Nov. 14—The field of finalists has been set for the announcement of this year's Tony Fisher Award, which goes to The News-Herald's football player of the year.
The five finalists — in alphabetical order — are Kirtland's Rocco Alfieri, VASJ's Lamar "Bo" Jackson, Riverside's Mikey Maloney, Kenston's Sean Patrick and Lake Catholic's Frankie Trinetti.
The announcement will be made on Monday, Nov. 20 at Hooley Pub & Kitchen in a special edition of the Varsity Chalk Talk show hosted by Bill Tilton. Show time is 6 p.m.
The Tony Fisher Award is named after the former Ohio Mr. Football from Euclid who went on to play at Notre Dame and in the NFL. Fisher has returned to his hometown and is now the athletic director and interim head football coach at Euclid.
In addition to the Tony Fisher Award being presented, the Bob Ritley Award will also be announced. The Ritley Award goes to The News-Herald's football coach of the year. Members of the Ritley family will be on hand to present the award, named after the legendary coach from Perry.
The finalists for the Bob Ritley Award are — in alphabetical order — Perry's Bob Gecewich, Lake Catholic's Marty Gibbons and Madison's Mike Gilligan.
For a closer look at this year's Fisher Award finalists:
—Rocco Alfieri, Kirtland, Sr.: The senior running back/linebacker carried six times for 86 yards in the Hornets' 53-19 win over Cuyahoga Heights in a Division VI, Region 21 semifinal last weekend.
Heading into Kirtland's regional championship game on Nov. 17 against Mogadore, Alfieri had carried 142 times for 923 yards (6.5 yards per carry) with 22 touchdowns scored and three two-point conversions for a team-leading 138 points.
On the defensive side of the ball, Alfieri has 95 tackles, 21 tackles for loss, five sacks, six passes broken up, three interceptions, three caused fumbles and five quarterback hurries. Additionally, he has a 36.8-yard punting average.
—Bo Jackson, VASJ, Jr.: A two-way starter, he led the Vikings to the Division III, Region 9 semifinal where VASJ lost to Youngstown Ursuline, 27-20, last week.
A Power 5 recruit with offers from Ohio State, Michigan, Notre Dame and Penn State — among others — he carried 116 times for 1,329 yards (11.5 yards per carry) with 27 total touchdowns scored through rushing and receiving. He also had 158 return yards on only three kick returns. Defensively, he accumulated 63 tackles, five TFLs, four pass break-ups and five QB pressures.
—Mikey Maloney, Riverside, Sr.: He capped his high school career by throwing for 177 yards and rushing for 19 yards in the Beavers' 21-0 loss to Akron Hoban in a Division II, Region 5 semifinal last week.
The 2022 winner of the Tony Fisher Award winner, Maloney finished his senior year with 155 carries for 1,077 yards (6.9 yards per carry) with 20 touchdowns. He also completed 165 of 272 passes (61 percent) for 2,151 yards and 17 touchdowns with eight interceptions, giving him a total of 3,228 yards and 37 touchdowns accounted for. Defensively, he played defensive back in some nickle situations this year. He also averaged 37.5 yards as Riverside's punter.
—Sean Patrick, Kenston, Sr.: A University of Akron commit, Patrick ran for 59 yards and a touchdown in the Bombers' regional quarterfinal loss to VASJ.
He finished his senior year with 221 carries for 1,504 yards (6.8 yards per carry) on the ground to go with 25 catches for 288 yards (11.5 yards per catch). He scored 28 touchdowns to go with one two-point conversion for an area-leading 170 points.
Defensively as a lockdown cornerback, Patrick had 36 tackles, three interceptions, three tackles for loss and two pass break-ups.
—Frankie Trinetti, Lake Catholic, Jr.: He threw for 265 yards and a touchdown in the Cougars' 28-25 loss to Struthers in a Division IV, Region 13 semifinal last week.
He finished the season having completed 201 of 318 passes (63.2 percent) for 3,294 yards and 38 touchdowns — both program records — with 10 interceptions. He also ran for 57 yards and a touchdown, giving him 3,351 total yards with 39 touchdowns accounted for.
The resumes for the Bob Ritley finalists are, in alphabetical order:
—Perry's Bob Gecewich, who has guided the Pirates to a 13-0 record heading into this weekend's Division V, Region 17 championship game against South Range.
—Lake Catholic's Marty Gibbons, who led the Cougars to a 10-3 record and the third round of the Division IV playoffs, on the heels of back-to-back seasons totalling four wins.
—Madison's Mike Gilligan, who led the Blue Streaks to an 8-3 record, after the Blue Streaks won only three games in the past two years combined.