Luke Gorzinski has gone through the long, exhausting and at times frustrating ACL rehabilitation process, even though his knees are fine.
The Powers North Central quarterback understands that being the leader of a state championship football program takes more than a strong arm and light feet. So when his good friend and teammate Dylan Plunger started his ACL rehabilitation program, Gorzinski started it right by his side.
“Luke has always been like that,” North Central coach Leo Gorzinski, who is his father. “When he saw Dylan come on crutches, he said, ‘Oh, man, I got to do something. Luke is a relentless workout guy anyway, so he’s going to be Dylan’s rehab partner.
This mentality has helped Gorzinski become the Michigan Associated Press’s Player of the Year for eight-player football.
He heads the All-State First Team which includes linemen Lane Nehring and Wyatt Raab, who joined Gorzinski in the North Central squad which enjoyed a 13-0 season and a second Premier League championship. Division 2 state with eight consecutive players.
The honorary squad also includes lineman Cody Kegerreis, wide receiver Elliott Addleman and linebacker Collin Davis to Division 1 State champion Adrian Lenawee Christian. Division 1 finalist Suttons Bay landed running back Shawn Bramer and defensive back Hugh Periard in the first team while Division 2 finalist Colon is represented by wide receiver Justin Wickey, lineman Tucker Lafler, linebacker Kaleb Johnson and athlete Simon Vinson.
Au Gres quarterback Mason VanSickle, running back Morrice Wyatt Wesley, Indian River Inland Lakes defensive back Sam Mayer, athlete Marion Mason Salisbury, Britton-Deerfield athlete Nicolas Johnson and kicker and kicker Marcellus Cordell Jones-McNally also picked up first-team accolades.
Coach of the Year went to Brian Sanchez d’Au Gres.
Gorzinski rightly led the way, as he has done throughout the season as North Central successfully defended their state title and won their fourth championship in seven years. The 5-10, 175-pound junior completed 73.7 percent of his passes, recording 56 of 76 for 1,009 yards and 14 touchdowns with no interceptions to repeat as a first-team All-State quarterback.
He also ran for 1,133 yards and 18 touchdowns on 80 carries, averaging 14.2 yards per carry, and scored three touchdowns in four receptions. He excelled defensively with two interceptions, 14 broken assists and 16 tackles for a loss.
“What separates him is his ability to handle everything,” said Leo Gorzinski. “When we watch college games, he sees where everyone is and what the concepts are. Most of the other players use their athleticism to stand out, he does so with his understanding of the game – plus he’s an exceptional athlete.
“He has a knack for slowing everything down. In state championship games, when we were on the sidelines arguing as coaches, he would come up and say, “Relax, I have this. “
Since North Central switched to eight-player football in 2015, their quarterback has won the All-State First Team every season. Jason Whitens was player of the year in 2015 and 2016, Hunter Riley was first team QB in 2017 and Noah Gorzinski – Luke’s cousin – was first team as a defensive back in 2018 and 2019. Luke Gorzinski can build on this trend when he returns as a senior in 2022.