By David Fong
MIAMI COUNTY — Officially, the plaque naming the All-Southwest District Division II Football Coach of the Year will have just one name on it.
Matt Burgbacher wishes he could fit a few dozen more.
“Obviously it’s a great honor just to be mentioned for that award,” said Troy’s coach, who was named the Southwest District’s top Division II football coach by a panel comprised of media members from the district. “But I think this is a program award. No one guy can do it alone.
“The first thing you’ve got to look at is the assistants I have and what they do. Then you’ve got to look at the success of our players and what they were able to do on the field. This is a program award. Our entire program has been recognized for do some great things. They’ve got to give the award to somebody — it just happens to have my name attached to it.”
Burgbacher guided the Trojans to a 10-2 finish, a Greater Western Ohio Conference American North division title and a spot in the Division II regional semifinals. All of this came on the heels of a 2-8 season last year and a combined 10-30 record the four years prior.
This is the third time Burgbacher has been named All-Southwest District Coach of the Year, having previously won the award for Division VI in 2009 and 2011 at Fort Loramie.
“I am very grateful and very honored, but there are so many people who were a part of this,” Burgbacher said. “You look at the kids, you look at the assistant coaches and I think you look at the community, as well. If we didn’t have the community support that we did, could we have lost some games we won? Maybe. I know the support we had this season meant a lot to the psyche of our kids. There we so many people involved in what we were able to accomplish this season.”
Troy also had eight players earn Division II All-Southwest District honors.
Quarterback Hayden Kotwica, running back Josh Browder and offensive lineman Travis Hall — all seniors — were named to the first team on offense. Junior defensive lineman Joah Schricker was named to the first team on defense.
Senior kicker Jake Anderson was named to the second team on offense, while junior linebacker John Wehrkamp earned second-team honors on defense. Senior linebacker Will Brumfield and sophomore safety Sam Jackson earned honorable mention.
Kotwica completed 120 of 213 passes for 1,852 yards and 18 touchdowns this season. He also carried the ball 161 times for 798 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Browder had a breakout season, carrying the ball 190 times for 1,467 yards and 19 touchdowns. He also had 23 receptions for 437 yards and five touchdowns.
Clearing the way for Troy’s offense was the 6-foot-4, 308-pound Hall, who graded out as Troy’s most efficient offensive lineman and led the team in pancake blocks.
Schricker finished the season with 78 tackles. He also led the team in sacks (7.5) and was second on the team in tackles for loss (15). He recovered one fumble for the Trojans.
Anderson — who also was the starting free safety for the Trojans — converted on 50 of 52 extra point attempts. He also went 5-for-5 on field goal attempts, with a long of 29 yards against Cincinnati Northwest.
Wehrkamp had 94 tackles on the season and led the team with 16 tackles for loss. He also had two interceptions, two caused fumbles and two recovered fumbles.
Brumfield was second on the team in tackles with 110. He also had three sacks, seven tackles for loss, three forced fumbles and an interception.
Jackson led the Greater Western Ohio Conference American North Division with six interceptions, one of which he returned for a touchdown. He also had 89 tackles and five tackles for loss.
“All of these individual awards are great for the kids — and they all deserve them,” Burgbacher said. “But I think they would all tell you the little medals they get don’t mean anything to the big trophy we won this year. It’s nice to be recognized, but the GWOC American North trophy we have sitting in our office means the most to them.
“They would also tell you they couldn’t have gotten the individual awards without their teammates. They deserve everything they got this year, but they know we did it as a team. I’m proud of them as individuals and I’m proud of what the team was able to accomplish this year.”
Contact David Fong at firstname.lastname@example.org; follow him on Twitter @thefong