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The Blitz

Midview dominates All-Lorain County football team


Midview’s dream season came to a halt Friday in the Division II regional championship game.

But while the season is over, the accolades continue to pour in for the Middies.

Midview — the only Lorain County school to go undefeated during the regular season and reach a regional final — dominated the individual honors in the Lorain County Football Coaches Association 2014 All-Lorain County team.

First-year coach D.J. Shaw was named the Tom Hoch Coach of the Year in Divisions I-II-III, while sophomore quarterback Dustin Crum was named Most Valuable Offensive Back and senior defensive end Brett Zupancic shared the Most Valuable Defensive Lineman Award with Lorain’s Rashod Berry, an Ohio State recruit.

“It’s a huge honor for our school and our team,” Shaw said. “There are so many great coaches and so many great players in Lorain County, and it’s a huge, huge honor. Even though they are individual honors, I consider them team honors because without our team, we don’t get recognized in that way.”

Crum threw for 3,320 yards with 39 touchdowns and eight interceptions in 13 games and added a team-best 1,182 yards rushing with 18 touchdowns.

Zupancic, who gained 1,089 yards as the Middies’ starting tailback, also had 74 total tackles, 16 for loss, seven sacks, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.

“For all of us, it shows how much work we put in, how much time and dedication we put in during the offseason, and how much the coaches put in,” Zupancic said. “I think it shows, with all these first teams and awards and stuff, how dedicated our players were for this season.

“I don’t think it adds any validation to what we did, really. The whole team mindset was putting up W’s every Friday night. It wasn’t in anybody’s mindset to be the offensive player of the year. The only thing that mattered was us getting the win and I think that shows this season. We were predicted to go 5-5 and we reached the regional final.”

Shaw and Crum also picked up Division II All-Northeast Lakes district coach and offensive player of the year honors last week from the Associated Press.

“Coach Shaw is a great coach,” Crum said. “He brought a lot of energy every day to practice. Everything, no matter what we did, he made sure we’re paying attention to detail, which helped us a lot this year. He never takes it easy on us. He did a great job all year and he definitely deserves it.

“It’s been awesome playing for him in his first year and to help him get this recognition.”

Berry, who led Lorain to a 7-4 record and its first playoff berth, finished with six sacks, six forced fumbles, 11 tackles for a loss, two passes batted down, one interception and one safety.

Columbia dominated the Divisions IV-V-VI-VII awards.

The 9-2 Raiders, who won the outright Patriot Athletic Conference Stripes Division title and clinched a playoff berth for the second straight year and third time in the last four seasons, had four individuals win top awards.

Jason Ward shared the coach of the year award with Keystone’s Rob Clarico, while the Raiders’ Chip Shope was named the county’s top assistant coach.

Seniors Cody Shields and Brandon Heidecker also claimed some individual hardware for the Raiders. Shields was named the small divisions Defensive Back of the Year, while Heidecker, a Toledo recruit, was named the Offensive Lineman of the Year.

Heidecker and Ward were named Division V district offensive player and coach of the year last week, as well.

“Anytime an award like this comes along, I look at them as team awards,” Ward said. “We’ve had some great players throughout the years here, and those players come and graduate and pave the way for different players. The one thing that’s stayed consistent over my career, and I just finished my ninth season, is the guys that I’ve had on staff.”

Heidecker is the first Columbia player to sign with a Division I school. Shields, who also rushed for 1,264 yards, had two interceptions for 40 yards, 26 tackles, one forced fumble and 13 passes defensed.

“Coach Ward is, by far, one of my favorite coaches,” Heidecker said. “He did a lot of work in the offseason to get us noticed. He was sending out my highlight films to every coach he could. I think he sent one to every Division I NCAA school in every single conference, from the MAC to the Big Ten to the ACC to the SEC. He does a lot of work for us, not just from August to November.”

