November 26, 2014

Elyria
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Four area football players make All-Ohio first team

Matt Jordan remembers the highlight of his senior year as a member of the Clearview football team.

“It was our last home game,” Jordan said. “It was against Brooklyn. Coach (Mike Collier) took me aside and told me I’d get the ball for my final run that night. I got in the huddle and said to our linemen, ‘This is going to be my last run, so I want it to be special.’

“It was a botched snap but I got outside and ended up breaking off a 75-yard run. I ran for 270 yards in that game.”

That moment in Week 9 — Jordan’s longest run of the season — was his most exciting until Tuesday night when he got the word he was chosen to the Division IV All-Ohio first team.

“Really?” Jordan said. “I didn’t know. I was not expecting it. It’s shocking, or more like overwhelming. I’ve been working all my life for football, so I’m very glad it happened.”

Jordan was one of four Lorain County players named All-Ohio first team Tuesday. Firelands running back Nick Deichler and quarterback Kyle Smith were chosen for the Division III team. John Guilford of Black River joined Jordan on the Division IV list.

Jordan ended the season with 761 rushing yards (5.3 yards per carry) and 32 receptions for 286 yards (8.9 yards per catch). He scored seven rushing touchdowns and one receiving. He completed four of five passes, two of which were touchdowns.

It was on defense, however, that Jordan won his All-Ohio recognition. The Clippers’ senior defensive back had 43 tackles and two fumble recoveries.

“I did all right,” Jordan said. “I could have played better. I guess that was why I thought I would never get all-state.”

Jordan hopes to continue playing football in college, either as a scholarship recipient or walk-on. He’s looking to study business or follow a pre-law curriculum.

Two other Clearview players were selected All-Ohio — linebacker Chad Anderson and defensive back Alonzo Southard — both on the second team.

Unlike the other three first-teamers, Jordan did not play for a playoff team. Clearview ended with a 4-6 record.

Firelands, on the other hand, won everything until running into trouble against Chagrin Falls, 66-14, in the school’s first playoff appearance. Deichler and Smith were big reasons for that.

“I’ve wanted it since my freshman year,” said Deichler about his selection. “I dreamed of it.”

Almost every freshman dreams about such an honor. For most, it never advances past the dream stage. Deichler suspected his dream might have remained only that, until the Falcons went on a roll and won the championship of the Patriot Athletic Conference in their first season as a member.

“We had some rough times in the West Shore (Firelands’ former conference),” Deichler said. “When we went into the PAC and we started winning, I knew it was possible.”

Deichler, who was a third team All-Ohio pick in 2010, rushed for 1,381 yards (7.1 yards per carry) and 22 touchdowns. He was quick to credit his offensive linemen.

“The linemen worked their butts off in the offseason, and they started pushing people around once the season started,” Deichler said. “I don’t think I would have gotten half my yards if it weren’t for them. I owe them a lot.

“In all honesty I didn’t think all this would happen,” Deichler said about Firelands’ undefeated season. “I knew we were good, and I thought we would win most of our games, but I never imagined 10-0 and the school’s first playoff appearance.”

Smith, also a third team All-Ohioan last season, agreed.

“We couldn’t have done it without our teammates,” he said. “The way the line worked in the offseason, they deserved more recognition than they got.”

Smith completed 84 of 156 passes (54 percent) for 1,568 yards with 19 touchdowns and six interceptions.

“We thought maybe 8-2, but 10-0 was in the back of our minds,” Smith said. “We didn’t think we would get it, but the whole team worked so hard to go undefeated. The whole team deserves credit for the season.”

Deichler (6-foot-2, 245 pounds) hopes to play college football and major in physical therapy. Smith (5-10, 160) also wants to play football in college and study pre-medicine.

Three other Firelands players were honored Tuesday. Tight end Joe Kudela was a second-team choice. Defensive lineman Joe DeWitt and linebacker Zack Hofecker were third team All-Ohio.

Guilford, a 6-4, 215-pound defensive end, made the first team for the second straight year.

“I’m happy, but it’s more of a relief,” Guilford said. “Because I made it last year everyone was expecting me to make it again. I think you have to work twice as hard to make it again. I still feel honored.”

Guilford had 22 tackles for losses in 2011, helping Black River to a 9-3 record and the first postseason victory for a PAC team in conference history.

“I hope this is the start of a tradition,” Guilford said. “I hope the underclassmen use this as a stepping stone when they see what the seniors have done.”

Guilford also wants to play college football and plans to major in engineering.

Guilford’s teammate, defensive back Andrew Vaughn, landed on the All-Ohio third team.

Other Lorain County players to be honored on the Division III All-Ohio list were Vermilion defensive back Jason Anthony (second team) and Brookside defensive back Brandon Bellman (third team). Lorain County players on the Division IV list included four from Wellington — running back Clay Wright (second team), defensive lineman Ryan Alspach (second team) and defensive backs Zac Gilbert (third team) and Nathan Gray (third team).

Six Elyria Catholic players made All-Ohio. Offensive lineman Alex Nielsen made the second team. Wide receivers James Baker and Jordan Altpater, offensive lineman Dakota Tallman, and linebackers Joe Dempsey and Matt Morgan made the third team. Quarterback Jeremy Holley was a special mention.

Contact Steve Byrne at 329-7135 or stephenbyrne@att.net.