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Fox Wins Kennedy Award

By Staff | Dec 30, 2010

photo provided by Memories by Lora Yeater.

The Magnolia Blue Eagles’ Justin “Tank” Fox has received the 2010 Harrison H. Kennedy Award, presented annually to the top high school gridder in West Virginia. The voting was the closest it has been in the 62 years the honor has been bestowed, with the exception of a tie in 1998. Fox nosed out last year’s winner, Tyler Harris of South Charleston. David Gladden of Class-AAA winner Martinsburg, Joey Musick of state semifinalist Morgantown, and Keion Wright of Capital High School finished last in a three-way tie for third place. The top 10 in the West Virginia Sports Writers Association voting were Felix Mollett of George Washington, Corey Wagner of Bridgeport, Cole Starcher of Ravenswood, Ryan Lazear of Brooke, and Ryan Jones of Bishop Donahue. Fox has rewritten the record books at Magnolia High School. He surpassed the great Todd Morris in most completions, (414-342), attempts (785-675), and yards passed (6,645-5,291). He also vaulted over two-time Kennedy Award winner Mark Cisar in most touchdowns (68-64) in career totals. Fox has been picked off only 16 times in four seasons, with only six coming during his senior season. He will go down in history as the winningest quarterback in the state, prevailing in 45-53 games out of a possible 56 games. He also has run for 176 yards in 2010 with nine touchdowns. The Tank was 71-80 in PATs this season and has split the uprights 152-171 in his career that included 10-21 field goals. As a punter, Fox has punted 95 times for a total of 2,906 yards for an average of 30.6 per punt. His longest punt traveled 56 yards. He has kicked off 225 times for 10,561 yards. Magnolia is tied for second place in Kennedy Awards with three and is one behind Morgantown with four. Fox is the first OVAC performer since the great Quincy Wilson of Weir who shared it with Morgantown quarterback J.R. House in 1998. “This is unbelievable. I’m awestruck,” said Fox. “In the back of my mind, I was thinking yeah, there was still hope. Winning the championship, setting the records, and getting all those awards, the only thing that could complete it is getting the Kennedy. Wow!” “A lot of times when he was younger,” said Blue Eagle Head Coach Mark Batton, “he was just focused on one guy and threw the the ball to that guy. These last two years, it’s been because he sat down and studied film all summer long. “He spent a lot of time this summer preparing for all the teams we’ve faced. That’s how he has matured. He knew going in on Friday night what he’s going to see.” Fox never came off the field, either. He was the quarterback, the punter, kicker, kick and punt returner, and cover corner on defense, too. On defense, Fox led the team in interceptions with six that included two in the state finale. In his sophomore and junior years he made all-state first team in Class-AA as a defender and this year was named a captain of the offense. Fox also was named the Big 22 Player of the Year, while teammate Stephen “Rogo” Rogalski won the Top Sophomore of the Year in the Wheeling Intelligencer’s 26th annual award. Rogalski hauled in 64 passes for 1,192 yards and 17 TDs, including a 99-yard TD in the playoffs. He averaged 18.6-yards catch. In addition to Fox, teammate Matt Riggs was chosen for the first- team all-state offense squad, along with Rogalski at receiver, while Traeh Keller was the only Blue Eagle to be name to the all-state defensive squad. Blue Eagles Jayson Keller, Sam Shepherd, and Tanner Fluharty were named to the second team defensive unit. Brendan Kacor and Cameron Benson were chosen for all-state Special Mention and Honorable Mention, respectively. Riggs also was one of five linemen to receive The Five Blocks of Granite Award. In the WTOV-9 Health Plan Award, Batton was named Coach of the Year and Magnolia’s Bob Ripley was named Defensive Coordinator of the Year. In OVAC Class-A, Garrett Ueltschy, Casey Pingley, and Clay Ueltschy from Valley High School and Taylor Still and Geoffrey Bidwell from Paden City High School all received First Team honors. In Class-AA Tanner Wright of River High School received the same recognition. In OVAC Class-AAA, Fox, Riggs, Kacor, and brothers Traeh and Jayson Keller earned first-team honors. Second team honors went to Rogalski, Shepherd, and Cameron Benson of Magnolia and Zach Wichterman of River High School. Second team honors also went to Davie Sivert, Cody Bates, and Jon Smallwood of Valley; and Jamie Billiter and Keith Hardbarger of Paden City. In the All-Valley Big School, Riggs, Fox, and Rogalski took top honors in offense, while teammates Shepherd, Traeh Keller, and Tanner Fluharty were picked for defense. Second team offense went to Jayson Keller and second team defense went to Kacor. Special Mention honors went to Jayson Keller and Honorable Mention went to Benson, Seth Findling, and Dillon Simmons. In the All-Valley Small School Division, the Lumberjacks’ Casey Pingley was the only area player to make second team, while teammate Jon Smallwood, Wildcat Taylor Still, and River Pilot Tanner Wright each earned Special Mention All-Valley. Wichterman and Evan Eggleston of River, Wildcats Geoffery Bidwell and Jamie Billiter join Lumberjacks Cody Bates, Davie Sivert, Garrett Ueltschy, and Kody Jenkins as Honorable Mention All-Valley selections. In high school soccer, First Team OVAC honors in Division II went to Isaac Howell and Chase Cain of Magnolia, while Blue Eagles Saris “Just” Kongpickul and Seth Blake were chosen Honorable Mention. Michael Jones was chosen All-Valley second team and Kongpickul and Blake were Honorable Mention selections.