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Five Warriors named first team all-district

Photo by Joe Albright Warren’s Kurt Taylor looks to pass during a high school football game against Union Local earlier this season in Vincent.

After winning seven games and claiming the program’s first ever playoff victories this season, the Warren football team had six of its players earn All-Southeast District recognition.

Seniors Evan Gandee, Kurt Taylor, Josh Welsh, Joel Chevalier and Peyten Kellar all were named to the Division IV first team, while classmate Wyatt Grayson received special mention status.

Gandee shattered nearly every Warren receiving record during his prep career. He was a threat to score every time he touched the ball this season. He finished with 65 receptions, 1,019 yards and 11 touchdowns. He was a good defender as well, intercepting two passes and forcing one fumble from his corner back position.

Gandee had a breakout season as a junior, developing a connection with quarterback Taylor. This season, Taylor completed 131 of 221 passes for 1,812 yards and 17 touchdowns to seven interceptions. He also was a threat on the ground, rushing for nine touchdowns.

Along with setting passing and receiving records, Taylor and Gandee helped change the culture at Warren into a winning one. The other seniors were a big part of it, too.

Welch earned all-district status as a linebacker, but was a solid tight end as well. He caught 14 passes for 264 yards and two TDs. On defense, he was a force. Welch finished with 51 tackles, a team-high 5.5 sacks, eight tackles for a loss and three interceptions.

Kellar helped Welch anchor a much-improved Warrior defense. In his first year of varsity football, Kellar recorded 77 tackles, two tackles for a loss and four interceptions as a defensive back. He also played receiver on offense, catching 15 passes for 173 yards and one score.

Chevalier repeated as the first team placekicker. This season, Chevalier made 37 of 39 extra point kicks and was 4 for 6 on field goal attempts with a long of 40 yards. He also was an excellent punter (27 punts, 39.3 average, eight inside the 20) and receiver (16 catches, 198 yards, 2 TDs).

Grayson was Warren’s center, and had no bad snaps all season according to Warren head coach Matt Kimes.

“From where the program was and where it is now, the drastic change that’s occurred is pretty awesome,” Kimes said heading into the 2020 playoff run, which advanced into Region 15 quarterfinals.

“Kids were tired of being a laughing stock, going 0-10, 1-9, 2-8 every year. They were tired of it. They put the work in, committed to each other and set a goal bigger than themselves. Now, they’re reaping the rewards of their commitment.”

In Division III, Marietta had two of its players earn first team honors. Senior Tony Munos was a matchup nightmare for opposing teams this season. Munos mostly lined up as a wide receiver, catching 45 passes for 874 yards and nine touchdowns. He was also a threat on the ground (31 carries, 183 yards, 4 TDs) and in the return game (2 kick return TDs). On defense, Munos had three interceptions, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery, and even blocked a kick on special teams. It was as a receiver where Munos, also a basketball standout, really stood out.

His quarterback, senior Reece Gerber, also got first team recognition. Gerber, in his first year under center for the Tigers, was a dual threat. He completed 121 of 219 passes for 1,848 yards, 12 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. He rushed 85 times for 460 yards and three scores.

Representing Marietta on the special mention list were senior lineman Carson Urban, junior lineman Aaron Hiener and sophomore linebacker Weston Davis.

In Division VI, Belpre’s Connor Baker was named first team all-district. Baker was named to the team as an all-purpose player. He played running back, receiver and quarterback for the Golden Eagles this year as a senior. He carried 70 times for 344 yards and five touchdowns, caught 13 passes for 208 yards and a score and completed 10 of 26 passes for 131 yards, one TD and one pick.

Fellow Belpre senior Walker Feick was named special mention all-district.

Waterford had six players honored in Division VII. Seniors Joe Pantelidis, Haden Offenberger and junior Holden Dailey were picked to the first team while seniors Cole Miller, Bailey McGraw and Jude Huffman were named special mention.

Pantelidis, a second team All-Ohioan last season, was recognized for his play as a linebacker, recording 91 tackles, six tackles for a loss, two interceptions and one sack. Offensively as a fullback, he carried 56 times for 367 yards and six TDs.

Dailey got the bulk of the carries at running back for the Wildcats, toting 113 times for 982 yards and nine touchdowns. He also caught seven passes for 103 yards and a score.

Helping pave the way for Waterford’s rushing attack was Offenberger. He was the team’s top lineman on offense, and defensively notched 49 tackles, 12.5 tackles for a loss and 5.5 sacks.

Jordan Holland can be reached at jholland@mariettatimes.com.

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