Wyatt Bower figured big possibilities existed once he and his peers got the chance to make their mark on the Corunna football program.
And the message constantly given to Bower centered around staying focused on the path and putting in the work.
Bower was instrumental as Corunna made its deepest state playoff run in program history while finishing as the Division 5 state runner-up. The senior quarterback and Saginaw Valley State commit was recognized for his impact in the Cavaliers’ record-setting season by being named the Michigan Associated Press Division 5-6 Player of the Year.
“He has just an incredible balance of skills,” Corunna coach Steve Herrick said. “He can spin the ball and obviously the speed and the ability he has running it to match it. It just showed this year with 2,300-plus passing yards and over 1,000 yards rushing. He had his hand in well over 40 touchdowns between rushing and passing. It was pretty amazing.”
Corunna set a school record with 13 wins this fall, exceeding its previous mark of 10. Its state championship game appearance at Ford Field in Detroit was the first in program history.
“I’ve grown up my whole life just wanting to make it to Ford Field,” Bower said. “Everybody in high school dreams to get to Ford Field or win the state championship. Just to make it was amazing.
“All the guys knew that we could do it," he added. "I feel like we put Corunna on the map again.”
Bower, who was a major factor in the Cavaliers winning a Division 2 state track title in the spring, had a large role as they captured the state’s attention in football. He had a strong finish to a special career and set program records for passing yards, passing touchdowns, completions and rushing yards. He set single-season marks for passing yards (2,385) and touchdowns (26) this fall.
Those records were never the focus for Bower, but came with his drive to help Corunna achieve as much success as possible.
“He’s just the complete package,” Herrick said. “He has just incredible athleticism. As a junior he almost jumped 23 feet in the long jump and he was a 10.8 (second) 100-meter guy. He’s on state championship relay teams. Obviously, the athleticism was never in question."
Joining Bower as Division 5-6 All-State selections are Grand Rapids Catholic Central quarterback Connor Wolf, running backs Charlie DeBruyn of Grand Rapids West Catholic, Eli Graves of Kingsley, Kellen Russell-Dixon of Grand Rapids Catholic Central, Keith Cohens of Detroit Southeastern and Brayden Florian of Chesaning.
Corunna’s Tarick Bower, Detroit Denby’s Amire Harris, Essexville-Garber’s Max Fellows and Detroit Edison’s Jordan Anderson were honored at receiver. Frankenmuth’s Derrick Simmons, Grand Rapids Catholic Central’s Brendan Naperalski, Standish Sterling’s Maddox Gonzalez and Richmond’s Matthew Misch are All-State offensive linemen.
The first team defensive linemen were Frankenmuth’s Colin Main, Pontiac Notre Dame Prep’s Drew Heimbuch, Constantine’s Bennett Vandenburg and Gladwin’s Logan Klein.
Midland Bullock Creek’s Bo Schwartz, Corunna’s Jaden Edington, West Branch Ogemaw Heights’ Karter Schmitt, Grand Rapids West Catholic’s Ryer Snow and Kingsley’s Maximus Goethals were honored at linebacker. The defensive backs recognized were Almont’s Luke Winkler, Flat Rock’s Brian Booms, Grand Rapids West Catholic’s Nolan Rinehart and Detroit Denby’s Dreshaun Johnson.
Clawson’s Tony Ochoa was honored at kicker, Williamston’s Noah Dunckel was recognized at punter and Flat Rock’s Graham Junge was tabbed the first-team all-state specialist.
Macomb Lutheran North’s Garrett Wenzelburger was named coach of the year.