CINCINNATI -- The second half of the Ohio high school football season begins this week.
While area teams prepare for the final homestretch with goals of reaching the postseason, it’s also an opportunity to look at some of the players who’ve made the most impact in August and September.
All-district, all-state and Mr. Football awards are still several weeks away from being announced, but we can look at nine area players who should be considered for WCPO/TriStateFootball.com player of the year honors:
(Players in alphabetical order)
Reed Aichholz, Indian Hill: The senior quarterback hit his mid-season stride after the Roger Bacon game Sept. 9 and that’s a scary notion for opponents. One of the area’s top uncommitted players in the 2017 class, he’s garnering interest from several college programs including Illinois. He’s thrown for 989 yards and nine touchdowns and rushed for 228 yards and nine touchdowns.
Dan Bolden, Colerain: The junior linebacker has a team-leading 32 tackles, including two sacks. He was named the Skyline Chili Crosstown Showdown game MVP for his performance in the season-opening win over Warren Central in August. Bolden also has two interceptions for the undefeated Cardinals (5-0), who are ranked No. 5 nationally by the MaxPrep computer points rankings and No. 1 in the Associated Press state poll.
Ra’Von Bonner, Sycamore: The senior running back has 782 yards rushing (7.1 yards per carry) through five games. He's also scored 15 touchdowns. He needs 439 yards to pass Paul Jordan’s school career rushing yards mark of 3,769, according to Sycamore coach Scott Dattilo. Jordan played at Sycamore from 1969-72. Bonner has verbally committed to Illinois.
Kesean Gamble, CHCA: The senior running back has 781 yards rushing and 11 touchdowns. He also has seven receptions for 171 yards and two touchdowns. “He’s having a great year,” CHCA coach Mark Mueller said. Gamble is considering multiple scholarship offers and is a leading candidate for the area’s Division V offensive player of the year.
Tyler Knecht, Kings: The senior quarterback has thrown for 1,156 yards and 10 touchdowns. He’s rushed for 425 yards and 11 touchdowns for the Knights. Several college programs have expressed interest and it’s a matter of time before he receives a scholarship offer.
Andrew Marty, Wyoming: Yet another talented quarterback in a season deep in that position. The Northwestern commit has thrown for 1,175 yards and 12 touchdowns. He's rushed for 128 yards and six touchdowns. He had back-to-back 300-plus yards passing in mid-September including five touchdowns against McNicholas.
Danny Nieman, Elder: The junior quarterback has stepped up to his role in a significant way after the graduation of three-year starter Peyton Ramsey (now at Indiana). Nieman has thrown for 991 yards and five touchdowns and has completed 66.2 percent of his passes.
Josiah Scott, Fairfield: The senior cornerback and Michigan State commit has five interceptions, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and a 98-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. Much was expected of Scott and he’s responded in a crucial way as the Indians face the toughest part of their schedule starting Friday.
Jay Volpenhein, Anderson: The junior quarterback has thrown for 1,709 yards and 22 touchdowns in five games. He’s also rushed for 405 yards and five touchdowns. He’s thrown for 300-plus yards in four of the give games (294 yards in the other game).
TriStateFootball.com's Greg Shoemaker contributed.
Others to watch:
- Kings senior defensive end Dan Sichterman (eight sacks)
- La Salle senior running back/strong safety Jarell White (11 tackles vs. Winton Woods last week)
- Winton Woods senior defensive lineman Jerron Cage (Ohio State commit, 1 ½ sacks, eight tackles last week)
- Turpin senior inside linebacker Lang Evans (six sacks). School's career leader in tackles.
- Harrison junior quarterback Frankie Young (1,387 passing yards and 14 touchdowns)
- Little Miami sophomore Lucas Patten (866 rushing yards, 13 touchdowns).
- McNicholas senior quarterback Cameron Haynes (1,376 passing yards, eight touchdowns)
- Oak Hills junior quarterback Jacob Woycke (1,408 yards, 11 touchdowns)
- Hamilton senior quarterback Eric Jackson (838 yards passing, five touchdowns and 592 yards rushing and eight touchdowns)
- Oak Hills senior wide receiver Cam Naber (32 receptions for 685 yards and five touchdowns)
- St. Xavier senior defensive back Colton Paul (four interceptions) after switching over from wide receiver.
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