FOOTBALL: Pickens named first-team All-Ohio

Connor Pickens spent his senior season knocking people over and picking up yards in record-breaking bunches.

Monday, he picked up a major award.

Pickens was named to the Division II All-Ohio First Team offense, which was released by The Associated Press.

Pickens was one of four Wapakoneta Redskins football players honored. He was joined by fellow seniors Chris Schwartz (Second Team offense), Kevin Kraft (Second Team defense) and Brendan Wilson (Third Team defense).

“Connor Pickens is an extremely hard worker,” Wapak varsity coach Doug Frye said. “His off-season work in the weightroom really showed upon the field this year. He runs with a reckless abandon.

“The other thing that really stands out about Connor is he’s such a great teammate. He’d be the first to admit how important his offensive line is to him.”

Pickens rushed for 1,911 yards and 29 touchdowns in leading the Redskins to a 10-2 season and just the second playoff win in school history.

Leading the way for many of those yards was Schwartz, the right guard.

“He (Schwartz) is going to be tough to replace,” Frye said. “Chris is a self-made football player.”

Kraft transferred from Elida in the spring and made almost an immediate impact on the team, routinely making big plays on offense, defense and special teams. Each week he drew the toughest assignments in coverage and shut down some of the top receivers in the region.

“That’s what you have to have to win in the playoffs. You have to be able to match up with best receiver on each team,” Frye said. “And Kevin had that ability to do that. For a young man who was coming in to a new situation, he adapted well. I was really proud of his level of play.”

Wilson picked up the honor after switching to linebacker this season.

“When you play as well as our defense did all year, you’ve got outstanding members of the defensive team,” Frye said. “Our biggest concern coming into the year was we had a new group of linebackers. Brendan, having been a D-lineman before, that’s quite a change for a young man. It speaks well of his coachability, his intelligence and his work ethic that he was able to make that transition.”