Coming off a record-setting junior season, Harvest Prep running back Daniel Bangura was determined not to rest on his laurels this fall.
One of his main sources of motivation came after he was held to 84 yards rushing and one touchdown in a 48-7 loss to Warren John F. Kennedy in a 2016 Division VII state semifinal.
"That last game I played as a junior, I don't think I broke one tackle," Bangura said. "I felt weak looking at the film. This year, coming into my senior season, I had made it a goal of mine to put on 10 pounds of muscle, so I hit the weights hard in the winter and went from 165 to 175. One of the biggest things I felt like I improved on in the offseason was strength. I felt like I broke a lot more tackles this year."
After becoming the first player in Ohio history to rush for more than 4,000 yards in a season, as he finished with 4,128 last fall while also setting state records for total touchdowns (57), rushing touchdowns (54) and points (348), Bangura had another spectacular year to become Harvest Prep's first Super 25 captain.
He rushed for 3,401 yards and 45 touchdowns on 278 carries, had 14 receptions for 264 yards and five scores and even completed 14 of 23 passes for 59 yards and two touchdowns. He also added 11 two-point conversion runs.
Bangura is Ohio's all-time leader in rushing yards (9,650) and ranks first in career touchdowns (133) and rushing touchdowns (124). He also is 12th on the national career rushing list.
The 5-foot-9, 175-pounder holds offers from Kent State, Limestone, Ohio University, Findlay and Urbana.
"The numbers were electric last year, but let me tell you for anyone to do what he's done for two to three years, nobody would believe what he does in the offseason," said coach Milan Smith, whose squad finished 9-2. "There's his diet regimen, and you're talking about a kid who chooses to keep his mind clean. He's matured off the field."Super 25
Anderson was one of the area's top wide receivers for the second consecutive season, helping Hilliard Bradley finish a program-best 11-1 after falling to Pickerington Central 42-31 in a Division I, Region 3 semifinal Nov. 10.
The 6-3, 180-pound senior had 65 catches for 1,242 yards and 13 touchdowns and was named first-team all-district and OCC-Cardinal Offensive Player of the Year. Anderson, who has yet to make a college decision, owns the program's career records for receptions (142), yards receiving (2,312) and touchdown receptions (28).
The Jaguars won their second consecutive OCC-Cardinal championship.
"Daevon is one of the most athletic kids that I have ever coached," coach Mike LoParo said. "He leaves the school owning all of the receiving marks and he should excel at the next level."
A starter at linebacker since early in his sophomore season, this 6-1, 215-pound senior is Pickerington Central's all-time leader in tackles.
Brancifort, who has scholarship offers from Morehead State and Butler, had more than 120 tackles, including double figures in tackles for loss, through 13 games this season. He had an interception in the Tigers' 42-31 victory over Hilliard Bradley in a Division I, Region 3 semifinal Nov. 10.
Brancifort, who was named first-team all-district on defense and first-team all-OCC-Ohio Division, also has seen playing time at running back, rushing for 62 yards.
Central was 12-1 before playing Cincinnati Colerain in a state semifinal Nov. 24.
"He's our all-time leader in tackles and one of our top instinctive defenders to ever play," coach Jay Sharrett said.
This 6-0, 166-pound junior quarterback was the catalyst of Whitehall's high-powered offense.
Byrd rushed for 1,628 yards and 24 touchdowns on 227 carries and completed 70 of 153 passes for 1,131 yards with 14 touchdowns and four interceptions and was named first-team all-district and all-MSL-Ohio.
The Rams, who averaged 30.5 points, lost to New Albany 42-35 in the first round of the Division II, Region 7 playoffs Nov. 3 to finish 7-4 overall.
Whitehall went 4-1 in the MSL-Ohio to share the league championship with Columbus Academy and London.
"Raymell being selected to the Super 25 is a testament to his tremendous athletic and leadership abilities," coach Rod Lightfoot said. "It's a joy coaching a young man who elevates the play of those around him and takes pride in putting team first."
This 5-8, 155-pound junior running back and cornerback did more than his share on both sides of the ball for Eastmoor Academy, which went 6-4 and just missed earning a spot in the Division III, Region 11 playoffs.
Edwards rushed for 1,171 yards and 17 touchdowns on 138 carries and had 21 receptions for 460 yards and nine scores. He also converted seven two-point conversions and returned two kickoffs and one punt for touchdowns.
Edwards, who was named first-team all-district and all-City League-South, had 45 tackles, 16 pass breakups and two interceptions on defense.
