Out with the old, in with the new — alphabet style

Because it’s time to look back at the year that was and to look forward to the year that will be, here’s an alphabetical list of some things that caught our attention in the local sports world this year – and some things to look forward to in 2014.

A is for Andy Hake, who led the Western Reserve Blue Devils to the team’s second state semifinal appearance in three years on the gridiron.

B is for the Bristol boys basketball team, which will forever be known as the first team in the area to complete a 22-0 regular season.

C is for competitive balance, which was voted down in the spring. The plan had been for the schools to vote on separating private and public schools on the May ballot. But in a surprise move during the boys state basketball tournament, it was announced that the vote would instead be on a competitive balance agreement. The OHSAA did its best to try and educate the state on the new proposal, but it wasn’t enough, and the petition was voted down.

D is for Desmar Jackson, who is currently playing in his senior year at Southern Illinois. As of Saturday, he’s averaging 20.3 points per game, which is tied for 28th in Division I basketball in the country. This could be a big year for the Harding graduate.

E is for the expansion of the All-American Conference. In July, it was confirmed that Warren G. Harding, Brookfield, Boardman, Youngstown East and Ashtabula Edgewood are set to join the conference – which will go back to a three-tiered system. The new AAC will debut in the spring of 2014.

F is for 56, which is the number of points Lakeview’s Alli Pavlik scored a few weeks ago. Pavlik is now the all-time leading scorer at Lakeview, and is on the road to setting a mark that won’t be touched for many years.

G is for Gabe Stark, who became the first individual state wrestling champion from Howland since 1984. Back in March, Stark, then a senior, defeated Shelden Struble to win the Division II, 145-pound state title.

H is for the Hubbard football team, which was the only Trumbull County team to go unbeaten during the regular season.

I is for I don’t know why I chose to write this column. It’s hard to come up with something per letter.

J is for the John F. Kennedy golf team, which made its second straight trip to the state tournament this past year.

K is for Kyle Paden, who was the 2013 Trumbull County Coaches Association Football Player of the Year. The Niles senior had off-the-chart passing stats this season, throwing for 2,977 yards and 28 touchdowns passes, both new school records.

L is for the LaBrae Vikings, who advanced to the Division III boys state basketball tournament – the first Trumbull County school to make it to Columbus since Harding did so in 2009. Led by Davidson-commit Peyton Aldridge, the Vikings lost to Versailles, 64-52, in the state semifinals.

M is for Maurice Clarett, who has made his way back into the headlines after the recent airing of the ESPN 30-for-30 special “Youngstown Boys.” Also this year, Clarett hosted a charity basketball game in the spring.

N is for the nine touchdowns that Canfield’s Kimu Kim rushed for against Niles this year, which set a new state record.

O is for Ohio State, which fell short of both the National Championship and the Rose Bowl with a 34-24 loss to Michigan State in the Big Ten title game.

P is for Paul Warfield, who finally got the recognition that he deserved to honor his greatness. Prior to the Raiders’ game against Massillon in September, the Harding and NFL standout saw for the first time a statue that was erected of himself, which now stands in front of Mollenkopf Stadium.

Q is for the questionable call that was the eventual downfall to Cardinal Mooney’s 27-21 loss to Clinton-Massie in the Division IV state title game. A pass interference flag was thrown in the final 2 minutes of the game, which led to Clinton-Massie’s final score of the game.

R is for runners, and by runners that means McDonald. The Blue Devils won the school’s seventh state cross country title this year, edging local rival Maplewood. Along with that, senior Bobby Johnson also won the individual title with a time of 15:45.48.

S is for the seventh division of football that was added this season.

T is for 234 days until the 2014 edition of the High School Football Preview hits newstands. What will be in store this year? Only time will tell.

U is for the unknown. Every year something happens in this crazy town of ours that no one could see coming. What will it be this year?

V is for the violence in the city of Warren, which led to the cancellation of the last Warren G. Harding football game of the year.

W is for umpire Wally Bell, who died of heart attack this past October. The Austintown native was a Major League umpire for 21 seasons.

X is for Xavier graduate Jason Kokrak, who finished 48th out of 186 in this year’s FedExCup points on the PGA Tour.

Y is for the YSU Penguins, who made headlines in all sorts of ways this year. Both the men’s and women’s basketball teams had their best seasons in recent history, while the football team failed to make the playoffs yet again.

Z is for the Zallow brothers, Chad and Carl, who took home three individual state titles amongst them at the 2013 State Track and Field Meet back in June. Carl, then a junior, took home the Division III 100-meter dash. His younger brother, a sophomore, took home two crowns, one in the the 110- and the other in the 300-meter hurdle.

Happy New Year everyone!