MARQUETTE - Adam Mercier and his North Central Jets have been crowned 2012-13 Coach of the Year and Class D Team of the Year, respectively, by the Upper Peninsula Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association.
Without a single senior on the team, Mercier led the Jets to a 17-3 record, avenging a disappointing loss in the 2012 district semifinal and claiming their first district title since 1994 and first regional title since 1985.
"Our kids bought into our team attitude early on, and it progressed into something that I never thought could happen without big game experience," Mercier said in comments made to the Daily Press last week. "It's been a fantastic team effort, and we had guys to fill the leadership roles."
North Central earned plenty of big game experience in the postseason this year, pushing all the way to Class D's final four before coming up short against the AP No. 1-ranked Wyoming Tri-Unity Christian Defenders.
The Jets returned home to a packed crowd, all of whom felt like they were right along with the team throughout the journey. As Mercier spoke to the crowd, he stated that he hopes to bring one more trophy back to Powers - the one that comes after winning the state title.
In Class A-B-C, The Negaunee Miners were elected Team of the Year. Their coach, Mike O'Donnell, also took home the Coach of the Year award. He led his alma mater to Class C district and regional championships for the third consecutive season, and they won the Mid-Peninsula Conference with a 12-0 record.
Negaunee took over the top spot on the UPSSA Class A-B-C poll in February after dropping Marquette, the only team they lost to in the regular season. They completely dominated nearly every team they went up against; only two of their wins all season were closer than 16 points.
The Class A-B Team of the Year went to the Marquette Redmen. Mark Pap, a 6-foot-6 senior, was selected to the Dream Team, and AJ Grazulis, a 6-foot-7 senior, made All-U.P. First Team. Another starter, Andy Nyquist, made the second team for the Redmen, who finished 19-4 this season.