Athletes of the Fall: Marvin Bryant

This was not an easy decision, as there were a number of male athletes who helped lead their teams to excellent fall seasons.

That being said, here were some of the best and brightest that stood out in the fall of 2018.

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Marvin Bryant (Warren football)

Every one of our fall male all-stars could have won this award, that’s how many good players there were this season.

In the end, Bryant’s versatility and explosiveness give him the edge. The Dragon senior was a game-changer on both sides of the ball, and on special teams.

His biggest impact came on offense, where he was dangerous not only as the Dragons’ feature back, but as a receiver out of the backfield as well. He needed just 137 carries to amass his 957 yards on the ground, good for 7.0 yards per carry to go along with 12 touchdowns. He was a great security blanket for quarterback Jake Kupchella as well, catching 27 passes for 471 yards, an average of 17.4 ypc, with a pair of touchdowns.

Defensively, he as a fixture at middle linebacker, accounting for 52 tackles, 7 of which went for loss, while also accounting for three sacks.

He was also Warren’s primary kickoff returner, where he averaged 23.4 yards per return.

Quite simply, he had a major impact on all three phases of the game for a team and a senior class that completely turned around Warren football, helping them go from 2-8 in 2017 to 6-4 this season.

That’s why, in a group full of talented athletes, Bryant gets the nod as the Times Observer’s Top Male Athlete for the fall.

Jake Kupchella (Warren football)

All this senior quarterback did was break the single season passing yardage record for Warren with 2,222 yards to go along with 17 touchdowns and just 6 interceptions.

Kupchella also was an effective runner, rushing for 243 yards and 4 additional scores.

But, far from the stats, which were fantastic, it was the intangible qualities that Kupchella brought to his team.

He was one of the unquestioned leaders of this squad, one that helped to put Warren football back on the map. A tireless work ethic, it was easy to see from very early on in his varsity career that he was a special quarterback, not just from a physical standpoint, but as a leader as well.

It’s for all those reasons that Kupchella is being sought after by a number of college programs. He has yet to make a decision, but wherever he goes, that program will be getting a fierce competitor.

Ethan Chambers (Eisenhower football)

The Eisenhower senior had a similar impact on his team as Bryant did for Warren.

A running back and linebacker ,Chambers was simply a workhorse.

Coming into the 2018 season, Chambers had rushed for a total of 397 yards and six touchdowns in his varsity career. Fighting for carries with guys like Byron Braswell and Jaydon Hayes in the backfield is no easy task.

Chambers looked primed to be part of a timeshare again through the first three games this season, failing to gain more than 70 rushing yards in a game. He exploded for 179 rushing yards, and another 102 receiving, at Saegertown in Week 4, and suddenly the senior was off and running, literally. He was held under 100 total yards only once the rest of the season (vs Reynolds in Week 7) and went over 200 rushing yards against Northwestern (Week 5) and Cochranton (Week 9) before finishing with 154 in the first half of the season-finale against Seneca. Chambers finished with 18 total touchdowns (16 rushing, 1 receiving and 1 interception return).

He also finished fourth on the team in tackles (53) with 9.5 TFL, a sack, interception, forced fumble and fumble recovery. Chambers served as the Knights punter as well, averaging 32.2 yards per punt with 60 percent of his punts ending inside the opponent’s 20.

Caleb Lindell (Warren soccer)

A junior scoring machine, Lindell was the Dragons’ leading goal-scorer, accounting for 24 markers on the season.

He scored a lot, and he scored when it mattered most, including the lone goal in a 1-0 victory over Fort LeBoeuf in the first round of the District 10 playoffs.

He teamed with seniors Griffin Suppa and Colin Blair to spearhead a Dragon offense that helped them to a 12-7-1 record.

In addition to his goal-scoring prowess, Lindell also finished with 90 steals.

He is a natural goal-scorer, a finisher and he as one of the best in District 10 in doing just that this season.

5. Caleb Ei (Warren soccer)

The Dragons gave up 26 goals this season and just 21 in the regular season.

They had a great season, and Ei was as big of a reason why as any.

The senior standout led the team with 387 tackles and was a physical presence for an excellent Warren back line that also included Beck Labesky, Andy Beyer, Luke Smelko and keeper Tommy Harrington.

Ei was much more than just a defensive standout, however. He was a big presence inside the ’18, particularly on corner kicks. He accounted for 3 goals and 2 assists.

Aidan Morrison (Warren football)

Going into his junior season, this Division I baseball recruit wasn’t sure if football was a part of his future.

Not only was it, but he was a pivotal part of a the Dragons’ turnaround, a dominant middle linebacker who broke the Warren single-season tackles record with 137. He also had 13 tackles for loss and five sacks.

Morrison was the quarterback of the defense, and no one who was there will soon forget his forced fumble and recovery that spearheaded the ‘Miracle in Meadville’ late in the fourth quarter against the Bulldogs.

Like Bryant, he contributed in all three phases of the game.

On offense, he lined up quite a bit at tight end, but also spent some time in the backfield. He carried the ball for 65 yards and a touchdown and had 12 receptions for 219 yards and a score.

He also served as the Dragons’ punter, averaging 38.1 yards per punt with 4 inside the 20.

Joe Bauer (Eisenhower football)

The Eisenhower senior was a force on both sides of the ball for the Knights this season.

A better athlete than your typical offensive tackle, Bauer, along with Jeremy Card, were anchors for the Knights that helped pave the way for Chambers and quarterback Owen Trumbull.

Defensively, he was dominant. He racked up 57 tackles, including a whopping 16.5 tackles for loss, to go along with 4 sacks. He was recognized by the coaches as well, earning all Region 2 honors on both sides of the ball.

Offenses had to scheme around him because he was capable and often times did wreak havoc on opposing backfields.

Tough, physical, athletic and a big-time playmaker, Bauer is everything you look for in a dominant lineman, and he provided all of that for the Knights in 2018.

Devin McMeans (Warren football)

This Dragon was robbed of most of his junior season due to injury, but came back and proved just how good of a player he was during his senior campaign, getting voted first team Region 7 as both receiver and defensive back.

He burst onto the scene during the Dragons opening game against Fairview, accounting for three receiving touchdowns, quickly putting the rest of District 10 on notice that he was back with a vengeance.

For the season, he was Kupchella’s favorite target, hauling in 28 receptions for 660 yards and 7 touchdowns, while averaging a staggering 23.6 yards per reception.

Perhaps his biggest catch came in that game against Meadville, hauling in a 62-yard touchdown from Kupchella that helped the Dragons to an improbable comeback win, 21-20.

Defensively, he was a standout at his safety spot, finishing second on the team in tackles with 59 and had three interceptions, tied for the team-lead with Alex Anderson.

A difference-maker, pure and simple.

Honorable Mention

Warren golf: Joey Sidon

Warren soccer: Griffin Suppa, Beck Labesky, Colin Blair

Eisenhower cross country: Tyson Morrison, Ethan Kellogg

Sheffield football: Nick Knowles, Jacob Disshon

Warren football: Justin Eck, Micah Passmore

Warren cross country: Nate Eadie

Eisenhower football: Garrett Head, Carter Knapp, Jeremy Card