Breckenridge, Beal City players make D7-8 All-state second team
HUDSON » As a sophomore, Nick Kopin was brought up to Hudson’s varsity football team because they needed bodies on defense for a team that finished 2-7.
As a senior, he became one of the best two-way Division 8 players in the state, leading Hudson to a 14-0 season and the school’s first state football championship since 2011. For his efforts, including a 131-yard, two-touchdown performance in the state finals, Kopin leads the 2021 Associated Press Division 7-8 All-state squad as the Player of the Year.
“We were a super young team then,” Kopin said. “Our coaches knew it was going to be a process. We knew it was the start of something good.”
Kopin was one of five threeyear starters who helped lead Hudson’s resurgence to football prominence. After going 4-4 last year, Hudson ran the table this year, using a standout defense and a powerful rushing attack, led by Kopin and his 1,616 yards rushing on 254 carries. He scored 18 touchdowns, the final two coming in the state finals in a 14-7 win against Beal City.
He is joined on the first team All-state squad by teammates Cameron Kimble, a lineman, and Payton Rogers, a linebacker. Hudson head coach Dan Rogers is the Associated Press Division 7-8 Coach of the Year.
“(Kopin) is a great kid,” coach Rogers said. “He’s one of our captains and leads by action. He really improved from last year as a running back, being able to see the holes. The last couple of years, he would run hard, but right at someone. This year he really developed into an all-around football player.”
Kopin was equally as valuable on defense. In the semifinal win against Ottawa Lake Whiteford, he had two interceptions and was in on the game-saving tackle with less than two seconds remaining inside Hudson’s five-yard line. In the state finals he led Hudson in tackles, broke up a pass and forced a fumble.
“He plays what I call our ‘Tiger’ on defense,” coach Rogers said. “It’s a cross between a defensive back and a linebacker. I’ll blitz him or he can drop back in coverage. In that state championship game, he was everywhere. He
just did his thing.”
Kopin spent the first few years of his life in Colorado. The family moved to southern Michigan when he was 8-years-old. He started attending Hudson in the sixth grade.
“I loved the mountains and skiing and camping,” he said. “But it’s nice being here, which is closer to a lot of our family.”
His first football memory is playing flag football.
“I played all sports but just played them,” Kopin said. “It was my freshman year that I started taking football seriously. My grandpa (Tom Johnson) and I sat down and talked about the journey. He motivated me.”
This season, Hudson turned a lot of heads by opening the season with a 59-14 win against Ithaca. The Tigers swept through the Lenawee County Athletic Association. In the playoffs, Hudson beat Reading (who was ranked early in the season), No. 4 Addison, No. 6 White Pigeon, No. 2 Ottawa Lake Whiteford and No. 5 Beal City. The Tigers were No. 1 all season.
“From early on, coaches told us 14 was our magic number,” Kopin said. “It put some pressure on us, but I think we embraced it. We wanted to repeat history and do what our 2010 team did. I’m still in shock. It’s such an amazing feeling.”
The 2021 Division 7-8 Associated Press All-state football team, selected by a panel of 12 Michigan sports writers: