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Sunday, November 20, 2011
Eye on POY: North Dakota football

By Steve Ouellette

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.

Devin Coyle
Senior Quarterback, Mandan High (Mandan, ND)

2011 Team record: 9-2
2011 Team standing: Lost in Class AAA semifinals

2011 COMP-ATT (%)-YDs: 79-155 (.510)-1,525
2011 TDs-INTs: 18-6

2011 Carries-YDs (AVG.)-TDs: 70-428 (6.1)-8

Academics: A average
Collegiate destination: Undecided

How he’s played himself into the State POY conversation: Western Dakota Association Senior Athlete of the Year; Second Team All-State in 2010; Team averaged 37.6 points per game.

Conrad Schwarzkopf
Senior Offensive/Defensive lineman, Bismarck Century High (Bismarck, ND)

2011 Team record: 10-2
2011 Team standing: Lost in Class AAA final

2011 Tackles: 82
2011 Sacks: 6

Academics: A-minus average
Collegiate destination: Undecided

How he’s played himself into the State POY conversation: First Team All-State in 2010; First Team All-Conference offense and defense; Defense allowed 11.7 points per game.

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.

Jake Hanson: Grafton High (Grafton, ND) SR QB
Peter Saintal: Fargo North High (Fargo, ND) JR RB
Seth Westby: Mandan High (Mandan, ND) SR RB
Dustin Adams: Minot High (Minot, ND) SR OL/DL
Layne Johs: Bismarck (Bismarck, ND) JR RB
Taylor Steen: Red River High (Grand Forks, ND) SR QB

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.