(Courtesy photo) The North Branch football team is the TSA 11-player Team of the Year. The Broncos are 9-0 and face Detroit Country Day in a Division 4 quarterfinal contest once COVID-19 restrictions are lifted. North Branch won the Blue Water Area Conference championship and three of the program’s five playoff wins came this year.

TSA awards: North Branch scores big with TSA

The North Branch football team is in the middle of a season to remember.

Defensively, the Broncos allowed just 48 regular-season points and on offense featured a rushing game that averaged more than 300 yards per game. North Branch went 6-0 in the regular season while capturing a Blue Water Area Conference title and dominating the Thumb Sportswriters Association rankings.

So when the TSA met to decide its annual high school football awards, it was no surprise that North Branch players were a hot topic.

The Broncos boast a total of six players on the all-Thumb football team.

The TSA includes The Advertiser, Classic Rock I92 Let’s Talk Sports, Huron County View, Sanilac County News, WLEW Sports Network, Thumb Tailgater Sports and Varsity Monthly. All schools in Huron, Sanilac and Tuscola counties, as well as Lapeer County’s North Branch, are included in the TSA voting.

Voting is usually based on regular season stats only, but due to a COVID-19-shortened regular season resulting in all teams making the playoffs, this year’s voting was based on the six regular-season games and the first two playoff games.

North Branch, under fourth-year coach Jeremy Ferman, scored the TSA Team of the Year award after going 9-0 and winning the first district championship in program history. The Broncos were looking for more playoff magic before the season was paused – due to a surge in COVID-19 cases – as teams prepared for the 11-player quarterfinal round.

The Broncos are slated to play Detroit Country Day when play resumes with a Division 4 semifinal berth on the line.

The Broncos were the unanimous choice for Team of the Year, beating out Cass City and Sandusky, respectively. North Branch’s Brandon Martin was the near-unanimous choice for Player of the Year. Coach Jeremy Ferman finished second in the Coach of the Year voting behind Bad Axe’s Kal Pokley.

Cass City was second in the Team of the Year voting while Sandusky was third. Ubly’s Carson Heleski and North Branch’s Drake Deshetsky finished second and third, respectively, in the Player of the Year voting.

Martin, a 5-foot-8 senior, rushed for 1,224-yards on 117 attempts – 10.5 yards per carry – through the regular season and first two playoff games. Martin’s best game came in Week 1 when he piled up 220 yards rushing and four touchdowns in a 56-0 rout of BWAC rival Yale.

Deshetsky is a do-all athlete for the Broncos. He compiled 58.5 tackles on defense, adding five sacks and two interceptions. On offense, he rushed for 454 yards and six touchdowns, while snagging 11 passes for 174 yards and five touchdowns and passing for 115 yards and two touchdowns.

North Branch claimed two more major awards – Drew Ragatz was named Offensive Lineman of the Year and Deshetsky was named co-Defensive Player of the Year along with Heleski.

Scott Bolsby is a sportswriter for The Advertiser. He can be reached at [email protected].

TSA 11-player football first team

Offense

Quarterback

Jake Townsend, Croswell-Lexington

Will Damaska, North Branch

Running back

Brandon Martin, North Branch

Carson Heleski, Ubly

Zach Franzel, Sandusky

Braylon Ballard, USA

Offensive line

Nolan VanErp, Ubly

Drew Ragatz, North Branch

Brody Germain, Millington

Brendon Shaffer, Croswell-Lexington

Caden Blashill, Sandusky

TE/WR

Saige Slanac, Croswell-Lexington

Grant Roberson, Marlette

At large

Drake Deshetsky, North Branch

Delorrin Wedge, Sandusky

Alex Perry, Cass City

Brendyn Callahan, Millington

Kicker

Micah Gordon, Bad Axe

TSA 11-player football first team

Defense

Defensive line

Wyatt Howe, North Branch

Zach Sergent, Croswell-Lexington

Toby MacPhee, Bad Axe

Avery Barron, Millington

Matthew Mihalic, Cass City

Linebacker

Carson Heleski, Ubly

Drake Deshetsky, North Branch

Joey Knoll, Croswell-Lexington

Jeremy Velasquez, Cass City

Jordan Rabideau, Millington

Defensive back

Kyle Sweeney, Ubly

Brendyn Callahan, Millington

Saige Slanec, Croswell-Lexington

Bryce Fernald, Cass City

Punter

Will Kirby, Millington

TSA 11-player football second team

Offense

Quarterback

Dylan Kadar, Harbor Beach

Bryce Fernald, Cass City

Running back

Walker Foley, USA

Jordan Mester, Cass City

Jacob Ranney, North Branch

Logan Mueller, Ubly

Offensive line

Blake Smithers, Laker

Jacob Sanderson, Sandusky

Jacob Nimtz, USA

Ryan DeLong, Cass City

Connor Herford, Cass City

TE/WR

Damarquss Palmreuter, Reese

Isaac Lerma, Croswell-Lexington

At-large

Connor Gettel, USA

Tanner TerBush, Reese

Travis Fuller, Marlette

Leyton Mays, Millington

Kicker

Landen Swoish, North Branch

TSA 11-player football second team

Defense

Defensive line

Colton Oyervidz, Laker

Colton Law, North Branch

Carson Bowling, Croswell-Lexington

Brody Germain, Millington

Jack DuRussel, Reese

Linebacker

Zach Franzel, Sandusky

Nolan VanErp, Ubly

Lukas Primeau, Brown City

Alex Perry, Cass City

Braylon Ballard, USA

Defensive back

Thomas Thompson, Brown City

Grant Roberson, Marlette

Evan Peruski, Ubly

Jeremiah Hahn, USA

Punter

Micah Gordon, Bad Axe

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