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Voting begins for girls, boys basketball Heart of a Champion Awards

Although Hoosiers may be the iconic film about high school basketball, great stories about the game and fabled players aren’t confined to Indiana. For decades, back to the days when WKBN’s legendary Don Gardner broadcast Friday night Steel Valley conference triple-headers from South High Field House, hoops have dominated winter sports in the Mahoning Valley.

That remains true today—with one addition: girls basketball has exploded onto the scene.

The Betras, Kopp & Harshman Heart of a Champion Award gives fans the opportunity to express their appreciation for the male and female cagers who fight for every rebound, play in-your-face defense, are deadly from behind the three-point stripe, and are impossible to stop as they cut down the lane.

Beginning now and continuing through the OHSAA playoffs basketball fans will have the opportunity to vote for the players who demonstrate extraordinary courage and determination on the court during every game.

The male and female player who accumulate the most votes will receive a custom-designed Betras, Kopp & Harshman Heart of a Champion trophy commemorating their selection. Their school will receive a plaque noting their accomplishment along with a $2,500 stipend for use by the athletic department.

The Betras, Kopp and Harshman Coach John Kopp Heart of a Champion Award: Built on the strengths that made our Valley great honoring the great student athletes who will lead us into the future.

Howland’s Trey Bryarly, Mooney’s Joey Tabachino named winners of first Betras, Kopp & Harshman Coach John Kopp Heart of a Champion Award

Two standout defenders are the winners of the first annual Betras, Kopp & Harshman Coach John Kopp Heart of a Champion Award for high school football.  Attorney David Betras, BKH’s managing partner and local coaching legend John Kopp, for whom the award is named, made the announcement today during a press conference at the law firm’s office in Canfield. 

Trey Bryarly, senior cornerback from Howland was named the winner among players competing in Ohio High School Athletic Association Divisions I, II, and III. Joey Tabachino, senior linebacker from Cardinal Mooney won the award for players competing in Divisions IV, V, VI, and VII. The student-athletes, who were selected by fans in season-long voting, received custom-made trophies to commemorate their achievement. Each school will receive a $2,500 cash stipend for use by their respective athletic programs.

“On behalf of everyone at Betras, Kopp & Harshman I would like to thank the hundreds of fans who cast votes during the season and to commend them for selecting two remarkable student-athletes to receive the first Heart of a Champion awards,” Attorney Betras said. “I’d also like to congratulate every player who received a vote.  Along with Trey and Joey, fans expressed support for 77 players representing 35 schools in Mahoning, Trumbull, and Columbiana counties. That clearly shows how much the people in our area love high school football and the young men who play it.”

 Attorney Betras noted that Sam Ortz of Fitch and Jawuan Jones of Youngstown East finished second and third in voting for players in Divions I, II, and III.  Ryan Miller of South Range and Gabe Crowe of Springfield Local finished in a tie for second in Divisions IV, V, VI, and VII.

 John Kopp who presented the awards to the winners said the fact that two defensive players were selected says a lot about the mindset of the people of the Mahoning Valley.  “We’ve always been a blue-collar town that values hard work, grit, and courage,” Mr. Kopp commented. “That’s what it takes to play great defense and that’s what Trey and Joey bring to every play in every game.  I’m pleased that fans recognized and rewarded them for having the heart to succeed on the field and in life.”

Coach Kopp offered these comments about each HOC winner:

Trey Bryarly, Senior, Howland High School, Cornerback, 5’6”/160.

Trey is a ferocious tackler, exceptional cover corner, and outstanding special team player. Although he is often smaller than the running backs he takes on in the open field and the receivers he faces one-on-one, Trey’s tenacity and courage combined with his speed, strength and intelligence make him one of the area’s best defensive players and all conference first-teamer.  He truly personifies the values and principles embodied by the Coach John Kopp Heart of a Champion Award and we are both pleased and proud to honor him today.

Joey Tabachino, Senior, Cardinal Mooney High School, 6’/225.

Joey Tabachino is a standout athlete from a school that has been home to many of the Mahoning Valley’s greatest football players. After watching just a few moments of his highlight reel I began to feel sorry for the linemen who were supposed to block him as well as the ball carriers who paid the price for all those missed blocks. Along with being an extraordinary athlete, Joey is a remarkable young man. He helped propel Mooney to the state championship game while dealing with the stress that accompanies moving to a new community.  He truly exemplifies what it means to possess the “Heart of a Champion” and we are delighted to honor him today.

 

 

 

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