Updated Wed, Oct 5, 2011 8:44 pm
It’s that time of year again, “Player of the Year” time! Gridiron Glory Reporters talked it out and here is who has made the 2011 “Player of the Year” candidate list. In the weeks to come, you will help us narrow this list down to five, and then down to one to be crowned “Player of the Year.”
Mitchell Fouch, Sheridan, RB:
Sheridan has put 244 points on the board so far this season and Mitchell Fouch is a big reason why. The senior has excelled in his first season as a starter, rushing for 923 yards on just 100 carries. Fouch uses his speed and quickness to bounce outside his blockers and create huge gains for a Sheridan offense that only returned one starting lineman from last season. He has also played well at defensive back for a Generals defense that has allowed an average of just 8 points a game.
K.J. Hook, New Lexington, QB:
New Lexington senior K.J. Hook missed half of last season with the rare medical condition, compartment syndrome. This season Hook stepped into the starting quarterback role, a position he had not played since middle school, and has led the Panthers to an impressive 5-1 start. Hook has been extremely impressive as the field general, throwing for almost 800 yards with 10 touchdowns compared to only four interceptions. Hook is also a threat in the ground game, as evidenced by his 93 yard, two-touchdown performance against Meadowbrook. Hook was also effective against the Colts on the defensive side, returning two interceptions for touchdowns. Hook is definitely a playmaker who will be making a difference as New Lex makes a push for the playoffs.
Austin Jones, Tri-Valley, RB:
The Tri-Valley Scotties are 5-1 overall and 4-0 in MVL play thanks to a balanced attack. Heading that balanced attack is junior running back Austin Jones. Jones has done most of his damage in the ground game, racking up 659 yards on 8.2 yards per carry and nine touchdowns. Jones has also been a useful target out of the backfield with seven catches for 145 yards and a touchdown. Week five’s matchup with Crooksville saw Jones amass a season-high 195 total yards and three touchdowns. Not to be overlooked are defensive numbers Jones has posted this season. Jones leads the team with 23 tackles; five for a loss. Look for Jones to be a key weapon as the Scotties aim to capture the MVL title and a playoff berth.
Nathan Strock, Tri-Valley, QB:
The nephew of former NFL quarterback Don Strock is making a name for himself in Dresden. A 6'3", 185 lb. junior, Strock has attracted attention from DI colleges and has led the Scotties to a 5-1 record through 6 weeks of play. Strock and the Scotties have amassed 196 points in 4 conference games, which is 26 points more than second-place Sheridan. He is a pro-style quarterback who displays a strong arm and great field vision.
Jeremy Willison, Maysville, RB:
Maysville RB Jeremy Willison has been nothing short of dominant in his senior season campaign for the Panthers. The 5’11”, 175lb RB/S has been the x-factor for Maysville as he has led his team to a 4-2 record and only one loss in conference. Although his team had a rough 0-2 start, Willison has since saddled up and ran his way through defenses while the Panthers have been riding a four-game win streak. Through the first six games of season Willison has been handed the ball 130 times and ran it for 858 yards giving him an average of 21.6 carries/game for 143 yards/game. Those are some pretty impressive numbers with almost half of the season left to go. Willison has been scorching hot as of late as he put up 177 yards and two TDs against Crooksville last week and 101 yards and two TDs against West Muskingum in week five. The Maysville Panthers are putting the workload in the hands of Willison as they have him not only rushing the ball, but also receiving passes, returning kickoffs, and playing in the secondary on the defensive side of the ball. We’ll see how far the Panthers can go as Willison breaks through would-be tacklers and makes defensive secondaries look sluggish.
Drew Ervin, Jackson, RB:
The man is an animal. He is a dominant and downhill runner and a great pass blocker. He has great hands, and occasionally catches passes out of the backfield. He makes defenses respect the run, yet can still beat a defense with his break-away speed. On the defensive side of the ball, he is a dominant outside linebacker. The bruiser can sit in a hole and stop running backs, yet he also has the ability to read a quarterbacks progression and intercept their pass attempts.
