2020 TSF NKY DPOY Finalists

Covington Catholic OL/DL Ben Dickhaus (photo by Greg Shoemaker/

Four seniors, two juniors and a sophomore highlight the list of seven finalists for the 2020 TriState Football Northern Kentucky Defensive Player of the Year. The group also includes two District Players of the Year, Eric Jiminez (Dayton) and Tayquan Calloway (Holmes).

This is the second time that Calloway has been named a TSF NKY DPOY finalists. He becomes just the seventh player to have achieved that goal, in this the 14th year of TSF NKY finalist selections. The elite company that Calloway joins includes Brycen Huddleston (Highlands) in 2019 and ’18; Michael Mayer (Covington Catholic) in ’18 and ’17; Michael Derry (Beechwood) in ‘’18 and ’17; Sam Burchell (Covington Catholic) in ’13 and ’12; Seth Hope (Highlands) in ’13 and ’12; as well as Drake Bruns (Highlands) in ’11 and ’10. The last two years, Huddleston and Mayer have been named the TSF NKY DPOY. They are the only two of the fraternity to have earned the honor.

Here are the finalists for the 2020 TSF Northern Kentucky DPOY:

Mitch Berger (Beechwood), So, RB/LB – Was an impact player on both sides of the ball for the Class 2A state champion Tigers. The sophomore was the only player named 2020 First Team NKFCA All-NKY on offense (at RB) and defense (at LB) as well as Honorable Mention ALL-TSF (ATH). He finished with a pair of interceptions for a Beechwood (10-2) defense that only gave up 12.7 points per game. On offense, Berger had 41 receptions for 605 yards and found the end zone nine times (five rec, four rush).

Rhys Brown (Dixie Heights), Sr, DL – His play in the trenches was a big part of the Colonels having their first winning season since 2014. Brown was a 2020 First Team NKFCA All-NKY (DL), Second Team NKFCA All-NKY (OL) and Second Team All-TSF (DL) selection after getting in on 30 total tackles with two sacks. He was just one of two players to draw First and/or Second Team All-NKY honors on both sides of the ball.

Tayquan Calloway (Holmes), Sr, RB/RS/DB – An electrifying talent in all phases of the game. Calloway snared five interceptions, returned a punt for a touchdown, ran for 794 and 10 scores to earn 2020 Class 4A, District 6 Player of the Year, First Team NKFCA All-NKY (DB) (for a second straight season) and Second Team All-TSF (RS) honors. He finished his career at Holmes with 2,454 yards on the ground, 46 receptions for 798 yards, 43 touchdowns (32 rush, six rec, two PR, two IR, one KR,) 13 interceptions and two fumble recoveries.

Dawson Catlett (Walton-Verona), Sr, LB – Capped off a great career with 72 total tackles, 19.5 tackles for losses with seven-and-a-half sacks as a senior. He was named 2020 Honorable Mention All-TSF. Walton-Verona never had a losing season in Catlett’s four years as a starter. The Bearcats compiled a 36-15 record in that span. Cattlett finished his career with 201 total tackles, 46.5 tackles for losses and 15.0 sacks.

Ben Dickhaus (Covington Catholic), Sr, OL/DL – Starred on both sides of the line for a Colonels team that allowed just 9.9 points per game and scored 29.1 points per contest. Dickhaus was named 2020 First Team NKFCA All-NKY (OL) and First Team All-TSF (DL). He finished the season with 64 total tackles, 11.0 tackles for losses and six-and-a-half sacks.

Eric Jiminez (Dayton), Jr, DL – Had a monster junior campaign as the Greendevils had their first winning season since 2007. Jiminez was in on 55 total tackles, with14.0 tackles for losses, three sacks, forced six fumbles and recovered seven fumbles. That effort earned him 2020 Class 1A, District 4 Player of the Year, Second Team NKFCA All-NKY and Honorable Mention All-TSF (DL) acclaim. Jiminez heads into his senior season with 138 total tackles, 26.5 tackles for losses, five sacks, six forced fumbles and seven fumble recoveries.

Gabe Savage (Ryle), Jr, LB – A relentless force for the Raiders defense. Savage emerged as one of the top linebackers in NKY this past fall. He recorded 128 total tackles, had 11.0 tackles for losses, three sacks, forced three fumbles, recovered two fumbles and had a scoop-and-score. His work garnered 2020 First Team NKFCA All-NKY (LB) and Third Team All-TSF accolades.

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