"He only averaged 14 carries, so talk about production. He had an ability to make big plays," coach Jim Miranda said. "People tried to challenge him (on defense) because of his height, and it's hard to deny his production."
One of the biggest improvements Gahanna made this season was in its running game, where this 5-10, 185-pound junior led the way with 1,016 yards and 19 touchdowns.
Harris also had 32 catches for 383 yards and two touchdowns and 17 kickoff returns for 386 yards and a touchdown for the Lions, who lost to Olentangy Liberty 17-14 in a Division I, Region 2 semifinal Nov. 10 to finish 7-5.
Harris, who had 87 yards and four touchdowns on 16 carries, four catches for 112 yards and three kickoff returns for 152 yards and one score in a 49-36 win over Lancaster on Oct. 13, was first-team all-district and all-OCC-Ohio.
He also played in the secondary, recording 8.5 tackles against Liberty.
"He's had a great year," coach Bruce Ward said. "He's caught (the ball) well, runs well, returns kicks and gets a tackle or two."
This 6-6, 245-pound junior for Olentangy Orange has become one of the top defensive linemen in the state.
Harrison, who is rated by several recruiting experts as the state's top player in the 2019 recruiting class, had 34 tackles, 18.5 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks. At tight end, he had nine catches for 173 yards and four touchdowns.
Harrison was named first-team all-district and all-OCC-Buckeye for the Pioneers, who finished 9-2 after losing to Gahanna 38-37 in overtime in the first round of the Division I, Region 2 playoffs Nov. 3.
"Zach's numbers are good, but the effect that he has on opposing offenses in terms of game-planning is immeasurable," coach Zebb Schroeder said. "Teams always have to keep track of him, and that allows his teammates to get in position to make plays."
This 6-2, 195-pound senior defensive back for Pickerington Central was named Division I district Defensive Player of the Year for the second consecutive year and OCC-Ohio co-Player of the Year.
Henderson, a Michigan State commit, had more than 60 tackles and four interceptions, including one that he returned for a touchdown, through 13 games. One of his interceptions came in the Tigers' 31-14 win over Pickerington North in the Region 3 final Nov. 17.
As a wide receiver, Henderson had 10 catches for 229 yards and two touchdowns and had rushed 25 times for 160 yards and two scores.
In addition, he had seven kickoff returns for 185 yards and a touchdown.
"(He's) the most diverse player we have had in years," coach Jay Sharrett said. "We're fortunate that he has been a four-year starter and leader in our program."
Hoak was a defensive standout for Dublin Coffman, which finished 8-3 after losing to Olentangy 28-24 in the opening round of the Division I, Region 2 playoffs Nov. 3.
The 6-1, 226-pound senior linebacker had a team-high 97 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, one fumble recovery and one blocked kick.
A Youngstown State commit, Hoak was named first-team all-district and shared OCC-Central
Player of the Year honors with three other players. The Shamrocks went 5-0 in the OCC-Central to win their first league championship since 2014.
"Griffin played our field linebacker position and he was put in position to make plays," coach Mark Crabtree said. "He is arguably one of the best linebackers we've had at Coffman in my (17-year) tenure as coach. He has great instincts, speed and play-making ability."
This 6-0, 212-pound senior was a force at linebacker for Olentangy Orange.
Houston had a team-high 56 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, three sacks, four forced fumbles and five pass breakups, but missed the final two games, including the Pioneers' playoff loss to Gahanna, after suffering a right knee injury in a 25-24 loss to Olentangy Liberty on Oct. 20.
The Ohio University commit was named first-team all-district in Division I and OCC-Buckeye co-Defensive Player of the Year, sharing the honor with Olentangy lineman Jacob Slade.
Orange placed second to Liberty in the OCC-Buckeye.
"It's evident what Bryce can do on the field, but he also watches a lot of film and meets with coaches to get an edge," coach Zebb Schroeder said. "He's a physical player who enjoys the sheer force and contact of the game."
This 5-9, 160-pound senior did a little of everything for Thomas Worthington, which finished 4-6 for its best record since going 5-5 in 2009.
"Khalil was our primary playmaker," coach Matt Zingery said. "His ability to learn our new offensive system quickly allowed him to play receiver, running back and quarterback in every game. His passion and energy made him a leader and his upbeat personality off the field matched his competitiveness on it."
Jones was named first-team all-district in Division I as a wide receiver and made first-team all-OCC-Cardinal after totaling 1,573 all-purpose yards and 16 touchdowns in nine games. He had 49 receptions for 753 yards and 10 touchdowns, 288 yards and five scores on 59 carries and 532 combined yards and a touchdown on 27 kickoff and punt returns.
