Accolades continue to roll in for Broome County’s two state football champions.
Senior quarterback Kyle Gallagher of Maine-Endwell is New York State Sports Writers Association Player of the Year in Class B, and senior fullback Isaiah Zimmer of Chenango Forks shares top billing in Class C with receiver Jake Carlock of unbeaten Long Island power Babylon.
Gallagher quarterbacked the Spartans to a third consecutive unbeaten, state-championship season and closed his high school playing days with a 34-0 record after assuming the starting role. He was second-team all-state as a junior.
“It’s definitely a great honor to be selected from among not only the players on our team, but from everyone in the state,” Gallagher said. “I think what it says is that we had a great team, because ordinarily the team that wins the state championship is the one that gets Player of the Year.”
Zimmer, a third-team all-state choice a season ago, established a Chenango Forks program record with 2,054 rushing yards. Illustrating his big-game ability, 962 of those yards were logged in five playoff games. His final high school game brought a 39-carry, 175-yard outing in the state championship game, after which he was recognized as Most Valuable Player.
“It definitely tells me that I worked hard to strive to reach my full potential, and that we accomplished what I wanted to accomplish this year,” Zimmer said.
“We decided a long time ago that we were going to ride that young man, and we sure did,” Blue Devils coach David Hogan said. “He could do it all as a ball carrier. I can’t tell you the number of times we re-wound the film and wondered, ‘how did we get those extra yards?’ “
To go with two Players of the Year, 10 first-team selections highlight Section 4 representation on New York State Sports Writers Association all-state football teams in Classes B, C and D.
The two state-championship teams combined for five first-team picks: running back Darnell Woolfolk and defensive back Alec Wisniewski from the Spartans; offensive lineman Hunter Luybli, defensive lineman Mike Zurenda and linebacker Ryan Bronson from the Blue Devils.
Also earning first-team recognition in Class D: Running back Jesse Manuel, offensive lineman Dylan Babcock and defensive lineman Carter Jackson from state semifinalist Tioga; defensive lineman Austin Dean from Sidney; and linebacker Tom Agan from Elmira Notre Dame.
The all-state teams are compiled by Steve Grandin, a Saratoga Springs resident who formerly served as sports editor of The Saratogian, following consultation with media members statewide.
“In all honesty, I think we had three guys who could be Player of the Year,” said Spartans coach Matt Gallagher, adding Woolfolk and Wisniewski to the conversation. “Look at Darnell and Wiz — they were unbelievable.”
Wisniewski, widely acknowledged as the finest safety in Section 4 the past two seasons, was also a first-team selection as a junior. He has committed to join Colgate University’s football program. Woolfolk, a first-teamer last year at linebacker, this season rushed for 1,643 yards and 20 touchdowns.
Forks junior Luybli was part of an offensive front that helped spring Zimmer for those 2,054 rushing yards — as was second-teamer Paul Groover. Zurenda was force on the defensive front who made a lead-preserving stop of a two-point conversion in the state final. Bronson doubled as a dependable and durable halfback, though his forte was making plays from his linebacker position.
Tioga sophomore Manuel rushed for a school-record 2,231 rushing yards and scored 25 touchdowns, behind a line that featured senior Jackson and junior Babcock, each of whom were standouts on each side of the line of scrimmage. Ditto for Sidney’s Dean, who has a season remaining to give Warriors opponents fits.
Gallagher’s selection makes it a second consecutive season that M-E has taken top individual honors in Class B. Last year, Player of the Year was shared by Jake Haddock and Nick Sorrenti, presently students at Cornell University and Utica College, respectively.
Gallagher, who has committed to attend Cornell University, had two of his finest games in the state playoffs. He rushed for 216 yards and passed for two scores in the quarterfinal, and he led the Spartans on a 75-yard, game-deciding drive in the championship game.
“When the ball was in his hands you felt like everything was going to be alright,” said Matt Gallagher, M-E’s coach and Kyle’s father. “He had a knack for getting the ball to the right guy at the right time, and that put the team in the best situation.”
All-State teams in Classes AA and A are to be released next week.