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    Ohio Varsity Players of the Week


    Athletes from Beachwood, Brooklyn, Cardinal, Cuyahoga Heights, Grand Valley, Independence, Kenston and Madison have been named the Ohio Varsity Players of the Week.

    Each player was nominated by his or her coach.

    All statistics incurred during the week beginning Sept. 30 and ending Oct. 6.

    Here’s a look at each Player of the Week by sport:


    Dawann GrayName: Dawann Gray
    School: Beachwood
    Grade: 12
    Stats: Ran for 51 yards on 10 carries with two touchdowns; recorded 18 tackles, including two for a loss
    Coach’s Quote: “Dawann played a huge game on defense for us Friday night,” Beachwood coach Damion Creel said. “He was all over the field defensively. Dawann made the game-saving tackle on fourth down to seal the game for us.”

    Sam ShaferName: Sam Shafer
    School: Cuyahoga Heights
    Grade: 12
    Stats: Completed 4-of-6 passes for 88 yards and two touchdowns; ran for 42 yards on six carries; recorded four tackles, including one for a loss
    Coach’s Quote: “Sam threw touchdown passes of 10 yards to Jason Bartosik and 52 yards to Kyle Polack,” Cuyahoga Heights coach Al Martin said.

    Ashton ZupancicName: Ashton Zupancic
    School: Grand Valley
    Grade: 11
    Stats: Caught five passes for 102 yards and a touchdown
    Coach’s Quote: “Ashton stepped up and made some big plays in key situations in his best game of the season,” Grand Valley coach Clint Nims said. “Ashton continues to work hard and improve this season. He is developing as a playmaker for our team.”


    Layla GilbertName: Layla Gilbert
    School: Kenston
    Grade: 11
    Stats: Averaged 41 strokes per nine holes
    Coach’s Quote: “Layla was the low individual qualifier at the Girls Division I sectional at Tamer Win Golf Course with an 86,” Kenston coach Kip Freeman said. “Layla also was the Western Reserve Conference Player of the Year and compiled a total of 155 out of a possible 156 points in the league.”


    Adam LiebalName: Adam Liebal
    School: Independence
    Grade: 12
    Stats: Scored two goals with one assist
    Coach’s Quote: “Adam has had a great week for us attacking from all parts of the field,” Independence coach Ryan MacRaild said. “He is dangerous in the air and his speed is deceptive. His ability to bull-rush people, win footers and create chances is uncanny. The ball stays at his foot. It’s just a weird natural knack that he has. He scored two goals against a strong defensive team in Streetsboro and assisted on another. I’m looking forward to what the playoffs have in store for him.”


    Kayla ValentineName: Kayla Valentine
    School: Cardinal
    Grade: 12
    Stats: Recorded 28 saves
    Coach’s Quote: “Kayla has been the foundation of our team this year,” Cardinal coach Vanessa Pintabona said. “She is a leader, motivator and confidence booster for her teammates in practice and games alike. Her first-ever shut out against Harvey last week helped our team earn their historic third win in a row; we wouldn’t be the team we are without her.”

    Autumn WarrenName: Autumn Warren
    School: Madison
    Grade: 11
    Stats: Assisted on one goal and contributed to seven shutouts this season
    Coach’s Quote: “In her first full varsity season, Autumn has quickly established herself as a dominant and relentless ball winner through the middle of the field,” Madison coach Chad Butler said. “As she continues to pick her head up and see the whole field, her influence is extending all the way into the attacking third. She has become a player that the opposition must always account for no matter where they are on the field.”


    Jaden WalzName: Jaden Walz
    School: Brooklyn
    Grade: 12
    Stats: Recorded 68 kills, 41 digs, 26 assists, 21 service points and five aces
    Coach’s Quote: “We had a very full week this last week, playing five matches–13 games in all–with two out of the five matches being against No. 1 Independence and No. 2 Trinity in our conference,” Brooklyn coach Debbie Hall said. “Jaden continues to dominate the court in all aspects of the game without ever having any type of break. She is in constant motion and as captain, also continues to rally her teammates together in all situations no matter with the score. Her positive attitude is just one of her strongest traits.”

    Steve Hare
    The creator and publisher of, Hare has covered high school sports in Northeast Ohio since 1997. He began as a correspondent for the Lake County News Herald, where he contributed until 2011, primarily covering high school football and wrestling. In 1999, Hare began writing for, a member of the network of high school and college sports web sites. He focuses on covering Notre Dame football recruiting. was created in 2004 and was a member of the network until 2012. The site's original purpose was to cover Ohio high school football and recruiting news but since has grown to cover all sports and to provide sports information services to high school athletic programs and individual teams. Hare attended Willoughby South High School through the middle of his senior year, then graduated from Berkshire High School in Burton in 1986. He played football, wrestled and was an all-Geauga county baseball player (1986). He lives in Chardon with his wife Paulette and their children.
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