PUTNAM COUNTY — Defense was a strong suit for the Columbus Grove football team during the 2022 season.

Led by three solid linebackers opposing offenses found it tough to move the ball against the Grove defense. That defense was well represented as the Northwest District football selections were released last week.

The Bulldogs defense landed four players on the Northwest District first team including grabbing a Player of the Year award.

Bulldog senior Tadd Koch was one of the Bulldog defenders that grabbed attention from the Northwest Ohio Prep Sportswriters Association as he was named the co-Defensive Player of the year for Division VI teams this season.

Koch was one of four Grove defensive players named to the first team that included AJ Schafer, Dillon Bryan and Shep Halker.

Koch shared Defensive Player of the Year honors in Division VI with Marion Local’s Darren Meier, a linebacker for the Flyers.

Koch, a 6-3, 240 pound senior, leads the Bulldogs in tackles with 145, 44 solo, that included seven tackles for losses, three sacks and nine hurries. He added two interceptions and four passes defended, and caused a fumble.

Schafer, a 6-1, 225 pound senior, received first team honors at linebacker as he has 105 tackles for the season, 30 solo, along with seven tackles for losses, three sacks and nine hurries. He came up with an interception, two passes defended, caused a fumble and recovered a fumble.

Bryan, a 6-0, 190 pound senior, earned first team honors as a lineman as he had 71 tackles, 10 solo, with nine tackles for losses, five sacks and 14 hurries. Halker, a 5-9, 155 pound senior, was named to the first team as a defensive back as he had three interceptions, five passes defended and he caused a fumble with a fumble recovery. Halker has 71 tackles on the season, 43 solo.

Bulldog sophomore Trenton Barraza, 6-1, 174, earned first team honors as a running back. Barraza had rushed for 1,567 yards on 214 carries as he averaged 7.3 yards a carry. He has scored 15 rushing touchdowns and caught 31 passes for 232 yards and a touchdown.

Sophomore Kylan Mayes, 6-0, 230, was named to the second team offensive line along with sophomore Mitch Douglass, 6-1, 230.

Columbus Grove’s Zach Reynolds and Landen Schroeder were named to the Honorable Mention in Division VI.

Pandora-Gilboa had five players receive first team honors in Division VII and one to the second team. Leipsic had two players named to the second team in Division VII.

Aidan Morris, Braden Hagemier, Ethan Luginbill and Elam Suter were named to the first team offense in Division VII, and Wyatt Russell was named to the first team defense.

Morris, a 6-0, 170 pound junior, was named to the first team as an end after catching 55 passes for 910 yards and 12 touchdowns. He averaged 16.5 yards a catch this season for the Rockets.

Luginbill, a 6-0, 210 pound senior, grabbed first team honors at running back after rushing for 1,527 yards this season on 190 carries with 29 touchdowns. He averaged 8.0 yards a carry this season and scored 174 points to lead the BVC in scoring.

Braden Hagemier, a 6-0, 250 pound senior, was named to the Division VII first team as a lineman, while Elam Suter, a 5-10, 165 pound senior, was named as a kicker. Suter was 50of-53 on extra point attempts this season and converted 2-of-3 field goal tries.

Russell, a 6-0, 220 pound senior, was named to the first team defense at linebacker. Russell finished the regular season with 117 tackles, 75 solo, and eight tackles for losses.

The Rockets’ Colin Harris was named to the second team offense as an end. Harris, a 6-1, 150 pound junior, caught 45 passes for 653 yards and seven touchdowns as he averaged 14.5 yards a catch.

Leipsic junior Ethan Zeisloft, 6-0, 217, was named to the second team as a lineman and senior teammate Hayden Hiegel, 6-1, 180, was named as a running back to the second team. Hiegel, 6-1, 180 pound senior, led the NWC in rushing this season with 1,185 yards and 17 touchdowns. He averaged 6.3 yards a carry as he had 189 rushing attempts this season.

Named to the Honorable Mention list for the Rockets were Eli Luginbill, Jake Fischer and Noah Burkholder. Named to the list for Leipsic were Trent Siefker, Payton Lammers and Quin Schroeder.

Ottawa-Glandorf senior Cy Rump was named a second team linebacker in Division V. Rump, 6-0, 175 pounds, led the Titans with 65.5 tackles including six for losses and he had 2.5 sacks.

Named to the Honorable Mention list for the Titans were Kaleb Yoder, Justice Pope, Landon Morman, Austin Haley and Walter Ross.