A dedicated ESPNHS POY team managed the Gatorade State Football Player of the Year selection process, resulting in this winner based on the awards program's three pillars: athletic production and impact in the 2011 season, high academic achievement and exemplary personal character. For his 50 fellow Gatorade State Football Player of the Year winners, click here.
THE WINNER: Steven Long
THE BASICS: Anatomy of a POY
School: Lake Oswego (Ore.)
Position: Running back
Weight: 175 pounds
THE PILLARS: Gatorade criteria
Athletic achievement: Long has led the Lakers to a 12-0 record and a berth in the Class 4A semifinals against Jesuit (Portland, Ore.), scheduled for Dec. 3. He rushed for 1,822 yards with 33 touchdowns on 235 carries through 12 games. A three-time First Team All-Conference selection, Long has averaged a touchdown once every 7.1 touches this season and has averaged 11.1 yards per carry during the 2011 postseason.
Academic excellence: Long has maintained a 3.14 GPA in the classroom.
Exemplary character: Long has volunteered locally on behalf of multiple school fundraisers, as part of a substance abuse awareness campaign and as a youth sports referee and umpire.
THE PRAISE: Steve Coury, head coach of Lake Oswego
“Steven Long is a special kid who has brought so much to our program. On and off the field, he has been superb all season long. We wouldn’t be where we are without him.”
THE FUTURE: Collegiate destination
Long has verbally committed to play football on an athletic scholarship at Portland State University beginning in the fall of 2012.