Dylan Leffingwell, Warren, QB:
Dylan Leffingwell has been the focal point of much of the Warriors success this season as a star quarterback. His cannon arm teamed with great running ability makes him a hassle for opponent’s defenses to gameplan for. In SEOAL play, Leffingwell was the key factor in Warren pulling ahead of Portsmouth with two big rushing touchdowns and has put his best passing numbers up against a tough Jackson opponent where he went 15 of 38 for 254 yards and 2 scores. Leffingwell must continue to be a playmaker and game manager for Warren to continue to have success in the SEOAL.
Ty McNelly, Jackson, WR:
Ty Mcnelly of the Jackson Ironmen is easily the most explosive Wide Receiver in the SEOAL. He's a straight burner, and possesses great vision after he's caught the ball. This is the kind of guy that takes bubble screens for 50 yard gains. His explosiveness has aided Austin Osborne's development as a QB by leaps and bounds. He's not just an athlete, though. He is active and aware, and never drops a pass. He's the Ironmen's secret weapon, and he's on our “Player of the Year” watch.
Austin Osborne, Jackson, QB:
The athletic transfer from rival school Wellston, has more than lived up to the expectations of Head Coach Andy Hall and the Ironmen. After playing wide-out for the Golden Rockets last season, Coach Hall decided to move him to quarterback and run a fast-paced athletic offense. Osborne also gets it done on the defensive side of the ball as well as special teams. Against the Warren Warriors, Osborne racked up the stats with a rushing and throwing touchdown, a 95-yard kickoff return touchdown, and an interception on defense. True stats of a Gridiron Glory Player of the Year.
Issac Lee, Wahama, RB:
Issac Lee AKA the kid that can do it all. He is a return specialist; he can catch the ball, play some defense and also can do the job he is primarily assigned to, run the football. Lee has been a big part Wahama’s dominant offensive attack. Lee provides big numbers despite having limited number of touches. Wahama offense tends to spread the ball out to the various weapons in their arsenal. However, Lee is the most versatile player the White Falcons have and has proved on the gridiron this season.
Anthony Grimm, Wahama, FB:
Anthony Grimm is the right hook for the Wahama White Falcons. This power back has rumbled, bumbled and stumbled for big gains and touchdowns this season. Grimm has been a big part of why the White Falcons have dominated so far this season. Also, much like his teammate Issac Lee he is limited in carries and takes advantage of whenever he is fed the football.
Trey Bennett, Alexander, QB:
Trey Bennett has been a pleasant surprise for Head Coach Sean Arno and the entire Alexander community. The first year starting quarterback has shined this season leading the Spartans to a 6-0 record. Bennett is a dual-threat quarterback who can beat you with his arm and his legs. In last week’s game, Bennett accounted for seven of eight touchdowns in a blowout win against Vinton County 53-15. Alexander has averaged 51 points a game with Bennett under center this season.
DeVon Sharp, Athens, RB:
In the simplest sense, Devon Sharp has been one thing to the Athens offense: everything. Sharp anchors a potent Bulldog offense out of the backfield and, more recently, under center in the "Wild Dog" formation. However, the senior tailback has versatility to match his speed on the gridiron. What the young man lacks in size, he compensates for in his ability to spread any defense. He works as a triple agent, lining up for kick and punt returns as well as serving as the team's kicker. Sharp's backfield resume is enough to make him a Player of the Year candidate. He's been one of (if not the most) instrumental tools in the Bulldogs' undefeated start.
Dustin Young, Nelsonville-York, RB:
Dustin Young has led the Nelsonville-York Buckeyes to a 6-0 record in 2011 while being a human highlight reel. The Buckeyes have steamrolled every opponent this season and will look to continue that trend to claim the TVC-OH crown. Dustin Young’s dominating performances week after week have forced teams to focus on him, opening up the passing game and giving the Buckeyes a complete offensive attack.
Alex Ash, Parkersburg, QB:
The Parkersburg Big Reds have had some phenomenal players in the past, but someone who has stepped up this year is Senior Quarterback Alex Ash. Last weekend Ash threw for four touchdowns and over 200 yards in the Big Reds 37-24 victory over Riverside. So far this season he has had 84 completions out of 125 attempts and 12 touchdowns. To top that off he averages 215.7 yards a game and has a whopping 1176 passing yards and 118 rushing this season. The Big Reds are 5-1 going into their rivalry game against the Parkersburg South Patriots this Friday Night at the Erickson All-Sport’s Facility.