11 Cadets named 1st team all-district
A collection of high-quality players, along with some outstanding coaching, powered the Fort Frye football team to the Division VI state semifinals this season.
Eleven of those players were recognized Saturday, earning first team All-East District honors, and head coach Eric Huck was named the district’s Coach of the Year.
Fort Frye finished 10-1, won the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference 3A championship, the Region 23 championship and came within a yard of taking down Springfield in the state semis.
“This is a special group no doubt and I feel like we should be playing in the state championship game next week,” Huck said following the 16-13 loss last Saturday. “We’ve worked so hard all year and even though it hurts they need look back and remember how great this season was.”
For the second straight season, a Fort Frye lineman was named the East District Offensive Player of the Year in D6. This year, it was junior Casey Brooker. Brooker played left tackle on the Cadets’ front and was the team’s top lineman according to Huck, who called this year’s group one of the best lines he’s ever coached.
Junior left guard Hunter Kesselring and senior right tackle Eric Isner joined Brooker on the first team. They helped pave the way for a Fort Frye rushing attack that averaged 6.4 yards per carry this season. They also kept quarterback Ian Ellis, another first team pick, upright, as he was sacked just five times in 11 games.
Benefiting the most from such a talented line were running backs Owen Brown and Maeson Long, both picked to the first team. Long, a junior and first-year football player, led the team with 754 yards and 9.7 yards per carry. He scored nine touchdowns, and had 130 yards against Springfield. Brown carried 87 times for 689 yards and a team-best 10 TDs. He also caught 15 balls for 227 yards.
Ellis, in his second season under center, completed 75 of 110 pass attempts for 1,138 yards, nine touchdowns and seven interceptions. He also rushed for seven touchdowns and commanded the huddle well.
His No. 1 target was senior Jay Baker, who was a first team all-district pick. Baker caught 21 passes for 380 yards, both team-highs, and two touchdowns. Though he earned all-district as a receiver, he was also a ball-hawk at the corner back position with six interceptions.
Defensively, Fort Frye allowed 6.7 points per game this season. Senior linebacker Dylan Hart repeated as Defensive Player of the Year, splitting the honor with Shenandoah defensive back Cade Denius.
Hart finished with 98 total tackles, 11 for a loss, four sacks and two forced fumbles.
The strength of Fort Frye’s defense was its line, which saw two players named to the first team. Senior Braden Medley repeated as a first teamer, while junior Brady Kutscherenko joined the list for the first time.
Medley led the Cadets with nine sacks to go along with five quarterback hits, 39 tackles and two fumble recoveries (one returned for a touchdown).
Kutscherenko had a breakout year and as arguably Fort Frye’s most impactful player on that side of the ball.
From his tackle spot, Kutscherenko racked up 69 tackles, 10 for a loss, six sacks, four QB hits and a forced fumble.
Senior Brian Adkins was one of Fort Frye’s biggest leaders and earned first team honors as a defensive back. From his safety position, Adkins recorded 36 tackles, eight passes defended and one interception. He was also a weapon on offense, carrying 91 times for 581 yards and nine TDs while snagging 13 passes for 166 yards and two TDs.
Elsewhere in D6, Shenandoah’s Denius, Dayton Hill (QB), Briar Portman (RB), Jared Trenner (OL), Preston Mackie (DL), Hunter Schott (LB) and Baylor Wentworth (DB( all were named first team while Julius Kirk, Tanner Devolld and Dakota Hoover were special mention.
In Division VII, Frontier’s Gaige Bowersock and Slade Amos were first team selections while J.D. Schmidt, Tanner Bills and Noah Barnhart were second team. Breckin Hoff and Andrew Shapley were special mention for the Cougars.
Bowersock, a senior defensive lineman, finished with 69 tackles, seven sacks and one fumble recovery.
Amos was honored as a running back after rushing 95 times for 626 yards. He also caught eight balls for 107 yards and scored 12 total touchdowns this season.
Schmidt, in his second year as the Cougars’ starting QB, completed 65 of 143 passes for 1,192 yards, 12 touchdowns and eight picks.
Barnhart, a senior linebacker, racked up 61 tackles and had one sack and a forced fumble. He also played fullback, carrying 96 times for 424 yards and totaled 11 touchdowns.
Bills was a standout on both sides of the ball, but earned second team honors as a receiver. He tallied 21 receptions and 427 yards, 26 rushes for 153 yards and found the end zone 10 times.
Elsewhere in D7, Caldwell’s Dawlson Moore (LB) was named the district’s Defensive Player of the Year while Braxton Dudley (QB), Whyatt Parks (RB), T.J. Wehr (OL) and Jonah Croucher (DL) were picked to the first team. Caden Moore (RB) and Matthew Cunningham (OL) earned second team honors while Branden Piskula, Waylon Clark and Marshal Sayre made special mention.
From Monroe Central, Malachi Rose-Burton (QB), Alex Kilburn (RB) and Garet Cramer (OL) were first teamers, Austin Hogue (WR) and Michael Bunning (DB) were second teamers and Payton Robinson was special mention.
Morgan had six players honored in Division V. Landen Pettet (RB), Jarrell Newman (DL) and Carson Copeland (P) were first teamers while Levi Brown (QB), Karsen Mayle (WR) and Wade Pauley (OL) were second teamers.
Jordan Holland can be reached at email@example.com.