Lorain senior running back Carlos Chavis and cornerback Daesean Brooks shared a special bond on the field as two of the top players on the Titans’ record-breaking regional finalist team.
Off the field, they share an even closer bond as cousins. Now they share one more distinction as fellow first-team All-Ohio honorees.
The Lorain duo was among five local players named to The Associated Press All-Ohio first teams in Divisions I and II that were released Monday.
Elyria defensive linemen Cam King joined Chavis and Brooks on the Division I first team, while the Midview duo of quarterback Dustin Crum and wide receiver Keith Johnson was on the Division II first team.
“It seems crazy to even think about it,” Chavis said. “First-team, All-Ohio is a big accomplishment.”
Chavis rushed for 1,610 yards during his senior year to finish with 3,616 career yards. He had 16 touchdowns, including a 99-yard missed field goal return in the Titans’ regional final loss to Olentangy Liberty.
“This was a great season for us,” Chavis said. “After the first two games the unselfishness went away and we showed how good we could be. I hope I can be an inspiration to the younger players on the team to see what they can do if they work hard. My younger brother Savon was on the team this year, but I feel like I was a big brother to all of those guys.”
Brooks didn’t play football until his junior year but made up for lost time this season as a two-way standout who led the team in receiving with 563 yards and 10 touchdowns, but actually earned his All-Ohio honors for his work on the defensive side of the ball.
“My sophomore year coach (Dave) McFarland convinced me to come out for football,” Brooks said. “He told me he’d help me get ready and he’d help me get looked at by colleges, if I worked hard. He kept his word and it’s been a great experience.”
Of course, it also helped Brooks to have his cousin on the practice field with him.
“Carlos always wanted me to play. He really helped me through practices my junior year when I was starting out,” Brooks said. “Playing on a team that made history and made it to the Elite Eight was great, but sharing it with family made it more special. One day when we have families of our own we’re going to be able to tell our kids about when we were All-Ohio.”
McFarland had high praise for both players.
“You couldn’t ask for two better kids on and off the field,” he said. “They are both great students with GPAs over 3.2, and they were both leaders on the football field. They are just great young men.”
Another player who went from not playing high school football until his junior year to earning a spot on the All-Ohio team was Johnson.
After only catching one pass during his junior year, he led the Middies this fall with 58 receptions for 1,166 yards and 17 touchdowns.
“I was pretty happy when I found out I made All-Ohio. It’s really an honor,” Johnson said. “I was fortunate enough to play on a great football team. You can’t put up the numbers I did this year without an amazing quarterback.”
In fact, if it wasn’t for Crum, Johnson may have never stepped on a football field.
“Dustin and I are great friends and play basketball together,” Johnson said. “(My) sophomore year, he told me I should try football because I would be great at it. I worked really hard at it because I wanted to put truth to his words.”
Crum’s career statistics sound as if they were only achievable in a video game. In three seasons, he threw for 8,585 yards and 103 touchdowns. During his senior year, he also rushed for 1,557 yards, averaging nearly 8 yards per carry, and scored 14 touchdowns.
“It’s really cool to know that you’re thought of as one of the best players in the state, especially a state like Ohio that has so many good football players,” Crum said. “I’ve been looking back over the past couple weeks at some of the things I’ve done in my career and it’s really a tribute to my teammates. I couldn’t have done this without them. I have been pretty lucky and blessed to play on some great teams.”
During Crum’s career the Middies went 29-1 in the regular season and won two league championships.
“When I was a wide-eyed sophomore, my mindset was I just wanted to do something to help the team,” said Crum, who will continue his football career at Kent State. “Deep down, I knew I could be good, but I never expected anything like this. Everyone expected us to go 5-5 that year and we won 12 games.
“I’m looking forward to Kent State. I’m excited to get down there and meet all of my new teammates and start working with them, but I’m not sure anything will ever be as special as playing under the ‘Friday Night Lights.’”
King, a three-year starter for the Pioneers at defensive tackle, earned All-Ohio honors despite missing two games this season with a hand injury.
“Cam had a fine career at Elyria. Even though he was more of a natural defensive end, he always played on the inside because that’s where we needed him,” former Elyria coach Kevin Fell said. “Cam is capable of playing in college. He’s a lean 220 pounds and he has the perfect body where he could really bulk up.”
Contact Todd Shapiro at 329-7135 or email@example.com.