Friday, September 23, 2011

A look at the area prep career rushing leaders

Ledgemont running back Danny LaRosa has joined some exclusive company in area football history. By the end of the season, he could be one of the area's top three career rushers.

We had a feeling LaRosa could break into the top 10 this season. But we weren't sure because he didn't qualify for our season leaders in his freshman year. Thanks to Ledgemont football statistician Johnna Gilkerson and Head Coach Joe LaRosa, who went over film from 2008, we know for sure. Here are Danny LaRosa's career rushing totals:

2008: 392 yards
2009: 1,442 yards
2010: 1,469 yards
2011: 876 yards through Week 4
Career total: 4,179 through Week 4

Now for the area career leaders.

1. Sean McHugh, Chagrin Falls (1996-99) 5,655
2. Justin Yates, Newbury (1995-98) 5,143
3. Robert Smith, Euclid (1987-89) 5,043
4. Craig Svendsen, Kirtland (1987-90)  4,707
5. Brandon Lombardy, Chagrin Falls (2000-03) 4,549
6. Pepe Pearson, Euclid (1990-93) 4,447
7. Danny LaRosa, Ledgemont (2008-current) 4,179
8. Tony Fisher, Euclid (1995-97) 4,161
9. Matt Koren, Hawken (1999-02) 4,032
10. Darrell Allen, Perry (1988-91) 3,879
11. O.J. McDuffie, Hawken (1985-87) 3,543

You might wonder why our list is regular-season only. It's a debate we revisit in the newsroom from time to time. But this is the best way to compare players without skewing the numbers. Everyone plays a maximum of 10 regular-season games per year. A level playing field, if you will.

For example, when Mentor and Chagrin Falls played in back-to-back state championship games, it was the equivalent of adding a full regular season's worth of games to their schedules for those two years. They earned those by winning, of course. But the playoffs are also about team goals, not padding individual statistics.

If every school qualified for the playoffs, we could add playoff statistics because every school would have a chance to advance in the postseason. But they don't, so we stick with only the regular season.

Another note: We're always looking for historical statistics. If there is someone not on the list you think qualifies, let us know. Our research expert, Chris Lillstrung, has spent more hours than he would care to admit combing through News-Herald and Painesville Telegraph microfilm, but statistics from before the 1980s are a tough find.

- Howard Primer



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