Austintown Fitch had its best football season in school history this fall.
Senior linebacker Sam Ortz had a lot to do with that.
He led the Falcons in virtually every defensive statistical category including tackles (81), solo tackles (33), tackles for losses (12.5) and sacks (10).
Ortz, along with teammate Ryan Sayers, was named to the Division I All-Ohio second-team.
“Individual awards are great,” Ortz said. “It’s awesome that we get to do these things and these are privileges, but I wish [other] people on my team could get that, too.”
The Falcons finished the regular season a perfect 10-0 and advanced to the third round of the state playoffs before losing to Lakewiood St. Edward. Fitch finished 12-1, something Ortz says he’ll remember for the rest of his life.
He also knows he couldn’t have become the person he is today without the help of Fitch coach Phil Annarella.
“Coach Annarella isn’t just a coach to me, he’s honestly someone I look up to and hope to be like someday,” Ortz said. “He’s taught me morals for my life outside of football and in the classroom.
“He’s a great person and he’s done so much for me and my family.”
Ortz is on the track team at Fitch as well and says he’s not going to make a college decision until after that season concludes. However his fondest moment occurred on the football field.
“No doubt in my mind, and I can say this for the whole team probably, beating Massillon Washington at home with so many people and so may fans supporting us,” Ortz said. “The crowd was awesome — loudest I’ve ever heard at Fitch — definitely something that stands out in my career.”