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Published: Thursday, 11/16/2000

Rogers's Earl, Waite's Cannings named top defenders

BY STEVE JUNGA
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

They were two of the City League's top defensive players during the season, and linebacker Diontre Earl of Rogers and tackle Rick Cannings of Waite head the list of honorees on this year's northwest Ohio all-district teams, chosen by a media panel of writers and broadcasters.

Earl, a returning All-Ohio player who helped Rogers to its first league championship and playoff appearance this season, repeated his selection as Division II defensive player of the year. The 5-11, 228-pound senior led the Rams with 113 tackles during the regular season, including 15 tackles for losses. Rogers running back Drushaun Humphrey and defensive linemen Loney Awls and Don Davis also made the first team in Division II.

Cannings, a 6-3, 295-pound senior, is the Division I defensive player of the year. He had 116 tackles, 24 for losses. Cannings was joined on the Division I first team by offensive line teammates Tarell Baldwin and Lucky Jordan and running back Willie Brown.

Great Lakes League co-champion Whitmer put three players on the Division I first team, and four on the second team.

Panther running back Irshad Bannister (1,153 yards, 12 TDs), offensive lineman Brent Maldonado and defensive back Corey Bolles were first-team choices.

Mansfield Senior running back Maurice Bradley (1,224 yards, 15 TDs) was named Division I offensive player of the year. Teammate Mike Donaldson (6-6, 330, junior) was picked lineman of the year, and Mansfield's Stan Jefferson was chosen coach of the year.

In Division II, senior Defiance quarterback Drew Price (110 of 174 passing, 1,537 yards, 18 TDs) and senior Tiffin Columbian running back Brett Krupp (1,652 yards, 31 TDs) shared offensive honors. Defiance senior Gary Powell was named lineman of the year, and Bulldog coach Jerry Buti, who guided Defiance (10-0, No. 2 state ranking), shared coach-of-the-year honors with Steve Gilbert of 9-1 Tiffin Columbian.

Fostoria, which shared the GLL crown with Whitmer, had three first-team Division III selections, plus two more on the second team, and coach Tom Grine received coach-of-the-year honors for taking the Redmen from an 0-10 season in 1999 to an 8-2 mark this year.

Senior offensive lineman Adam Grine (the coach's son), junior defensive lineman Michael Tucker and senior line- backer Pedro Campos made the first team for Fostoria.

Record-setting Bellevue receiver Pete Lepley (71 catches, 1,624 yards, 22 TDs) was picked as Division III offensive player of the year, and was joined on the first team by junior quarterback Jeff Polley (129 of 260, 2,522 yards, 28 TDs) and junior defensive back Tom Weakland.

Ottawa-Glandorf senior Nick Graymire was named defensive player of the year, and Oak Harbor's Mick Beier was picked as lineman of the year in Division III.

In Division IV, Sandusky Bay Conference-champion Perkins ruled with six first-team selections, headed by Ohio State-bound senior linebacker Brandon Schnittker who was named defensive player of the year.

Joining Schnittker on the first unit were senior offensive lineman Ryan Fitzgerald, who was named lineman of the year, plus senior running back Mel Burns, junior defensive lineman Seth Painter, senior defensive back Matt Coles and senior kicker Juan Romero.

Senior quarterback Kyle Hoyng, who guided Coldwater to a 38-27 playoff win over Perkins last week, stopping the defending state-champion Pirates' 26-game winning streak, shared Division IV offensive-player-of-the-year honors with Kenton's pass-happy sophomore, Benjamin Mauk.

Hoyng completed 134 of 226 passes for 1,838 yards and 18 TDs during the regular season, and ran for seven TDs. The 6-1, 170-pound Mauk was 254-of-445 for 3,936 yards and 31 TDs.

Mike Vicars, who led Delta from a 1-9 season in 1999 to a playoff-qualifying 6-4 mark, was picked Division IV coach of the year.

Liberty Center, the top-ranked team in Division V, put four players on the first team, two on the second unit, and Tiger coach Rex Lingruen is the top coach.

Tiger running back Troy West- hoven, a 6-0, 185-pound senior running back who shook off injuries from a summer auto crash to run for 1,699 yards and score 19 TDs, shared Division V offensive-player-of-the-year honors with 9-1 Crestline senior back Josh Friley (2,124 yards, 24 TDs).

Liberty Center offensive lineman Neal Carter, linebacker Ryan Strayer and defensive back Jeremy Babcock also made the first team. Ashland Crestview linebacker Matt Workman was picked defensive player of the year. Bluffton's Nick Roby was named lineman of the year.

Gibsonburg's returning All-Ohio senior running back Dave Mason, whose final official total of 6,006 yards ranks sixth on Ohio's all-time rushing list, shared Division VI offensive-player-of-the-year honors with speedy running back Zach Weber of three-time defending state-champion Delphos St. John's.

Mason ran for 2,224 yards and 25 TDs, counting the Bears' first-round playoff loss. Weber, who ran for 1,762 yards and scored 23 TDs during the regular season, and defensive back Randy Grothaus (10 interceptions) were two of six first-team selections for Delphos St. John's.

McComb put five players on the first team - junior quarterback Dusty Aldrich (191 of 302, 3,296 yards, 45 TDs), his twin brother receiver Rusty Aldrich (72 catches, 1,194 yards, 21 TDs), senior receiver Brian Swain (64 catches, 1,219 yards, 17 TDs), senior offensive lineman Derek Coker, and senior defensive lineman Travis Clark, who was named lineman of the year. Panther coach Kris Alge was coach of the year in Div. VI.



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