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Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2019: NYSSWA announces small-school football all-state teams

   Leading off today: Glens Falls quarterback Joe Girard III and Batavia running back Ray Leach, who faced off in a memorable NYSPHSAA championship game Thanksgiving weekend, have been selected state co-players of the year in Class B by the New York State Sportswriters Association.

   The NYSSWA announced its small schools all-state teams and players of the year Tuesday.

   The other players of the year are Susquehanna Valley quarterback Jarred Freije in Class C and Clymer/Sherman/Panama running back Derek Ecklund in Class D.

   All four of the player of the year award recipients are seniors.

   Girard threw for 314 yards and Leach ran for 410 in their much anticipated championship game showdown, which Glens Falls won 55-32. Girard ran for two toucdowns and threw for two more to offset Leach's four scores and a TD pass.

   Girard finished the season with more than 3,000 yards and 36 touchdowns through the air as Glens Falls won its second state title in three years. The SYracuse-bound basketball star was also the Class B co-player of the year as a junior.

   Leach set Section 5 single-season records for rushing yards (3,012), touchdowns (49) and points scored (310). He finished his career with 6,023 rushing yards and 111 touchdowns. He ran for 1,645 yards and 25 touchdowns in four Novermber contests.

   Susquehanna Valley's Freije went 55-for-93 for 1,212 yards with 13 touchdowns and four interceptions in the passing game. He also carried for 570 yards and 21 TDs in Susquehanna Valley's first state championship season.

   Ecklund ran for more than 1,200 yards and 16 TDs to help C/S/P to a New York State Public High School Athletic Association championship.

   The NYSSWA also selected an all-state team in eight-man football for the first time but recognized sectional players of the year from four sections rather than an overall player of the year.

   Here are links to the all-state teams and additional information:

   • 2018 Class B all-state team
   • 2018 Class C all-state team
   • 2018 Class D all-state team
   • 2018 eight-man all-state team
   • Recent NYSSWA players of the year
   • All-state teams, 1999-2018
   • Final 2018 B-C-D state rankings

   The NYSSWA will announce its Class AA and A all-state teams next week.


   Coaching developments: Tom Schoen has retired after 45 seasons and a 283-131-4 record with the Whitesboro football team.

   Schoen, 69, is the winningest coach in Section 3 history.

   "It's the right time," said Schoen, who retired from teaching a decade ago. "It's probably just a feeling I have, but I've always said I would know when it was time."

   His final edition of the Warriors went 8-1 last fall and qualified for sectionals for the 28th straight year. Schoen coached 11 Section 3 champions.

   "Trophies and plaques don't make you cry, they don't make me emotional," he said. "But when kids you have coached take the time to write a letter later on in life to thank

you. ... that's the thing. That better be why you're in the game."

    • Matt Ford has been named the permanent successor to Wayne Carroll at Bath.

   "I'm very excited, I'm definitely thankful and humble for this opportunity," said Ford. "I'm eager to get going."

   Ford has been with the Rams eight seasons and served as Carroll’s assistant coach for four years.    Ford will run the offense when he takes over next season. Mark Recktenwald, a long-time assistant and interim head coach last season after Carroll stepped down late in the regular season, will handle the defense.

   "Having coach Recktenwald's experience will help tremendously," Ford said. "He brings a lot of knowledge and knows the kids. I'm really close with Mark. As soon as I was named head (coach), I wanted him right beside me. He's a great friend, a great mentor."

    • Mark Heichberger is expected to be appointed as coach at Springville during tonight's school board meeting. In addition to teaching physical education at Springville for 18 years, Heichberger coaches girls track and field. He's also a former JV football coach and varsity assistant.

   Rob Valenti was 1-18 over the past two seasons in his second stint as head coach.

   On the move again: Rochester East sophomore football star Seven McGee has left the area after just one season to return to the state where his high school career began.

   The 5-foot-9 McGee, who was a first-team All-Greater Rochester selection and named the Rochester City Athletic Conference defensive MVP, plans to enroll at Narbonne High in Harbor City, Calif.

   McGee, who also played on East's undefeated basketball team this winter, has verbally committed to the University of Oregon in football. He'll play for the USA Under-18 national team against Team Canada on Jan. 18 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

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