Sprague, Smith, Bellville 1st-team All-Ohioans
Bailey Sprague’s strong right leg has served him well on the gridiron.
This past Sunday, the 6-foot-4, 210-pound Belpre High senior was honored as a Division VI OPSWA (Ohio Prep Sportswriters Association) All-Ohio first-team punter on offense.
“Right now, Bailey’s on cloud nine,” said eighth-year Belpre head football coach Greg Adams. “And, I’m so very happy for him.”
On the football field, Sprague handled all of the kicking chores for the Golden Eagles. He also was a tight end on offense and a defensive end.
Sprague, however, excelled at punting, averaging about 40 yards per kick, according to Adams.
“In game eight of the season, Bailey was averaging 42.2 yards a punt,” Adams said. “He’s very consistent, and has pulled us out of many holes. And, right now, he’s as good, if not better, than many (NCAA) Division I punters in college.”
Sprague, who’s currently playing BHS basketball, has yet to ink a National Letter of Intent, but is planning to play football at the college level.
“Bailey is a coach’s dream, and comes from a very good family,” Adams said. “He’s also smart (4.23 GPA).”
In Division VII, Waterford High senior lineman Teddy Smith and junior running back Braden Bellville each was a first-team all-stater on defense and offense, respectively.
“I’m very proud of these boys,” said second-year WHS boss Eric McCutcheon. “Teddy and Braden are very well-deserving of this honor.”
The 5-foot-8, 180-pound Smith, an all-around football player, led the Mid-Ohio Valley with 13 sacks. On offense, he was a blocking back for Bellville.
A couple of weeks ago, Smith was named the Southeast Ohio D7 All-District Player of the Year on defense.
“I put in a lot of work,” said Smith, currently playing basketball for the Wildcats. “I was hoping to get it (All-Ohio).”
The 6-foot, 190-pound Bellville was honored as a D7 District Player of the Year on offense. He rushed for 1,853 yards and 27 touchdowns during the fall campaign. He also caught four TD passes.
“Teddy and Braden set the tone for each game with their energy, and the other guys followed their lead,” said McCutcheon, who guided the Wildcats to a 9-2 overall record and second straight playoff appearance.
“They are two of the hardest workers, and you can tell they really love the game, because they gave every ounce of energy they had and performed to the best of their ability,” added McCutcheon. “It has been an honor to coach them, along with the rest of my boys.”
Earning third team all-state defense for the Wildcats was senior lineman Johnny Winkelman, and the honorable mentions were junior quarterback Peyten Stephens,and senior lineman Bryce Rohrer.
“Peyten’s only a junior, and the sky is the limit for his potential,” McCutcheon said. “And, Johnny and Bryce both will be surely missed upfront on both sides of the ball.”
“To have five boys mentioned as all-state is a huge honor, not only to the boys, but for myself, my coaching staff, and the Waterford football program,” McCutcheon said.
In Division VI, Fort Frye High senior linebacker Tyler Bradford was a second-team all-stater, while junior quarterback Tate Engle, senior lineman Tyson Miller, senior lineman Logan Isner, and junior linebacker Evan Schob each was an honorable mention.
The Cadets finished the season 10-2 overall and 4-0 in the Pioneer Valley Conference. Shenandoah High (8-3, 2-2 PVC) featured seven players on the D6 all-state squads: Chase Chicwak (1st team D), Dalton Rice (2nd team O), Christian Bond (2nd team O), Boone Jones (3rd team O), Nick Miller (HM), Kendal Sherman (HM), and Hunter Graham (HM)
In Division VII, Frontier High (1-9) was represented by Wade Smitley (3rd team O) and Eric Tidd (HM).
Caldwell’s lone all-state honoree was Drew Ivey (HM). Monroe Central (6-4, 3-1) had four players on the all-state lists: Ryan Lafollette (2nd team O), Alex Webb (3rd team D), Cooper Rush (HM), and Joey Wise (HM).