Antwerp senior Keaton Altimus and Wayne Trace senior Brian Merritt were voted as the Paulding County Progress football Offensive and Defensive Player of the Years in voting by the county coaches recently.

Keaton Altimus led an Antwerp offense that averaged 27.6 points a contest, throwing for 2,541 yards and tossing 25 touchdown passes on the season.

“I am very proud of what Keaton accomplished this year,” noted Archer head coach and Keaton’s father, Drew Altimus. “He worked very hard after facing some adversity last year and really put in a lot of time in the offseason to prepare for his senior year. He has some great teammates and they are the ones who pushed him but also made it possible for him to have success this season.”

The senior signal caller finished the season 218 of 359 passing, completing just under 61 percent of his attempts on the year. He also added a pair of rushing touchdowns for Antwerp.

“He was like having another coach on the field,” continued the elder Altimus. “He studied the game and really improved his knowledge of the game.”

Archer senior teammates Cole Seslar and Luke Brewer also received Honorable Mention.

Cole Seslar topped the blue-and-white with 78 receptions for 976 yards and 10 scores and completed his only pass attempt for 45 yards.

Defensively, Seslar posted 43 tackles on the season for Antwerp, including a pair of tackles for a loss, while recording three interceptions and picking up two fumble recoveries.

Luke Brewer finished the year with 57 stops for the Archer defense, three of which were tackles for a loss. The senior defensive back also added three interceptions and two fumble recoveries.

On the offensive side of the ball, Brewer was second on the Antwerp squad with 65 catches for 841 yards and six touchdowns while also running for 77 yards on 14 carries, including a touchdown. He averaged nearly 16 yards per kickoff return as well, totaling 252 yards on 16 attempts.

Raider senior defensive lineman Brian Merritt topped the red-white-and-blue with 96 tackles and harassed opposing quarterbacks and running backs all season long.

“Brian had a tremendous season for us,” noted Wayne Trace head coach Mike Speice. “He has worked very hard and improved a lot from last year. Brian was a very good worker and just led our team in a quiet way and led by example.”

Merritt also finished the season with a team-high 22 tackles for a loss while recording 10 sacks as well. The senior lineman forced a pair of fumbles and recovered one for Wayne Trace.

“He did so much for us defensively,” Speice continued. “Brian was able to cause a lot of teams problems in the back field. He has been a great player at Wayne Trace but, more importantly, he is a great kid as well.”

Wayne Trace sophomore Trevor Speice and senior Grant Baumle received Honorable Mention as well.

Grant Baumle posted 358 yards rushing on 43 carries, including four touchdown runs, for the Raiders while also catching eight passes for 78 yards.

On the other side of the ball, the senior linebacker finished the season with 64 tackles while posting three tackles for a loss. Baumle also posted one sack and picked up on interception for the red-white-and-blue.

Trevor Speice paced the Raider offense, throwing for 2,566 yards and running for a team-leading 523 rushing yards on 156 carries, which included seven for touchdowns.

The Raider signal-caller competed 174 of 328 passes on the season and tossed 29 touchdown passes.

Defensively, Speice finished fourth on the Raiders in tackles with 65 tackles and recorded two tackles for a loss and two sacks. The sophomore recovered a fumble for Wayne Trace and forced one fumble as well.

Paulding also had a pair of senior players garner Honorable Mention.

Wide receiver/defensive back Hunter Kesler and tailback/defensive back Jacob Eblin received honorable mention for the maroon-and-white.

Hunter Kesler posted a team-high 52 receptions for 866 yards with seven going for touchdowns and added 32 rushing yards on 11 carries.

On defense, the Panther standout recorded 49 tackles over 10 games and chipped in four interceptions, one forced fumble and two fumble recoveries.

Jacob Eblin totaled 50 tackles on the year for the maroon-and-white while posting eight tackles for a loss and eight sacks. He also forced four fumbles by Panther opponents.

Eblin recorded 55 rushing yards on 17 carries, with one being good for a score, for Paulding and totaled five receptions for 52 yards and a touchdown.