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The Dansville Online
  • Pair of Eagles, Mustangs named to All-State football team

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  • WAYLAND — Darren Becker and Devon Harris were integral parts of a Wayland-Cohocton offense that blitzed opponents for 400 points on the gridiron this fall, while Evan Dieter and Ryan Hurlburt were ball stoppers on a Dansville defense that allowed more than two scores in just three games.
    This week, all four were counted among the best the Empire State has to offer when the New York State Sportswriters Association released its 2013 all-state football team.
    Harris was a Class C Second Team selection on offense, and Dieter made the Second Team on defense. Becker and Hurlburt were both Third Team selections, with Becker getting the nod on offense and Hurlburt on defense.
    Harris and Becker rewrote the Wayland-Cohocton record books for a squad that won the program’s first-ever Section V title with a 14-8 overtime win over LeRoy at Rochester’s Sahlen’s Stadium.
    Harris was already named the Section V Player of the Year in Class C. The junior running back piled up 1,809 yards on 215 carries, an average of 8.4 yards every time he took a hand-off from quarterback CJ?Ellis. Harris finished with 31 rushing touchdowns and two more scores via kickoff returns. He also had 13 two-point conversions, accounting for 224 of Way-Co’s 400 points.
    “His biggest asset is his speed,” said Way-Co head coach Joe Sabo. “He runs a 4.6 40. You get a kid that quick, especially at the high school level, that’s a handful. Sometimes tailbacks don’t like to run between the tackles, but the nice thing about Devon is that he wasn’t afraid to run between the tackles.
    “He could run inside, he could run outside. Once he got wheeling, once he got loose, most the teams had a problem with him.”
    While Harris was a threat to score every time he touched the ball, Becker provided a similar threat through the air. The senior captain teamed up with Ellis to form perhaps the most dangerous passing connection in Livingston County.
    Though listed as a tight end, Becker’s 6-5 height and wide receiver speed caused matchup problems for defenses all season. He finished the year with 28 catches for 665 yards, grabbing 16 touchdowns in the process.
    “Anytime he was out in a pass pattern it was a height mismatch, plus Darren has fairly long arms,” Sabo said. “He can catch the ball, he’s got decent speed, and he blocked for us. He did a pretty good job for us leadership-wise, too. He kept some of the kids in line when it was time to be a leader, and he generally set a pretty good example.
    “If he wants to play football next fall, he’ll be playing,” Sabo added. “I bet he’s had eight, nine, 10 colleges looking at him. He hasn’t made a choice yet, but I’ll be very surprised if he isn’t playing football somewhere next year.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Dieter and Hurlburt helped Dansville to its best season in years, leading a stingy defense that was the key to the Mustangs’ sectional berth and 5-3 turnaround. The Mustangs allowed just 67 points over their first six games before Wayland-Cohocton busted loose for 42 in the regular season finale.
    The only two teams two crack 20 points on Dansville were the two Class C finalists, Wayland-Cohocton and LeRoy, which ousted the Mustangs in sectionals with a 26-12 win. The defense was led by its pair of hard-hitting linebackers. Hurlburt had 62 tackles, a sack and a fumble recovery.
    “(Hurlburt’s) biggest strength was his ability to hit people,” Dansville head coach Terry Conway said. “He played mad, which as a defensive player is a good thing. Some people have that ability to shock you when they hit you. He had that. He impressed me a lot this year. He was an impact player. Sometimes you need a defense to kind of dominate and maybe intimidate a little bit, and he had that ability. I was happy with that.”
    Dieter had 24 tackles and three pass deflections in five games, battling a knee injury. The junior played outside linebacker for the Mustangs, using his strength and athleticism to excel both in run support and in the passing game.
    “He was able to cover people in the flat and even tag up with some people if we wanted to run some kind of a man coverage with him,” Conway said. “You have to be two kinds of players when you’re on the outside. You have to be tough enough to come up and stop the run, and obviously you have to be able to play like a secondary kid too. He had that.
    “He’s as hard a worker as we had, always 110 percent,”?Conway added. “You could hear his effort. He’d be grunting and groaning trying to get the extra step or the extra hit. He’s a very athletic kid too, so he helped us out a lot. The best part about him is he’ll be back with us next year as a senior.”
    Other Livingston County players named to the Class C All-State team included Wellsville’s Tyler Brion (Third Team) and Cory Harris (Honorable Mention), LeRoy’s Tom Kelso (C Third Team) and Pete Privitera (Honorable Mention). Livonia’s Jack Pope and Mike English were named to the First Team in Class B.
    Hornell didn’t receive a selection for the first time since 2008, the season before the Red Raiders’ run of three state titles and four state finals appearances

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