This 6-3, 190-pound senior excelled at linebacker and on special teams for Dublin Jerome.
Kacherski, who also saw action as a receiver, had 65 tackles, four sacks and eight blocked kicks and was first-team all-district and all-OCC-Cardinal.
Kacherski blocked an extra-point attempt late in the Celtics' 28-27 win over Watterson on Oct. 20. The win helped Jerome reach the Division I, Region 2 playoffs, where it lost at Olentangy Liberty 35-0 in the first round Nov. 3 to finish 7-4.
"Cade's defensive presence and intensity helped set the tone for the entire team while setting others up for success due to many teams game-planning away from him," coach Bob Gecewich said. "His penchant for blocking kicks put us in a position to win no less than three tight games and served as a catalyst for the team."
Lachey played all over the field for Grandview, which finished 5-5.
The 6-4, 235-pound senior started the season at tight end and defensive end, but also saw playing time at running back and quarterback.
A Bowling Green commit, Lachey led the Bobcats with 762 yards rushing and 14 touchdowns on 123 carries, had 10 catches for 209 yards and one score and was 6-for-11 passing for 162 yards with a touchdown and an interception.
On defense, he had 80 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, seven sacks, one interception and one fumble recovery and was named Division VI district Defensive Player of the Year and first-team all-MSL-Ohio.
"What James did this season was amazing, moving around the field wherever we needed him," coach Jason Peters said. "He's one of those special kind of athletes who can do a lot of things."
This 6-1, 180-pound senior quarterback was named Division II district Offensive Player of the Year and helped lead Mifflin to the playoffs for the first time since 2002.
Logan followed a junior season in which he threw for 1,820 yards and 25 touchdowns by completing 136 of 215 passes for 2,852 yards and 32 scores this season. He also rushed for 344 yards and eight touchdowns on 67 carries.
The Punchers were seeded third in the Division II, Region 7 playoffs but lost to sixth-seeded Ashland 48-47 in overtime in the first round Nov. 3 to finish 8-3 overall. They went 5-1 in the City-North to share the league title with Beechcroft and Northland.
According to coach Anthony Thornton, three traits - leadership, football IQ and talent - helped Logan succeed.
"His season was phenomenal," Thornton said.
This 5-11, 185-pound senior running back led Columbus Academy to its second consecutive Division V playoff berth.
Moultrie rushed for 1,194 yards and 14 touchdowns on 214 carries and added 428 yards receiving and four touchdown receptions and was named first-team all-district and all-MSL-Ohio.
Moultrie also was a defensive back for the Vikings, who lost to Wheelersburg 35-16 in a Region 19 semifinal Nov. 10 to finish 9-3 overall and went 4-1 in the MSL-Ohio to share the league title with Whitehall and London.
"Herman was a dynamic weapon for us," coach Robin Miller said. "He helped us in the run game, the return game and really evolved into a key part of our passing game. He's a heady football player with not only a high IQ but also tremendous instincts. ... He will definitely be missed."
One of the Central District's feel-good stories this season was London, which followed a 3-7 finish in 2016 by earning a share of the MSL-Ohio title and qualifying for the Division IV, Region 16 playoffs.
The Red Raiders likely wouldn't have found that success if not for this 5-10, 175-pound junior running back, who was named MSL-Ohio Back of the Year and district Offensive Player of the Year. In the regular season, Price rushed for 2,364 yards and 25 touchdowns on 243 carries and totaled 2,724 yards.
Seventh-seeded London lost to second-seeded Cincinnati Wyoming 10-7 in the first round of the playoffs Nov. 3 to finish 8-3. It was the Red Raiders' first playoff appearance since 1999.
"We all just put in the work," Price said. "I was able to play the whole season after last year I ended up getting hurt."
Although Reynoldsburg went 7-3 and fell one spot short of a Division I, Region 3 playoff berth, this 6-3, 270-pound senior lineman did his part to help the Raiders stay in postseason contention all season.
Ratliff, a Marshall commit, finished with 90 tackles, 4.5 sacks and 14 tackles for loss at defensive tackle and was named first-team all-district and all-OCC-Ohio.
A three-year starter on defense who helped Reynoldsburg make the playoffs as a sophomore, Ratliff also saw action as an offensive guard for the Raiders, who averaged 24.4 points this season.
He had 47 tackles and 3.5 sacks a year ago while making second-team all-league.
"Elijah had a really good season at defensive tackle for us," coach Buddy White said. "He's such a great kid, such a committed young man. I'm going to miss that kid."
This 5-10, 175-pound senior running back for Westerville Central rushed for 1,368 yards and 13 touchdowns on 210 carries and caught 15 passes for 142 yards and a score.
