SALEM, Ohio (WKBN) – It may be high school basketball season according to the calendar, but on Sunday afternoon at First Friends Church in Salem it was football that took focus. The Quad County Coaches Association held their annual all-star recognition dinner to showcase its top standout players.
One hundred and one attendees participated in the event as the coaches from the 20 association members recognized the top players from their schools for their outstanding play during the 2016 high school football season. From those honorees, the association will pick its annual all-star team to participate in the Penn-Ohio Stateline Classic All-Star Game.
“It’s a celebration of this area’s football passion. Celebrating football in this area,” association president Jeremy McElroy explained. “It means a lot to the kids to be recognized amongst their peers as all-stars. As a young man, you grow up and compete against the various schools in the area and to be recognized by those schools and that association, it’s an honor.”
McElroy explained how the Ohio team is determined from the honorees, “A coach is selected by the association, and then the local coaches are asked to nominate seniors for the all-star game. Then he (Ohio coach) makes his selections from there. Each school gets at least one representative, and then he gets to fill out the rest of the spots, twelve or so spots to fill out, something like that.”
This year, the association has selected Lisbon’s Jim Tsilimos to lead the Ohio squad for the game. The Blue Devils finished the 2016 season with a 9-2 record, having won the ITCL’s White Tier and qualifying for the 2016 OHSAA playoffs.
The association will hold a special breakfast to recognize the all-star team on May 6th with players and family. They will begin practice in June at Salem’s Stadium, and the game is tentatively scheduled for June 30th at Geneva College in Beaver Falls.
This year Nick Haught from South Range will be the Ohio team coordinator as Columbiana’s Larry Baughman, the long-time coordinator, is stepping down. Baughman admitted that he will still be actively involved, but that Haught will do more of the “hands-on” game duties.
The association also recognized at the dinner five member schools who participated in the OHSAA football playoffs in 2016. Those recognized in addition to Lisbon were Indian Creek, South Range, Springfield, and Toronto.
Columbiana’s Bob Spaite, along with Springfield’s Sean Guerriero and West Branch’s DJ Dota reminded the coaches that the association will once again hold a coaches clinic in February. The clinic will be held at Austintown’s Hollywood Gaming facility on February 17th and 18th.
“To have the all-star game, to honor the area football, and promote football in this area,” McElroy cited as the main goals of the association.