Chewelah players dominated this year’s All-Northeast A League football team selections. The league champion Cougars fill a combined 17 positions on the offense and defense, including both Most Valuable Player selections. They also received Coach of the Year honors. In addition, the Cougars placed a member of the volleyball team among the fall all-league selections.
Derek Smith was named the Most Valuable Player on the all-league first team offense and was also selected as a member of the all-league first team defense.
This season, Smith completed 118 of 229 passes for 1,787 yards. In doing so, he threw 15 touchdown passes. He also led the team in rushing with 1,051 total yards. Altogether, he generated 2,838 yards of Cougar offense.
On the defensive side of the ball, Smith led Chewelah in pass interceptions with seven. He finished the season with 39 tackles in the defensive secondary.
Ben Johnstone was chosen by league coaches as the Most Valuable Player on the all-league first team defense. The hard-hitting senior linebacker led the Chewelah defense, and probably the entire league, with 81 tackles. That number is deceiving, however, because Johnstone missed three games midway through the season with a knee injury.
One memorable moment concerning Johnstone occurred at Colville, where the radio broadcaster was heard talking about an Indian player, saying, “That kid has number 11 on the back of his jersey, but he has had number 44 on the front of his jersey all night long.”
As a receiver on offense, Johnston had catches totaling 275 yards.
Dustin Olson was named to the all-league teams on both sides of the ball. The junior lineman was named to the first team offense and the first team defense. Olson was a guard in the Cougar forward wall on offense. On defense he led the team in fumble recoveries and quarterback sacks. He recovered six fumbles and tackled the quarterback behind the line of scrimmage 12 times. He also had 71 tackles and a pass interception.
Chris Lambert was Chewelah’s center and was selected as an all-league player at that same position. Lambert anchored the Cougar offensive line, where he had to block opponents much bigger than he is. At 5’9″ and 185 pounds, he was the one of the smallest offensive linemen in the league, but one of the most skilled.
Cordell Bean surprisingly stepped up and filled the vacancy at fullback for the Cougars at the beginning of the season. That position was filled by a question mark going into this season. Bean proved to be a strong, hard-running ball carrier and was selected as an all-league player at runningback by the vote of the league’s coaches.
Bean was a double-threat fullback. He ran for 553 yards and had 492 yards in pass receptions.
Adam Collins was another starter along the line of scrimmage for the Cougars. He was chosen to the all-league team as an offensive tackle where he was known for his blocking skills.
Sam Cobb was Chewelah’s other tackle, giving the Cougars four all-league selections along the offensive line. Cobb also became a key player on special teams and was especially effective tackler on the Cougar kickoff team.
Dustin Crowell was an integral part of the Chewelah offense both as a ballcarrier and as a receiver. He was selected as an all-league receiver where he made catches totaling 310 yards. He also had 115 rushing yards
On defense, played linebacker, where he had 63 tackles, five quarterback sacks, and a pass interception.
Tommy Norman was selected as a defensive end on the all-league first team. He had 35 tackles, including three quarterback sacks.
On offense, Norman had a huge 37-yard catch at Medical Lake that had a big impact on the game for the Cougars.
Caleb Wiebe joins the all-state first defensive team as a cornerback. He grabbed five pass interceptions and had 39 tackles in the defensive secondary.
Wiebe also played a wide receiver for the Cougars, where he caught passes totaling 359 yards.
Ty Curtis is another member of the Chewelah defensive secondary who was chosen to this year’s all-league team. As a senior cornerback, Curtis intercepted four passes and made 18 tackles. He was also the Cougar kicking specialist on extra points and kickoffs.
Trey Barnett was named to the all-state team as a defensive end. Although he was injured late in the season, and missed the final game against River View, Barnett accumulated 35 tackles and six quarterback sacks.
Blake Owens is this year’s lone sophomore all-league player. He earned his position at linebacker early in the season and was a mainstay of the Cougar defense. He was credited with 65 tackles, the third-highest total on the team. He also had a fumble recovery and two quarterback sacks.
Brittney Wuesthoff was named to the all-league volleyball first team. This is quite an accomplishment, because only a dozen all-league volleyball players are chosen every year. She is the setter on the first team.
Coach Jim Fisk has been named this year’s Northeast A League football Coach of the Year. His Cougars were undefeated in league play with a perfect 6-0 record. He had his best season of the year with a 9-2 overall record.
Coach Dave Tupek is this year’s league Assistant Coach of the Year. Although he lives here in Chewelah, Dave is the defensive coordinator at Kettle Falls.
By Geno Ludwig, The Independent Staff
In This Photo: Honored for their exemplary efforts on offense and defense 13 Chewelah football players were selected to the Northeast A All League teams. (Back, l-r) Tommy Norman, Derek Smith, Sam Cobb, Christopher Lambert, Ben Johnstone, Caleb Wiebe, and Cordell Bean. (Front, l-r) Dustin Olsen, Blake Owens, Trey Barnett, Ty Curtis and Dustin Crowell. Not pictured Adam Collins. In addition Derek Smith was voted the Offense-MVP of the League and Ben Johnstone was named Defense-MVP in the Northeast A League! Great job representing Chewelah guys! Kim Johnstone photo