Race for coveted ‘Mr. Football’ award wide open


Licking Valley RB/LB Storm Klein. (Photo by Gary Housteau)

With the 2008 football season in its final week, the race for Ohio’s Mr. Football award – to be announced this evening – is as tight as some of the state championship races to Stark County.

The following is a look at the top candidates for this year’s award as well as the ONN/Ohio High magazine player of the year.

With the 2008 football season in its final week, the race for Ohio’s Mr. Football award – to be announced this evening – is as tight as some of the state championship races to Stark County.

For the sixth straight year, the Ohio News Network and Ohio High magazine will also present its own player of the year award in football.

Former Youngstown Cardinal Mooney defensive back/quarterback Danny McCarthy claimed the Ohio High award last year with 47 tackles and five interceptions (one for a touchdown) on defense. On offense, he tallied 1,219 yards and 15 touchdowns on 154 carries and also threw for 434 yards and six touchdowns before suffering a season-ending neck injury in the regional semifinals.

McCarthy is currently suiting up for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

Mentor’s Bart Tanski passed his way to the Mr. Football award last year with 269-of-339 completed attempts for 3,180 yards, 25 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He also rushed for 500 yards and eight touchdowns leading the Cardinals to its second straight Division I state runner-up finish.

Interestingly, Tanski is one of a few Mr. Football award winners not to earn a Division I college scholarship. He is currently a freshman walk-on at Bowling Green.

Though a couple of running backs are in the lead for top Ohio high school football honors this season, the field of top players in the state is under center again with several of these talented signal-callers only in their junior seasons.

Let’s take a look at the top players in the state vying for Ohio high school football immortality:

Ohio State recruit Storm Klein led Newark Licking Valley to a Division III state runner-up finish last season and the state semifinals this year. Klein tallied over 1,800 yards rushing this season and 24 touchdowns eclipsing the 6,000-yard mark and 100 touchdowns for his career.

Klein, who was recruited as a linebacker by the Buckeyes, was named Division III Co-Player of the Year Monday by the Associated Press. 

Youngstown Liberty running back Fitzgerald Toussaint, also named D-III Co-Player of the Year, led Youngstown Liberty to a 9-2 record this season coming off a junior season that included 1,400 rushing yards and 24 touchdowns. The Michigan recruit tallied 2,229 yards, (10.4 yards per carry) and 28 touchdowns this season.

Cincinnati Elder junior quarterback Mark Miller finished the regular season as second leading passer in the Greater Catholic League completing 184-of-263 pass attempts for 2,669 yards and 28 touchdowns with six interceptions and leads the Panthers into the Division I state championship game this week.

While Mr. Football is a long shot, Miller was named D-I Co-Player of the Year with Cleveland St. Ignatius quarterback Andrew Holland.

Holland was 114-of-180 passing for 1,837 yards and 20 touchdowns in the regular season with six interceptions and five rushing touchdowns. Holland will lead the Wildcats against Miller and Elder Sat., Nov. 29 for the state championship.

North Canton Hoover running back Erick Howard, who helped lead the Vikings to the state tournament before falling to Ignatius last week, tallied 285 carries for 1,795 yards and 25 touchdowns. He totaled 2,300 all-purpose yards and 28 total touchdowns on the year and was also named D-I Co-Player of the Year.

Another signal caller set to take snaps in the state championship weekend is Sylvania Southview quarterback Alex Pidcock.

The Division II first second team All-Ohio selection is 121-of-161 passing (75 percent) this season for 2,460 yards, 24 touchdowns and just three interceptions. He went 12 games before he threw his first pick and already had 20 touchdowns at the time.

Pidcock also added 1,278 yards rushing on 191 carries and 20 touchdowns.

Though only a junior for Division V state finalist Findlay Liberty-Benton, Aaron Craft is one of the most prolific passers in the state completing over 80 percent of his attempts. Craft has thrown for 2,893 yards and 30 touchdowns and has run for 1,270 yards and 26 touchdowns while returning a fumble for another score.

He has started since his freshman season on both the grid iron and hardwood and is a Tennessee basketball recruit. 

Cincinnati Indian Hill quarterback Bo Cordell is a first team All-Ohio selection for the second straight season with 2,853 yards on 194-of-282 passing with 31 touchdowns and six interceptions to lead the Cincinnati area in passing. The three-years starter had over 8,100 yards passing in his career and 86 touchdowns.

