By BRUCE HEFFLINGER

Sports Writer

Paulding’s Jacob Deisler garnered first-team honors while Cole Mabis led a group of four Panthers earning second-team accolades in Northwest Conference football this season based on voting by league coaches.

Deisler, the second-leading rusher in the NWC with 1,150 yards trailing only Crestview’s Brody Brecht who had 1,556 yards on the ground, was the lone first-team honoree on Paulding following a 4-6 campaign in which the Panthers finished fifth in the eight-team conference with a 3-4 record.

Mabis, a senior like Deisler, was selected second team on both sides of the ball, on the offensive line and defensively at linebacker. Mabis led Paulding in tackles on the season with 59.

Caleb Manz, the sixth leading receiver in the NWC with 25 receptions for 427 yards, was second team in the league at wide receiver while Fernando Garcia was second team on the defensive line and Deyton Price second team in the secondary. All are juniors.

Garcia - the eighth best rusher in the league with 648 yards - was also honorable mention at running back, while Manz was honorable mention at defensive back and Deisler honorable mention at linebacker.

Senior Riley Coil also garnered honorable mention accolades for the Panthers at both linebacker and on the offensive line while senior Jacob King was honorable mention on the defensive line and junior Brendan Hornish on the offensive line.

“I am really proud of these guys for their success on the field,” Paulding coach Tyler Arend said. “Each one of them earned this recognition and led the way playing against a tough league schedule.

“What makes me even more proud as a coach is that we had 21 of our 23 varsity letterwinners earn NWC Scholar Athlete status,” added Arend. “We challenged these guys to be their best on and off of the field and we are proud of their accomplishments.”

This season marked the second straight year Paulding has gone 3-4 in the NWC, the best league mark in the program since the 2008 squad finished 4-4. The last winning record in the NWC came in 1997 when Paulding ended 5-3. Paulding’s last league crown came in 1988. The other NWC championships since joining the NWC in 1967 came in 1983, 1978, 1977 and 1968 (3-way tie).

League tri-champs Columbus Grove, Spencerville and Allen East dominated the top awards in the NWC in 2019.

Grove junior quarterback Blake Reynolds was Offensive Player of the Year, Spencerville senior linebacker Eli Yahl and Allen East junior linebacker Blake Hershberger were Co-Defensive Players of the Year while Allen East coach Wesley Schroeder was chosen Coach of the Year.

Spencerville finished in a three-way tie with Allen East and Grove for first place at 6-1, the third year in a row that the Bearcats have won or shared the title. It marked the first time since 1995 that Allen East has claimed a share of the crown while Grove last won an NWC championship in 2005.

Joining Reynolds and Deisler on the NWC first team were offensive linemen Yahl, Mitch Douglass (Grove), Brennan Davies (Allen East), Isaiah LaTurner (Crestview) and Jackson Goecke (Spencerville); receivers Alex Schneider (Grove), Cole Fletcher (Allen East) Zac Swaney (Ada) and Bradden Crumrine (Allen East); running backs Brecht and Joel Lotz (Spencerville); and specialist Rece Verhoff (Grove).

On the first-team defense with Yahl and Hershberger were linemen Gunner King (Grove), LaTurner, Garrett Neth (Allen East) and Mason Myers (Spencerville); linebackers Brecht and Jared Basinger (Grove); and defensive backs Crumrine, Loan Gerardot (Crestview), Logan McCluer (Allen East) and Tyson Shutler (Bluffton).