Regardless of when or where the DeSales High School football team needed a big play, it turned to senior Josh Kusan time and time again.

Kusan, the district Defensive Player of the Year at linebacker, had perhaps his biggest clutch performance Nov. 14 in a 38-21 victory over Louisville in the Division II, Region 7 final at Arlin Field in Mansfield.

Also the team's No. 1 running back, the 6-foot, 210-pound Kusan had 211 yards and three touchdowns and had a sack and a tackle for loss as the Stallions avenged a 25-20 loss to Leopards in a regional final last year.

Through 13 games, Kusan had 1,502 yards and 24 touchdowns on 193 rushes. Defensively, he led the Stallions with 123 tackles (96 solo, 54 assists) and also had two interceptions, three tackles for loss, seven sacks, four pass break-ups and two forced fumbles.

The Stallions were 13-0 before playing Cincinnati Anderson last Friday in a state semifinal.

"He's a great player," coach Ryan Wiggins said. "I'm very pleased. It's really hard in our style of play to play running back and linebacker. He's a warrior who wants the ball in his hands if the game is on the line. That's the sign of a great player."

One of the biggest plays Kusan made on defense came in a 21-17 win over Watterson on Oct. 3 in Crew Stadium. He intercepted a pass by Watterson's Pat Nester at the 13-yard line with 38 seconds remaining.

Kusan was a standout throughout the postseason as well, finishing with 135 yards and one touchdown in a 20-17 win over Watterson in a regional quarterfinal Oct. 31 and rushing for 125 yards and two scores in a 31-23 win over Marion-Franklin in a regional semifinal Nov. 7.

Kusan saw his first action on varsity as a sophomore at running back and linebacker but battled injuries throughout his sophomore and junior seasons.

"I didn't think I'd get the ball so much, so it's been surprising," he said. "It's great to get that opportunity. The seniors have all stepped up this year and I think we all worked hard in the offseason. It's been exciting being out there."

Kusan has received interest from Air Force as well as schools from the Mid-American Conference and Ivy League. Former DeSales starters Justin Moore and Chris Thomas are key players for Air Force.

"Too many schools recruit guys that look good on paper," Wiggins said. "This kid has been playing against some of the best teams in the state and has been starring every game."

Past captains include Hilliard Darby's Jeremy Ebert (2007), Westland's Kasey Wendal (2006), Kilbourne's Jordan Gafford (2005), Davidson's Christen Haywood (2004), Coffman's Jack Rafferty (2003) and Brady Quinn (2002), Davidson's Erick Phillips (2001), Brookhaven's Maurice Hall (2000), Grove City's Nathan Poole (1999), Upper Arlington's Kyle Slager (1998) and Jesse Kline (1997) and Grove City's Derek Combs (1996), Westerville South's Andy Katzenmoyer and Dublin Scioto's Nick Goings (1995); Goings (1994); Hilliard's Steve Baird (1993).

The team

SUPER 25 TEAM

PLAYER TEAM YR. POS. HT/WT

Tyler Backstrom Hilliard Davidson Sr. TE/DE 6-5/216

Brandon Bargar Hilliard Darby Sr. QB 6-0/155

Cory Becher Granville Sr. QB 6-2/205

Zach Boren Pickerington Central Sr. RB/LB 6-1/240

Devin Clodfelder Independence Jr. RB 5-10/190

Tommy Farwick Upper Arlington Sr. RB 6-0/210

Wallace Hale Beechcroft Jr. RB/LB 5-11/215

Ricky Harris Westerville South Sr. OT 6-3/295

Andrew Herrell Brookhaven Sr. RB 5-10/190

Zach Kerin Olentangy Sr. C/DT 6-5/267

Aaron Kingcade Worthington Kilbourne Sr. QB 6-3/195

Storm Klein Licking Valley Sr. RB/LB 6-3/230

Josh Kusan DeSales Sr. RB/LB 6-0/210

Tyrell Massey Marion-Franklin Sr. RB/DB 5-11/185

Keith Moore Grove City Sr. DB 6-2/192

Roosevelt Nix Reynoldsburg Jr. NT 5-11/240

Brandon Rice Walnut Ridge Sr. RB 5-9/182

Drew Ryan Licking Valley Sr. QB/DB 6-0/165

Dan Sprague Worthington Kilbourne Sr. LB 6-3/255

Will Studlien Big Walnut Sr. LB 6-3/225

Josh Suchecki Hilliard Davidson Sr. C 6-2/265

Patrick White Pickerington Central Sr. WR/DB 6-1/180

Seth White Bexley Sr. QB/DB 5-10/185

Jamie Wood Pickerington Central Sr. WR/DB 6-2/190

Taylor Wood Delaware Sr. QB 6-2/210

HONORABLE MENTION

PLAYER TEAM YR. POS. HT/WT

Adam Alderman Granville Sr. WR/DB 6-1/175

Jeremy Althouse Whetstone Sr. OL 6-1/240

Blake Annen Upper Arlington Sr. TE 6-4/225

Ike Ariguzo DeSales Sr. WR 6-6/200

Jessie Barns Grove City Christian Jr. RB 5-8/160

Alex Bayer Pickerington North Sr. TE 6-4/226

Jake Brandt Bexley Sr. OL/DL 6-6/240

Jairus Campbell Pickerington North Sr. OL/DE 6-5/246

Will Carter Johnstown Sr. RB 6-0/220

Tyler Collins Ready Sr. DL 6-3/265

Mark Crawford Upper Arlington Sr. LB 5-11/230

Davon Custis DeSales Sr. DL 6-5/225

Jay Dingess Marion-Franklin Sr. OL 6-2/260

Larez Harper Beechcroft Jr. DB 5-10/200

Tyler Harrell Dublin Scioto Sr. DL 6-3/230

Nick Heiden Big Walnut Sr. WR/DB 6-0/185

Michael Hilty Olentangy Liberty Sr. DL 6-4/240

Jason Hoar Utica So. QB/DB 5-9/155

Kevin Jackson Dublin Jerome Sr. QB 5-10/160

Noah Krimm Upper Arlington Sr. DB 5-11/180

Chris McCluney Westerville North Sr. DB 6-1/195

Wes McKeever New Albany Sr. LB 6-1/190

Steve Mehrer Dublin Jerome Jr. LB 6-0/205

Evan Mulkey Dublin Coffman Sr. LB 6-1/210

Kevin Obyc Watterson Sr. RB/LB 5-10/193

Dan Pennington Licking Heights Jr. RB/LB 5-10/215

Victor Rodriguez Eastmoor Sr. LB 6-2/230

Harrison Rosch Canal Winchester Sr. LB 5-9/180

Aaron Shook Newark Catholic Sr. RB/LB 6-0/200

Jake Smith DeSales Sr. OL/DL 6-1/260

Jeff Stone Gahanna Sr. LB 5-11/197

Nathan Weeks Marysville Jr. RB 6-2/230

Evan Welsh Delaware Sr. OL/LB 6-2/215

Geoffrey Whiteside Hartley Jr. RB 5-10/170

Darryl Wood Eastmoor Sr. OL/DL 5-11/250