CLARION, Pa. – Fresh off its third District 9 Class A title, the Clarion Area Bobcats have three 2013 The Rehab Centre D9Sports.com District 9 postseason football-award winners.
Running back/linebacker Damien Slike is the District 9 MVP, linebacker Destin Strauser is the Defensive Player of the Year and head coach Larry Wiser is the Coach of the Year.
Clearfield, the District 9 Class AAA champion, is also well represented with quarterback Christian Lezzer earning Offensive Player of the Year honors and guard Hunter Keith earning the Offensive Lineman of the Year award for the second straight year.
Also winning individual awards were Redbank Valley kicker Zane Watson (Special Teams Player of the Year), Sheffield sophomore running back/linebacker Jarek Jackson (Rookie of the Year) and Redbank Valley running back Mark Strothers (Performance of the Year).
Kane mayor Doug Caldwell is the Special Contributor of the Year, and the Kane-Brockway game from Sept. 20 is the Game of the Year.
The Rehab Centre offers four state-of-the-art rehabilitation centers (Clarion, Kittanning, Apollo, Lower Burrell) that offer chiropractic, massage therapy, physiotherapy and rehabilitation. One of the four doctors at the Rehab Centre is former District 9 football and wrestling star Isaac Greeley (Port Allegany). The Clarion office is located just off South Fifth Avenue before the Clarion Mall on Dolby Street across from Aldi Foods and next to the Comfort Inn. The Kittanning office is located on Arthur Street in Kittanning. Information on The Rehab Centre can be found at their web site www.therehabcentres.com or by calling the Clarion office at 814-226-8002 or the Kittanning office at 724-545-3215.
Located at www.d9sports.com, D9Sports.com is in its 14th year of covering athletics within the PIAA’s District 9. The site, which is not affiliated with the PIAA in any way, covers all 25 football playing teams playing in District 9. For more information on the site, please visit it or e-mail the staff at firstname.lastname@example.org. The site can also be followed on Twitter @D9Sports.
THE REHAB CENTRE D9SPORTS.COM MOST VALUABLE PLAYER
Damien Slike – Sr. RB/LB/P/KR, Clarion
- Offensive: 152 carries, 1,896 yards, 37 touchdowns; 15 catches, 361 yards, 5 touchdowns
- Defensive: 103 tackles, ½ sack; 3 fumbles recovered
- Special Teams: 8 punts – 32.3 average; 5 kickoff returns – 20.4 yards per return; 8 2-point conversions
TOP THREE IN VOTING – MVP
1. Slike – Clarion (28 votes)
2. Christian Lezzer – Clearfield (24 votes)
3. Zach Vroman – Brookville (19 votes)
THE REHAB CENTRE D9SPORTS.COM OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Christian Lezzer – Sr. QB, Clearfield
- 259 carries, 1,957 yards, 33 touchdowns
- 30 of 76 passing, 646 yards, 6 touchdowns, 7 interceptions
- 4 catches, 75 yards
TOP THREE IN VOTING – Player of the Year
1. Lezzer – Clearfield (25 votes)
2. Damien Slike – Clarion (24 votes)
3. Alec Shaffer-Doan – Brockway (18 ½ votes)
THE REHAB CENTRE D9SPORTS.COM DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Destin Strauser – Jr., LB, Clarion
- 162 tackles; 5 sacks;
- Leader of defense that tied District 9 playoff-era record for shutouts in a season with 9 while allowing 71 points (39 in 10 regular-season games)
TOP THREE IN VOTING
1. Strauser – Clarion (30 votes – Unanimous selection)
2. Seth Ford – Clearfield (20 votes)
3. Evan Delong – Kane (19 votes)
THE REHAB CENTRE D9SPORTS.COM ROOKIE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Jareke Jackson – So., RB/LB, Sheffield
- 148 carries, 1,083 yards, 16 touchdowns
- 6 catches, 89 yards, 2 touchdowns
- 108 tackles, 5 sacks, 3 interceptions, 1 touchdown on defense
- Helped lead Sheffield to first division crown (AML North) since mid-1960s
TOP THREE IN VOTING
1. Jackson – Sheffield (18 votes – Unanimous selection)
2. Seth Caldwell – Clearfield (10 votes)
3. Seth Drummond – Otto-Eldred (8 votes)
THE REHAB CENTRE D9SPORTS.COM COACH OF THE YEAR
Larry Wiser – Clarion
- Led Bobcats to District 9 tying record 14 wins (14-1) and District 9 Class A title
- Led Clarion to first PIAA playoff win in school history and to the PIAA Class A semifinals (second straight year a District 9 team has made the semifinals)
TOP THREE IN VOTING
1. Wiser – Clarion (29 ½ votes)
2. Tim Janocko – Clearfield (18 ½ votes)
3. Ed Wasilowski – Redbank Valley (17 votes)
THE REHAB CENTRE D9SPORTS.COM
OFFENSIVE LINEMAN OF THE YEAR
Hunter Keith – Sr., G, Clearfield (6-foot-2, 295 pounds)
- Is first multiple-year winner of Offensive Lineman of the Year
