The 2017 high school football season was a historic one for the four Madison County teams.
Three of the four qualified for the playoffs, one (London) did so for the first time in nearly two decades and another (West Jefferson) advanced all the way to a Division V regional final. Jonathan Alder was a playoff participant for the third straight year and Madison-Plains which did not make the playoffs but won five games has reason to smile.
It comes as no surprise then that when the Division IV and V All-Ohio teams were announced Monday, there were plenty of area players who received recognition.
No area team was surprised more this fall than coach Kyle Cutler’s London Red Raiders. The team went 8-3 and won a share of the Mid-State League Ohio Division championship. The Raiders also qualified for the state playoffs for the first time in 18 years.
These accomplishments were buoyed by the fact the team had three players earn first team All-Ohio honors and another pick up All-Ohio honorable mention.
Junior running back K.J. Price, senior lineman Jacob Jones and senior punter/kicker Miller Kronk were all recognized as all-state first teamers, while senior linebacker Bricker Thiel, a do-everything standout on the defensive side of the ball was honorable mention.
Price had more than 2,700 yards from scrimmage. Jones was the anchor of the Raiders powerful offensive line and Kronk was the ultimate weapon in the special teams both punting and place kicking.
“I’ve been involved with a lot of good programs that won a lot of big games, but to have a team with three first team All-Ohio kids and fourth one who’s honored is something special,” Cutler said. “It’s rare. It’s a testament to these kids, their families and the work they put in.”
Cutler admits that he never even thought about having multiple kids land on All-Ohio teams before the season started, but credits the culture and environment that’s been created at London High School and the football program for both the team and individual successes this fall.
“I knew going into the year that we had a team,” he said. “A team in the sense that the kids believed in the process, believed in each other and what we were trying to build here. They worked hard, worked together and had positive results.”
Also earning first All-Ohio honors in D-IV was Jonathan Alder senior defensive lineman Nolan Larison.
The Pioneers senior running back Jamie Dye was a second team pick, while senior defensive back Bryan Blacka was an All-Ohio third team selection. Senior quarterback Preston Eisnaugle was All-Ohio honorable mention as were Dalton Potts and Drew Myers.
The West Jeff Roughriders finished the season 12-1 with a loss in the D-V regional final.
It got to that point on the strength of a strong team effort and some standout performances. Senior quarterback Lance Lambert was a first team All-Ohio selection after throwing for more yards than anyone else in a single season in school history (2,766) and the most passing touchdowns in a season (29).
He was joined on the first team offense by senior lineman Gunnar Doran. Defensive back Caleb Vanhook was also a first team All-Ohio standout. West Jefferson lineman Cole Howard was honorable mention All-Ohio as was running back Ethan Higgins.
Madison-Plains running back Ryan Bevington also picked up all-state honors by being named honorable mention.
Reach Chris Miles at 740-852-1616, ext. 1618 or via Twitter @MadPressSports.
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