Football players get noticed

Having snapped back from a one-win season in 2001 to go 4-5 overall this year and 4-4 in the conference, the Falcons earned the respect of fans and other coaches in the North Cascades Conference. Two Falcon players were voted onto the NCC all-conference first team this year, while half a dozen other South Whidbey players picked up selection votes.

Selected to the NCC first team were senior runningback Andy Wills and senior punter Adam Jaffe. Making the second team was sophomore corner Michael Lodell. Honorable mentions from the team were senior safety Tim Gathings, inside linebacker Michael Greene, senior quarterback Jeremy Iversen, junior receiver Nick Plastino and junior center Ben Harris.

But news of the two most prestigious football awards given to Falcon team members came a week ago when the Snohomish County Chapter of the Football Hall of Fame gave $1,000 scholarships to two South Whidbey players, seniors lineman Chris Long and back Michael Berry.

The scholarships, given to football players with high achievement on the field, in the classroom and in their communities, were the fifth and sixth earned by South Whidbey players. The total ties the school with Marysville-Pilchuck for the most awards earned by a school from the Football Hall of Fame.

The two players received their awards at a dinner at the Everett Golf and Country Club on Dec. 4. Their coach, Mark Hodson, said he was surprised to see both boys come up winners. They were the only players at the dinner to take the top scholarship awards.

"It was spectacular," Hodson said. "To take both first-place awards was something."

Both Long and Berry are Eagle Scouts and four-year players on the football team. Long, who maintains a 4.0 gpa at South Whidbey, said this week he and Berry knew they had a good chance at winning, but did not expect it.

"It was a surprise," he said.

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