FORT WAYNE – The race for the SAC’s top two fall awards has been narrowed and the winners will be announced Monday at the IPFW’s Walb Ballroom.
The Euell Wilson Award has been presented for the last 20 years to a deserving senior football player in the conference that demonstrates leadership and talent on and off the field. Former Bishop Luers quarterback James Knapke was the winner in 2011.
The Glass Spike Award has been handed out since 1996 to the top SAC volleyball player and is not restricted to a senior. Concordia graduate Mariah Bradbury won last year’s honor.
The awards program, co-sponsored by The Journal Gazette and SportOne Ortho NorthEast, will also honor the first-team All-SAC and All-Northeast Indiana football and volleyball players, as well as SAC coaches of the year in both sports.
The following is a look at the top candidates for Euell Wilson and Glass Spike:
The race for this award has come down to three seniors – North Side’s Anthony Linnear, Snider’s Weston Painter and Bishop Luers’ Jaylon Smith.
The 5-foot-9, 180-pound Linnear is a talented two-way player for the Redskins. At running back, he had 1,800 all-purpose yards and scored a total of 19 touchdowns. He also played linebacker and was selected the team’s MVP.
The 6-4, 273-pound Painter, a defensive tackle, helped lead the Panthers to an SAC championship and a berth in the Class 5A state title game. He had 60 tackles, nine tackles for loss and six sacks, while being hampered in the postseason because of a torn ACL.
A three-year starter, Painter is headed to Indiana State.
Smith played on offense and defense for the 2A state champion Knights. The 6-3, 220-pound Smith rushed for 1,300 yards and scored 17 touchdowns at running back and had 75 tackles and eight sacks as an outside linebacker/defensive end.
The Notre Dame recruit is a U.S. Army All-American and a candidate for the Butkus and Indiana Mr. Football awards.
The top two candidates appear to be Snider senior Somer Johnson and Concordia sophomore Tionna Williams.
Johnson is a 6-1 middle hitter who had 520 kills, 368 digs and 77 blocks this season for the Panthers. The 520 kills are a single-season school record for the IPFW recruit.
Snider finished second in the SAC and was sectional runner-up.
Williams, a 6-2 sophomore middle hitter, led the Cadets to the SAC regular-season title with 396 kills, 163 digs and 68 blocks. Williams was named the team offensive MVP and to the second-team Class 3A All-State team.
The Cadets won a sectional title before falling in the regional.