Other individuals to gain top accolades in the big divisions were Avon’s Chris Maxwell as Offensive Lineman of the Year and Elyria’s Mike Church as Defensive Back of the Year.

Maxwell, a senior and one of Avon’s captains, was the starting tight end for an Eagles team that went 9-1 in the regular season and 11-2 overall. He had 31 catches for 436 yards and four touchdowns. They were one of two Lorain County teams to advance past the first round of the postseason, but both of the Eagles’ losses came to Midview.

Church, a senior, finished with 65 total tackles, six interceptions for 95 yards, 13 passes defensed, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery for the 7-4 Pioneers, who qualified for the Division I playoffs for the second straight season.

Clarico wasn’t the only Keystone representative to take home individual honors. Senior C.J. Conrad, who will play football at Kentucky next season, was named the Defensive Lineman of the Year in the small-school divisions.

Conrad, who led Keystone with 55 catches for 742 yards and 10 touchdowns as a tight end, had 76 total tackles, five for losses and two interceptions on defense.

He and Clarico helped Keystone go 8-3 and make the playoffs for the first time.

Elyria Catholic senior tailback Justin Rankin rounded out the individual awards by winning the small-divisions’ Offensive Back of the Year award.

Rankin led the Panthers in rushing with 1,220 yards and 15 touchdowns.

Contact Dan Gilles at 329-7135 or

Divisions I-II-III

QUARTERBACK: Hunter Parsh, Elyria, sr.; Dustin Crum, Midview, so.; Jake Sopko, Avon, jr.

RUNNING BACK: Chris Atkinson, Elyria, so.; Demario McCall, North Ridgeville, jr.; Sherman Saunders, Lorain, sr.; Brett Zupancic, Midview, sr.; Sam Klimkowski, Avon Lake, jr.; Sonny Cooper, Avon, jr.

WIDE RECEIVER: Brad Schneider, Elyria, sr.; Logan Bolin, Midview, jr.; Dimitri Redwood, Midview, jr.; Garrett Kordish, Avon Lake, sr.; Zack Torbert, Avon, sr.

TIGHT END: Nathan Nunez, Amherst, sr.; Chris Maxwell, Avon, sr. Honorable mention: Dan Disbrow, Avon Lake.

OFFENSIVE LINE: Seth Billings, Elyria, sr.; Willy Hedberg, North Ridgeville, sr.; Josh Fenn, Lorain, jr.; Nathan Blair, Amherst, sr.; Devin Smith, Midview, sr.; Connor Gorman, Avon Lake, sr.; Sam Gerak, Avon, so. Honorable mention: Pat Baeder, Avon.

KICKER: Eric Sumislawski, Avon, sr.

DEFENSIVE LINE: Darryl Hammons, Elyria, sr.; Austin Sycz, North Ridgeville, jr.; Ben Rankin, North Ridgeville, sr.; Rashod Berry, Lorain, sr.; Naz Bohannon, Lorain, so.; Trey Preston, Midview, jr.; Matt Pechaitis, Avon Lake, sr.; Bryson Golini, Avon, sr.

LINEBACKER: Jonah Bowden, North Ridgeville, sr.; Robert Oursler, Lorain, sr.; Kyle Troutman, Midview, sr.; Dan Disbrow, Avon Lake, sr.; Cory Ohradzansky, Avon, sr. Honorable mention: Mike Smosny, Elyria; Todd Hastings, Amherst; Tanner Doenges, Avon.

DEFENSIVE BACK: Mike Church, Elyria, sr.; Jordan Montgomery, North Ridgeville, jr.; Aaron Neal, Lorain, sr.; Kevin Davis, Lorain, jr.; Tyler Eaton, Amherst, sr.; Dante Redwood, Midview, sr.; Tony Mango, Avon Lake, sr.; Gerett Choat, Avon, jr.

PUNTER: Eddie Williamson, Lorain, sr. Honorable mention: Jeremiah Campo, Avon Lake.



