Record-setting running back Blake Counts garnered another accolade this week, earning USA Today all-USA Montana offensive player of the year honors after breaking the all-class single-season rushing record this season.
The Kalispell Flathead senior ran for 2,588 yards on 354 carries, setting the new single-season mark in Class AA football. He also toppled former Brave Lex Hilliard’s school record, while scoring 23 rushing touchdowns in leading Flathead to the Class AA state championship game, a 20-14 loss to Billings West.
Counts shared the Montana Class AA offensive MVP honor with West’s Jesse Owens, who was named first-team all-USA Montana at his wide receiver position. Each was selected to compete in the Montana East-West Shrine Game when the rosters were unveiled on Christmas Day.
Roundup football standout and Melstone basketball star Brody Grebe was tabbed the USA Today defensive player of the year in Montana after pacing the Panthers to an undefeated regular season and appearance in the Class B quarterfinals.
Grebe tallied 111 total tackles in 2018, intercepted three passes, two which were returned for touchdowns, and captained a Roundup defense that allowed only 16.5 points per game during the Panthers’ eight regular-season contests. A highly sought-after recruit in football, basketball and rodeo, Grebe rushed for 28 touchdowns and passed for 13 more from his quarterback position.
Grebe was also selected to compete in the East-West Shrine Game, which will kick off July 20, 2019 in Butte.
Montana Gatorade player of the year Carson Rostad, Hamilton’s record-setting junior quarterback, received first-team offensive recognition per USA Today, as did fellow Class A record-setter Colten McPhee of Columbia Falls. McPhee became the second player in Class A history to cross the 2,000-yard mark in a single season, according to Class A statistician Brian Reed. Rostad passed for 2,794 yards and 43 touchdowns this season.
Joining Grebe on the first-team defense were state champions Marcus Wehr and Ryder Meyer of Class A Billings Central and Class B Fairfield, respectively. Class AA defensive MVP and state champion Lucas Gibb of Billings West joined Meyer as first-team defensive back.
Wehr’s coach, Jim Stanton, was honored as the coach of the year after leading Billings Central to an undefeated season. The Rams defeated Rostad’s Hamilton squad 28-21 in the Class A state championship. Stanton has 210 career wins, hitting the 200 milestone with a 40-0 shutout against Sidney in August. Stanton’s brother, Rob, led Billings West to the Class AA title.
The complete list of USA Today all-USA Montana selections can be found below.
Coach of the year: Jim Stanton, Billings Central.
Offensive MVP: Blake Counts, Kalispell Flathead
Defensive MVP: Brody Grebe, Roundup
Quarterback: Carson Rostad, Hamilton, junior
Running back: Blake Counts, Kalispell Flathead, senior
Running back: Colten McPhee, Columbia Falls, senior
Receiver: Jesse Owens, Billings West, senior
Receiver: Kyle Torgerson, Great Falls High, senior
Tight end: Ryan Lonergan, Bozeman, senior
Offensive line: Holden Sampson, Helena High, senior
Offensive line: Connor Paul, Billings West, senior
Offensive line: Gage Karlin, Columbia Falls, senior
Offensive line: Nico Young, Kalispell Glacier, senior
Offensive line: Andrew Siderius, Kalispell Fathead, senior
Quarterback: Matthew Plasterer, Billings Senior, senior
Running back: Demarcus Carr, Billings West, senior
Running back: Joe Olson, Bozeman, senior
Receiver: Cam Rothie, Hamilton, senior
Receiver: Ryan Simpson, Bozeman, senior
Tight end: Jace Fitzgerald, Dillon, sophomore
Offensive line: Walker Heckman, Fairfield, senior
Offensive line: Sam Gray, Billings Central, senior
Offensive line: Justus Perkins, Bozeman, senior
Offensive line: Kobe Nelson, Billings West, senior
Offensive line: Sebastion Koch, Kalispell Flathead, senior
Defensive line: Kenneth Eiden, Bozeman, sophomore
Defensive line: Marcus Wehr, Billings Central, senior
Defensive line: Garrison Poetzl, Billings Senior, senior
Defensive line: Tanner Russell, Kalispell Flathead, junior
Linebacker: Brody Grebe, Roundup, senior
Linebacker: McCade O’Reilly, Bozeman, junior
Linebacker: Ryan Tirrell, Missoula Loyola, senior
Defensive back: Tucker Greenwell, Great Falls CMR, senior
Defensive back: Chrishon Dixon, Billings Central, senior
Defensive back: Ryder Meyer, Fairfield, senior
Defensive back: Lucas Gibb, Billings West, senior
Defensive line: Nick Konesky, Great Falls CMR, senior
Defensive line: Ethan Baines, Kalispell Glacier, senior
Defensive line: Mike Graves, Hamilton, senior
Defensive line: Alaric Greil, Helena Capital, senior
Linebacker: JJ Lindsay, Billings West, senior
Linebacker: Alex Johnson, Helena High, senior
Linebacker: Jack Studer, Billings Central, senior
Defensive back: Trevin Gradney, Billings West, senior
Defensive back: Jace Klucewich, Frenchtown, sophomore
Defensive back: Rollie Worster, Missoula Hellgate, junior
Defensive back: Randy Stultz, Bigfork, senior
Kicker: Carver Gilman, Whitefish, senior