, and Travis Somerfeld) and their families for all the time and effort they gave to Mustang football this season. Thank you to Mark, Pierre and staff at the PCN for the great weekly coverage. Thank you to Greg Kielb and staff at KMMR for providing radio coverage that is second to none. Thank you to the Malta Athletic Club and its members for the support they give our community. Thank you Tara and Donna for keeping me on track and organized throughout the school year. I would like to thank my wife, Shannon, and kids, Avi and Rio for their unwavering support as I could not do any of this without them. Lastly, thank you to numerous others who contribute to Mustang Football success.


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