TC’s Lutz, SE’s Swartzmiller top district football honors
One engineered a massive turnaround, the other played a key role in his team’s outstanding regular season and deepest — and ongoing — playoff run in program history.
Both earned top honors this week when The Associated Press announced its Northwest District football team.
First the coach.
Judd Lutz was named the Division III coach of the year after turning a team which had gone just 2-18 over the past two years into a winner.
The Tornadoes went just 2-8 in his first year in 2016 and 0-10 last season before cranking out an 8-3 campaign this year, making the playoffs for the first time since 2013 and gaining a share of the Sandusky Bay Conference Lake Division.
“It wouldn’t be possible without our coaches, without our players,” Lutz said when informed of the award. “It’s a team award. It’s only possible with selfless acts from a number of people.
“It’s about our players, coaches and community,” he said. “Happy to accept on their behalf.”
Meanwhile, Seneca East running back Blaine Swartzmiller picked up the Division VI offensive player of the year honor.
The 235-pound senior was a driving force in the Tigers going 9-1 during the regular season, with the lone loss being a 31-24 setback to Northern 10 Athletic Conference rival Mohawk.
Swartmiller rolled up 2,067 rushing yards and scoring 25 touchdowns for the Tigers, even filling in at quarterback for two games when the regular playcaller was injured.
It all helped Seneca East easily earn the top playoff seed in its region. The Tigers then claimed their first playoff victory in program history en route to playing Friday for the regional title.
Seneca East coach Ed Phillips said being offensive player of the year is a big accomplishment for the senior, and for the program.
“When you get stuff like that, it’s a sign the player, in Blaine, has had a great year,” Phillips said. “But it’s also a sign that your team and your program overall is respected by an awful lot of people right now, and that’s very flattering right now.
“For Blaine individually, I’m happy for him because he really is that guy that stays at the weight room until nobody’s there. He’s there and he works to be the best that he can be,” he said.
Several other area athletes also landed on the various district teams.
Lutz had a handful of his players gain honors in Division III.
The first-team Tornadoes included junior receiver Nick Koerper, junior quarterback Chase Frankhauser, senior offensive lineman Chad Gunder and senior defensive back Tabian Goodman.
Koerper hauled in 21 passes for 495 yards and five touchdowns, then filled at quarterback for an injured Frankhauser, throwing for 489 yards and five more TDs. He also runes for 455 yard and six scores.
Despite missing part of four games due to a broken collarbone, Frankhauser went 78 for 133 passing for 1,223 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Goodman tallied 20 tackles and picked off five passes for TC.
Junior defensive lineman Drake Devore (30 tackles, 6 sacks) ended on the second team for Columbian, with honorable mention status going to Brady Conley and Donnell Brockington.
“I think they’re all very worthy of any accolades,” Lutz said.
Clyde had five players gain awards.
The first-team Fliers were all seniors — offensive lineman Devin Lee, defensive lineman Andy Adams, linebacker Jared Flewelling and punter Cam Farrar.
Lee didn’t allow any sacks as a center, Adams registered 55 tackles and six sacks, Flewelling had 90 tackles and 10 tackles for loss, and Farrar averaged 37.4 yards per punt.
Junior running back Gunner Golden (1,153 yards, 13 TDs) was a second-team pick.
Bellevue had the area’s only Division IV honorees.
Junior Jack Howey finished as the lone Redman on the first team, tallying 95 tackles and 12 tackles for loss as a linebacker.
The second team included senior receiver Gavin Sparling (40-555, TD) and senior defensive back Dalton Hay (47 tackles, 2 INTs).
Keegan Ray, Colton Ray and Damion Hay landed on the honorable mention list.
Fostoria senior running back Maalik Tucker (1,232 yards, 12 TDs) headed up the area’s Division V players, making the list as a second-team running back.
Upper Sandusky’s Nate McMillan and Diago Cazares were honorable mention selections.
Three other local players joined Swartzmiller on the Division VI first team.
That included fellow Seneca East senior Tyler Turek, a defensive lineman with 78 tackles.
Carey seniors Jacob Boes and Adam Hackworth joined them. Boes made it as an offensive lineman, while Hackworth gained his honor as a defensive lineman who registered 116 tackles and 3 1/2 tackles for loss.
Seneca East junior quarterback Chase Foos landed on the second team, throwing for 1,491 yards and 16 TDs despite missing two games with an injury.
Other second-teamers included Carey seniors Griffin Summit at receiver (22-526, 11 TDs) and Jordan Clauss at linebacker (100 tackles, 13 TFLs), and Lakota senior offensive lineman Zach Collum and
junior running back Trevor Franks (1,711yards, 21 TDs).
The local honorable mention players were Carey’s Jordan Dasher, Connor Williams, Willie Schafer, Ethan Berringer and Ian Yeater; Lakota’s Carter Reinhart, Devin Keim and Collin Hipsher; and Seneca East’s Kane Lynch and Skyler Walker.
Area athletes also showed up on the Division VII list.
Mohawk had a trio of first-team seniors in receiver Zach Hayman, defensive lineman Cole Zender and linebacker Bryce Kirian.
Hayman caught 37 passes for 811 yards and nine scores, Zender accounted for 6 1/2 sacks and Kirian had 72 tackles, 14 tackles for loss and 12 sacks.
Calvert’s first-team picks included senior Luke Brickner at offensive lineman and Austin Jones at running back. Jones ran for 1,367 yards and 20 touchdowns.
Hopewell-Loudon senior linebacker Donovan Bickelhaupt rounded out the first team with 104 tackles and 15 tackles for loss.
Mohawk again led the area second-team selections, with seniors Chris Klopp at offensive lineman, Keith Jenkins at quarterback (1,147 yards and 10 TDs passing; 1,115 yards and 19 TDs rushing), Alec Bollinger at defensive lineman (20 TFLs, 6 1/2 sacks) and Kedryk Leeth at linebacker (52 tackles, 13 TFLs, 7 1/2 sacks).
The Calvert senior duo of receiver Nic Somodi (28-480, 4 TDs) and linebacker Josh Recker (134 tackles, 4 sacks) also landed on the second team.
Hopewell-Loudon senior running back Sam Stickley (136-1,113, 22 TDs rushing; 16-259, 3 TDs receiving; two kickoff return TDs) was another second-teamer.
Local honorable mention players included Buckeye Central’s Avery Baldosser, Hopewell-Loudon’s Jaret Nelson, Mohawk’s Collin Cordgell and Kobe Stillberger, and Calvert’s Lewis Fabrizio, Vinny Volpe, Jake Seifert, Nick Krajewski and Aaron Rombach.