Howard named ONN/Ohio High Football Player Of The Year

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N. Can. Hoover RB Erick Howard earns top honor as ONN-Ohio High Player of the Year (Photo by David Dermer)

Erick Howard almost didn’t play football in Ohio in 2008. Now he’s the state’s top player. A junior running back/linebacker at North Canton Hoover, Howard is the 2008 ONN/Ohio High Football Player of the Year. He is the first junior to receive the award. On the field, Howard (5-10, 210) produced dramatic results. Off the field he’s done the same.


Erick Howard almost didn’t play football in Ohio in 2008. Now he’s the state’s top player.

A junior running back/linebacker at North Canton Hoover, Howard is the 2008 ONN/Ohio High Football Player of the Year. He is the first junior to receive the award.

On the field, Howard (5-10, 210) produced dramatic results. Off the field he’s done the same.

Howard lost his father in an industrial accident when he was just 8 years old. He played most of this past season without his mother.

Howard’s sister, who lives in Seattle, was pregnant over the summer and his mother, Ruth Howard, went out to stay with her daughter before and after the pregnancy. She left in September.

Howard thought he might have to move to the Northwest with his mom and on a visit scouted out what could have been his new football team. A poor turnout at a weightlifting session turned him off.

Howard pleaded with his mother to return to Ohio and thanks to a plane ticket purchased by his teammates flew home. Howard’s mother allowed him to live with head coach Don Hertler Jr. in her absence.

Howard blossomed this fall.

In leading the Vikings to a No.6 ranking in the final ONN/Ohio High Power Poll, a 12-1 record, a regional championship and an appearance in the Division I state semifinals, Howard was his best on the big stage.

He rushed for 2,387 yards and 31 touchdowns on 404 carries (5.9 average). During the regular season, Howard had 2,322 all-purpose yards and 28 total TDs.

Defensively, he registered 98 tackles, three sacks and eight tackles for loss. Howard was the team’s third-leading tackler and had two interceptions.

On Nov. 25, Howard was also named Ohio’s 22nd annual Mr. Football award winner. Just the second junior to earn the distinction (Euclid’s Robert Smith won in 1988-89), Howard is the first player from storied Stark County to win Mr. Football.

He is the third player to win both ONN/Ohio POY and Mr. Football honors. The others are Tyrell Sutton (Akron Hoban, 2004) and Brandon Saine (Piqua, 2006).

ONN/Ohio High Player Of The Year Winners
2003: Ted Ginn Jr., Cleveland Glenville
2004: Tyrell Sutton, Akron Hoban
2005: Ross Homan, Coldwater
2006: Brandon Saine, Piqua
2007: Danny McCarthy, Cardinal Mooney
2008: Erick Howard, North Canton Hoover

Past Mr. Football Winners
1987: Ronald “Buster” Howe, Zanesville
1988-89: Robert Smith, Euclid
1990: Bobby Hoying, St. Henry
1991: Derrick Kidwell, Fostoria
1992: Marc Edwards, Cincinnati Norwood
1993: Curtis Enis, Mississinawa Valley
1994: Charles Woodson, Fremont Ross
1995: Andy Katzenmoyer, Westerville South
1996: Derek Combs, Grove City
1997: Tony Fisher, Euclid
1998: Ryan Brewer, Troy
1999: Brandon “Bam” Childress, Bedford Chanel
2000: Jeff Backes, Upper Arlington
2001: Maurice Clarett, Warren G. Harding
2002: Ben Mauk, Kenton
2003: Ray Williams, Cleveland Benedictine
2004: Tyrell Sutton, Akron Hoban
2005: Delone Carter, Copley
2006: Brandon Saine, Piqua
2007: Bart Tanski, Mentor
2008: Erick Howard, North Canton Hoover

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