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High school football: Playoff teams dominate All-Lorain County awards


Five area high school football programs racked up victories and computer points this season, and the state awarded them with playoff berths.

The local coaches decided to reward them further, and players and coaches from those teams were littered throughout the All-Lorain County lists released today.

Avon and Columbia led the way, with each team earning three player MVP awards and a Tom Hoch Coach of the Year.

“Obviously, I’m proud of Lorain County football … I think we play great football here,” Eagles coach Mike Elder said. “We’ve been blessed with a great group of coaches that have the motivation and do it for all the right reasons. In the six years I’ve been here, the level of play has been getting better and better every year.”

Elder’s Eagles advanced the furthest in the postseason, eventually losing in the Division II regional final to Toledo Central Catholic.

Columbia hosted and won its first postseason game, and Avon Lake, Midview and Clearview all lost in the regional quarterfinals.

Elder split top coaching honors in the Big Schools category — Divisions I, II and III — with Avon Lake’s Dave Dlugosz and Midview’s Bill Albright, while Columbia’s Jason Ward won the award in the Small Schools category — Divisions IV and V.

“It means a lot because I have so much respect for the other coaches in the county,” Ward said. “I grew up watching several of their teams play, so it’s a great honor.”

Avon’s top player awards went to Ross Douglas (Most Valuable Offensive Back), Tim-Von Salter (Most Valuable Offensive Lineman) and Alex Kelly (Co-Most Valuable Defensive Lineman).

The other Big Schools top award winners were Avon Lake’s Jimmy Hessel (Most Valuable Defensive Back) and Elyria’s Tracy Sprinkle (Co-Most Valuable Defensive Lineman).

Columbia’s top player award winners were Jay Banyasz (Most Valuable Offensive Back), Foster Tucker (Most Valuable Offensive Lineman) and Dan Loub (Most Valuable Defensive Lineman).

Oberlin’s Jason Moore Jr. was named the Small Schools’ Most Valuable Defensive Back.

“The last three years these guys have gone 10-1, 13-2 and 11-2, and obviously you don’t do that without great players,” Elder said. “This group of seniors has put together the best three-year record ever at Avon, so I think they are deserving of All-Lorain County recognition.”

Douglas is probably the most well-known Avon player, gaining national recognition at Nike combines on both coasts and switching commitments between Big Ten powers Penn State and Michigan.

Douglas rushed for over 1,000 yards and 20 touchdowns this season, and provided shutdown defense at cornerback — the position he will play for the Wolverines.

“Ross is a young man that has been starting for us since his freshman year,” Elder said. “Nobody works harder that Ross Douglas. There are many players who are born with natural ability and never reach their full potential … Douglas is not one of those players.”

Salter and Kelly excelled on both sides of the line for the Eagles. Elder called them two of the best linemen he has ever coached.

“Tim-Von is one of the meanest, nastiest players I’ve seen on the field,” Elder said. “Off the field, he’s as nice as can be. He’s come over my house and my kids just gravitate toward him.

“Alex Kelly was a four-year starter for us and has been an All-Lorain County first-team selection the last three years. He’s one of the toughest kids we’ve ever had — he played three playoff games last year with a broken hand and never told anyone.”

Hessel was targeted for his defensive contribution, but he could have easily been picked for his offense, too.

“He’s a very complete football player,” Dlugosz said. “He’s outstanding on defense, outstanding on offense and outstanding on special teams. You can often find a kid that’s great in one of those categories, and sometimes in two. But not in all three.”

Hessel showed his versatility by scoring in all three phases during a game this season — grabbing a touchdown pass, returning an interception to the end zone and returning a punt for another score.

“The amazing thing is that everyone we played double-teamed him and he still found a way to get open and catch passes,” Dlugosz said.

Banyasz, the Raiders’ junior quarterback, put up huge numbers with his arm and his legs this season, and almost single-handedly shut down Archbold in their Division V regional quarterfinal.

Ward said Banyasz got on a tear late in the season, especially the final two regular-season games and the first playoff game. In the three-game stretch, Banyasz ran for 13 touchdowns and threw for five more.

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” Ward said. “It was a pretty amazing run.”

One of the big reasons for Banyasz’s success was Tucker, who protected the quarterback’s blind side and opened up huge holes for Banyasz to run through.

“I call him a flawless tackle,” Ward said. “We did a lot of damage on the left side of our line and he’s a big reason why. He’s been a solid lineman for us the last two years, and he’s one of our few seniors.”

Loub was equally important on the other side of the ball. The junior lineman compiled 57 tackles, but 20 of them — 12 tackles for a loss and eight sacks — occurred behind the line of scrimmage.

“That’s an extremely important number in my mind,” Ward said. “He was the emotional leader of our defense and football became a part of his life, especially as the season wore on and we got closer and closer to the playoffs.

“He had the energy and enthusiasm that allowed his teammates to play at a higher level.”

Contact Shaun Bennett at 329-7137 or sbennett@chroniclet.com. Fan him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.

BIG SCHOOLS (Divisions I, II and III)

Offensive linemen

FIRST TEAM: Bill Hyland (Avon Lake), senior; Cody Schneider (Elyria), senior; Jouahn Charlton (Lorain), junior; Don Rader (Midview), senior; Stephan Moody (Amherst), senior; Frank Estep (Vermilion), senior; Tim-Von Salter (Avon), senior; Domonic Bodnar (Avon), junior.

HONORABLE MENTION: Jon Lancione (Avon Lake), senior; Patrick Forrer (Midview), junior.

Tight ends

FIRST TEAM: Kyle Kuhar (Avon Lake), senior; Kyle Kelley (Amherst), senior.

HONORABLE MENTION: Dan Ratliff (Elyria), senior.