Smith, who had a season-high 276 yards and five touchdowns in a 42-35 win over Westerville South on Oct. 19, was first-team all-district in Division I and all-OCC-Buckeye as the Warhawks finished 4-6.
The five touchdowns against South tied the Warhawks' single-game record, which was set by Houston Brown in 2004 and matched by Onesiaum Glass twice in 2007 and Benny Snell in 2014.
Smith ran for 209 yards and two scores in a 21-12 win over Westerville North on Oct. 6.
"Allen is a running back that displays vision, quickness and power," coach John Magistro said. "Throw in a great receiver, also, and you have a complete, great running back."
Hilliard Bradley had a major void to fill at quarterback following the graduation of Will Phillis, the program leader in career yards passing (4,416) and career touchdown passes (46) who now plays at Kent State.
In stepped Stewart, a transfer from Worthington Kilbourne.
The 6-2, 210-pound senior completed 166 of 249 passes for a program-record 2,515 yards with 27 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He also rushed for 512 yards and nine touchdowns on 110 carries.
Stewart, who has yet to make a college decision, was named first-team all-district in Division I and all-OCC-Cardinal as Bradley finished 11-1 overall and 6-0 in the league.
"Coming in and filling the shoes of Will Phillis couldn't have been easy," coach Mike LoParo said. "Josh stepped right into that role and helped take us to a new level."
Despite being just 5-9, 185 pounds, this senior excelled on both sides of the ball for Hartley and was named Division III district Defensive Player of the Year.
A linebacker, Stienecker had 103 tackles and 14.5 tackles for loss through 12 games for the Hawks, who lost to fifth-seeded Dresden Tri-Valley 13-9 in the Region 11 final Nov. 17 to finish 11-2.
Hartley, which was seeded third, was playing in its eighth consecutive regional final and had won the Division IV state title the past two seasons.
Stienecker also was a starter on the offensive line for the Hawks.
"It's about technique," coach Brad Burchfield said. "It's about how much you're willing to care about your team. He's very athletic and very tough and those are the two biggest things you need to have. He's a great player."
After seeing limited action a year ago, this 5-11, 185-pound senior for Independence blossomed into a standout running back this season.
Taylor rushed for 2,503 yards and 20 touchdowns on 288 carries, had 11 receptions for 228 yards and two scores and had five two-point conversions and was named Division III district Offensive Player of the Year.
He also had 107 yards and a touchdown on punt returns and 287 yards on kickoff returns, and as a defensive back, had two interceptions and one pass deflection.
The 76ers finished 10-2, won the City-South title and reached a Region 11 semifinal in their first playoff appearance since 2008.
"He's done some stellar things," coach Maurice Douglas said. "We knew he'd be good coming into camp. It was just a matter of how good, and he's continued to stay humble."
TY VAN FOSSEN
This 6-2, 210-pound senior excelled the last two seasons at linebacker for DeSales.
The Stallions reached a Division III state semifinal a year ago but finished 6-4 and missed the playoffs this season.
Van Fossen, a Cincinnati commit, finished with 95 tackles, 16 tackles for loss, two sacks, three forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and one interception and was named first-team all-district.
Van Fossen also saw extensive action at tight end and fullback on offense.
He had a 53-yard touchdown catch and returned a fumble 37 yards for a score in a 41-7 win over Watterson on Oct. 27.
"Ty is very physical," coach Ryan Wiggins said. "He's violent. The same way he lifts weights, the same way he practices is how he plays the game. You mix that with being quick and athletic and he makes a great linebacker."
After being named OCC-Ohio co-Player of the Year as a junior, this 5-11, 180-pound senior quarterback for Pickerington North became a more effective runner this season.
Weirick completed 161 of 320 passes for 2,526 yards with 32 touchdowns and was North's leading rusher with 1,083 yards and 12 scores on 136 carries.
Weirick again shared league Player of the Year honors this season and also was named Division I district Offensive Player of the Year for the Panthers, who lost to Pickerington Central 31-14 in the Region 3 final Nov. 17 to finish 10-3.
"I'm just impressed with his mental toughness, physical abilities and his athleticism to make plays," coach Nate Hillerich said. "He can kind of do everything. He has the ability to make checks at the line of scrimmage and can get us in the right place."
This 5-9, 200-pound senior linebacker for Worthington Kilbourne set a single-game program record with 25 tackles in a 17-3 loss to Hilliard Darby on Oct. 6, a week after making 21 tackles in a 34-21 loss to Dublin Scioto.
