Warriors, Raiders top district
CANTON — West Branch captured top honors on the 2021 Northeast Inland District high school football team released today.
The Warriors placed eight players on the Division IV first team — including junior quarterback Dru DeShields, the offensive player of the year, and senior linebacker Steven Marra, the defensive player of the year.
South Range, which joined West Branch as the area’s only regional finalists, have 10 first-team selection in Division V with Dan Yeagley repeating as coach of the year.
DeShields and Marra guided West Branch to a 13-1 season and a second straight Eastern Buckeye Conference title.
DeShields set single-season school records for yards passing (3,659), average yards per game (261), completions (259), and completion percentage (67.6) as the Warriors averaged 46.8 points a game.
Marra was the Warriors’ defensive leader, totaling 103 tackles with nine for losses.
Other first-teamers for West Branch were senior receiver Nick Wilson (89 receptions for a school-record 1,385 yards and 22 touchdowns). West Branch senior offensive linemen Greg Rockwell and Caleb Adams (they led the way for Warriors to total 656 points and 6,537 yards on the season), West Branch senior kicker Ben Tolson (66 points) and West Branch junior defensive linemen Mitchell Coffee (50 tackles with 20 quarterback pressures) and Thomas Egli (76 tackles with 14 for losses).
Salem had three first-teamers in Division IV during an 8-4 season– junior quarterback Jackson Johnson, senior receiver Blaize Exline and senior offensive lineman Carson Stockman.
Johnson passed for 2,905 yards and 33 touchdowns — both school records — while running for 1,321 yards and 20 touchdowns.
Exline broke his own school record with 125 catches for 1,424 yards and 18 touchdowns.
Carson Stockman graded out at 94 percent and did not allow a sack or tackle for a loss all season.
Salem senior offensive lineman Caleb Stockman received second-team honors
South Range also went 13-1 and rolled to another Northeast 8 title.
First-team Division V honorees for the Raiders are junior quarterback Billy Skripac, senior running back Dylan Dominquez (1,693 yards and 24 touchdowns on 194 carries), junior receivers Ayden Leon (24 catches for 624 yard sand seven TDs) and Shane Lindstrom (31 catches for 693 yards and seven TDs), senior offensive linemen Michael Lally and Jacob Brooks (the Raiders’ top two linemen), senior defender Logan Cormell (79 tackles with 14 for losses), junior defensive lineman Bailey Ryan (63 tackles with 11 for losses), senior linebacker Connor Jones (76 tackles with 13 for losses) and junior linebacker Tyler Remish (101 tackles with 18 for losses).
Crestview first-team selections include senior quarterback Anthony Cusick and junior linebacker Roclen Bettura.
Cusick threw for 1,836 yards and 20 touchdowns in nine games this season. He set the school record with 4,719 yards passing in his career.
Bettura led the Rebels in tackles for a third straight season, totaling 152 tackles, including 22 for losses and nine quarterback pressures in 10 games this year.
United, which captured its second straight Eastern Ohio Athletic Conference title and went 8-2, placed three players on the Division VI first team — senior defensive lineman Payne Brerton, sophomore offensive lineman Dallas McCracken and sophomore kicker Luke Courtney.
Brereton collected 37 tackles with nine sacks and seven more for losses.
McCracken graded out at 93 percent and led the team with 48 pancakes.
Courtney was 4-for-4 on field goals, including a school-record 44-yarder and converted 35-of-38 extra-point kicks.
Six area players are on the Division VII first team — Southern junior running back Colton Soukup, Southern junior linebacker Wyatt Morris, Leetonia linebacker Mike Miller, Wellsville senior offensive lineman Tyler Stanley, Sebring senior running back Noah Frederick and Sebring senior punter Elijah Frederick.
Soukup totaled 1,039 yards rushing with 15 touchdowns on only 58 carries, an average of 17.9 yards per attempt.
Morris had a team-high 103 tackles, including 68 solos, 17 for losses with seven sacks.
Miller topped the Bears in tackles with 73 total in seven games. He had 42 first hits with five tackles for loss.
Stanley graded out around 90 percent every week for the Tigers.
Noah Frederick ran for 1,569 yards and 10 touchdowns on 162 carries and scored 76 points.
Elijah Frederick averaged 42.6 yards on 23 punts, including eight inside the 20-yard line.
Receiving honorable mention were Salem’s Corey Riesen in Division IV; Crestview’s Jack Yerkey and Dominic Yerkey and South Range’s JD Crouse, Cory Penick and Luke Starkey in Division V; Columbiana’s Tony Kocanjer and United’s Cole Ellyson, Steffen Jarrett and Grant Knight in Division VI; Lisbon’s Ryan Preston, Leetonia’s L.J. Rosa, Southern’s Noah Perfetto and Wellsville’s J.J. Cline and Kasen Ramsey in Division VII.