Fairmont’s Dave Miller was selected the state’s Division I high school football coach of the year and Wayne senior L’Christian “Blue” Smith a first team All-Ohioan by the Ohio Prep Sportswriters Association on Wednesday.
The D-I All-Ohio teams were the last of seven divisions distributed by the Ohio High School Athletic Association.
Miller oversaw a remarkable turnaround at Fairmont. Rebooting the entire program and playing mostly underclassmen, he went 1-9 last season with the Greater Western Ohio Conference program after leaving a highly successful small-school program at Covington. But that all changed when Fairmont stunned rival Alter 13-12 in this year’s season opener.
Fairmont started 4-0 and qualified for the D-I, Region 3 playoffs by knocking Springfield out of postseason contention with a 7-3 Week 10 defeat of the Wildcats. Helping Fairmont qualify for its second postseason appearance were defeats of Milford (8-3) and Alter (9-2).
Fairmont fell at then-unbeaten Hilliard Bradley in a playoff opener.
An outstanding 6-foot-5 receiver, Smith is a repeat first-team, D-I All-Ohioan. He had 56 catches for 885 yards (15.8 average) and nine touchdowns. He ends his career among the area’s all-time most productive receivers with 165 catches for 3,208 yards (19.4 average) and 38 touchdowns. That yardage total ranks him No. 15 all-time in the state going into this season.
Also an outstanding basketball player for the Warriors, Smith signed with Ohio State to play football.
Centerville quarterback Alec Grandin and receiver Jake Spiewak, both seniors, were second-team picks. Also on the second team were Northmont senior running back Devin Kenerly and Springfield receiver Caleb Johnson.
Third-team D-I area selections were Wayne junior quarterback Rashad McKee and senior teammate Alex Reigelsperger, a defensive end. Springboro senior offensive lineman Aaron Ervin also was third team, as were defensive backs Bryce Neuse, a senior from Beavercreek, and Springfield junior Moses Douglass.
Pickerington North senior quarterback Jimmy Weirick was the D-I offensive player of the year. Lineman Tyreke Smith of Cleveland Heights and Pickerington Central defensive back Xavier Henderson were co-defensive players of the year.
Also on Wednesday, Trotwood-Madison senior running back Ra’veion Hargrove finished runner-up to Wadsworth senior quarterback Joey Baughman as Ohio’s Mr. Football.
This is the first season for OPSWA to coordinate the All-Ohio teams and Mr. Football. Players were selected by coaches’ nominations forwarded to statewide media panels.