OhioSportsTicket.com’s Golden Ticket Awards are presented by Hummel Group Insurance & Wealth Management
Following each sports season, OhioSportsTicket.com enjoys rewarding the hard work of our local Holmes County area athletes and doling out the Golden Ticket Awards. This fall, like every season around this area, was epic and had its special moments. There were many great efforts by teams and individuals, so without further ado, these are your 2017 Fall Golden Ticket Awards.
Male Athlete of the Fall: Brayden Chaney, West Holmes football
Just don’t blink or you might miss the most exciting, enthralling and sizzling play you’ve ever seen. That was Brayden Chaney this season on the gridiron. Chaney’s highlight film has to be “Schindler’s List” long, and it is probably loaded with more exciting clips than all of the “Fast & Furious” movies combined, and that is saying a lot. Chaney is an incredibly gifted athlete, blessed with hair-raising speed. Knights’ coach Zac Gardner made sure he found plenty of ways to get Chaney the ball as much as possible, and weekly, opposing coaches were overheard marveling at the array of talents Chaney brings to the table.
Female Athlete of the Fall: Lauren Park, West Holmes volleyball
To call Lauren Park dominant is a massive understatement. The hammerhead senior had every single opponent design a game plan to stop the hard-hitting right-hander from simply taking over games. Not only was Park extremely dangerous from the front row, where every hit put opponents on the other side of the net in danger of being blasted in the face, but also she was lethal from the back row. Park ended the year with 482 kills, which put her career total at eighth all-time in OHSAA history.
Team of the Fall: Hiland Lady Hawks volleyball
Adri Bryk’s crew brought the Hiland program to a whole new level this season, and they did it on the strength of an entire team effort. With Kim Miller running the team as its setter, some huge hitters in Madisynn Bryk, Mya Blochlinger, Madison Yoder and several others, and a solid defense, Hiland rarely lost after a couple of early defeats. What made the team so good was its serving as well as its unselfish play that saw them not care who got the job done as long as it got done.
Coach of the Fall: Scott Bodiker, Hiland boys soccer
Yes, Scott Bodiker has won a ton of games year in and year out during his illustrious career. But this season’s 11-4-4 effort was something noteworthy because of how Hiland got there. Having lost 15 seniors from the previous year, the Hawks returned just one starter. In addition the team started the year off horribly at 1-2-1. After that the new-look Hawks seemed to settle in. Its defense proved to be very difficult to score on, and Hiland turned in another great season. This may have been one of Bodiker’s best coaching seasons in a career of many of them.
Female Game Changer Award: Mya Blochlinger, Hiland volleyball
Some players are stone-faced, and you’re never sure what they are feeling. That is by no means Mya Blochlinger. The animated junior proved to be a force for the Hiland Lady Hawks this season. When the Lady Hawks needed a lift or a big play, it was often Blochlinger to whom they would turn, and few things rivaled her intensity and energy as she let loose a primal roar after recording a big hit.
Male Game Changer Award: Brady Winters, Garaway football
Sometimes you can hear the decibel level take a giant leap forward when a player touches a ball. Garaway running back Brady Winters did that. Winters was electrifying, whether it was taking a Dawson Lay pass out of the backfield or slithering his way through five would-be tacklers on his way to a gigantic scoring run. Winters was one of those players who you never wanted to miss because you wouldn’t want to miss something special.
Female Lifetime Achievement Award: Jocelyn Miller, Garaway cross country
There are vocal leaders, and then there are quiet kids who lead by example. Jocelyn Miller is the latter, but she proved to be a wonderful leader with a crew of young runners this season. After toiling behind a myriad of great runners throughout her first three seasons, Miller broke out this year and ran to an All-Ohio berth at state.
Male Lifetime Achievement Award: Brayden Vess, West Holmes football
Knights senior Brayden Vess may not have had his name plastered all over the newspapers and websites throughout his career, but the big lineman proved to be critical to the Knights’ push to get back on the winning trail this season in several ways. A great leader on a young team, Vess was invaluable, especially on the defensive line, where he was a commanding presence.
