By David Fong
MIAMI COUNTY — Some of the best high school football players in Ohio were right outside your front door this fall.
More than two dozen area football players were honored by the Ohio Prep Sportswriters Association, as selected by a panel of OPSWA voters.
Troy had four players selected, Tippecanoe had one, Piqua two, Miami East three, Milton-Union one, Bethel four, Covington four, Troy Christian two and Lehman six.
Here’s a look at the local players honored:
The Division I All-Ohio teams will be released today. There are no local Division I high school football teams.
Four Trojans earned All-Ohio honors. Senior defensive lineman Joah Schricker was named second-team All-Ohio. He finished the season with 80 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, four sacks, 19 quarterback hurries, two fumble recoveries and one defensive touchdown.
Senior outside linebacker John Wehrkamp was named third-team All-Ohio. He racked up 94 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, four quarterback sacks, 12 quarterback hurries, four fumble recoveries and two blocked kicks.
Junior running back Jaydon Culp-Bishop and senior offensive lineman Kameron Block were named honorable mention. Culp-Bishop finished the regular season with 1,549 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns. He also had three receptions for 61 yards. Block cleared the way for Culp-Bishop’s breakout season.
“First and foremost, these awards are a great testament to our program and tradition here at Troy High School,” Troy coach Matt Burgbacher said. “These four guys will be the first to acknowledge their teammates had a huge part in them being recognized as all-state players. I’m very proud of these young men and what they were able to accomplish.”
Burgbacher went on to praise his four honorees.
“Hard work pays off and it certainly has for Joah. He is one of the hardest workers we have and I couldn’t be more proud of him. He has come a long way, not only as a football player, but as a person. Johnny is the most intense, energetic and relentless player I’ve been around. This kid never has a bad day and we always looked forward to what Johnny had to bring each and every day. This kid had no regard for his body and played every play like it was his last. He definitely left it all on the field for us each Friday night.
“Jaydon has come such a long way and developed into one of the top running backs in the state. As the season progressed, this young man kept getting better and better. By the end of the year, he wanted the ball in his hands and the opportunity to make plays for the team. We are looking forward to having Jaydon back for another year and seeing what he can do. The sky is the limit for this young man. It was great to see Kameron come back and have the season he had after his knee injury ended his season in Week 10 last year. It was a long road of recovery for him, but he worked to get back to form this year and led our offense up front to some pretty big games statistically. Kam was solid every week, you knew exactly what you were going to get and he performed at a very high level.”
Tippecanoe senior kicker Caiden Smith earned honorable mention All-Ohio in Division III. He converted 30 of 32 extra point attempts and six of seven field goals on the season.
Piqua linebacker Ben Schmiesing was named first-team All-Ohio, while senior receiver Hayden Schrubb earned honorable mention. Schmiesing had more than 100 tackles for the Indians, while Schrubb had 53 receptions for 911 yards and 15 touchdowns.
There are no Division IV teams in Miami County.
A trio of Miami East players were named All-Ohio, as senior offensive lineman Brenden Dalton, junior linebacker Vincent Villella and senior defensive back Justin Brown all were named to the third team. Milton-Union defensive back Zac Shields was named second-team All-Ohio.
Dalton was described by East coach Max Current as, “my best all-around lineman.” and helped lead the way for the East offense. On defense, Villella had 112 tackles, four tackles for loss, one sack, one quarterback hurry and one interception. Brown had 61 tackles, four tackles for loss, one quarterback hurry, one forced fumble, three fumble recoveries and four interceptions.
In addition to becoming Milton’s all-time leading rusher this season, Shields had three interceptions and eight tackles for loss on defense.
Bethel had four players named All-Ohio in Division VI. Leading the way was senior defensive back Travis Durst, who was named to the second team defense. Senior offensive lineman Hunter Shelley was named to the third team. Quarterback Jacob Evans and running back Caleb South both were named honorable mention.
Durst led the Cross County Conference with eight interceptions, two of which he returned for touchdowns. He also had 55 tackles. Shelley was the key lineman on an offense that rushed for nearly 4,000 total yards. Evans completed 65 percent of his passes for 1,204 yards, with 17 touchdowns and two interceptions. He also rushed for 438 yards. South was the Bees’ leading rusher.
Covington also had four players named All-Ohio. The Buccaneers‘ top honoree was senior linebacker Joe Schmelzer, who was named to the second team. Senior receiver Zach Parrett, senior running back Ethan Herron and senior defensive back Ty Freeman all were named honorable mention.
Schmelzer had 113 tackles, five sacks and 10 tackles for loss. Parrett had 36 receptions for 500 yards and four touchdowns. Herron rushed for 837 yards and seven touchdowns. Freeman had 32 tackles, two interceptions and six passes broken up.
Troy Christian junior linemen Nick Baker and Grant Doucette both were named honorable mention. Baker was the Eagles’ top offensive lineman, while Doucette finished the season with 64 tackles.
Lehman had six players honored, including a pair of first-team selections. Junior quarterback Elliott Gilardi and senior defensive lineman Michael Bunker both were named to the first team. Senior running back Owen Smith and kicker Michael Denning both were named to the second team. Senior receiver Kameron Lee and senior offensive lineman Collin Haller received third-team honors.
Gilardi completed 82 of 123 passes for 1,359 yards with 22 touchdowns and five interceptions. He also rushed for 936 yards and 17 touchdowns. Bunker had 52 tackles, 13 sacks, one fumble recovery and one blocked kick. Smith carried the ball 139 times for 1,546 yards and 21 touchdowns. Denning converted on 64 of 66 extra point attempts and booted three field goals. Lee caught 28 passes for 505 yards and seven touchdowns. Haller was the center on an offense that produced more than 4,500 total yards.
Contact David Fong at email@example.com; follow him on Twitter @thefong