Wide receivers

FIRST TEAM: Jimmy Hessel (Avon Lake), senior; Eric Lauer (Midview), senior; Aaron Kelley (Amherst), junior; Ralph Smith (Avon), senior.

HONORABLE MENTION: Jordan Altpater (Lorain), senior.


FIRST TEAM: Cody Callaway (Midview), junior; David Zeh (Avon), senior.

Running backs

FIRST TEAM: Wyatt Ohm (Avon Lake), junior; Jumarr Lewis (Elyria), junior; Sherman Saunders (Lorain), sophomore; Paul Sonego (North Ridgeville), senior; Mike Repko (Vermilion) junior; Ross Douglas (Avon), senior.


FIRST TEAM: Brendan Matcham (Midview), junior.

HONORABLE MENTION: Eric Sumislawski (Avon), sophomore.

Defensive linemen

FIRST TEAM: Zach Zamiska (Avon Lake), senior; Al Pivcevich (Avon Lake), junior; Tracy Sprinkle (Elyria), senior; Andrew Carlson (Midview), senior; Steven Kozel (Midview), senior; Joe Kehres (Vermilion), junior; Alex Kelly (Avon) senior; Jeremiah Burris (Avon), senior.


FIRST TEAM: Colin Lucas (Avon Lake), junior; Malcolm Thomas (Lorain), senior; Jake Lavelle (North Ridgeville), senior; Devon Crum (Midview), junior; Kevin Skotko (Avon), senior.

HONORABLE MENTION: Guy Schuler (Amherst), senior; Kevin Maloney (Avon), junior.

Defensive backs

FIRST TEAM: Joe Pappas (Avon Lake), senior; Shawn Masterson (Elyria), senior; Chris Penny (Lorain), senior; Jason Lucas (North Ridgeville), junior; Antonio Orr (Avon), junior.

HONORABLE MENTION: Dante Redwood (Midview), sophomore.


FIRST TEAM: Brian Young (Amherst), senior.





• CO-MOST VALUABLE DEFENSIVE LINEMEN: Tracy Sprinkle (Elyria) and Alex Kelly (Avon).

• TOM HOCH CO-COACHES OF THE YEAR: Bill Albright (Midview), Mike Elder (Avon) and Dave Dlugosz (Avon Lake).

SMALL SCHOOLS (Divisions IV and V)

Offensive linemen

FIRST TEAM: Antonio Nicholson (Oberlin), senior; Joe Sosinski (Firelands), junior; Foster Tucker (Columbia), senior; Chase Robison (Keystone), senior; Dakota Tallman (Elyria Catholic), junior; Tom Camp (Brookside), senior; Quentin Horton (Clearview), senior; Matt Ortiz (Clearview), senior; Trey Brown (Wellington), senior.

HONORABLE MENTION: Nicholas Pfeifer (Oberlin), sophomore; Zach Tanner (Columbia), junior; Brandon Enderby (Keystone), senior; Spencer George (Elyria Catholic), senior.

Tight ends

FIRST TEAM: Ben Verbus (Columbia), junior; C.J. Conrad (Keystone), sophomore.

HONORABLE MENTION: Stephen Peterson (Firelands), senior.

Wide receivers

FIRST TEAM: Mattayo Wyman (Oberlin), senior; Conner Riddell (Elyria Catholic), junior; Jacob Moore (Elyria Catholic), senior; Gerrell Williams (Clearview), junior; Ryan Vargo (Clearview), senior.

HONORABLE MENTION: Connor Hrobat (Elyria Catholic), junior.


FIRST TEAM: Jay Banyasz (Columbia), junior; Dylan Weidrick (Wellington), senior.

HONORABLE MENTION: Jason Moore Jr. (Oberlin), senior; Roger Engle (Clearview), sophomore.

Running backs

FIRST TEAM: Kalif Townsel (Oberlin), senior; Greg Howard (Keystone), senior; Justin Taylor (Elyria Catholic), sophomore; Jake Morgan (Brookside), junior; Chad Anderson (Clearview), senior; Quin Dendinger (Wellington), junior.

HONORABLE MENTION: Chad Metcalf (Brookside), senior.


FIRST TEAM: Matt Zelinsky (Columbia), senior.

HONORABLE MENTION: Sam Weiss (Oberlin), senior.

Defensive linemen

FIRST TEAM: Stephen Peterson (Firelands), senior; Dan Loub (Columbia), junior; Tyler Nicola (Keystone), senior; C.J. Rastetter (Keystone), senior; David Smith (Elyria Catholic), senior; Chad Metcalf (Brookside), senior; Billy Doughty (Clearview), junior.

HONORABLE MENTION: Nicholas Pfeifer (Oberlin), sophomore; Bryan Horn (Columbia), senior; Drew Hatcher (Clearview), junior.


FIRST TEAM: Zack Hofecker (Firelands), senior; Jacob Kleinhenz (Columbia), junior; Pierce Young (Keystone), junior; William Washington (Elyria Catholic), junior; Alex Rush (Wellington), senior.

HONORABLE MENTION: Tyler Thomas (Oberlin), junior; Joe Hyster (Firelands), senior; Thomas Smith (Clearview), junior.

Defensive backs

FIRST TEAM: Jason Moore Jr. (Oberlin), senior; Dakota Dodge (Firelands), senior; Justin Reznik (Columbia), junior; Austin Harsel (Keystone), senior; Bryan Walker (Clearview), senior.

HONORABLE MENTION: Marvin Jackson (Oberlin), sophomore; Lucas Ball (Elyria Catholic), junior.


FIRST TEAM: Ian Kovacs (Elyria Catholic), senior.




• MOST VALUABLE DEFENSIVE BACK: Jason Moore Jr. (Oberlin).


• TOM HOCH COACH OF THE YEAR: Jason Ward (Columbia).

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