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The Lakeland College football team honored several players from the 2012 season at its annual banquet on Jan. 26.
Sophomore running back Kendrick Burks (Pontiac, Mich.) was named the team's Offensive MVP. Burks rushed 182 times for a team-high 647 yards this year, including four touchdowns. He was consistent, rushing for at least 50 yards in seven of ten games, including a high of 149 yards on Sept. 29 in a loss to Wisconsin Lutheran College.
Senior linebacker Bruce Romagnoli (Iron Mountain, Mich.) was named Lakeland's Defensive MVP. Romagnoli led the Muskies in tackles (76), tackles for loss (11.5) and sacks (4.5) and also added an interception. He was named a First Team All-Northern Athletics Conference selection and played in the D3 Senior Classic postseason all-star game.
Sophomore Brandon Riesterer (Kiel, Wis.) was honored as the team's Special Teams MVP. A transfer from the University of Dubuque, Riesterer was the team's primary punter and also handled kickoff duties. He punted 35 times for a 32.3 yard average, including five kicks inside the 20. He also booted four touchbacks on kickoffs and also made his only field goal attempt.
Rookie of the Year awards went to Norman Grinstead (Fr.-Taylor, Mich.) on offense and Jake LaFleur (Fr.-Manitowoc, Wis.) on defense. Grinstead was the team's second-leading receiver with 15 catches for 240 yards this year, as well as a team-best 16.0 yards per catch. He also returned kickoffs, averaging 23.9 yards per return, and he was a big-play threat with a 73-yard touchdown reception as well as a 75-yard kickoff return for touchdown.
LaFleur became a force in the team's rotation on the defensive line as a freshman, finishing with 23 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks. He had six tackles in each of the Muskies' last two games and recorded at least one-half tackle for loss in five of ten games despite coming off the bench in every game.
Senior running back Joey Lehto (Bartlett, Ill.) was named the team's Fighting Muskie of the Year. Lehto bounced back from injury last year and shared blocking fullback duties with teammate Deric Lightle (Jr.-Elkhart Lake, Wis.) this season. He rushed 15 times for 28 yards, as well as his first two collegiate touchdowns, and also added six receptions for 84 yards. The award goes to the Lakeland player who, according to Muskies Head Coach Kevin Doherty, is "judged to best exemplify the program, through work on and off the field with integrity, hard work, loyalty and commitment."