Morning Sun

Breckenrid­ge, Beal City players make D7-8 All-state second team

- By Doug Donnelly

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:

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United States