Gifford, Hicks, Burke earn Division III praise

Ross RB Jackson Gifford (photo by Shelby Frieszell/

Ross (8-2) running back Jackson Gifford was the main cog for a Rams offense that averaged 401.9 yards with 56 touchdowns rushing in 2020. Gifford finished with 1,516 yards and 23 touchdowns as Ross won its first ever three playoff games and made the regional finals for the first time in school history. He was named Southwest District Offensive Player of the Year for his work. “In an offense that only passed the ball 13 times all year, defenses knew what we were going to do and that didn’t matter much. Jackson averaged 8.15 yards per carry and teams knew it was coming. In the second half of games most defenses were done attempting to tackle him,” Ross head coach Kenyon Commins stated.

Alter (8-3) linebacker CJ Hicks was a beast for the Knights who won the schools 12th Regional title. The Ohio State commit recorded 61 total tackles, had 12 tackles for losses, forced three fumbles, recovered a fumble and had a pick six on his way to Southwest District Defensive Player of the Year accolades.

New Richmond (5-3) front man Pat Burke guided the Lions back to the playoffs for the first time since 2017 to earn Southwest District Coach of the Year honors.

The 2020 Ohio Prep Sportswriters Association Division III All-Southwest District football teams, as selected by a media panel from the district:


First Team Offense

Backfield: Seth Borondy, Bellbrook, 6-2, 175, jr., RB; CJ Boze, Hamilton Ross, 5-11, 165, sr., QB; Jackson Gifford, Hamilton Ross, 5-10, 215, sr., RB; Luke Lytle, New Richmond, 5-10, 165, sr., QB; Branden McDonald, Kettering  Alter, 6-1, 208, sr., RB; Drew Novak, Mount Orab Western Brown, 6-6, 185, so., QB.
Receivers: Keyshawn Barber, Cincinnati Hughes, 6-2, 170, jr.; Logan Campbell, Mount Orab Western Brown, 6-0, 170, jr.; Kevon Grant, Cincinnati Northwest, 6-1, 170, Sr.; Carter Huffman, Wilmington, 6-1, 190, sr.; Kenyon Owens, Dayton Chaminade Julienne, 5-11, 188, jr.; Kadin Pollard, New Richmond, 6-3.5, 195, sr.
Linemen: Cajun Allen, Franklin, 6-3, 300, sr.; Aries Lamb, Cincinnati Mount Healthy, 6-7, 280, sr.; Griffin Peacock, Hamilton Ross, 6-4, 275, sr.; Kaden Rogers, Hamilton Ross, 6-3, 275, sr.; Matt See, Kettering Alter, 6-2, 287, sr.; Braden Swank, Tipp City Tippecanoe, 6-3, 308, sr.
Kicker: Jack Ruffolo, Kettering Alter, 6-2, 188, sr.

First Team Defense

Linemen: Trevor Adams, Goshen, 6-3, 230, sr.; Jayden Carter, Hamilton Badin, 6-2, 210, sr.; James Keighley, Kettering Alter, 6-4, 218, sr.; Ashton Kooken, Bellbrook, 6-1, 195, jr.; Izac Proctor, Franklin, 6-2, 215, sr.; Kevin Thompson, Tipp City Tippecanoe, 6-3, 182, sr.
Linebackers: Tyler Carlson, Tipp City Tippecanoe, 5-10, 204, sr.; Ethan Fryman, Bellbrook, 5-11, 190, sr.; CJ Hicks, Kettering Alter, 6-4, 214, jr.; Taylor Jordan, Bellbrook, 6-2, 205, sr.; Gunner Lakins, Franklin, 6-2, 225, sr.; Diego Neri, Cincinnati Northwest, 6-3, 235, sr.
Secondary: Wyatt Fryer, Franklin, 5-10, 185, sr.; Jamar Payton, Dayton Dunbar, 6-2, 175, sr.; Aidan Plate, Kettering Alter, 6-2, 184, sr.; Casey Redemeier, Hamilton Ross, 5-11, 185, sr.; Corinthian Thomas, Cincinnati Hughes, 5-10, 170, so.; Bobby Young, Hamilton Badin, 6-0, 190, sr.
Punter: Isaiah Bales, Franklin, 6-0, 190, jr.

