NEO INLAND ALL-DISTRICT FOOTBALL 5 players, 2 coaches are top picks
Maurice Clarett, Anthony Smith, Josh Cayson, Doug Datish and Jason King were chosen as players of the year.
VINDICATOR STAFF REPORT
Five area players of the year and two coaches of the year highlight the 2001 Northeast Ohio Inland all-district high school football team released Tuesday by the Associated Press.
The team was selected by a panel of sports writers from the district.
Honorees: Area offensive players of the year are senior running backs. They are Warren Harding's Maurice Clarett in Division I, Hubbard's Anthony Smith (Div. III), and Warren Kennedy's Josh Cayson (Div. V).
Area defensive players of the year are Howland senior lineman Doug Datish (Div. II), and South Range senior defensive back Jason King (Div. V).
Warren Harding's Thom McDaniels and Hubbard's Jeff Bayuk were selected coaches of the year in Div. I and III, respectively.
Offensive leaders: At 6-foot, 231 pounds, Clarett, who shared the honor with Massillon quarterback Justin Zwick, has been a force for opposing defenses.
The senior, who has verbally committed to Ohio State, led the Steel Valley Conference in all-purpose yardage (1,984) -- 1,396 rushing, 253 receiving, 252 punt return, 83 kickoff return -- and totaled 25 touchdowns.
In addition, he ran for 404 yards and five touchdowns in Warren Harding's 42-26 win over Lakewood St. Edward in a regional semifinal last Saturday at Kent State's Dix Stadium.
Hubbard's Smith (6-2, 175) became the school's single-season rushing leader with 1,658 yards and surpassed 4,000 for his career. He led the Eagles (11-1) into the playoffs where they lost to Poland in a regional semifinal last Friday.
Prior to his senior season, Smith made unofficial visits to Ohio State and Notre Dame and has said that he will play safety in college.
Warren Kennedy's Cayson (5-11, 150) helped turn the Eagles' program around. They went 3-7 last season but rebounded with a 10-2 record this season, including a playoff victory over Massillon Tuslaw.
Cayson ran for 1,394 yards on 179 carries, caught 17 passes for 207 yards and scored 25 touchdowns for the Eagles, who were eliminated by South Range in a regional semifinal last Friday.
Defensive leaders: Howland's Datish (6-5, 295) was a force on both sides of the ball but reaped honors defensively from his end position where he was a four-year starter. He helped lead the Tigers (7-4) into the playoffs.
Datish, who bench presses well over 400 pounds, has committed to Ohio State where his father, Mike, played.
South Range coach Dan Yeagley said King "does everything" for the Raiders (12-0), who face Bedford Chanel in a regional final Friday at Canton Central Catholic Stadium.
The 6-0, 175-pound King had 32 solo tackles and 42 assisted at defensive back in the regular season. He added nine tipped passes, five fumble recoveries, five tackles for loss, three interceptions, three blocked punts and three caused fumbles.
Coaches: Warren Harding's McDaniels, a former coach at Canton McKinley where he led the Bulldogs to a state title in 1997, has returned the Raiders to prominence in just his second year.
After the Raiders went 7-3 last season, McDaniels directed them to a Steel Valley Conference title in 2001 and a 9-1 regular season record. They will play Cleveland St. Ignatius in a regional final Saturday at the Akron Rubber Bowl.
Bayuk, in his 11th season as head coach, led Hubbard to a perfect regular season and a second straight playoff berth. The Eagles lost in a regional final last season before losing to Poland this season in a regional semifinal.
Bayuk shared the honor with John Hopkins of Medina Highland and Brian Spicer of Alliance Marlington.