Wapak players earn WBL honors


Voting for all Western Buckeye League honors is complete, and nine Redskin players are touting league honors after their 7-3 season.

Johnny Crawford

This season has been an explosive one for three-way player Johnny Crawford. While he was a main target at the wideout position all season, Crawford earned honors on the defensive side of the ball. 

Crawford was named first-team defensive back.

With several big returns on the season, including a kick return for a touchdown against Elida, Crawford was also named WBL Kicking Specialist of the Year.

Jenson Merricle

Playing in only eight games this season, Merricle was able to rack up 887 yards on the ground. He averaged 5.7 yards per carry, and had five rushing touchdowns on the year.  He also had two receiving touchdowns.

Late in the season, entire drives were put on the back of Merricle, and he worked his way down the field constantly. Merricle earned first-team running back for his performance.

Brandon Christler

Leading the team in receptions this season, you may think of a wideout of slot receiver. 

This season, think Brandon Christler. 

With 21 receptions for 381 yards, this tight end not only led the team as a target for the quarterback, but as a lineman. As the only returning starter on the offensive line.

Christler earned first-team tight end.

Zach Schmerge

As a junior, this linebacker made a difference on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball. He was a touchdown machine at the fullback position.

He took over in the game against Kenton, converting big play after big play at the fullback spot.

But it was his quarterback-stalking, run-stopping, pass-defending skills at the linebacker position that earned Schmerge first-team linebacker honors.

Michael Giesige

In the beginning of the year, head coach Doug Frye said that the key to the Redskins succeeding in 2012 was going to be their offensive line. 

Michael Giesige, a first-year starter for the ‘Skins, would not have been a preseason pick for a WBL honor, but certainly earned his spot on the list this year. 

Giesige earns second-team guard honors.

Leading an offensive line that produced 2,393 yards this season, Giesige and the entire offensive line really lifted the Redskins, especially in the second half of the year.

Alex Greve

The most experienced senior on the team seemed to do it all for Wapakoneta this year. He was a running back. He was a kick returner. A punt returner. And he was the starting safety.

At the safety spot, Alex Greve earns second-team defensive back honors. 

Greve had three interceptions on the season, and did well to prevent big plays from happening to the Redskin defense. 

Nate Valentine

This highly touted wrestler decided to grab a helmet and shoulder pads for this football season, and earned himself second-team interior line honors. 

Playing with a high-motor and always disrupting running plays, Nate Valentine shows some of his wrestling technique on the field turf at Harmon Field. This is Valentine’s first season with the varsity team.

Nate Bracy

Valentine’s partner and crime and a young man the coaches can’t say enough about, Nate Bracy, walks away from the 2012 season with second-team interior line honors. 

Bracy is what the coaches called the leader of the defensive front. He was a returning starter, and specializes in creating havoc in the backfield. If big plays where being made on the defensive side of the ball, expect that Nate Bracy had his hand in the outcome.

Brandon Miller

Last but certainly not least is Brandon Miller. This linebacker who occasionally gets down into a three-point  stance has earned second-team defensive end honors. 

Miller is the vocal leader of the defense, and is part of one of the best linebacking crews to come through Auglaize County. 

I dare you to watch film and just keep an eye on No. 33. His game speed is faster than most. And keep an eye out when the opposing team punts. Spoiler alert: Miller is in the punters face every single time.