MOUNT VERNON — The staff of the Mount Vernon News sports department didn’t have to look too far to find the All-Area Offensive Player of the Year for football.
Danville senior Bryce Staats had one of the best years for a quarterback ever — not just for Danville, but for all of Knox County.
Staats led the Blue Devils to an unblemished record in the Mid-Buckeye Conference as well as an appearance in the regional championship, where he went on to establish new single-game passing records for Danville. In the regular season only, Staats went 138-of-262 for 2,057 yards with 21 touchdowns and only four interceptions He rushed for 1,066 yards, averaging 7.1 yards per carry. He has garnered such awards as Division VI Central District Player of the Year and MBC Offensive Player of the Year.
The All-Area Defensive Player of the Year didn’t see his team have quite the same success. But his impact could not be questioned.
Andy Upton was undoubtedly the most solid player on Mount Vernon’s defense — a defense that grew by leaps and bounds in 2012.
Upton accumulated 55 solo tackles and 19 assists from the linebacker position in 2012. He led the team with 9 1/2 sacks — second in the area — and seemed to be everywhere the ball-carrier was, anywhere on the field. Upton led by example on the field and by his encouraging words on the sideline.
His influence was reflected in the rest of the team; Mount Vernon went from allowing 31.4 points per game in 2011 to 20.9 this season — a 10.5 point improvement.
Our All-Area First Team offense begins with Centerburg’s Tyler Stoyle at quarterback. Stoyle completed 148 out of 254 passes for 1,752 yards and 18 touchdowns, ending the season with a passer rating of 135.7.
The top rusher in the area in the regular season, Mount Vernon’s J.D. Orr, made All-Area First Team. Orr led all players with 1,244 yards on the ground with 11 touchdowns. Highland’s Shawn Beltz led all rushers with a 9.7 yards-per-carry average, placing him on First Team. And Dylan Wears was East Knox’s all-purpose offensive threat, rushing for 608 yards while collecting 11 catches for 262 yards. Wears led the area with 74 points scored.
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