Football

Voting ends for Super 25 captain

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CHRIS PARKER/THISWEEKSPORTS
Ready's Akili Taylor

For the third consecutive season, ThisWeek Community News is asked for fans' input on the Super 25 football team captain.

This season, fans responded with more than 85,000 votes cast. Voting ended Monday, Nov. 18. 

The winner of the fan poll vote counts as one vote. Each member of the 12-person full-time sports staff at ThisWeek Newspapers will cast a vote one of the three finalists below, bringing the total number of ballots cast on the Super 25 captain to 13. The player with the most votes will be named captain.

Ready's Akili Taylor finished first with 54.6 percent of the votes ahead of Hilliard Davdson's D.D. Clark (41.23 percent) and Westerville Central's Jared Drake (4 percent).

Here are brief bioson this year’s finalists:

•D.D. Clark, Hilliard Davidson -- The Wildcats crank out great running backs in their triple-option offense every year, and this 5-10, 184-pound senior is no exception. He rushed for 1,506 yards and 16 touchdowns on 188 carries with nine 100-plus yardage games during the regular season as Davidson went 10-0. He was first-team all-district in Division I.

•Jared Drake, Westerville Central -- Led by this 6-1, 208-pound senior quarterback, the Warhawks went 9-1 in the regular season. Drake completed 148 of 219 passes for 2,454 yards with 26 touchdowns, rushed for 640 yards and eight scores and averaged 39.8 yards per punt. Drake, who also plays defense for the Warhawks, was the district's Offensive Player of the Year in Division I.

•Akili Taylor, Ready -- After putting on 15 pounds of muscle during the offseason, this 5-9, 187-pound senior running back cranked out 1,642 yards and 23 touchdowns on 150 carries for a 10.9 average during the regular season as Ready went 9-1. Taylor, who has been offered by Kent State and Navy, was the district's Offensive Player of the Year in Division VI.

Past captains were Hartley's Ja'Wuan Woodley (2012), Johnstown's Ross Franklin (2011), Westerville South's Jayshon Jackson (2010), Pickerington North's Matt Ferguson (2009) DeSales' Josh Kusan (2008), Hilliard Darby's Jeremy Ebert (2007), Westland's Kasey Wendal (2006), Worthington Kilbourne's Jordan Gafford (2005), Hilliard Davidson's Christen Haywood (2004), Dublin Coffman's Jack Rafferty (2003) and Brady Quinn (2002), Davison'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). Dublin's Nick Goings won in 1994 and shared the award the next year with Westerville South's Andy Katzenmoyer.

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