Saturday, November 8, 2008


The 2008 Northeast Ohio High School Player of the Year goes to Kirtland quarterback Ben Madden, who all season long provided outstanding leadership on and off the field and directed the Hornets to the Division 5 regional title game.

Before the season started, you could see Madden's leadership really start to come out. Especially after the Hornets thought that star player Rossi Santo would start the season injured. "Niner" as he's known to his friends and teammates, did his part to work the rest of the offense into the Tiger LaVerde's gameplan and held his own again on defense at linebacker too. Coincidentally he was named Defensive MVP for Lake County for 2008.

Down the stretch you could see him emerge even more as the team made their final push toward the playoffs and a perfect 10-0 regular season, a first for Kirtland High School. In the opening playoff game against South Range, Ben "rushed" for 262 yards and 5 touchdowns and threw for 112 more plus another score leading the team to a 63-7 victory in round one. The following week against Columbiana Crestview he threw for 4 more touchdowns and the team passed yet another landmark for the school and reached the regional title game where they faced off against Youngstown Ursuline.

"The Best Protection a Quarterback Can Have"

Through the first 12 games (10 plus playoffs so far), Ben has possessed a quarterback rating of 210.06 (NCAA). He's completed 56% of his passes for 1576 yards and 24 touchdowns with only 2 interceptions. He has also rushed for 722 yards and 14 touchdowns. Ben has 2298 yards of total offense accounting for nearly half of the Hornet total. The kid is also a standout linebacker who carries his leadership ability to the defensive side of the ball as well being among the leaders in tackles and recording 3 interceptions.

It's not hard to find quality, real quality players in Division 5, but too many times we are force-fed a majority of Division 1 standouts that fail to encompass the TOTAL PLAYER. This is not a knock on them, but when you put it all into perspective and match the individual accomplishments with the team's and just what that player does for his team, teammates and the school as well as the people and coaches around him, you get to see the little things that compliment the stats and Ben "Niner" Madden has all of those. His peers saw it this way as did fans and coaches alike. It tightened up a bit among the top three as we headed into the playoffs, but with the focus on them, they separated from the pack and we ended up here on Monday morning November 10th.


Madden: 31%
Kellen Pagel - Strongsville: 26%
Tim Wetzel - Mayfield: 15%
Andrew Holland - St. Ignatius: 15%
John Pettigrew - Cuyahoga Valley Christian: 7%
Mike Hanhauser - Perry: 6%

*1244 total votes received in all from online polls, e-mail votes, gameday surveys on-site of other players, fans and 37 area coaches. NO MEDIA VOTES.

Congratulations to Ben and his teammates on a tremendous regular season and a great run at Region 17! You guys made history for your school and your community.


Previous winners:
2007 (Inaugural Season) - Randy Greenwood, Lake Catholic High School

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