Eleven area players earn All-Ohio football honors

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 26, 2003

The best team in Southeast Ohio had the district's best All-Ohio representation.

The Ironton Fighting Tigers, easily the best team in the Southeast district regardless of division, landed five players on the Associated Press Division IV All-Ohio team Tuesday, but all were special mention.

Senior Josh Sands, runner-up for district Defensive Player of the Year, led the five Ironton selections. The 6-foot-1, 180-pound Sands had two interceptions as a defensive back. Offensively, Sands completed 36 of 75 passes for 693 yards and seven touchdowns. He was intercepted just three times.

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As a junior, Sands played halfback and ran for 1,000 yards.

Also honored for Ironton were 6-3, 180-pound senior end Nick Collins, 6-3, 180-pound senior defensive end Steve Elswick, 6-foot, 195-pound senior linebacker Clay Price, and 5-10, 256-pound senior lineman Jeremy Akers.

The Rock Hill Redmen had 6-foot, 185-pound senior running back James Russell, 6-5, 185-pound senior quarterback Steven Daily and 6-2, 185-pound senior end Roger Joseph named special mention.

Fairland's 5-11, 227-pound senior linebacker C.J. Stewart and 6-foot, 200-pound senior lineman Matt Dawson were also named special mention. South Point's 6-foot, 235-pound senior lineman Aaron Runyon was another special mention honoree.

Collins averaged 23 yards a catch as he had 21 receptions for 489 yards and seven TDs. Joseph had 28 catches for 495 yards and four scores.

Dailey completed 63 of 139 passes for 1,002 yards. He had eight touchdowns and eight interceptions. Russell ran 208 times for 1,021 yards and scored nine times.

Portsmouth, which was just 4-6, landed two players on the first team. Tackle Gerald Cadogen, who has committed to Penn State, was named to the offense while Tyler Clifford was selected on the defensive side.

Portsmouth West junior lineman Eric McCormick was also a first team defensive selection.

Cleveland Benedictine running back Raymond Williams was the Offensive Player of the Year.

Williams, a 5-foot-11, 185-pound senior who was the runner-up for the AP Mr. Football award a year ago, rushed for 2,099 yards while averaging 8.1 yards a carry. He scored 27 touchdowns this season and has rushed for more than 6,000 yards in his career.

Benedictine (13-1) plays two-time defending champion Kenton (11-3) on Friday afternoon in the Division III championship game at Canton Fawcett Stadium.

Ravenna's Lamonte Nelms was the choice as the defensive player of the year. The 6-3, 205-pound senior had 112 tackles, intercepted one pass and recovered a fumble when he wasn't carrying 157 times for 987 yards and 10 touchdowns as a tailback.

The coaches of the year are Canal Fulton Northwest's Vic Whiting, who led his team to its first 10-0 season, and Jim Stephens, who took a Hunting Valley University School squad with just four seniors to a 9-1 record and just its second playoff appearance.