By Dan Hardenbrook
The Newberry JV and Varsity Football seasons celebrated their 2023 season with an end of the season celebration and banquet. It was the official wrap up for the season where both JV and varsity teams had great success and several standout performances. Players were recognized for their contributions, and outgoing Varsity Head Coach Joe Austin was presented a special award honoring his years of service to student athletes.
JV Coach Zach Clickner highlighted his team’s season. The JV team overachieved in many people’s eyes, showing tremendous growth and improvement in a year that resulted in another winning season. Clickner spoke of each player and their importance and dedication to the program.
Varsity players were recognized for taking the Indians to the playoffs for the fifth consecutive season, one of the longest streaks in school history. Coach Joe Austin presented All Conference Awards voted on by area coaches, as well as the Michigan High School Football Coaches Associations selection for All Region, which included senior Gabe Luck and juniors Matthew Rahilly (athlete) and Ethan Pavey (offensive line).
Players who were recently named to the UPSSA All UP Teams were presented awards that included a special twist featuring custom frames and picture displays created by The Newberry News along with those award certificates.
All UP selections included Rahilly and Luck (8 Player Dream Team), Kennedy Depew (8 Player 1st Team Punter), and Pavey, Depew, and Jacob Mohar (8 Player Special Mention). Matthew Rahilly also earned UPSSA Co-Offensive Player of the Year and the prestigious 8 Player Mr. Football Award as the best overall all around 8 Man Player in the Upper Peninsula.
Newberry football team awards were presented by members of the coaching staff. The list of award winners included:
Len St. Jean Award (Team MVP) – Gabe Luck
Offensive MVP – Matthew Rahilly
Defensive Player of the Year – Jacob Mohar
Lineman of the Year – Ethan Pavey
Coaches Award – Brien Nelson
Most Improved – Spencer Neeb
Head Coach Joe Austin was given the UPSSA’s James Trethewey Distinguished Service Award. The award is given only in special circumstances to an individual who has worked to benefit opportunities for Upper Peninsula student athletes. Trethewey was a founding member of the UPSSA, longtime editor of the Marquette Mining Journal and the first executive director of the U.P. Sports Hall of Fame.
Austin was nominated by The Newberry News’ Dan Hardenbrook and TAS Athletic Director Anthony Kitzman. Austin has announced his intention to retire after six seasons with the Indians, and nearly 50 years of coaching experience.