Karns City, Redbank Valley earn KSAC football honors

| Thursday, Dec. 14, 2006

Karns City and Redbank Valley split the Keystone Shortway Athletic Conference football awards this season.

Karns City senior Justin Switzer was named KSAC Defensive Player of the Year, and Gremlins coach Ed Conto earned Coach of the Year honors.

Redbank Valley junior Jake Smith was named KSAC Offensive Player of the Year, and Bulldogs sophomore Alex Bladel was awarded Rookie of the Year.

Switzer led the District 9 with 122 tackles, six of which were sacks. He also returned two fumbles for touchdowns.

Karns City (10-2, 7-0) won the KSAC and finished second in District 9. The Gremlins did it with defense, allowing 16.8 points per game.

A quick look at Karns City's roster can show one of the reasons why Conto was named the KSAC's top coach. Heading into the season, the Gremlins were a young and inexperienced team with just seven seniors, two of which started on defense.

The Gremlins started five different players in 12 games at running back, and they had a offensive line made up almost entirely of sophomores.

Smith led Redbank Valley to an 8-4 record and a second-place finish in the KSAC. The Bulldogs made it to the District 9 Class A semifinals.

Smith completed 83 of 173 passes for 1,124 yards and 14 touchdowns. A mobile quarterback, he rushed for 587 yards and 11 touchdowns. Smith was named KSAC player of the week twice and ended the season with a passer rating of 117.7.

Bladel was one of the biggest surprises in District 9. Filling the shoes of Skyler Smith, Redbank Valley's all-time leading rusher, was supposed to be a difficult task. Bulldogs coach Ed Wasilowski said in the preseason that he planned to pass the ball more than run this season.

But, Bladel took advantage of an experienced offensive line and rushed for 1,373 yards, fourth in District 9. The sophomore scored 14 rushing touchdowns and caught 17 passes for 255 yards and three scores. He was the top receiving running back in the KSAC.

Volleyball all-section honors

Three West Shamokin seniors earned spots on the WPIAL Class A Section 1 volleyball first team.

Brianna Detwiler, Emily Ondich and Stephani Huff were honored with first-team selections.

Elderton had two players make the Section 1-A first team -- juniors Brandy McCourt and Landis Hohl.

Also making the Section 1-A first team was senior Jamie Bologna of Leechburg.

Second-team choices were Leechburg's Caitlin Schultz and Erica Romaniw, Elderton's Heather Wagner and Theresa Potts and West Shamokin's Julie Cloak and Laura Renosky.

Hohl also was named to the WPIAL Class A first team, while Detwiler, Huff and McCourt earned second-team nominations. Making the WPIAL Class A third team were Ondich and Bologna.

McCullough takes over Bobcats

Judd McCullough was named Elderton's baseball coach on Dec. 4. for the upcoming season. McCullough played baseball for Dave Powers and graduated from Shannock Valley.

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