- Anchored Clearfield line that helped team average 40.7 points per game and 389.2 yards per game (324.3 rushing, 64.9 passing)
- Helped Bison have 2 1,000-yard rushers and three rushers of at least 800 yards
- Fourth time a Clearfield offensive line has won the award
THE REHAB CENTRE D9SPORTS.COM
SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Zane Watson– Sr., K, Redbank Valley
- 5 of 5 in field goals with long of 39
- Hit game-winning 39-yard field goal as time expired to beat Moniteau
- 39 of 45 in PATs
- Averaged 54.4 yards per kickoff on 62 kickoffs with 22 touchbacks
- Also a member of Redbank Valley’s soccer team
TOP THREE IN VOTING
1. Watson – Redbank Valley (24 votes)
2 (t). Spencer Herrington – Clearfield (23 votes)
2 (t). Josh Hnat – DuBois (23 votes)
THE REHAB CENTRE D9SPORTS.COM PERFORMANCE OF THE YEAR
Mark Strothers – Redbank Valley vs. Union Sept. 13, 2013
- 32 carries, school-record 302 yards, tied District 9 record with 7 rushing touchdowns
- 9 tackles on defense
THE REHAB CENTRE D9SPORTS.COM SPECIAL CONTRIBUTOR AWARD
Doug Caldwell – Kane Mayor
The Special Contributor Award is an award that is being given for the 10th time in 14 years. It goes to an individual (not a player) who has dedicated himself or herself to high school football over a long period of time.
This year’s Special Contributor Award goes to Doug Caldwell, the mayor of Kane.
In nominating Caldwell, Kane head coach Todd Silfies wrote the following:
Kane Mayor Doug Caldwell is a special contributor to the Kane Wolves Football program in several ways. For as long as I can remember Mayor Caldwell attends every practice and game and serves as a link between the Kane Football Program and the community. He assists the program both on and off the field. At practice, he often helps organize drills, run scout team scripts and makes sure everything runs smoothly. Off the field, he serves as a mentor to both the players and the coaching staff. He speaks to the team on a regular basis and serves as a grandfather figure to the players. He offers advice and knowledge to the coaching staff that goes beyond x’s and o’s and extends to life lessons and experience he has had over the years as Mayor, in the business world, and as a standout high school and college athlete in the 1950s and 60s. (He played football, basketball and track and field at Kane High School. He also played American Legion baseball and went on to play baseball at Penn State University). He frequently makes scouting trips with the coaches and breaks down opponent film. In addition, he makes sure the community gets to know their football players as more than great athletes. He serves as the liaison to make sure the community gets to know the players as the fine, well-rounded, young men they are.
He inspires players and coaches alike to play and coach for something larger than themselves. He motivates the players to put the town on their back every Friday night and play for their entire community. Although he is finishing up his final term as Mayor of Kane, his presence in the football program will no doubt continue for years to come. His quote “make a memory” serves as not only inspiration, but also a reminder of why we play high school football.
THE REHAB CENTRE D9SPORTS.COM GAME OF THE YEAR
Kane 35, Brockway 31 – Sept. 20, 2013
In a battle of AML South unbeatens, Kane rallied from a 31-14 deficit in the third quarter to beat Brockway 35-31 when Kevin Cleer hit Jeff Kocjancic with an 18-yard touchdown pass with 2:28 to play.
Brockway grabbed a 31-14 lead early in the third quarter when Alec Shaffer-Doan ran for an 18-yard touchdown.
But Kane closed within 11, 31-20, on a 9-yard Cleer to Andrew Pierson touchdown pass with 4:30 left in the third quarter and then used a surprise on-side kick of steal momentum away from the Rovers.
After recovering the on-side kick, John English made it 31-28 on 3-yard touchdown run just over a minute into the fourth quarter before Kocjancic’s touchdown catch brought the Wolves all the way back.
English ran 29 times for 131 yards and two touchdowns for the visitors, while Cleer was 14 of 24 passing for 197 yards and two scores. Kocjancic grabbed five of those tosses for 53 yards and the touchdown, while Pierson had six catches for 102 yards and a touchdown.
Shaffer-Doan had another big night for Brockway going 20-for-29 passing for 257 yards and three touchdowns. He also ran 12 times for 101 yards and a touchdown. Anthony Benson caught eight passes for 167 yards and three touchdowns in a game that featured 729 yards of total offense including 389 from Brockway and 340 from Kane.