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Published: Friday, 11/7/2003

Quarterbacks dominate district honors

BY STEVE JUNGA
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

It has been a banner year for quarterbacks locally, and that wealth has not been limited to just the college level with Bowling Green s Josh Harris and Toledo s Bruce Gradkowski.

Three high school QBs have been named Northwest Ohio district offensive players of the year - Southview s Kelley Rowe in Division II, Eastwood s Kevin Leady in Division III and Elmwood s Kyle Rhoad in Division V.

The all-district teams were selected by a panel of eight area media representatives.

Rowe, a 5-10, 185-pound senior, with help from a strong supporting cast, passed and ran the Cougars to a Northern Lakes League championship, a No. 3 state ranking, and the school s first 10-0 regular season. He completed 142 of 262 passes for 2,525 yards and 22 touchdowns with just five interceptions. He also ran 134 times for 861 yards and 15 TDs, and was consistently productive all season.

Southview s Jim Mayzes was named D-II coach of the year, and his 11-0 Cougars face Defiance (9-2) in a regional playoff semifinal tonight in Findlay. Defiance s 5-11, 340-pound nose tackle Dan Orta was named defensive player of the year, and 6-2, 295-pound senior center Drew Parry of Maumee was selected lineman of the year in D-II.

Leady, a 6-3, 183-pound junior, was also a two-way threat at QB for Eastwood (8-2), which won a Suburban Lakes league co-title. He was 127 of 213 passing for 1,897 yards and 15 TDs, and rushed 213 times for SLL bests of 1,420 yards and 26 TDs.

In the same mold as Rowe and Leady, production-wise, Rhoad guided the Royals from a 1-3 start into the other half of that SLL co-title by completing 157 of 260 passes for 2,254 yards and 28 TDs. He also rushed 141 times for 1,044 yards and 10 TDs.

In Division I, St. John s Jesuit and Whitmer of the City League led the way with five first-team selections apiece, highlighted by lineman of the year Andrew Decker (6-4, 284, senior guard) of St. John s and the offensive player of the year Edwin “Petey Hood of Whitmer. Hood, a 5-11, 185-pound senior tailback, capped his third straight 1,000-yard rushing season with 202 carries for a school-record 1,548 yards and 19 TDs.

St. John s seniors Sam Kettinger (defensive tackle), Austin Mayberry (linebacker) and Mickey Cassidy (defensive back), and junior Marcus Waugh (punter) joined Decker on the first team. Whitmer seniors Brandon Ochmanek (offensive lineman), Greg Schermbeck (linebacker) and Kevin Tattersall (kicker), and junior Kyle Andrews (defensive back) joined Hood on the D-I first unit.

Start seniors Asante White (receiver) and Rob Cameron (offensive line) were also first-team choices in D-I. White had 65 catches for 1,342 yards, and Cameron turned in another solid season after receiving first-team All-Ohio honors as a junior.

In Division V, Patrick Henry s Bill Inselmann was named coach of the year. His Patriots were picked to finish fourth in the Northwest Ohio Athletic League, but wound up 8-0 in league play (9-1 overall) and are still alive in the playoffs. PH seniors Trent Meyer (quarterback) and Tyler Hamm (offensive line), and sophomore Marc Krauss (receiver) received first-team player honors. Meyer passed for 2,215 yards and 19 TDs, while Krauss had 52 catches for 1,251 yards and 14 TDs.

Two Green Meadows Conference linebackers shared the defensive player of the year honor in D-V, as 6-2, 215-pound senior Eric Weber (169 tackles) of GMC-champion Tinora split top-billing with the player who had to be Ohio s comeback or courageous player of the year, if there were such awards.

After leading the Rams with more than 140 tackles at linebacker as a sophomore in 2001, one of Brad Hurtig s arms was severed at the elbow and the other at the wrist in an industrial accident on a summer job before his junior season. The 5-10, 146-pounder bravely returned to his linebacker post this season and amazingly recorded 111 tackles for 5-5 Tinora.

Junior running back Blaine Maag of top-ranked Columbus Grove was named Division VI offensive player of the year after rushing 212 times for 1,731 yards and 31 TDs. Maag, a 6-1, 185-pounder, has seven career five-touchdown games, and entered the postseason with 61 career TDs.



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