Buffalo News Player of the Year and record-setting South Park quarterback Tyree Brown headlines the long list of Western New Yorkers honored by the New York State Sportswriters Association for football excellence in 2015.
Brown was named state co-Player of the Year in Class A along with Sayville junior signal-caller Jack Coan.
Brown set or matched five school records en route to helping South Park become the first Buffalo Public Schools football program to win a New York State Public High Schools Athletic Association championship. The senior set school marks for passing yards in a season (2,615), passing touchdowns in a season (30) and passing yards in a single game (368). He also matched South Park’s record for career passing touchdowns (47), needing just two seasons to do what co-record holder Maurice Howie did in three. Brown matched the school record for rushing touchdowns in a season (22) and was one long touchdown run at the Carrier Dome, which was called back via penalty, from breaking the school’s single-season rushing mark. Brown rushed for 1,370 yards on 122 carries, missing the mark set by Carlos Spencer in 1996 by a mere 27 yards.
Brown put on a sensational show at the Dome during the Sparks' 49-46 win over Our Lady of Lourdes in the state final. He accounted for six touchdowns, rushing for scores of 63, 27, 38 and 44 yards and passing for touchdowns of 40 and 57 yards to earn MVP honors. He also earned MVP honors in the Section VI Class A final as the Sparks became the first ex-Harvard Cup School to win a sectional title and qualify for the state tournament.
Western New York had four individuals earn Class AA first team all-state honors. They included Kenmore West running back Terrell Ford, Orchard Park offensive tackle Dan Kubik, Canisius kicker Blake Haubeil and Bishop Timon-St. Jude linebacker Desmond Stephens.
Orchard Park junior quarterback Dillon Janca earned second team honors, while St. Francis counterpart Jerry Hickson earned third team all-state. Canisius linebacker Justin Jones and offensive lineman Richard Roberson and Orchard Park linebacker Ronnie Shul also earned second team all-state in Class AA. Brandon Metz of St. Francis earned third team at defensive back.
The complete list, all the way from first team to honorable mentions, for Classes AA through D is available at the New York State Sportswriters' website.
Others earning first team honors in Class A include Brown's teammate, offensive tackle Jeremiah Sanders and Trench Trophy winner Jake Fuzak of Williamsville South. Five selected for second team include South Park's David Thomas (receiver) and Daryl Moore (linebacker), West Seneca East linebacker John Dolac III, Starpoint defensive lineman Sam Wray and Williamsville East linebacker Brian Morreale. Third teamers included South Park's Austin Neal (defensive back) and Nick Schaefer (linebacker), Williamsville South receiver Matt Foster and Williamsville North linebacker Connor Kelly.
In Class B, Cheektowaga's Tyree Billingslea (running back) and Stephan Parker (receiver) headline the first-team selections. Alden running back Lyle Grant, Springville offensive lineman Pat Hannon, East Aurora/Holland defensive lineman A.J. Perlino and Maryvale defensive back Marcus Ford join the Cheektowaga pair on first team. Second-team picks included Springville running back Ian Baker, linebacker Dominic Prince, defensive back DeJean McCullough and offensive lineman Jai Hunter of Burgard, Cheektowaga defensive lineman Dylan Romanczak, Fredonia linebacker Michael Pucci and St. Mary's defensive back Takal Molson. Third-team selections included Cheektowaga quarterback Eric Bartnik, Medina running back Jake Cotter, EA/Holland running back E.J. Staniszewski, Depew offensive lineman Jakob Grant and Alden defensive lineman Leyton Miner.
In Class C, three of the five first team selections played for Bennett -- including linebacker Isaiah McDuffie, offensive lineman Khaliqye Newsome and receiver Brandon Brown. Maple Grove/Chautauqua Lake linebacker Mitch Sandberg and Cleveland Hill linebacker Grayson Taylor also received first team. Running back Brad Benson and linebacker Trevor Micek of MG/CL, Cleveland Hill offensive lineman Matt Eldridge and Lackawanna linebacker Jamel Lofton earned second-team honors.
In Class D, five earned first-team spots. They were offensive lineman Wesley Senn and defensive back Tyler Stahley of Randolph, Franklinville/Ellicottville running back Caleb Rinko, Frewsburg receiver Cordell O'Brien and Portville linebacker Grant Milne. F/E quarterback Tommy Easton and Frewsburg running back Brady Collver earned second-team spots.
Aquinas teammates Jake Zembiec, the Penn State-commit quarterback, and Earnest Edwards, Zembiec's top wide receiver, shared state Class AA co-Player of the Year honors.
Once again, visit the New York State Sportswriters' website to see the complete list of honorees from the area and the state.