2018 Cincinnati Player of the Year finalists

Anderson OL Zeke Correll (photo by Greg Shoemaker/

Dominating performers is probably the best way to describe the 2018 Cincinnati Offensive and Defensive Player of the Year finalists.  A trio off juniors and a sophomore set the record books on fire while the other 12 finalists played at an envious notch above their senior peers.

In the 12-year history of these awards, Ryan Mullaney (Moeller) and Miyan Williams (Winton Woods) become the 24th and 25 players to be named a Cincinnati POY finalist, twice. Corey Kiner (Roger Bacon) and Cameron Kells (Milford) become the first-ever finalist selections from their schools.

Here is a look at the 2018 TriState Football Cincinnati Player of the Year finalists.

Cincinnati Offensive Player of the Year finalists
Michael Bittner, Elder, Sr, QB – Really rounded into a dual-threat quarterback, throwing for 2,231 yards, running for 631 yards and accounting for 27 touchdowns (16 pass, 11 rush) on his way to Division I OPSWA Special Mention All-Ohio and GCL South OPOY accolades. Bittner amassed 4,832 yards of total offense (3,283 pass, 1,549 rush) and accounted for 52 touchdowns (23 pass, 29 rush) in his three years as a letterman for the Panthers.

Zeke Correll, Anderson, Sr, OT – A two-time Division II OPSWA First Team All-Ohio selection, Correll paved the way for an Anderson (9-4) offense that churned out more than 5,400 yards, found the end zone 59 times and finished Region 8 runner-up. Correll has signed with Notre Dame.

Cameron Kells, Milford, Sr, RB – Propelled a Milford (9-3) offense that won its first playoff game in school history. Kells ran for 1,607 yards, caught 34 passes for 348 yards, amassed 2,067 all-purpose yards with 33 touchdowns (29 rush, four rec) on his way to Division I OPSWA First Team All-Ohio and ECC OPOY honors.

Milford RB Cameron Kells (photo by Mitchell Cooke/

Corey Kiner, Roger Bacon, So, RB – Ran for 1,740 yards, amassed 2,238 all-purpose yards and found the end zone 27 times (26 rush). He had four games with at least four touchdowns and four contests of 200+ yards rushing on his way to Division IV OPSWA First Team All-Ohio and GCL Central Co-OPOY accolades. Kiner’s offers include Cincinnati, Indiana and Kentucky.

JuTahn McClain, Fairfield, Jr, RB – The complete package out of the backfield saw McClain run for 1,754 yards, catch 24 passes for 416 yards, rack up 2,320 all-purpose yards and find the end zone 31 times (25 rush, five rec, one KR). McClain had 437 all-purpose yards and seven touchdowns in the opener versus Centerville. The Fairfield (7-4) junior had at least one play of 60 yards or more in eight games. That effort earned him Division I OPSWA First Team All-Ohio, Southwest District OPOY & GMC OPOY honors. His offers include Ohio State, Michigan, Notre Dame, Cincinnati, Maryland, Kentucky, Louisville, Minnesota, Missouri, Pitt, Purdue, Rutgers and West Virginia.

Evan Prater, Wyoming, Jr, QB – Prater was simply sensational for the undefeated Ohio Division IV state champion, Wyoming Cowboys (15-0). He racked up 3,969 yards of total offense (2,181 pass, 1,788 rush), accounted for 60 touchdowns (32 rush, 28 pass) and only had six turnovers (four int) on his way to being named Division IV OPSWA Ohio OPOY. Prater has offer Akron, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and Toledo.

Deante Smith-Moore, Colerain, Sr, QB – A breakout season saw Smith-Moore rack up 2,324 yards of total offense (1,072 pass, 1,252 rush), account for 36 touchdowns (19 pass, 17 rush) with only four interceptions for the Division I state runner-up Cardinals. He was named Division I OPSWA Third Team All-Ohio. Brother, DeTuan, was a finalist in this same category in ’13 while at Colerain.

