- Associated Press - Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Jeremy Killinger always knew his Stockbridge football program would be in good shape with Mason Gee-Montgomery at quarterback.

The Stockbridge coach was even more convinced in the moments following a playoff loss to Olivet last season.

“His drive and determination was really evident,” Killinger said. “He said, ‘Coach, we’re going to go back to the playoffs, and I’m going to throw for 3,000 yards and I’d like to rush for 1,000.’ He said these are some things I think I can do. He was already thinking and making some strides.”

Gee-Montgomery did exactly what he set out to do and more this fall. The Stockbridge junior quarterback had a record-setting season while helping the Panthers return to the playoffs and leads the Division 5-6 Associated Press All-State team as the Player of the Year.

Gee-Montgomery threw for a state-record 51 touchdowns in 10 games. He broke the old record of 48 that was set by former Lansing Catholic standout and current Central Michigan starter Cooper Rush in 14 games in 2011.

That state record was part of a season where Gee-Montgomery threw for 3,106 yards while completing 72.6 percent of his passes. He also had 1,126 rushing yards and eight touchdowns. His success helped Stockbridge average 44.3 points and to a 7-3 record.

“It was kind of a perfect storm of everything coming together with me being quarterback and the wide receivers we had,” said Gee-Montgomery, who had four games with at least six touchdown passes, including a season-high eight in a win over Leslie.

“I had a bunch of different guys this year that could all go out there and could make plays for me. There wasn’t a lot of stress on me to go out there and perform too well because I knew that the guys catching the ball were going to make my job easy.”

Joining Gee-Montgomery on the Division 5-6 All-State team as a quarterback is Tony Poljan of Lansing Catholic.

Ida’s Eric Bugg, Manchester’s Trevor Humphrey, Madison Heights Madison’s Lance Mitchell and Clinton’s Matthew Sexton are the all-state running backs.

Receivers honored are Austin Cimala of Stockbridge, Traivon Clayton of Dearborn Heights Robichaud, James Cooper III of Muskegon Oakridge and Nate Schoenle of Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard.

Linemen honored are Portland’s Mark Brooks, Clinton Township Clintondale’s Josh Eldridge, Freeland’s Chad Kushner, Ithaca’s Jonah Loomis, Grand Rapids West Catholic’s Carl Myers, Berrien Springs’ Phil Paea and Oscoda’s Devin Socha.

Freeland’s Ben Rybicki, Ithaca’s Jace Demenov, Vandercook Lake’s Sam Ray, Clawson’s Jimmy Tomsick, Boyne City’s Luke Sage and Portland’s Jalon Simpson are the linebackers on the first team, while Jacob Buchberger of Montague, Gabe Callery of Traverse City St. Francis and Ian Reinhart of Montrose are the defensive backs.

Burton-Bendle’s Logan Lawrence is the All-State specialist, while Logan Bovee of Birch Run is the punter and Tyler Burch of Montrose is the kicker.

Mike Bilina, who led Sanford-Meridian to its first 10-win season in school history, and Freeland’s Kevin Townsend are the co-coaches of the year. Townsend guided Freeland to its first undefeated regular season in two decades.

Voting was by a panel of AP member sportswriters from around the state.

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