PARKERSBURG - Conference champions St. Marys (Class A) and Ravenswood (Class AA) were the big winners when the league's coaches sat down to select the 2013 All-Little Kanawha Conference Football team.
"We really had a difficult time," Ritchie County head coach Mike Dawson said. "We were asking our coaches to vote for kids that our teams did not play. It made for some interesting discussions and we finally decided to go back to two teams-one for the Class A schools and one for the Class AA schools."
St. Marys, which reached the quarterfinal round before bowing out of the Class A playoffs with an 11-1 mark, placed five players on the offensive unit and three on the defensive team while senior David Gray was selected as the top offensive player in the conference.
Photo by Jeff Baughan
St. Marys' David Gray eyes a Greenbrier West defender during their Class A state football playoff game. Gray was named the Little Kanawha Conference Player of the Year.
Ravenswood, which finished with a 6-5 mark and was knocked out in the opening round of the Class AA playoffs by Bluefield, had five players chosen on both the offensive and defensive squads and head coach Mick Price was selected as the division's Coach of the Year.
"It is always an honor when you are selected by your peers," Price said following the meeting. "But, awards like this are staff awards and usually mean that your kids played well and won some games."
Named to the first team offense for the Blue Devils was offensive linemen Noah Shultz and Bernie Northrop while senior Noah Spitzer joins Gray in the first team backfield and senior Garrett Furr is the unit's placekicker.
Gray spearheaded a St. Marys rushing attack with more than 900 yards and 13 touchdowns on the ground while Spitzer chipped in with more than 600 yards and six scores. Providing the holes was Shultz, a senior, and Northrop, a junior. Furr, whose last second field goal helped the Blue Devils knock off Magnolia by an 11-9 score, made good on two field goals and 37 PATs as St. Marys finished with an unblemished (10-0) regular season mark.
Joining Shultz and Northrop on the offensive front are seniors Isaac Britton of Doddridge County, D.J. Kerns of Williamstown and Wirt County's Cole Linder. The wide receivers are the Bulldogs' Jarrod Sandy and Gilmer County's Austin Ratliff while the final two slots in the backfield went to Doddridge's Wyatt Ford and Tyler Consolidated's Jacob Highley.
Ratliff led the Mid-Ohio Valley with 68 catches for 875 yards and six touchdowns while Sandy hauled in 23 passes for 325 yards and two scores for a Bulldogs team that finished 7-3 and barely missed out on the Class A playoffs for the second year in a row.
One of the big reasons for the Bulldogs' success was Ford, who finished third in the MOV in rushing with 1,629 yards and 15 touchdowns. Highley also eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark as the Silver Knights' senior rushed for 1,169 yards and 15 TDs. Quarterbacking the unit is Gilmer County senior Austin Cunningham. In his final season in Glenville, Cunningham MOV high 2,026 yards and 26 touchdowns.
Defensively, the Blue Devils placed senior Tyler Davis on the line, and senior Corey Stewart and junior Jeremy Pratt at linebacker. Joining Davis up front was Wirt County's Daniel McCue, South Harrison's Jesse Grimes and David Lipscomb of Doddridge. All three are seniors.
The linebackers are Stewart, Pratt, Williamstown's Dakota Watson and Parkersburg Catholic's Kyle Bronski. Williamstown's Jake Tracewell, who led the area with seven interceptions, headlines a secondary which includes Wirt's Wes Valentine, the Crusaders' Nick Roedersheimer and Tyler's Jordan Baker.
Selected as the team's punter was the Tigers' Justin Joy while David Hastings (Williamstown) and Payton Sturm (Parkersburg Catholic) were selected as the defensive and offensive utility players, respectively.
Tracewell, who led the maroon and gold to the Class A semifinal round, was selected as the Player of the Year on defense. League coaches also voted to add South Harrison's Dylan Jeffries, who died as a result of injuries suffered in a football game, as an Honorary First Team All-LKC performer and the Hawks head coach Brad Jett as co-Coach of the Year with St. Marys' Jodi Mote.
The Class AA offense is headlined by Ritchie County quarterback Alex Lipscomb. The Rebels senior threw for more than 1,900 yards and rushed for more than a 1,000 while accounting for 30 touchdowns as Ritchie reached the quarterfinal round before bowing out to Robert C. Byrd by a 37-6 score.
Joining Lipscomb in the backfield is the Ravenswood duo of Devon Crews and Rhys Jelich and Roane County's Luke Scott. Crews rushed for more than 900 yards and Jelich chipped in 700 more as the Red Devils returned to the post season after a one-year absence. Scott finished fourth in the MOV with 1,362 yards and 16 touchdowns for a Raiders team that reached the playoffs.
The offensive line is made up of Ravenswood's Kyle Hickman and Connor Jelich, Ritchie's Adam Parsons, Caije Nichols of Roane, and Braxton County's Raymond King. Parsons and King are the only seniors in the group.
Two of Lipscomb's favorite targets, senior Dylan Frye and junior Jayden Allender, were selected with Roane's Tyler King as the unit's receivers while Ravenswood's Nathan Cunningham and Roane's Cody May was selected as the unit's placekicker and utility player, respectively.
The defensive line is made up of seniors Mark Freeland (Ritchie) and Keith Kelly (Roane) and juniors Isaac Crow (Ravenswood) and Alex Ashey (Roane). Named as first team linebackers was Braxton's Chase Oney, the Red Devils' Matt Peery, Ritchie's Tristan Ray and Roane County freshman Tyler May.
Chosen to the first team secondary was senior Thomas Pritt (Braxton), and juniors Ben Johnson (Ravenswood), Seth Cottrill (Ritchie) and Steven McGinnis (Roane). The unit's punter is Crow while its utility player is Ravenswood senior Heath Burgess.