SYRACUSE - The New York State Sportswriters Association released on its website Wednesday afternoon the annual high school all-state football teams for classes B, C and D.
Jordan Dowiasz knew nothing about it.
That is, until he arrived home.
Randolph senior Jordan Dowiasz shares an embrace with Coach Pat Slater after the Cardinals’ victory over Tuckahoe in the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Class D championship game at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse the day after Thanksgiving.
P-J?photos by Scott Kindberg
''I walked into the house and my mom started hugging me,'' the Randolph Central School senior said. ''I was like, 'What's going on?'''
Let's just say Dowiasz's new year has started out about the way he finished 2012.
For with the NYSSWA announcement came the news that Dowiasz has been selected the Class D Player of the Year not even six weeks after the Cardinals claimed the New York State Public High School Athletic Association championship at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse.
''It makes me ecstatic,'' Dowiasz said. ''I'm pumped.''
Dowiasz is the second Randolph player (Nick Jackson was the first in 2005), and the 14th player overall from Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties, to earn NYSSWA POY recognition since 1981.
''Nick was unbelievable,'' said Cardinals' assistant coach Brent Brown, ''so when you start putting your name in that category, that's pretty good.''
Unofficially, Dowiasz rushed for 1,787 yards and 29 touchdowns in leading the Cardinals to their third state title. But he was especially effective when the games mattered most. In six postseason appearances, the 5-foot-10, 170-pounder amassed, unofficially, 991 yards and 12 TDs. Another score came on a kickoff return.
''I'll tell you what,'' Brown said, ''Jordan ran the ball really well when he was on the jayvees, because with his speed he's always been successful. But he got into the weight room and he worked extremely hard in there for the last year and he got strong, too. Not only did he run fast, but he ran hard.''
Among his personal playoff highlights were a 214-yard effort against Maple Grove in the Section 6 championship game, followed a week later by a 252-yard explosion against Avon in the Far West Regional.
And when the Cardinals were getting ready for their state semifinal game in Rochester, retiring head coach Pat Slater implored them to play their best game, on both sides of the ball.
Dowiasz took it to heart. In fact, he made the two biggest defensive plays of the season, preventing two sure Tioga touchdowns in a 7-6 Randolph win. The first came when Dowiasz chased down a running back from behind on what appeared to be a sure touchdown, while the second came when he tipped away a pass on another almost-certain score.
''Those were two game-changers there,'' he said
Game-changing plays were the norm for Dowiasz, who hopes to continue his football career in college.
''I literally couldn't live without it,'' he said.
Dowiasz wasn't the only Cardinal to earn all-state honors. Senior Nathan Beaver (offensive end) and junior Cody Oldro (linebacker) were named to the first team; senior Dylan Faust (defensive line) was named to the second team; and junior Mitchell Maycock (quarterback), sophomore Michael Bowers (offensive line), junior Jared Pitchford (linebacker), junior Chris Doubek (defensive back) and junior Nick Hettenbaugh (defensive back) were honorable-mention choices.
From Maple Grove, senior running back Oliver Simpson was selected to the first team, as was his teammate and lead blocker Jake Swan, a 6-foot-1, 210-pound senior. Jon Scroxton (offensive line), also a senior, and Aaron Germain (defensive back) were honorable mentions.
Other first-team choices in Class D were seniors Dan Lictus (defensive lineman) of Clymer and Zed Williams (linebacker) of Silver Creek, while honorable mentions included Ellicottville runner Phalla Musall and his teammate, Greg Knier (linebacker).
In Class C, Salamanca's senior quarterback Tanner John made the first team as an all-purpose player after leading Salamanca to a Class C South title. John was joined on the first team by Fredonia offensive lineman Nick Nocek, a 195-pound senior.
Along with Nocek, three more Hillbillies made the Class C all-state squad. Senior Zach Buckley (linebacker) was chosen to the second team, junior Weston Ley (defensive back) to the third-team and Chris Saden (offensive lineman) was an honorable mention.
The NYSSWA all-state teams for Classes AA and A will be announced sometime next week.
Head Of The Class *
Zack Sopak & Jasen Carlson (tie)2009
Randall Secky (tie)1998
Joe McKoy & Andy Benson (tie)1995
David Hinson (tie)1994
* New York State Sportswriters Association
and Cattaraugus counties since 1981.