Offensive player of the year: Jackson Gifford, Hamilton Ross
Defensive player of the year: CJ Hicks, Kettering Alter
Coach of the year: Pat Burke, New Richmond

Second Team Offense

Backfield: Ryan Chapman, Dayton Carroll, 6-0, 160 so., QB; Jaheim Cherry, Cincinnati Northwest, 6-0, 191, sr., QB. Cade Chisman, Mount Orab Western Brown, 6-1, 180, sr.; Keyontrez Devaughn, Cincinnati Hughes, 5-10, 185, jr.; Elijah Jackson, Monroe, 6-0, 195, so., FB; Alex Westbrock, Bellbrook, 6-0, 170, sr.
Receivers: Jaeden Campbell, Bellefontaine, 6-2, 165, sr.; Steven Chapman, Dayton Carroll, 6-2, 170, sr.; Dylan Novak, Mount Orab Western Brown, 6-4, 190, jr.; Gary Powell III, Mount Orab Western Brown, 6-2, 210, sr.; Elijah Ray, Dayton Ponitz Tech, 5-9, 170, jr.; Sam Severt, Dayton Carroll, 5-10, 190, sr.
Linemen: Caleb Barnhart, Franklin, 6-4, 250, sr.; Eric Eickenhorst, Goshen, 6-1, 225, sr.; Nick Moore, Cincinnati Northwest, 6-3, 273, jr.; Elijah Rockhold, Wilmington, 6-4, 245, sr.; Brayden Turner, Bellbrook, 6-2, 320, jr.; Connor Young, Hamilton Badin, 6-2, 270, sr.
Kicker: Owen Hadden, Tipp City Tippecanoe, 6-0, 150, sr.

Second Team Defense

Linemen: Isaiah Benson, Cincinnati Northwest, 6-2, 210, sr.; Rory Canady, Cincinnati Woodward, 6-7, 350, jr.; Hunter Harrison, Hamilton Badin, 6-2, 270, jr.; Chandler Holler, Monroe, 6-2, 210, sr.; Logan Neu, Hamilton Badin, 6-2, 220, jr.; Tayleon Waterhouse, Dayton Ponitz Tech, 6-2, 195, jr.
Linebackers: Ashton Ault, Bellbrook, 6-0, 210, jr.; Cayd Everhart, Tipp City Tippecanoe, 5-10, 183, jr.; David Frederick, Dayton Chaminade Julienne, 5-9, 182, jr.; Sean Harkness, Cincinnati Mount Healthy, 5-8, 156, sr.; Tanner Meale, Hamilton Ross, 6-2, 230, sr.; Andy Walker, Dayton Carroll, 5-11, 190, sr.
Secondary: Ethan Braun, Dayton Carroll, 5-8, 155, sr.; Will Gilden, Cincinnati Hughes, 6-0, 170, jr.; JaQuan Lusbourgh, Dayton Dunbar, 5-11, 155, sr.; Jason Rindler, Tipp City Tippecanoe, 6-1, 197, jr.; Nick Robbins, Tipp City Tippecanoe, 5-10, 188, sr.; Stourm White, Dayton Ponitz Tech, 5-8, 160, so.
Punter: Landyn Vidourek, Hamilton Badin, 6-1, 165, jr.

Honorable Mention: Don’yae Freeman, Ahmad Goss, Cincinnati Aiken; Na’Davion Gaither, Trey Cornist, Aaron Hodge, Christian Jackson, Aries Lindsay, Cincinnati Mount Healthy; Tanner Smith, Hamilton Ross; Pierce Bauerle, Franklin; Collin Deaton, Monroe; Colton McCartney, Conner Mills, Hadyn Sharp, Greenville; Connor Rose, Ethan Moore, Bellefontaine; Casey Bennett, Kyle Fullam, Ryan Logan, Mike Masters, Luke Mitchell, Chandler Perdue, Vandalia Butler; Lawson Cook, Davis Featherstone, Nick Shirley, Tipp City Tippecanoe; Fanuel Uwishimwe, Dayton Carroll; David Schweinefuss, Michael Schweinefuss, Hamilton Badin; Matt Sciarretti, Kettering Alter; Andre LaJoye, Cam Weil, Mount Orab Western Brown; Jeff Valentine, Wilmington.

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