HomeFootballSix Stark County-area players earn top honors for 2023 Northeast Inland District...

Six Stark County-area players earn top honors for 2023 Northeast Inland District football

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Six Stark County-area high school football players and Canton South head coach Matt Dennison highlight the local honorees on the 2023 Ohio Prep Sportswriters Association All-Northeast Inland District teams.

The athletes winning player-of-the-year awards in their respective divisions are Canton McKinley’s Shaukeer Hatcher, Massillon’s DaOne Owens, Massillon’s Dorian Pringle, Alliance’s Brendan Zurbrugg, Canton South’s Poochie Snyder and Central Catholic’s Dan Boron. Dennison is the Division IV district coach of the year.

The Inland District covers a nine-county area (Ashland, Columbiana, Mahoning, Medina, Portage, Stark, Summit, Trumbull and Wayne). The all-district teams are selected by a media panel from those areas.

Last year’s all-district honors: 2022 All-Northeast Inland District football teams

Hatcher is the Division I defensive player of the year. The 6-foot, 190-pound senior linebacker accumulated team highs of 123 tackles (89 solo) and 18 tackles for loss in helping the Bulldogs (9-4) win the outright Federal League title. He added three sacks, two forced fumbles and a safety. A versatile defender, Hatcher also was great in coverage. He picked off four passes, returning one 58 yards for a touchdown in a playoff win against St. Ignatius.

Hatcher ran for two touchdowns and averaged 5.3 yards a carry in limited time at running back. He also averaged 18.9 yards a kick return.

Owens is the Division II offensive co-player of the year, sharing the honor with Hoban offensive lineman and Tennessee recruit William Satterwhite. An explosive athlete, Owens is the first Massillon quarterback to rush for 1,000 yards in program history. Owens split time with Jalen Slaughter at quarterback early in the season after transferring from Copley. He soon took over the job and has helped the 14-0 Tigers to a regional championship and a state semifinal matchup with Cincinnati Anderson on Friday at Historic Crew Stadium in Columbus.

Owens has rushed for 1,145 yards at 9.7 a carry and 14 touchdowns. He completes 59.5% of his passes for 1,414 yards, 17 touchdowns and three interceptions.

Pringle is the Division II defensive co-player of the year for a second straight season, sharing the honor with Hoban defensive lineman and Holy Cross recruit Jordan Pritchard-Sewell this year. The senior inside linebacker and Bowling Green recruit is the centerpiece of an absolutely dominating Massillon defense that allows 7.6 points and 159.8 yards per game, including only 35.1 rushing yards.

Pringle missed the last two playoff games with an injury but still leads the Tigers in tackles for loss with 21.5. He is second in total tackles (60) and sacks (eight). He forced two fumbles and blocked a PAT that helped Massillon beat two-time defending Division I state champion St. Edward 15-13 in Week 5. Pringle adds 14 TDs and averages 4.9 yards a carry as a short-yardage running back on offense.

Zurbrugg is the Division III offensive co-player of the year, sharing the honor with Akron East running back and Purdue recruit Ziaire Stevens. The senior quarterback, an Oklahoma University recruit, holds virtually every Alliance passing record. He threw for 2,322 yards, 26 TDs and four interceptions this season, completing 70.0% of his passes. A state-level hurdler, Zurbrugg rushed for 1,038 yards at 6.9 a carry and 13 TDs. He averaged 41.5 yards a punt and made 17 PAT kicks.

A three-year starter at QB, Zurbrugg finished his high school career with 6,376 yards and 63 touchdowns passing.

Snyder is the Division IV offensive player of the year. Stark County’s all-time leading passer in yards and touchdowns is committed to Division I FCS Sacred Heart in Connecticut. 

Snyder entered last week’s 35-13 regional final win against Struthers with 3,288 yards passing and 1,524 yards rushing, marking his second straight 3,000/1,000 season. Snyder had completed 72.8% of his passes in throwing for 36 touchdowns and three interceptions. He also had averaged 11.0 yards a carry and rushed for 15 TDs.

Snyder had passed for 10,670 yards and 118 touchdowns in his career entering the regional final. The Wildcats face defending state champion Cleveland Glenville (11-3) in Friday’s state semifinal at Wadsworth.

The veteran coach Dennison, in his third season at South, has guided the Wildcats to their first 10-0 regular season and first regional championship in program history. South won the outright PAC-7 championship after sharing it last year. Before that, South hadn’t won a league championship in 59 years.

Boron is the Division VI offensive co-player of the year, sharing the honor with Mineral Ridge running back Ian Erb. A dynamic football player who rarely came off the field for Central, Boron accounted for 1,783 all-purpose yards and scored 23 total TDs. He ran for 703 yards at 6.7 a carry and 12 touchdowns. He caught 43 passes for 757 yards and nine TDs. Boron returned a punt for a touchdown and had a defensive score, while also throwing one TD pass.

Boron led Central in interceptions with four and made 83 tackles as a safety. He averaged 15.7 yards a punt return and 22.0 yards a kick return. He also handled the punting and kickoffs for the Crusaders, averaging 38.0 yards a punt. 

Reach Josh at josh.weir@cantonrep.com

On X: @jweirREP

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