Three Ashland football players were named to the 2009 Southern Sky All-Conference teams by the league's coaches, but most selections were based on Crater's dominance throughout the regular season.
Nine Comets landed on the first team, five on the second, and Crater's John Beck and Ashland's Charlie Hall were voted co-coaches of the year in the SSC, which still has three teams alive heading into this weekend's state playoffs.
Crater defensive lineman Mike Bishop, a 320-pound force whom Beck called the best lineman he's ever seen in the program, was named the defensive player of the year.
Mazama running back Dylan Carlson, who rushed for more than 850 yards, took POY honors on offense.
"The most impressive thing about what (Carlson) did was that it all came behind a really inexperienced offensive line," Mazama coach John Mathis said. "Most of the yards he gained were of his own accord, so it's kind of scary to think what he could've done if this team had a few more weapons and some experience."
Mason Costantino, a 6-foot-1 senior who joined Ashland's varsity team this year, snagged first-team honors as a wide receiver. He led the league in receptions and receiving yardage. He was also the second-team place kicker.
"Mason is such a great story because he was a junior varsity guy for us all last year," Hall said. "Dedication and hard work earned him all of this and I can't say enough about the tremendous season he's had for us."
Costantino had 41 catches for 759 yards and three touchdowns during the regular season and, though he was used sparingly as a kicker, most notably kicked a 41-yard, game-winning field goal at Mazama.
Clinton Murphy was the only other Grizzlies player to earn first-team honors. The senior defensive back impressed coaches as the league's best punter.
"Clint is obviously a heck of a defender, too, but he worked hard on his punting and it became a big advantage in close games," Hall said. "Field position is a huge part of football and it was especially important at the times our offense struggled this year."
Grizzlies junior Jake Scarminach was voted the second team quarterback. A first-year starter behind cetner, Scarminach led Ashland in passing and rushing with 17 total touchdowns after replacing former offensive POY Talon Haggard.
Hall's son, Nick Hall, who is also playing his senior season after joining the team as a junior, was a second-team selection on both sides of the ball as a receiver and defensive back.
"This just shows Nick's versatility," Hall said of his son, who notched three receptions touchdowns this year. "This an extremely good field of athletes, and for Nick to be picked a couple times, I'm very happy for him."
Jordan Resch, Sam Cowan, Kevin Schilling, Lucas Stone and T.J. Murphy all earned honorable mention for the Grizzlies, who play at defending state champion West Albany on Friday with a 5A quarterfinal spot on the line.
Josh McDermott is a freelance writer living in Ashland. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.