By David Fong
MIAMI COUNTY — In the end, Matt Burgbacher knows the Greater Western Ohio Conference award that matters most was clinched the final week of the season when his Troy football team won the outright GWOC American North Division trophy with a win over rival Piqua.
“The individual medals they hand out are nice, but the real trophy for us is the GWOC North trophy that sits in our office right now,” Troy’s coach said. “That’s a team award and the one our kids really care about.”
Still, though, Troy’s team play on the field did translate into a host of individual GWOC honors in the postseason. Three Trojans — senior quarterback Hayden Kotwica, senior offensive lineman Travis Hall and Burgbacher — earned top GWOC honors.
Kotwica was named GWOC American North Offensive Athlete of the Year, Hall was named to the GWOC All-Conference team — which honors the top players from across all four divisions of the GWOC — and Burgbacher was named GWOC American North Coach of the Year.
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.
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.
Burgabacher was honored for turning the Trojans from a 2-8 last season into a 10-2 team this year and winning the GWOC American North, Troy’s first conference title since 2000.
Joining Kotwica and Hall on the GWOC American North first team were senior kicker Jake Anderson, sophomore defensive back Sam Jackson, senior running back Josh Browder and junior defensive lineman Joah Schricker.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Troy players named second-team All-GWOC American North included: senior linebacker Will Brumfield, senior linebacker Michael Murray, junior defensive tackle Christian Nation, senior offensive lineman Dylan Sedam, senior wide receiver Zion Taylor and junior linebacker John Wehrkamp.
Junior cornerbacks Zach Boyer and Derek McDonagh both earned All-GWOC American North special mention.
Tippecanoe senior defensive back Cade Rogers, senior linebacker Austin Subler and senior defensive back Quenten Williams were named to the All-GWOC American North first team.
Senior running back Nyles Anderson, junior running back Cole Barhorst and senior offensive lineman Grant Carlson were named to the second team.
Senior defensive lineman Kyle Bolton, senior linebacker Matt Garber, senior offenisve lineman Isaas Haas and senior quarterback Aaron Hughes were named special mention.
Junior linebacker Ben Schmiesing was named GWOC American North Defensive Athlete of the Year.
Joining him on the first team were junior offensive lineman Ben Bynum, senior defensive back Dylan Cole, senior defensive lineman Tristen Cox, senior offensive lineman Anthony Grunkemeyer, senior tight end/defensive end Nathan Monnin and senior running back Allen Schrub.
Senior linebacker Ty Carnes, senior defensive lineman Josh Potter and junior receiver Hayden Schrubb were named to the second team.
Sophomore offensive lineman Caden Clark, junior quarterback Austin Davis and junior offensive lineman Colten Meyer were named special mention.
Contact David Fong at firstname.lastname@example.org; follow him on Twitter @thefong