Before we get to the Outside the Huddle All-Area Team and our end-of-year awards, Blitz wanted to take some time and take a last glance at area conferences and hand out some league-specific hardware.
Next up is the Allen County Athletic Conference.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR: KEEGAN BLUHM, ADAMS CENTRAL
Not many players in the league had the offensive impact that Bluhm had – over 1,500 yards rushing and 18 touchdowns. When you consider that he was probably the most dynamic player for the Flying Jets on the defensive side of the ball as well, Bluhm is a no-brainer.
Bluhm is one of those blue-collar types with a nose for the ball that Adams Central seems to have in droves. Despite still being just a junior (bad news for the rest of the league), Bluhm is a seasoned veteran having played three years at the varsity level and has the confidence in be a leader on the field and in the locker room. He is a relentless player that seems to never leave the field, and has an impact everywhere.
HONORABLE MENTION: Rylan Whitacre, Heritage; Owen Wanner, South Adams; Anthony Cruz, Bluffton
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: KOBE MEYER, HERITAGE
The Patriots’ best season since the Dean Lehrman era had a lot of heroes over the course of the season, namely Coach Casey Kolkman in his revitalization of yet another program.
But on the field, it is tough to overlook Meyer. After seeing his 2021 campaign cut short due to injury, the junior bounced back in a huge way as QB1. His throwing numbers weren’t eye popping, but he did throw for over 1,000 yards and five touchdowns.
But the versatility that Meyer brought to the offense was dangerous. He finished as the team’s leading rusher with 841 yards and 15 touchdowns, giving the Patriots a true dual-threat quarterback that was a big part of their five league victories.
HONORABLE MENTION: Mav Summersett, South Adams; Ryan Black, Adams Central
BREAKOUT PLAYER: AJ STREVELER, BLUFFTON
Coach Brent Kunkel knew what he had with Streveler in seeing him come up as a youngster. But even he had to be a tad surprised at the immediate impact that the freshman made.
Streveler caught the first touchdown of his career in Week 2 against Manchester, but really broke out one week later against South Adams when he hauled in six passes for 112 yards and a score.
A tall, rangy wide receiver with the innate ability to find ways to get open, Streveler finished with 32 receptions for 536 yards and six touchdowns. He was honored by being named All-ACAC Second Team.
HONORABLE MENTION: Carter Fleek, Woodlan; Ibrahim Williams, Heritage; Jack Hamilton, Adams Central
COACH OF THE YEAR: BRENT KUNKEL, BLUFFTON
There were several coaches deserving of this honor in 2022 – including Michael Mosser of Adams Central and Kolkman of Heritage – but you cannot look past what Kunkel did for Bluffton in ending a 34-year sectional championship drought.
The Tigers’ ouster of Eastbrook in the sectional championship game was one of the more surprising outcomes of the season in the area. Credit to Kunkel for getting his kids to lock in and believe that the perennial power of the Panthers could be taken down.
HONORABLE MENTION: Michael Mosser, Adams Central; Casey Kolkman, Heritage
GAME OF THE YEAR: Heritage 28, South Adams 27 – Week 4
Blitz had a sense that we would see Heritage take a significant step forward in Year 3 under Coach Casey Kolkman, but even this game caught the bear off guard.
The belief was that once again Adams Central and South Adams would battle for the ACAC crown. But when the Patriots knocked off the Starfires in Week 4, it brought a lot of intrigue that had been lacking it in the last few years.
Kobe Meyer came through in the clutch in the two-minute offense, with a strike to Adam Whitman to tie the game in the closing seconds. The extra point by Moe Min Aung lifted Heritage to the victory, shaking up the hierarchy of the ACAC in the process.
EARLY PICK FOR 2023 ACAC CHAMPION: ADAMS CENTRAL FLYING JETS
Adams Central’s dominance of the ACAC in 2022 was massive. No squad finished within 25 points of the Flying Jets. While some key pieces move on due to graduation, players like Bluhm, Trevor Currie, Ryan Tester and others will be back.
South Adams will always be in the conversation, and Bluffton and Heritage seem to be on the rise, but Coach Michael Mosser’s squad will be the decided favorite again in 2023 as it looks for a third-consecutive league championship.
These opinions represent those of Blitz and Outside the Huddle. No opinions expressed on Outside the Huddle represent those of any of our advertisers. Follow Blitz on Twitter at Blitz_OTH