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Several area prep gridders deserving of 2001 Kennedy Award in s

By now, the voting is complete for what's basically this state's "MVP" honor for high school football, the Kennedy Award.

Sometimes, it's easy to project who will win the award, because a great player dominates during the season, and in so doing leads his team to playoff berth.

This year, there seemed to be no such clear choice.

Many top players from around the state deserved consideration.

Parkersburg quarterback Mark Kimes is one. Kimes threw, ran and kicked up a storm in helping his team get through a trying time after its longtime coach resigned early in the season.

Wyoming East running back Tank Tunstalle was a star coming into the season, and did nothing to diminish that with another year's worth of bruising, productive offensive plays.

Many other players from throughout the state probably also deserved to be named on at least some Kennedy Award ballots. Not the least of which were three North Central West Virginia players: Bridgeport's C.R. Rohrbough, Philip Barbour's Scott Mayle and Lewis County's Curtis Holden.

Their statistics during the regular season were excellent:

-- Mayle -- 1,671 yards, 10.9 yards per carry, 22 touchdowns, 148 points.

-- Rorhbough -- 1,256 yards, 7.7 yards per carry, 23 touchdowns, 138 points.

-- Holden -- 1,246 yards, 6.7 yards per carry, 15 touchdowns, 92 points.

Mayle and Holden both had prolific rushing seasons, albeit with different styles (Mayle was known more for bursts of speed, Holden more for power running).

More importantly, both made big plays in important games of what turned out to be very successful seasons for their teams.

While Rohrbough plays for a Class AA school, many of the teams Bridgeport played this year were Class AAA squads. Yet he did just as well against those schools in larger classifications.

Granted, he was supported by a very strong supporting cast.

Still, he seemed to have an uncanny knack for making a big play at just the right moment of the game to break it open and help preserve Bridgeport's long, impressive winning streak that carries into this Friday's Class AA state championship game in Wheeling.

Whatever the outcome of the Kennedy Award balloting (it won't be made public until late December), we commend these young men for their hard work and outstanding seasons.

And since all three are seniors, we wish them well as they move through the remainder of their final year in high school -- and into the world.

Matt Harvey

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