Fredonia’s Skinner named Class C South’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2019

Gridiron All-Stars

Fredonia Hillbillies senior linebacker/tight end Jake Skinner, shown above during a game earlier this year at the Orange Bowl in Fredonia, was selected as the Defensive Player of the Year in the 2019 Class C South All-Stars released this week. Skinner recorded 127 tackles this year, with 31 tackles for a loss, six sacks and three forced fumbles for the Hillbillies in 2019. OBSERVER Photo by Ron Szot.

Prior to the season, Fredonia senior Jake Skinner generated a lot of talk about his offensive talents at tight end and where it might land him in college. This year, Skinner gave the scouts something else to take into consideration as he earned Defensive Player of the Year for the Section VI Class C South division.

“It’s a very big honor. It’s an accolade that I’ve dreamed about,” stated Fredonia senior Jake Skinner. “To be named the Defensive Player of the Year is a great achievement for me and is something I’ve strived to achieve the past three years as a varsity football player for Fredonia.”

Skinner clearly has the raw tools necessary to play at the next level, but he also generated the statistics. Skinner made a whopping 127 tackles, 31 tackles for a loss, six sacks, three forced fumbles and eight pass break ups on the season.

“I’ve trained every position and believe versatility is a key factor,” stated Skinner. “In college, I’m being recruited mainly for tight end and when asked about playing defense my answer is always the same: ‘I just want to play the best sport created and I’m willing to play any position a college coach needs me at.'”

The League’s Player of the Year to no surprise went to Southwestern’s Tywon Wright. Wright had a strong year for the first place Trojans running for 1,504 yards on 130 attempts, 25 rushing touchdowns, 145 receiving yards and two receiving touchdowns. Defensively, Wright made 52 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, four sacks, one interception and one fumble recovery.

Cassadaga Valley/Falconer running back Noah Abram (22) carries during a game at Cassadaga Valley High School this season. Abram was a First Team All-Star. OBSERVER Photo by Braden Carmen.

The Offensive Player of the Year was Portville’s junior running back Jayden Lassiter who had 1,093 rushing yards, 21 touchdowns, 169 receiving yards and three receiving touchdowns.

The First Team All-League list was highlighted by Chautauqua Lake/Westfield/Brocton senior running back Ryan Jafarjian. Jafarjian was the driving force behind the Thunderbirds push to the playoffs as he ran for 1,369 yards and 13 touchdowns. Jafarjian was joined in the First Team backfield by Fredonia senior Dalton Gardner and Cassadaga Valley/Falconer sophomore Noah Abram. Gardner locked in his First Team spot with a huge performance against rival Dunkirk on the final game of the regular season, as he racked up five total touchdowns on nearly 400 total yards from scrimmage in a 45-16 victory.

Locally, three seniors made the First Team offense on the offensive line with Chase Johnson of Cassadaga Valley/Falconer, Alex Christy of Fredonia and Andrew Baribeau of Chautauqua Lake/Westfield/Brocton.

The First Team defense featured Fredonia senior Yanni Acevedo and Chautauqua Lake/Westfield/Brocton junior Ceric Kristan on the defensive line. At linebacker, Fredonia sophomore Matt Lotter was the youngest player to be named to First Team defense and Cassadaga Valley/Falconer senior Collin Mower also earned a spot on the First Team.

The Second Team was headlined by Fredonia sophomore quarterback Nick Whitfield. Three more local running backs were named to Second Team with Gowanda/Pine Valley senior Chelton Bellinger, Chautauqua Lake/Westfield/Brocton senior Caleb Chelton and Cassadaga Valley/Falconer junior Brock Johnson. The only wide receiver to be named to Second Team was Fredonia senior Troy Lanski.

Chautauqua Lake/Westfield/Brocton running back Ryan Jafarjian carries in a game against Gowanda/Pine Valley. Both players were First Team All-Stars. OBSERVER Photo by Justin Goetz.

On the defensive side of the ball for Second Team, Chautauqua Lake/Westfield/Brocton senior Nick Putcher highlighted the defensive line. At linebacker, junior’s Luke Ormsby of Chautauqua Lake/Westfield/Brocton and Joe Gullo of Fredonia were honored. At defensive back, Cassadaga Valley/Falconer senior Mack Mikula was honored and Fredonia junior Dom Gullo also earned a spot.

Also receiving Honorable Mention is as follows:

Allegany-Limestone – John Giardini (Sr.), Kyle Herbert (Sr.), Ryan Kellogg (Sr.), Jack Langdon (Soph.)

Cassadaga Valley/Falconer – Jon Kozlowski (Sr.), Landon Mower (Jr.)

Chautauqua Lake/Westfield/Brocton – Jack Lachajczyk (Sr.), Seth McFadden (Sr.), Brendon Rowe (Sr.), Gavin Sauerland (Jr.), Zach Wolcott (Soph.)

Fredonia running back Dalton Gardner rushes for one of his five total touchdowns in the Hillbillies’ 45-16 win over the Dunkirk Marauders this season. OBSERVER Photo by Ron Szot.

Fredonia – Joe Gullo III (Sr.), Nick Lilly (Sr.), Ismael Martinez (Soph.), Davon McCall (Soph.)

Gowanda/Pine Valley – Eric Furlet (Jr.), Jesse Heintz (Soph.), Gavin Phillips (Soph.)

Portville – Brandon Cornelius (Soph.), Hunter Griffin (Jr.), Joe Long (Jr.), Luke Smith (Jr.), Caleb Stromberg (Jr.)

Southwestern – Charlie Bailey (Sr.), Calvin Ricker (Jr.)


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