SHELBY — His high school career ended in heartbreak, but Owen Fisher already had cemented his place in Shelby history.
The Richland Source Offensive Player of the Year, Fisher broke Shorty Brooks’ career rushing record as the Whippets reached the Division IV, Region 14 championship game.
Fisher’s season came to an end in the second quarter of the regional final when he suffered a serious knee injury in a 49-7 loss to eventual Division IV state champ Van Wert.
“When you lose your senior captain and the career rushing leader, ou never want to say it is over, but boy, it was going to be a tough hill to climb,” Shelby coach Rob Mahaney said at the time.
A 5-foot-7, 180-pound senior, Fisher battled injuries throughout the coronavirus-shortened regular season but still managed to rush for 1,036 yards and 16 touchdowns on 121 carries in six regular season games.
He broke Brooks’ career mark of 4,339 yards on an 62 yard touchdown run early in the second half of Shelby’s 49-26 win over Firelands in the regional quarterfinals.
“It was a dream I had going into high school,” Fisher said of the career rushing mark. ““It was such a big accomplishment for me and the (offensive) line.”
Fisher was selected the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference Player of the Year and earned a spot on the Northwest District first team in Division IV. He is the centerpiece a star-studded All-Richland Source offense:
Dustin Brady, Wynford: The senior completed 136 of 221 passes for 2,285 yards and 27 touchdowns, leading the Royals to an opening-round bye and a second-round win over Indian Lake in the Division V, Region 18 playoffs. Brady was selected the Northwest District Offensive Player of the Year in Division V, an award he shared with Tontogany Otsego quarterback Joseph Dzierwa.
Tristan Cross, Colonel Crawford: A 6-foot-1, 220-pound hammer, Cross led the Northern 10 Athletic Conference with 1,419 yards and 21 touchdowns on 173 carries. The senior helped the Eagles to an outright Northern 10 Athletic Conference championship and berth in the Division VI, Region 22 semifinals. Cross was selected to the Northwest District first team in Division VI.
Ethan Hartley, Ashland: A senior multi-purpose back, Hartley rushed for a team-high 689 yards and 10 touchdowns on 130 carries and caught 31 passes for 492 yards and four touchdowns. Hartley was a Northwest District first team pick in Division III, helping the Arrows reach the Region 10 semifinals.
Blaine Bowman, Shelby: A 6-foot, 170-pound junior, Bowman was one of the most prolific receivers in the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference. He averaged 15.8 yards per catch during the six-game regular season, hauling in 24 catches for 379 yards and six touchdowns. Bowman was a Northwest District first team pick in Division IV and a Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference first-teamer.
Lucas Hackworth, Wynford: An undersized senior (5-10, 160), Hackworth led the Northern 10 Athletic Conference in receptions (39), yards (893) and touchdowns (11). Hackworth was selected to the Northwest District first team in Division V.
Evan Hamilton, Crestview: A 6-foot, 170-pound senior, Hamilton caught 44 passes for 947 yards and 14 touchdowns as the Cougars claimed a share of the Firelands Conference championship. Hamilton was a Northwest District first team selection in Division VI and a Firelands Conference first-teamer.
Ross Kuhn, Crestview: The multi-talented 6-foot-5 senior was selected the Firelands Conference Offensive and Defensive Back of the Year and shared the Division VI Northwest District Offensive Player of the Year award with Coldwater quarterback Myles Blasingame and Fairview QB Doug Rakes. Kuhn completed 106 of 164 passes for 1,969 yards and 18 touchdowns and rushed for 644 yards and 10 touchdowns on 77 carries, leading Crestview to an 8-3 record.
Kristian Gehrisch, Ashland: A 6-foot-4, 295-pound senior, Gehrisch anchored the offensive line for the Arrows. Ashland averaged 388.3 yards and 29 points a game and scored a season-high 46 in a Week 10 with over Wooster, securing a share of the Ohio Heartland Conference title. Gehrisch was selected to the Northwest District first team in Division III.
Camden Walter, Shelby: A 6-foot-3, 285-pound senior, Walter was selected the Northwest District Lineman of the Year in Division IV. Walter helped clear the way for Owen Fisher, who broke Shelby’s career rushing record. The Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference first-teamer helped the Whippets to an undefeated regular season and a Region 14 runner-up finish.
Bruce Swainhart, Clear Fork: A 6-foot-3, 260-pound senior, Swainhart was Clear Fork’s top offensive lineman and a Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference first team selection. After a slow start, the Colts won four of their final six games. Swainhart was a Northwest District first team pick in Division IV.
Tucker Nolen, Lucas: The Cubs reached the Division VII, Region 25 championship game thanks in part to Nolen, who shared the Northwest District Division VII Lineman of the Year award with Lima Central Catholic’s Zac Jacobs. The 6-foot-1, 260-pound senior helped clear the way for one of north central Ohio’s most prolific small-school rushing attacks.
Konner Moore, Colonel Crawford: The 6-foot-5, 265-pound Moore helped plow the road for Tristan Cross, one of the most prolific running backs in north central Ohio. A senior, Moore was selected the Northwest District Division VI Lineman of the Year.
Dominic Pittman, Galion: A 6-foot-1, 175-pound senior, Pittman was among the most reliable kickers in north central Ohio. He connected on 9 of 10 extra points and 4 of 6 field goals with a long of 37 yards. Pittman was a Northwest District first team pick in Division IV and a Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference first-teamer.
Owen Hatfield, Ontario: A slippery senior, Hatfield was one of the most dynamic playmakers in north central Ohio. Hatfield averaged 22 yards per kickoff return and had 24 receptions for 279 yards and two touchdowns during the regular season. He was a Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference second team pick and a Northwest District honorable mention selection in Division IV.