Area players, coaches earn Southwest District football top honors


Nine area high school football players and five coaches were named Southwest District offensive, defensive or coaches of the year Wednesday. First and second teams for all seven divisions were nominated by coaches and chosen by a district media panel.

Area offensive players of the year were Ra’veion Hargrove (Trotwood-Madison), Bailey Wallen (Brookville), Shawn VanNoy (Dayton Christian) and Elliott Gilardi (Lehman Catholic).

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Area defensive players of the year were Kennedy Coates (Trotwood), Logan Hannah (Valley View), Kurtis Rutschilling (Versailles), Dannon Propst (Mechanicsburg) and Michael Bunker (Lehman Catholic).

Area coaches of the year were Dave Miller (Fairmont), Jeff Graham (Trotwood), Bob Skidmore (Valley View), Scott Clodfelter (Bethel) and Eugene Hoening (Ansonia).

First-team players are eligible to be nominated for All-Ohio and Mr. Football honors. Here’s a look at top honors for area players:

Division I: Miller had one of the state’s best turnaround efforts. Last season, his first as Fairmont’s head coach, the Firebirds were 1-9. This season started with a 13-12 season-opening upset of Alter. Fairmont was 7-3 in the regular season and lost to Hilliard Bradley in the first round of the D-I, Region 3 playoffs. The only other season Fairmont advanced to the postseason was 2008.

Senior quarterback Chase Wolf (Cincinnati St. Xavier) was the offensive player of the year and senior lineman Malik Vann (Fairfield) the defensive player of the year.

D-II: Sidney senior Isaiah Bowser was among several first-team choices. The Northwestern University commit was the Greater Western Ohio Conference’s leading rusher for the second straight season, gaining 2,617 yards and scoring 32 touchdowns.

QB Jay Volpenhein (Anderson) was the offensive player of the year, Cris Oats (Winton Woods) the defensive player and Andre Parker (Winton Woods) the coach of the year.

D-III: Hargrove, Coates and Graham swept top honors. A senior, Hargrove has gained 1,856 yards and scored 30 TDs in 12 games. He will end his career among the area’s all-time leading rushers. A lineman, Coates anchors an outstanding Rams defense. Graham has guided Trotwood (12-0) into the D-III, Region 12 final on Friday against Chaminade Julienne. Trotwood is the defending D-III state runner-up.

D-IV: Hannah and Skidmore took two of three top honors. A senior linebacker, Hannah helped the Spartans post a 10-0 regular season. Skidmore is a longtime Spartans assistant who was named head coach last season. Valley View followed up a 10-2 team by going 11-1 this season, which ended with a D-IV, Region 16 semifinal loss to Clinton-Massie last week.

The offensive player of the year was running back Pierson Rogers (Wyoming).

D-V: A senior, Wallen was the Southwestern Buckeye League’s leading rusher with 2,035 yards and 27 TDs. He also is Brookville’s career rushing leader with 5,508 yards and 80 TDs. A senior linebacker, Rutschilling also was the Midwest Athletic Conference defensive player of the year.

Jeff Essig (Bethel-Tate) was the coach of the year.

D-VI: A senior QB, VanNoy guided an offense that scored more than 40 points per game during a 9-1 regular season. He had 1,286 yards rushing, passed for 1,095 yards and accounted for 25 TDs. A lineman, Propst defensively anchored Mechanicsburg (8-3) that advanced to the playoffs again.

Clotfelter guided the Bees to a 9-1 regular-season record and into the D-VI, Region 24 playoffs.

D-VII: A junior QB, Gilardi passed for 1,359 yards and ran for 936 and accounted for 39 TDs. Bunker had 52 tackles and 13 sacks for Lehman (10-2), which lost to Delphos St. John’s in a D-VII, Region 28 semi last week.

Hoening led Ansonia (6-5) into the playoffs after going 5-0 over the second half of the regular season.

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