LOST CREEK -- Among those honored Monday night at the Frank Loria Awards dinner was a student-athlete who best embodied Loria's memory.
South Harrison's Ben Hall, hardly undersized but not your typical bruising back, bulled and powered his way to a standout senior season which included 1,200-plus rushing yards and a Class AA playoff run. His efforts were honored Monday night with the Frank Loria Award, the crowning moment of the 17th annual awards dinner.
Among the Harrison County standouts Hall edged out were Liberty quarterback David Patterson, Notre Dame running back Jeremy Wright and Robert C. Byrd defensive back Luke Wallace.
Each earned first-team all-state selections and each was among the 27 members of the All-Harrison County football team honored Monday night.
"If I had a vote, honestly, I would have voted for David Patterson and then Jeremy Wright," Hall said. "We had four or five people who easily could have won it this year. The last couple of years, there was really only one guy, and everyone knew who was going to win it."
Robert C. Byrd's Richard Iaquinta was voted by his peers as Harrison County Coach of the Year. Iaquinta guided the Eagles to a 10-2 record and the Class AAA quarterfinals.
"The big difference this year was that everyone believed in each other, and everyone was very unselfish," Iaquinta said. "When you have players that are unselfish, you have very few team problems. We had a few minor problems, but the players took care of them."
Notre Dame center Evan Kupec earned the Academic Excellence Award. His 4.14 cumulative grade point average was the highest among Harrison County football players.
Former West Virginia University tight end Anthony Becht evoked the memory of Loria as the evening's guest speaker. Becht, like Loria, was undersized coming out of high school but enjoyed a brilliant college career.
"I know that he was a great player and a great person, and anyone who has a goal can look to him and all the hard work he put forth," Becht said.