Pickford quarterback Jimmy Storey battles for yardage against Au Gres in the state semifinal. (With permission Rob Roos | Soo Evening News)
BAY CITY, MI — Even break time is no time to rest for Jimmy Storey.
He’s an all-go, all-the-time kind of athlete.
“His motor doesn’t stop. Even on water breaks, he sprints to the water and back — and that’s not an exaggeration,” Pickford coach Josh Rader said. “Sometimes I say ‘What in the world? Who does that?’ But that’s Jimmy.
“It’s no act. That’s who he is.”
A hard-hitting, high-energy middle linebacker — who doubles as a tough-to-tackle quarterback for the Pickford football team — Storey has been selected as the 2018 Associated Press Player of the Year for eight-player football.
Storey powered Pickford to the greatest season in program history, a 12-1 march that took the Panthers all the way to a state runner-up showing in the eight-player Division 1 playoffs.
The 6-foot, 185-pound junior has been a fixture the past two seasons at linebacker, but Pickford pictured an expanded role for him this year on offense. He was moved from tight end to quarterback and proved to be an uncanny X-factor.
He was 58 of 91 passing for 1,248 yards and 25 touchdowns — and just one interception — during the regular season. He also averaged 8.8 yards per carry, going for 504 yards on 56 attempts while scoring eight TDs.
“When things break down, he has a knack for making it work,” Rader said.
But it was his play on defense that separated him as a leader. He notched 75 tackles and three interceptions while leading the Panthers to the Great Lakes East title, aggressively covering sideline-to-sideline and bringing the thunder as a rare quarterback/middle linebacker combo.
“He’s just tough,” Rader said. “You can’t hurt him. And if you did, you’d never know it because he wouldn’t show it or tell anyone.
“I’ve had people say ‘You sure you want to keep your quarterback there?’ But with him it’s a no-brainer. He’s an obvious choice for middle linebacker. He tackles people with authority.”
Storey is joined on the All-State team by a pair of Pickford teammates in receiver Nicholas Edington and lineman Isaiah May. The honor squad also features Caden Zeien and Ryan Schwiderson of Au Gres, Benson Heath and Brayden Ophoff and Wyoming Tri-Unity, Hunter Nowak of Morrice, Montell Glover of Stephenson, Roubens Fink of Eben Junction Superior, Grant Papineau of Central Lake, Noah Gorzinski of Powers North Central, Andrew Blanchard of Engadine, Brendan Shelton of Colon, Nicholas Briggs of Bellevue and Jarron Masuga of Cedarville.