MOST VALUABLE DEFENSIVE LINEMEN: Rashod Berry, Lorain; Brett Zupancic, Midview



Divisions IV-V-VI-VII

QUARTERBACK: Roger Engle, Clearview, sr.; Denny Szalai, Keystone, sr. Honorable mention: Brad Thrasher, Firelands; Tyler O’Malley, Brookside; Jake Kuchta, Elyria Catholic.

RUNNING BACK: Tristen Rindfleisch, Columbia, sr.; Aaron Stevanus, Firelands, jr.; Dudley Taw, Brookside, jr.; Justin Rankin, Elyria Catholic, sr.; Tyler Polen, Keystone, sr.; Brandon Cole, Vermilion, sr. Honorable mention: Cody Shields, Columbia; Jacob Lowe, Open Door; Bruce Evans, Clearview; Evan Brown-Fugate, Brookside; Elijah Bugg, Oberlin.

WIDE RECEIVER: Jesse Lambert, Columbia, jr.; Lance Billings, Clearview, jr.; Hunter Schmeltzer, Brookside, jr.; Cole Virgin, Elyria Catholic, jr.; Brandon Buttolph, Keystone, sr.; Kobe Whalen, Keystone, sr.; Brenden Zannoni, Vermilion, sr. Honorable mention: Darin Guice, Elyria Catholic; Collin Kmitt, Wellington, sr.

TIGHT END: C.J. Conrad, Keystone, sr.; Zack Sudnick, Elyria Catholic, sr.; Max Wilson, Brookside, jr.

OFFENSIVE LINE: Brandon Heidecker, Columbia, sr.; Corey Bowes, Columbia, sr.; Antonio Wallington, Clearview, sr.; Jake Grasso, Firelands, jr.; Casey Huhn, Brookside, sr.; Ted Achladis, Elyria Catholic, jr.; Bryce Gibbs, Wellington, sr.; Ethan Griffith, Vermilion, sr. Honorable mention: Josiah Carrion, Clearview; Kyle Huckleberry, Brookside; Mickey O’Neil, Elyria Catholic; Tyler Gandee, Keystone; Ronnie Shaw, Keystone; Ted Breeding, Vermilion; Morality Anderson, Oberlin.

KICKER: Turner Giesel, Keystone, sr. Honorable mention: Cody Schwartz, Columbia.

DEFENSIVE LINE: J.B. Surman, Columbia, jr.; Deari Todd, Clearview, so.; Aaron Miller, Firelands, jr.; Brandon Millay, Brookside, jr.; Austin Conrad, Keystone, jr.; Dalton Denny, Wellington, sr.; Nick Pfeifer, Oberlin, sr. Honorable mention: Dakota Stout, Clearview; Tyler Allomong, Firelands; Tyler Kelly, Keystone.

LINEBACKER: Dan Stintsman, Open Door, sr.; Mike Brunecz, Clearview, jr.; Robby Becker, Firelands, jr.; Jeremy Smith, Elyria Catholic, so.; Ryan Tobicash, Keystone, sr.; Ryan Manning, Vermilion, sr.; Kobe Fields, Oberlin, jr. Honorable mention: Mike Jacobucci, Columbia; Luke Krasienko, Clearview; Nick McLaughlin, Keystone.

DEFENSIVE BACK: Cody Shields, Columbia, sr.; Cole Ference, Firelands, jr.; Darin Guice, Elyria Catholic, jr.; Clay Hartley, Keystone, sr.; Chris Sittinger, Keystone, jr.; Marvin Jackson, Oberlin, sr. Honorable mention: Jacob Viccarone, Columbia; Jeff Jagielski, Elyria Catholic; Joe Holliday, Wellington.

PUNTER: Louis Maynard, Vermilion.

MOST VALUABLE OFFENSIVE BACK: Justin Rankin, Elyria Catholic




TOM HOCH COACH OF THE YEAR AWARD: Rob Clarico, Keystone; Jason Ward, Columbia


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