Hilliard Darby High School held a ceremony Feb. 6 to recognize four football players who will play at the collegiate level in Caleb Day (University of Illinois), Kyle Kaplan (Notre Dame College of Ohio), Cameron Kohl (Ohio Dominican University) and Zack Williams (Ohio Dominican).
Notre Dame College and Ohio Dominican are Division II programs.
Those four players helped lead the Panthers to an 11-1 overall record and the OCC-Cardinal Division title (7-0). Darby lost to Pickerington North 24-14 in a Division I, Region 3 semifinal.
Day was the OCC-Cardinal co-Player of the Year and was first-team all-district. He had 32 receptions for 490 yards and six touchdowns and rushed for 463 yards and nine scores on 60 carries.
On defense, Day had 45 tackles, five interceptions, broke up 13 passes and recovered two fumbles. He also averaged 23 yards per punt return and 22.9 yards per kickoff return.
Kohl was first-team all-district and all-OCC-Cardinal after recording a team-high 148 tackles, five sacks, broke up three passes and caused a fumble. He also rushed for 235 yards and five touchdowns on 29 carries.
Williams was second-team all-district and first-team all-league, and Kaplan was special mention all-district and first-team all-league.
Senior quarterback Chase Longwell also is expected to play in college but hadn’t made his decision by Feb. 6.
“This is the biggest group of seniors we’ve had sign to play in college since I’ve been here,” said John Santagata, who has been Darby’s head coach since 2008. “Any time your team is successful, college coaches think there must be some talent there and they are going to take a look at your players. These kids have worked extremely hard over the past four years and I’m just glad that it has paid off for them.”
-- Aaron Blankenship