High-SchoolPlayer-of-the-Year: Brady Gustafson

Eye on POY: Montana football

November, 23, 2011
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.

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POY Potential: Montana football contenders

October, 4, 2011
Sentinel High (Missoula, MT) quarterback Riley King entered the season within reach of some all-time passing marks, but he went down with a knee injury on the first series of the season and missed the first five games. Though King threw for 254 yards and two TDs in his return against rival Big Sky, the Spartans fell to 1-5 and King likely doesn't have enough time to build a Player-of-the-Year worthy campaign. That leaves things wide open for other contenders.

Billings West High (Billings, MT) boasts Class AA's leading rusher in returning All-State running back senior Clay Compton and also has the leader in passing yards in senior quarterback Brady Gustafson.

Chad Newell, who joined Compton in the First Team All-State backfield as a junior, is posting another strong season for Billings Senior High (Billings, MT), trailing only Compton in yards rushing.

The state's top college recruit is Butte High (Butte, MT) senior standout Cody Carriger, who has committed to Oregon. The 6-foot-6, 230-pound Carriger -- who moonlights as anchorman on the school's 4x100 relay -- plays defensive end, linebacker and tight end for the Bulldogs.

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