Dover quarterback Corey Lisowski was named the East Central Ohio League Player of the Year and is a Division III first team All-Ohio selection passing for 3,160 yards, 34 touchdowns and only seven interceptions in the regular season while rushing for 615 yards and 14 touchdowns leading the Tornadoes to the regional finals.

From Northwest Ohio, Fostoria quarterback Micah Hyde could become the second Mr. Football winner from Fostoria – the last to do it was Derek Kidwell in 1991.

At the midpoint of the season, Hyde was 84-of-114 passing for 908 yards and nine touchdowns surpassing Kidwell for top spot in the Fostoria record book for most career touchdown tosses. On the ground, he rushed for 587 yards and nine touchdowns is also a special teams demon for the Redmen. He was named Northwest District Offensive Player of the Year.

Other players in contention for postseason awards and accolades include:

Cincinnati Sycamore RB Bud Golden, Middletown QB Caleb Watkins (junior), Colerain QB Spencer Ware (junior), Hamilton ATH Denicos Allen, Hamilton Badin QB Zach Toener, Clayton Northmont CB C.J. Barnett, Youngstown Liberty S Isaiah Bell, Aurora DT/OL Adam Bellamy, Indian Hill TE/DE Ted Bolser, Pickerington Central FB Zach Boren, Kettering Alter LB/RB Chris Borland, Kettering Alter QB/ATH Austin Boucher, Elder OL Austin Bujnoch, Steubenville LB Branko Busic, Portsmouth OL/DL Nate Cadogen, Lancaster LB Ryan Cheek, Columbus Northland DE/TE Javon Cornley, Walsh Jesuit CB Armand Dehaney, Cincinnati Princeton WR Jeff Duckworth, Centerville OL Jake Feldmeyer, Garfield Heights DE/DT Melvin Fellows, Painesville Harvey WR Chris Fields, Cleveland St. Ignatius LB Dan Fox, North Royalton TE Dan France, Vermillion TE Derek Hoebing, Coldwater FB/LB Adam Homan, Sycamore S/WR Steve Hull, Middletown ATH DeeJay Hunter, Canal Fulton Northwest OL Nate Klatt, Youngstown Boardman OL Corey Linsley, Bellbrook DT/OL Sam Longo, Toledo Central Catholic FB/LB Mike Marrow, Walsh Jesuit OL Pat McShane, Toledo St. John’s OL Jack Mewhort, Cleveland Glenville DE/LB Jonathan Newsome, Portsmouth OL John Prior, Centerville DT Adam Replogle, Toledo Central Catholic LB/RB Brad Rogers, Cardinal Mooney DT Johnny Simon, Walsh Jesuit OL Brian Smith, Medina Highland LB/RB Chris Snook, Dresden Tri-Valley OG Ryan Spiker, Cincinnati Winton Woods DE/TE Anthony Talbert, Oberlin OL Hugh Thornton, Massillon ATH Justin Turner, Pickerington Central ATH Patrick White, Pickerington Central S/WR Jamie Woods, Cincinnati Loveland LB/TE Brian Wozniak, West Chester Lakota West DE/LB Jordan Hicks (junior), Steubenville ATH Dwight Macon (junior), Trenton Edgewood OL Taylor Miller (junior), Boardman DE J.T. Moore (junior), Wadsworth WR Anthony Schrock (junior) and Youngstown Ursuline DE Jamel Turner (junior). 

Past Mr. Football Winners

1987: Ronald “Buster” Howe, Zanesville
Robert Smith, Euclid
Bobby Hoying, St. Henry
Derrick Kidwell, Fostoria
Marc Edwards, Norwood
Curtis Enis, Mississinawa Valley
Charles Woodson, Fremont Ross
Andy Katzenmoyer, Westerville South
Derek Combs, Grove City
Tony Fisher, Euclid
Ryan Brewer, Troy
Brandon “Bam” Childress, Bedford Chanel
Jeff Backes, Upper Arlington
Maurice Clarett, Warren G. Harding
Ben Mauk, Kenton
Ray Williams, Cleveland Benedictine
Tyrell Sutton, Akron Hoban
Delone Carter, Copley
Brandon Saine, Piqua
Bart Tanski, Mentor

Past ONN/Ohio High Player Of The Year Award Winners

2003: Ted Ginn Jr., Cleveland Glenville
Tyrell Sutton, Akron Garfield
Ross Homan, Coldwater
Brandon Saine, Piqua
Danny McCarthy, Cardinal Mooney

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