Nov. 20—The Tony Fisher Award only had one two-time winner prior to this year.
The key word there is "Had."
With yet another dynamic season, Riverside's Mikey Maloney has been named the 2023 winner of the Tony Fisher Award to go with the award he took home last year as a junior. The award goes to The News-Herald's football player of the year. He joins Mitchell Trubisky as the only two-time winner of the award, though Mentor QB Bart Tanski won N-H player of the year twice, with the second time being the first year it was renamed the Fisher Award.
In perhaps the closest race yet, Maloney edged out four other finalists for this year's award, which was presented Nov. 20 in a special edition of the Varsity Chalk Talk Show, hosted by Bill Tilton, at Hooley Pub & Grill. Tony Fisher and his family presented the award in front of a standing-room-only crowd at Hooley.
"It's amazing," Maloney said of winning the award," I couldn't be more thankful for it. The people around me are amazing. My head coach (Dave Bors) over there, the best strength and conditioning coach (Bryan Doberdruk) in the state helped me get here."
Maloney finished his senior year with 155 carries for 1,077 yards (a 6.9-yard average) with 20 touchdowns to go with 2,151 yards passing and 17 additional touchdowns. He completed 165 of 272 passes (61 percent) and threw only eight interceptions.
Add it all up, and he accounted for 3,228 yards of offense and 37 touchdowns. Additionally, he punted for a 37.5-yard average and played some defense — playing through a broken nose during one of his games — this year in nickel packages for the Beavers.
Riverside finished the season with a 10-3 record and advanced to the third round of the rugged Division II, Region 5 playoffs, where the Beavers fell to defending state champion Akron Hoban, 21-0.
With Maloney at the helm, Riverside averaged 31.8 points per game against a loaded schedule that included teams such as Aurora, Mentor, Kenston and Chardon prior to the start of the Division II playoffs.
Among Maloney's best games were against Mentor (293 yards rushing and passing with two touchdowns passes and three rushing touchdowns, including the game-winner with less than a minute remaining), against Kenston (139 yards rushing and two touchdowns, 254 yards passing and two touchdowns) and against Twinsburg (204 yards rushing with two touchdowns, 241 yards passing with three touchdowns).
PHOTOS: Tony Fisher, Bob Ritley Awards ceremony, Nov. 20, 2023
"I just put my head down and worked through basketball season," Maloney said. "Two or three hours every day, making sure I was getting better every day."
Maloney said he is being recruited for a myriad of positions at the college level, including quarterback, athlete and safety.
"I'm going to miss this more than anything," he said. "People say not to take it for granted and I really tried my best (not to). At the end of the day, high school football is the best it's ever going to get."
Maloney faced stiff competition for this year's Tony Fisher Award. The other finalists included:
—Rocco Alfieri, Kirtland, Sr.: Heading into Kirtland's Division VI state semifinal on Nov. 24 against Sugarcreek Garaway, Alfieri had carried 144 times for 954 yards (6.5 yards per carry) with 24 touchdowns scored and three two-point conversions for a team-leading 150 points.
On defense, Alfieri has 102 tackles, 22 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 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. Defensively, he accumulated 63 tackles, five TFLs, four pass break-ups and five QB pressures.
—Sean Patrick, Kenston, Sr.: 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 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.