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Posted November 7, 2012
HIGH SCHOOL JOURNALISM: Wrapping up Midland’s football season

The Midland football seniors ended their final season at 6-4. They are (from left) Ryan Leonard, TJ Bowen, Levi Kozlowski, Seth Groth, Onur Elicora, Jon Santillan, Cody Kanke, Tyler Stepp and Cole Miller. (Karla Bowen photo/community contributor)

Editor’s note: Here is your chance to tell your story about your team, your school or your favorite player. If you’d like to join The Gazette’s growing list of high school contributors, contact J.R. Ogden at jr.ogden@thegazette.com

By Mallory Dirks, Midland senior

WYOMING – With a 6-4 football season over, Midland has nothing to hang its heads about.

The losses Midland suffered were all to playoff teams, including Preston (which made it to the second round) and Clarksville (which is playing in Thursday’s quarterfinals). Not only were there record-breaking games – including that 85-78 loss to Preston – the Eagles ended their season on a high, beating the No. 2 playoff seed in District 4, Springville, in the last regular season game, 30-29.

Also, nine of Midland’s starters made all-district teams. Senior Ryan Leonard and junior quarterback Hagan Ackley were named to the first team team offense, seniors Seth Groth and Tyler Stepp on first-team defense. Three defensive players made the second team –  senior TJ Bowen and juniors Ben Carstensen and Ryan Eganhouse. There also were two honorable mentions, junior Cole Lineburg and sophomore Colton Dirks.

Midland loses seven seniors, including two foreign exchange students who got to see some playing time.

Leonard rushed for 1,516 yards and scored 27 touchdowns, had 503 receiving yards and nine touchdowns, and even passed 166 yards for two touchdowns. On defense, he had 122 tackles. Stepp rushed for 358 yards and six  touchdowns and also had 423 receiving yards with six more touchdowns. He also had 98 tackles. Groth led Midland in receptions with 745 yards and 11 touchdowns, but also had eight interceptions. Bowen shined defensively with 107 tackles this season. Foreign exchange student Jon Santillan kicked 3,323 yards for Midland, with 21 touchbacks.

There were school records broken this year. Individual records such as Leonard with the most rushing yards in a game (276 vs. Preston) and season (1,516) and Ackley with most passing yards in a game (323 vs. Preston) and season (1,613). Groth broke the school record with his eight interceptions.

The last time Midland had a winning record and did not make the playoffs was in 1984. In 1994, Midland went 6-4 and earned the district title and a spot in the playoffs.

Don’t count us out next year, District 4.

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