By Chris Chaney
The Southwest Ohio Football Coaches Association held their 38th annual Ron Woyan East vs. West All-Star Game on Thursday, June 13, which featured nine Clermont County football standouts, all of whom would be under the direction of Batavia’s headman, Don Sizer.
Sizer, who led his Bulldogs to a perfect 10-0 regular season record and a 4-0 Southern Buckeye Conference mark, was selected by his peers in SWOFCA to head up the East squad.
Players from that Batavia team, along with others from Amelia, Clermont Northeastern, Goshen, Milford, Glen Este and New Richmond were chosen to participate in one of the most historically rich events in the area.
“Each member school of SWOFCA — as long as a coach is a member, it does not have to be a head coach — they are allowed to nominate five players (from their school) for the All-Star game,” the game’s namesake, Ron Woyan said. “Out of those five, the coaches have to pick at least one player from each school that nominates a player.”
Woyan said it is up to the coach’s discretion how many or how few he would like to nominate from his team, but if any are nominated as few as one must be chosen and as many as three from each team are allowed to be picked to make up the two 44-man rosters.
Batavia led the area with two players selected to the game. Seniors Zainn Ison and Gabe Archer represented the SBC champs. They were joined by fellow conference selections Clay Cousino of Clermont Northeastern, Austin Iker of Bethel-Tate, Marcus Casey of Goshen, Austin Brown of Amelia and Cole Bird of New Richmond.
From the Eastern Cincinnati Conference, Milford’s Tyler Voth and Glen Este’s Austin Ayers were selected.
To select the coaches of each side, Woyan said the member coaches vote and more often than not, coaches whose teams have good years are chosen to represent their side of town.
“Don Sizer from Batavia had an undefeated season and went to the playoffs,” Woyan said of the Batavia coach’s credentials. “He was selected as the East head coach. The next head coach who is selected is named the assistant head coach. Then, they get four assistants.”
Once being selected to coach in the game, there is a four-year period for which a coach cannot return to coach in the All-Star game, meaning Coach Sizer will be ineligible to coach the East squad again until 2017.
The 38th edition of the All-Star game did not disappoint. Woyan pointed out that the last three or four years have been very competitive games, coming down to the last possession. This year was no different.
After getting out to a fast start in the first half, the scoring slowed down in the second half with Sizer’s East squad edging out the West by a score of 21-19.
Given the style of the game, players were subbed in and out quite frequently, much more so than they are used to in their regular team schemes, meaning that statistical standouts were hard to come by.
However, two local individuals in particular received special acclaim from Woyan. Glen Este’s Austin Ayers finished the game with three unassisted and one assisted tackle, including providing constant pressure on the West’s platoon of quarterbacks.
On the other side of the ball, CNE’s Clay Cousino was the East’s leading rusher, stacking up 48 yards on 11 carries.
Despite the spreading out of accolades, Woyan explained that the game is about competition and affording athletes from different areas a chance to play against guys that they otherwise would never be matched up with.
“The competition has been really good, the kids really get into the ball game,” Woyan said. “What’s nice about the event is that you get a kid from a small school and they get to go against a kid from a bigger school. The kids love that competition. They bond really well with the other players. They get the chance to see a kid that maybe they read about in the paper and then all of the sudden, they’re on the same team. It’s really a neat situation.
“It’s a big honor for those kids to play. I tell them that we’ve had some big names go through here. I always stress that someone on this squad may be playing in the pros or be an All-Pro like the guys that have gone before them.”
If you missed the game last week at Kings, but would like to watch it, the game broadcast is available online at www.waycross.tv in their On Demand section under “East/West All-Star Football.”
For more information about the game and SWOFCA, you can log on to their website at www.swofca.com.