Colerain QB Deante Smith-Moore (photo by Greg Shoemaker/

Miyan Williams, Winton Woods, Jr, RB – Was named Division II  OPSWA Ohio OPOY after running for 2,824 yards with 38 touchdowns and 2,917 all-purpose yards as Winton Woods (12-2) won its second straight regional title. He ran for 430 yards and six touchdowns in the Warriors epic 49-42 comeback win over Olentangy in the first round of the playoffs. Williams offers include Michigan, Kentucky, Maryland, Rutgers and Toledo.

Cincinnati Defensive Player of the Year finalists
Hasan Black, Wyoming, Sr, LB – Recorded 113 total tackles (79 solo) and 9.0 sacks for the undefeated state champion Cowboys. He earned Division IV OPSWA First Team All-Ohio accolades for the effort. Hasan has offers from Air Force, Akron and Ball State. Black’s brother, Jibreel, was a finalist in this same category in ’09 while at Wyoming.

Spencer Bono, Elder, Sr, DE – Played a huge role as the Elder (8-5) defense stepped up during a late season run to the Region 4 finals. Bono earned Division I OPSWA Third Team All-Ohio honors after getting in on 69 total tackles with 10.0 sacks and a fumble recovery. He recorded 22.5 sacks as a Panther. Bono has signed with Boston College.

Elder DE Spencer Bono (photo by David Shelton/

Anthony Booker, Winton Woods, Sr, DE – “Tank” was the anchor of a Warriors defensive line that held eight opponents to 14 points or fewer and went 7-2 against teams the made the playoffs in ’17. He was named Division II OPSWA Second Team All-Ohio. Booker has offers from Cincinnati, Maryland, Rutgers, Kentucky, Indiana, Miami (OH), Pitt, Ohio, Bowling Green, Eastern Kentucky, Toledo, Western Michiga and Akron

Jowon Briggs, Walnut Hills, Sr, DL – Often double teamed, Briggs still managed to get in on 54 tackles with six sacks to garner Division I OPSWA First Team All-Ohio and ECC DPOY honors. He has signed with Virginia.

Ryan Mullaney, Moeller, Sr, DL – A sack machine, Mullaney finished his career as the Crusaders all-time leader in sacks with 30.0. He was named Division I OPSWA Special Mention All-Ohio and the GCL South DLOY after getting in on 61 total tackles, with 13.0 sacks, three forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries.

Moeller DL Ryan Mullaney (photo by Mitchell Cooke/

Ivan Pace Jr., Colerain, Sr, RB/LB – Was a one-man wrecking crew on both sides of the ball for Division I state runner-up, Colerain (14-1). Pace Jr. earned Division I OPSWA  Ohio DPOY honors for his play on defense where he tallied 80 total tackles, recorded six sacks, forced four fumbles, recovered two fumbles and had a 44-yard pick six. On offense, Pace Jr. ran for 1,441 yards and found the end zone 23 times (22 rush). He finishes his career with 2,425 yards rushing, 203 total tackles, 16.0 sacks, five forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries, one interception and 43 touchdowns (39 rush, one rec, two FR, one IR). Pace Jr. has signed with Miami (OH).

JJ Ross, Lakota West, Sr, DB – A lock down defender that is our lone defensive back as finalist. Ross had six interceptions including a pick six against Princeton. He was an Division I OPSWA First Team All-Ohio selection. Ross has signed with Cincinnati.

Jalen Thornton, Indian Hill, Sr, DL – Named Division IV OPSWA First Team All-Ohio and Southwest District DPOY after getting in on 90+ tackles with 10.5 sacks for Indian Hill (9-3). He also had four touchdown catches on 10 receptions for 176 yards. Thornton Signed with West Virginia, where his father, John, also played.

Join us as we recognize Team of the Year winners from Dayton, Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky & Indiana, Player of the Year winners and finalists from all of those areas, Mella Window and Carpet Cleaning Player of the Week winners and all members of the 2018 Postseason All-TSF squad as they will be honored at our upcoming TSF Year in Review Show on Monday, February 18th at The Holy Grail – Banks in downtown Cincinnati.



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