Male Hustle Award: Slade Barnes, West Holmes soccer
Slade Barnes isn’t just quick; he is game-saving quick. Barnes’ ability to shut down offensive attacks is one of the reasons West Holmes was tough to score on this season. The senior defender was lightning-quick and seemed to have another gear when he absolutely had to have it. Barnes chased down numerous players who thought they had an open route to the goal.
Female Hustle Award: Emma Warkall, Garaway volleyball
Whether it is hustling to retrieve an errant pass or diving off the court and plunging into a water cooler or the scorer’s table, Emma Warkall never takes a play off. She is exuberant, and her desire to win and to play all-out rubs off on everyone playing with her, meaning that she brings everyone else up a notch or two. Regardless, you never ever have to doubt the effort.
Male Good Sportsmanship Award: Brevin Weaver, Garaway golf
Brevin Weaver could have received the Lifetime Achievement Award for his having been at the state golf tournament all the time. He could have received the Athlete of the Year honor for his run to state, where he fired a final-day 68 to grab All-Ohio honors. But what makes Weaver so doggone impressive is his soft-spoken demeanor and his gift of politeness. He has the ideal disposition for the game of golf, and he proved that sometimes good guys don’t have to finish last.
Female Good Sportsmanship Award: Lexi Kaufman, Hiland soccer
Lexi Kaufman is a solid, aggressive defender for the Lady Hawks, but she is one of those kids that any coach would love to have because she is a quality leader and a quality character person. Kaufman was honored for her impressive season by being tabbed a member of the Tri-County All-Star soccer game.
Unheralded Award: Jackson Iamarino, West Holmes cross country
Jackson Iamarino isn’t going to wow people with his blazing speed, and he doesn’t stand out in a crowd, but ask Knights coach Kevin Beachy how many Iamarinos he would take on his team, and the response would be “as many as possible.” Iamarino came from obscurity to carve out a solid cross country career. His quiet leadership was crucial to the growth of a very youthful Knights team this season.
Female In Your Face Award: Kaylin Martin, West Holmes soccer
Kaylin Martin’s aggressive nature lends itself to ruling the West Holmes Lady Knights backfield on the pitch. Whether it is making an aggressive slide tackle, chasing down an offensive player with the ball or simply limiting opponents’ chances by keeping the ball out of the West Holmes end with a big clear, Martin’s athletic play was inspirational.
Youth Impact Award: Brooklyn Frye, Garaway volleyball
Brooklyn Frye was only a freshman, but it took her absolutely no time to get acclimated to the rigors of varsity volleyball. A solid hitter who showed nice poise, the chant of “she’s a freshman” from the Garaway student body was a frequent mantra throughout the season.
Play of the Fall Part I: Mast’s late goal clinches it for Hawks
Hiland and West Holmes played a sensational game this year in boys soccer action. The two teams fought tooth and nail, played extremely hard in a hotly contested game and found themselves tied at 1-1 as time ticked away. Off a set play with two minutes to play, Hiland senior Kyle Mast found himself with a ball inside the box that somehow had gone through about half the players on the field. Mast smacked a shot into the net for the game-winner.
Play of the Fall Part II
Facing a daunting New Philadelphia Quakers defense, the West Holmes Knights had the ball on its own 5-yard line, their backs against the wall. Quarterback Bridger Cline stepped back into the pocket and launched a perfectly thrown spiral to Shane Jones, who was roaring up the seam. Jones caught the ball just beyond the 20-yard line and found high gear in a heartbeat. Jones electrified Quaker Stadium as he sped up the middle of the field and then veered toward the far left corner. Ninety-five yards later, the Knights had set a new school record for the longest TD play in school history.
Game of the Fall: Garaway vs. Ridgewood football
This game in West Lafayette had it all, and if any fan in attendance left disappointed with the shear excitement level, inspirational play and gut-wrenching moments of this Inter-Valley Conference contest, then there is simply no pleasing them. Ridgewood dominated the first half and took a 21-6 lead, but the Pirates came roaring back in the second half, led by Dawson Ley and Brady Winters tying the score at 24. Both teams then had multiple chances to forge a lead, but the defenses stiffened, and as time ran down in a final frenzy of penalties, fumbles and more, Ridgewood’s Keith Claxon lined up and drilled a 37-yarder in the closing seconds, this after getting a potential game-winner blocked one minute earlier.