The JFK senior battled through adversity to lead the Eagles to the playoffs.
By STEVE RUMAN
NILES — Based on statistics alone, it is easy to see why Jared Province was nominated for Trumbull County player of the year.
Beyond the numbers, what Province did for the Warren JFK football program made him a lock to win the award, according to Eagles coach Tony Napolet.
“Jared’s leadership and his ability to guide a team off the field meant the world to our football program,” Napolet said. “He was looked up to by every player on our roster. When it comes time for the team to pick a captain, and he [Province] gets fifty votes from his peers, well that says it all.
“In terms of his ability on the field, I’ve coached a lot of good ones in my time, and Jared is right up there with the best of them. This area produced some great talent this year, but Jared was as good as they get. On and off the field, he was the total package.”
Monday night, a media panel agreed with Napolet’s assessment of Province, who was tabbed Trumbull County’s top football player of the 2007 season. Province received the honor at the 33rd annual Trumbull County Coaches Association Player of the Year Banquet, held at Alberini’s Restaurant in Niles.
Other nominees included A.J. Livingston (Brookfield), Kris Wildman (Champion), Brett Cubellis (Girard), Josh Lott (Howland), Marc Kanetsky (Hubbard), Derek Martin (LaBrae), Kyle Smedi (Lakeview), Zack Brown (Liberty), Carmen Lamancusa (Mathews), Joe Witowski (McDonald), A.J. Zitello (Mineral Ridge), Jae Leeworthy (Newton Falls), Nate Ganyard (Niles), Brandon Wick (Southington) and Ryan Chambers (Warren G. Harding).
Province won by a unanimous vote.
Though meant to recognize the county’s top individual performer, Province insisted the award was “a team effort which belongs to each and every one of my teammates and coaches.”
Province also took time to dedicate the award to his older brother Josh, who suddenly passed away in his sleep just days before the start of the season.
On the eve of the season opener, Province switched his number to 20 in honor of his brother after having worn number 10 his first three seasons at JFK.
Josh wore number 20 while at Lakeview.
“It’s been a rough couple of months, but Josh was there every step of the way to push me through it,” Province said. “I dedicated my whole season to him, and he was a big factor in what I was able to accomplish.”
Province compiled impressive numbers while leading JFK to a 9-3 record and a trip to the Division VI, region 21 semifinals.
He rushed for 1,688 yards, and finished the season with 2,353 all-purpose yards.
In addition to his 35 rushing touchdowns, he scored single TDs via a pass, a kickoff return and an interception. Province also scored on a pair of punt returns.
And as impressive as he was on offense, Province was equally as solid on defense, according to Napolet.
“With his combination of speed and strength, he could play anywhere on defense. He did it all for us,” Napolet said.
“I’ve talked to Division I coaches who believe Jared could be equally productive at either a running back or defensive back position.”
Province (6-foot, 190-pounds) has garnered interest from a number of schools but hasn’t decided on a destination.
Province becomes the seventh JFK player to win the award. Other past Eagles TCPOY recipients include; John Landolfi (1981), Jim Coates (1983), Vince Davis (1986), Tim Ryan (1990), Tom Paolucci (1992) and J.J. Townsend (2006).