OFA Football Notes Commitment To Excellence
BY DAVE SHEA
The OFA Football team held its annual awards banquet recently and the coaches and players looked back on an exciting 7-2 2019 season with gratitude for the good things that happened to them. Coach Matt Tessmer thanked the players for their commitment, the parents of the players for their support, the school district's support led by Athletic Director Tony Bjork and the support of the community.
"There are a lot quality people involved in our program. I really want to thank all the coaches involved: Charlie McCormick Tony Williams, Brett Monnat, Charles Shaver, Andrew Lang, Satch Sawyer, Jacob Jeneault, Jon Frederick and Bill Payne and our managers. Rick Amo and Moose Robillard have been here for decades and JD King and Teegan Frederick did a great job."
But the 7-2 season was noted with mixed emotions.
The Devils entered the Section 10 Class C Championship with a great deal of momentum and confidence but suffered a 25-8 loss to Gouverneur which went undefeated all the way to the state championship game before losing to repeat champion Susequehanna Valley 22-0.
"We had our chance but it just didn't happen. The Wildcats won and they are living the dream. We support our North Country brothers all the way," said Coach Tessmer.
"It was a tough way to end the season but we had a great group of players who loved to come to practice."
GREAT ACADEMIC RECORD
In the course of the evening the coaches honored: all the Blue Devils for their contributions to the team's success, outstanding academic performances, players earning All-NAC Conference Awards and special awards and presented the team awards.
New York State Scholar Athlete team awards were presented to a 20-player contingent which combined for a 91.78 average: MeSean Johnson, Harry Powers, Mark Barr, Stephen Morley, Jackson Jones, Derek Barr, Eli Bullock, Gage Austin, Austin Jones, Ethan Kiah, Gavin Webster, Luc LaFlair, Drew Costello, Carson Barney, Owen Warchol, Lee Sovie, Tristan Richardson, Aaron Ellis, Blake Hall and Tristan Lovely.
Of that group Mark Barr, MeSean Johnson, Stephen Morley, Harry Powers and Owen Warchol received the NAC Athlete of Distinction Awards for maintaining an 90 or above average throughout their high school athletic careers.
Special miniature helmets were presented to the team's 11 seniors: Michael Reed, Jackson Jones, Stephen Morley, Harry Powers, Kassidy Johnson, Gage Austin, Owen Warchol, Mark Barr, Carson Barney, Luc LaFlair and MeSean Johnson.
Seven members of the team earned All-Northern Conference Awards.
MeSean Johnson, Jackson Jones, Stephen Morley, Luc LaFlair who was voted the NAC Lineman of the Year and Mark Barr made the First Team and Harry Powers made the Second Team. Owen Warchol received the team's NAC Outstanding Sportsmanship Award.
Morley also received the Don Petty Memorial Award presented by a committee involving coaches, officials and the media to the Outstanding Football Player in Section 10.
Second Year Varsity Players (not seniors) cited by the coaches were: Austin Jones and Tristan Lovely. First Year Varsity players (not seniors) honored were: Eli Bullock (Jr), Aaron Ellis (10), Drew Costello (So), Tristan Richardson (Jr), Lee Sovie (Jr), Derek Barr (So), Blake Hall (Jr), Ethan Kiah (Jr) and Gavin Webster (So).
Ninth and 10th greaders who came up at the end of the regular season were recognized: Gannon Kelly, Blake Kinch, Drew Piercey, Manveer Grewal, Ethan Lemke, James Bell, Joey George, Nick Davison and Alex Worden.
TEAM AWARDS HONOR SENIORS
Team awards honored eight seniors.
Stephen Morley received the Robert Hynes Memorial Award honoring a player who showed extremel toughness while assuming any challenge to help the team. In the course of the season Morley played wide receiver, running back, defensive back and handled the kicking duties. As a junior he also filled in at quarterback.
The 2019 Don Petty Memorial Award recipient has signed with Mercyherst College to play lacrosse at the NCAA Division II level.
Harry Powers received the Coach Ron Johnson Versatility Award for his contributions in every facet of the game and basically playing every down of games. Powers played running back and slot receiver, defensive back, covered and returned kickoffs and punts and served as the team's long snapper.
NAC Lineman of the year Luc Flair, who played in the offensive and defensive lines, received the Outstanding Lineman Award. He plans to continue his football career filled with high level blocking and tackling at the collegiate level at St. Lawrence University.
Another two-way lineman Carson Barney received the Charlie Pound Memorial Loyalty Award for his ability to continually improve himself through hard work and a desire to contribute to the success of the team after joining the varsity as a sophomore.
Another three-year varsity player who made great strides, Owen Warchol, received the Dixie Walker Memorial Award as an outstanding teammate who made a personal sacrifice shifting from running back to offensive line and changing his number from 40 to 52.
Linebacker Mark Barr received the Outstanding Defensive Player Award. Barr was the team's leading tackler and cited as the team's most consistent player throughout the whole season. He also played guard in the offensive line.
Quarterback Jackson Jones, who also became a very skilled wide receiver received, the Outstanding Offensive Player Award. Jones completed over 70 per cent of his passes, threw for over 1000 yards and directed the team as an outstanding leader.
The Team MVP Award went to the team's most explosive player in MeSean Johnson for game-breaking contributions at running back, wide receiver, quarterback, defensive back and punt and kickoff returner.