Monday February 6th, 2023 2:16AM

Football: Rochester, Sturm up for Atlanta Falcons Man of the Year award

By Bo Wilson Sports Editor

North Hall's Kevin Rochester and West Hall's Nick Sturm are among five other players across the state in the running for the Atlanta Falcons Man of the Year award. 

The two seniors will find out tonight who is the winner of the second-ever Man of the Year award from the Falcons. 

The award is modeled after the NFL's Walter Payton Man of the Year given to an NFL player on each team. It's not only about the player's impact on the field but also in the community. 

David Bishop, Rochester's head coach, said Rochester is the salt of the earth has all the attributes to be awarded Man of the Year. 

"Kevin is an amazing young man," Bishop said. "He is always putting others before himself. When he speaks people listen and that's because his character and his heard work and back up anything he says. So there's very little room for people to have a gripe when it comes to this young man." 

Rochester finished his senior season with a team-high 1,526 yards and 17 touchdowns. 

Bishop said Rochester is the type of leader that's hard to find these days. 

"He's a leader on the field at practice and in games," Bishop said. "He doesn't mind getting in his teammates' faces if they need it, and that's hard to find these days. His voice resounds on the field and in the locker room. He's just a lovable kid that is always smiling." 

Nick Sturm, who ended his career with 200 tackles, 15 sacks, four interceptions and three defensive touchdowns, was an All-Region first-team linebacker and a leader on and off the field for the Spartans. 

He also stepped in at quarterback last season. Prior to his senior season, Sturm played tight end and was the wildcat QB for the Spartans. In four seasons, he finished with 2,000 career yards with 16 touchdowns.  

West Hall coach Krofton Montgomery said Sturm is a well-rounded athlete. 

"Nick was a vocal, lead by example, and do right type of leader," Montgomery said. "He never misses, you know where he is, and he is always doing something to make him a better player, student and person. In the locker room, he was one of the captains that were looked to for inspiration and words of wisdom. 

"Coaching him was a privilege. You don’t get a chance to coach players of Sturm's well-rounded pedigree. The kid loves to be pushed and challenged on a daily basis with nothing but respect for those that do it."  

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Football: Rochester, Sturm up for Atlanta Falcons Man of the Year award
North Hall's Kevin Rochester and West Hall's Nick Sturm are among five other players across the state in the running for the Atlanta Falcons Man of the Year award.
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