Wilson also set program records for tackles in a season (146) and career (448), solo tackles in a season (72) and career (165) and career sacks (15).
He averaged 40.4 yards on 54 punts, placing 29 inside the 20, and was named district Defensive Player of the Year in Division II and first-team all-OCC-Cardinal on defense and as a punter.
Kilbourne finished 3-7.
"Thomas plays like his hair is on fire," coach Vince Trombetti said. "He is one of the physically toughest kids that I have ever coached. He plays with total disregard for his own body and even less for those he is trying to tackle."
Speed and athleticism were among the biggest traits Wiseman has shown the last two seasons for Olentangy Liberty.
Versatility, though, is what made this 5-11, 180-pound senior free safety and receiver stand out.
Through 13 games, Wiseman had six interceptions, six pass breakups, 48 tackles, three sacks and one forced fumble on defense and 33 receptions for 460 yards and six touchdowns and 146 yards rushing on offense.
Wiseman, who has committed to play lacrosse for Ohio State, was named first-team all-district on defense and co-Offensive Player of the Year in the OCC-Buckeye. He was league Player of the Year as a junior.
Liberty was 11-2 before playing Mentor in a Division I state semifinal Nov. 24.
"He's just a great athlete with a ton of skills, and is just a really good player," coach Steve Hale said.Honorable Mention
Donta Ashcraft, Hilliard Darby, Sr., DL; Sam Backenstoe, Hilliard Davidson, Sr., OL/DL; Bryce Barasch, Johnstown, Jr., RB; Anthony Baum, Ready, Sr., OL/DL; Alexander Blackmon, Hartley, Sr., LB/RB; Cannon Blauser, Hilliard Bradley, Jr., LB; Joe Boggs, Reynoldsburg, Sr., OL; Robert Cope, Dublin Jerome, Sr., RB/DB; Jacob Cover, Hilliard Darby, Sr., OL; Luke Crabtree, Dublin Coffman, Sr., LB; Darren Davis, Canal Winchester, Jr., LB; Devin Dukes, Grove City, Sr., RB; Jeremy Erickson, Dublin Scioto, Sr., LB; Keon Freeman, Whitehall, Jr., LB; Jaelen Gill, Westerville South, Sr., RB/DB; Brandon Haley, Granville, Jr., RB; Will King, New Albany, Jr., DL/TE; Dante Landolfi, Upper Arlington, Sr., LB; Jake Lewis, Licking Valley, Sr., QB; Cody Little, Franklin Heights, Jr., QB; Mike Lowery, Gahanna, Jr., QB; Dorrian Moultrie, Columbus Academy, Jr., WR/LB; Isaiah Mullens, Harvest Prep, Sr., DL/TE; Eli Myers, Big Walnut, Jr., DL; John Paolo, Olentangy Liberty, Sr., LB; Zaire Porter, Marion-Franklin, Sr., WR/DB; Tyler Potts, Pickerington North, Sr., DB; Jacob Slade, Olentangy, Sr., DL/OL; Zach Slade, Olentangy, Sr., DL/RB; Justin Vance, Walnut Ridge, Sr., LB/TE; Gavin Waters, Licking Heights, Sr., LB; Mike White, Columbus West, Sr., RB; Ty Wiley, Pickerington North, Sr., WR; Mike Williams, Northland, Sr., WR/DB; and Jeremiah Wood, Pickerington Central, Sr., DB/RB.Past Captains
2016: Aaron Latiolais, Heath; 2015: Deeb Haber, Olentangy; 2014: Gunnar Hoak, Dublin Coffman; 2013: Jared Drake, Westerville Central; 2012: Ja'Wuan Woodley, Hartley; 2011: Ross Franklin, Johnstown; 2010: Jayshon Jackson, Westerville South; 2009: Matt Ferguson, Pickerington North; 2008: Josh Kusan, DeSales; 2007: Jeremy Ebert, Hilliard Darby; 2006: Kasey Wendal, Westland; 2005: Jordan Gafford, Worthington Kilbourne; 2004: Christen Haywood, Hilliard Davidson; 2003: Jack Rafferty, Coffman; 2002: Brady Quinn, Coffman; 2001: Erick Phillips, Davidson; 2000: Maurice Hall, Brookhaven; 1999: Nathan Poole, Grove City; 1998: Kyle Slager, Upper Arlington; 1997: Jesse Kline, Upper Arlington; 1996: Derek Combs, Grove City; 1995: Nick Goings, Dublin Scioto, and Andy Katzenmoyer, Westerville South; 1994: Goings, Dublin; 1993: Steve Baird, Hilliard.