By Ryan Kaczmarski
The National Football Foundation (NFF) is holding its 25th annual Northeastern Ohio Chapter Scholar-Athlete Awards banquet at LaCentre Banquet Facility in Westlake.
The NFF will be honoring 10 college and 29 high school outstanding scholar-athletes, including Bay High School’s Andy Barbour and Jacob Peters; Westlake High School’s Logan Paul; and St. Ignatius senior Kevin Kavalec, who is a Westlake resident.
Andy Barbour was a star on both sides of the field, playing the running back and defensive back positions for the Rockets.
“Andy has a tremendous work ethic,” Bay head coach Ryan Gorius said. “He battled through injuries his first couple of years in the program, but overcame them all. He is a brilliant individual who pays attention to detail which was evident within our weekly preparation for games….I can only imagine what his preparation was within his classes.
“Andy deserves the recognition for his hard work and dedication in athletics and academics. Not only has his work ethic and dedication set him up for this award, but he has set himself up to be successful in life.”
Jake Peters anchored both the offensive and defensive lines for Bay.
“Jake is a person with outstanding character who does outstanding work on and off the field, but also within his community with all the volunteer work he does,” Gorius said. “He has been a consistent leader on the field with a ‘for the team’ attitude. The same intensity he uses in athletics is the same intensity he uses for academics. His attitude towards academics and athletics has allowed him to pursue any area of study that he chooses.
“I am very proud of what both Andy and Jacob have accomplished athletically, but more importantly academically,” he added. “They both pushed their body and mind to the limit and both took advantage of what Bay High School has to offer. I really look forward in hearing about the successes that both of these young men will experience in their future.”
Logan Paul was a star running back and linebacker for the Demons in their Southwestern Conference championship season last fall, and was voted SWC MVP.
“Logan is the model student-athlete,” Westlake head coach Mark Campo said. “He has excelled in the classroom and on the football field. Logan has prepared, trained, and worked hard to achieve his success.
“Logan has earned a scholarship to Ohio University for his academic achievements in high school and was voted the Southwestern Conference MVP, because he was a dominant football player both offensively and defensively. He is very deserving of the NFF Award.”
Kevin Kavalec played tight end and was a defensive lineman for the Wildcats. St. Ignatius head coach Chuck Kyle was not available for comment on this story.
New Cleveland Browns Owner Jimmy Haslam has been secured as the featured speaker for the event.
The event will honor a number of other local and national figures as well. Stephen Perry, NFL Pro Hall of Fame President, will receive the 2013 Distinguished American Award, while WKYC Channel 3’s Jimmy Donovan will take home the Dino Lucarelli Award. Urban Meyer (Ohio State) and Larry Kehres (Mount Union) will receive the Lee Tressel College Coach-of-the Year awards, which will be presented by Lee’s son, Jim Tressel. Lastly, former Cleveland Plain Dealer sportswriter Eddie Dwyer will be awarded the Dick Zunt Ohio Sportswriter of the Year Award.
Perry has served as President/Executive Director of the Pro Football Hall of Fame in his hometown of Canton since 2006. Prior to that, he was an administrator with the United States General Services Administration and had a 37-year career with the Timken Company, serving in many capacities including senior vice president for human resources, purchasing and communications.
Donovan joined Channel 3 News in 1985 as a weekend sports anchor and is now the 6 and 11 pm sports anchor. In June of 1999, Donovan was named the voice of the Cleveland Browns and has received a number of awards for his work in television, including a local Emmy for Best Sportscaster. In 2011, Donovan announced he had been battling a 10-year battle with leukemia and would go off the air temporarily to undergo a bone marrow transplant. He is now back on the air and in recovery.
Undefeated coaches Meyer and Kehres will each receive the Lee Tressel Ohio College Coach-of-the-Year Award. Meyer led the Buckeyes to a perfect 12-0 in his first season at the helm. The Ashtabula, Ohio native spent the 2011 season as an analyst on ESPN, and prior to that, led the Florida Gators to two national titles, accomplishing a 65-15 record in six years in Gainesville.
Kehres led the Purple Raiders to their 11th National Championship in 2012. Since 2000, Kehres has compiled a record of 182-7 with seven national championships, as he begins his 28th season as head coach. For his efforts, he has been named American Football Coaches Association Regional Coach of the Year a record 17 times, AFCA National Coach of the Year eight times, OAC Coach of the Year six times and in 2008 became just the second NCAA Division III winner of the Liberty National Coach of the Year award.
Lastly, former the 2013 Dick Zunt Ohio Sportswriter of the Year winner will be awarded to former Cleveland Plain Dealer sportswriter Eddie Dwyer. Dwyer was a member of the sports department for more than 36 years before retiring in 2006.
Please contact Erin Dengler at 440-788-7472 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in attending the Annual Awards Banquet. Tickets are $50 each or $500 for a table of 10.