Eye on POY: Montana football

November, 23, 2011
11/23/11
12:14
PM ET
The window on the Gatorade State Football Player of the Year race is closing, and time is running out for student-athletes to state their POY case. The award recognizes not only athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field. Here are two top candidates who meet the basic award criteria as determined by our ESPNHS team that administers the program's selection process.

Caleb Kidder
Senior guard/defensive end, Capital High (Helena, MT)

2011 Team record: 12-1
2011 Team standing: Defeated Billings West in state title game, 39-14

2011 Tackles: 97
2011 Sacks: 13
2011 Forced fumbles: 6

Academics: A average
Collegiate destination: Montana (verbal)

How he’s played himself into the State POY conversation: Three-time All-State selection; Four-time Academic All-State; Helped Capital to 330 rushing yards in state title game.

Brady Gustafson
Senior quarterback, Billings West High (Billings, MT)

2011 Team record: 11-2
2011 Team standing: Lost to Capital in state title game, 39-14

2011 COMP-ATT (%)-YDs: 213-365 (58.4)-2,774
2011 TDs-INTs: 20-8

Academics: A average
Collegiate destination: Undecided

How he’s played himself into the State POY conversation: Academic All-State; All-Conference; 283 yards passing in state title game, 274 yards in semifinal.

Make no mistake, the Gatorade State Football Player of the Year race isn’t over yet. Time remains for one standout student-athlete among thousands to rise to the top of our list. Here are some more of many who’ve been in the conversation throughout the 2011 campaign.

J.T. Linder: Beaverhead County High (Dillon, MT) SR QB
Chad Newell: Billings Senior High (Billings, MT) SR RB
Taylor Hulslander: Glacier High (Kalispell, MT) JR QB
Clay Compton: Billings West (Billings, MT) SR RB
Cody Carriger: Butte High (Butte, MT) SR DE
Dylan Simac: Helena High (Helena, MT) SR WR
Cole Jelinek: Denton High (Denton, MT) SR RB

Think we're missing a deserving Gatorade State Player of the Year candidate in your state? Let us know via e-mail at ESPNHS_GPOY@ESPN.com or Twitter @ESPNHS_GPOY.

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