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THE SPORTS REPORTS: OWEGO'S GRIPPEN HEADLINES FLAG FOOTBALL ALL-REGION TEAM AS 'PLAYER OF THE YEAR;' OWEGO, WAVERLY WELL-REPRESENTED (2024-06-30)

The Sports Reports
Owego had a historical season, posting a 12-0 regular season record and going 16-1 overall on the way to a berth in the NYSPHSAA Division 2 flag football semifinals.

Key to the River Hawks’ success was quarterback Kylie Grippen — the 2024 “Flag Football Player of the Year.” The sophomore slinger completed 300 of her 395 pass attempts (76 percent) for 3,336 yards and 62 touchdowns with 15 interceptions, and also converted 41 extra point throws.

Corning’s Grace Robertson is the “Offensive Player of the Year.” The Hawks’ standout rushed for more than 1,600 yards and scored 28 TDs to lead the team to the Section IV Division 1 title.

Despite an injury that interrupted part of her spring season in two sports, Owego’s Taylor Dalton changed the dynamic of the team when she stepped on the field, according to her coach. A senior, the “Defensive Player of the Year” still came away with six interceptions, 18 tackles and 13 deflections while keeping opposing receivers in check.

Ashlyn Dalton
is the “Newcomer of the Year.” The freshman was a key contributor on both sides of the ball. On offense, she caught 35 passes for 531 yards and 14 TDs, ran for another score and rushed for 90 yards on 14 carries, and scored three extra points. Defensively, she made 33 tackles, 19 sacks, 28 QB pressures and five deflections. She also returned 11 punts for 155 yards.

The “Coach of the Year” is Owego’s Rusty Virkler. He led the River Hawks to an undefeated regular season and a 16-1 overall record, winning the Section IV Division 2 championship and advancing to the state semifinals. The River Hawks averaged 33.59 points per contest while holding opponents to an average of 5.76 points per game (only three teams reached the end zone more than once in a game).

2024 All-Region Flag Football
FIRST TEAM
Kylie Grippen, Owego:
See above.

Taylor Dalton, Owego: In addition to her defensive contributions (see above), Dalton had 46 receptions for 560 yards and 11 TDs, and carried the ball 19 times for 145 yards and two TDs. She also scored five extra points.

Grace Robertson, Corning: See above.

Paige Robinson, Waverly: Robinson piloted Waverly to an 8-2-3 record and a Section IV Division 2 playoff berth in the team’s inaugural season on the gridiron. She completed 57.1 percent of her passes (133 out of 233 passes) for 1,429 yards, and 21 TDs, with 10 interceptions. She also rushed the ball for 1,341 yards and 16 TDs on 153 carries.

Ashlyn Dalton, Owego: See above.

Jessica Als, Horseheads: Threw for 1,747 yards on 60% completion percentage with 19 touchdowns against just six interceptions. Also led the team with 391 yards on the ground and three scores.

Alex Aubel, Owego: Aubel caught 77 passes for 700 yards — both team highs, scored 11 TDs, and added seven extra points. She also chipped in with 30 tackles, six interceptions and 13 deflections.

Mira Kittle, Waverly: A physical and uber-athletic force on the Wolverine defense, Kittle had 114 flag pulls, 12 tackles-for-loss, and two interceptions.

Ashlen Croft, Waverly: Croft hauled in 42 receptions for 516 yards, and eight TDs, including two games with 100 or more receiving yards. She also had four interceptions, including a pair of pick-6 — one for 55 and the other for 72 yards.

Ellie Clearwater, Elmira:
Clearwater averaged 18 yards every time she touched the ball and had a touchdown every four carries. She had 224 yards rushing and four scores on just 14 carries, 25 catches for 496 yards and six scores. She also had eight interceptions, three for scores, 41 solo tackles and 12 pass breakups, and 175 return yards. Overall she touched the ball 47 times with 13 scores and 847 yards.

SECOND TEAM
Irish Alonzo, Elmira:
Alonzo had 46 solo tackles and two sacks, but also often pushed the offensive players into tackles by teammates.

Brooke Johnston, Corning:
Johnston intercepted seven passes on the season for the Hawks.

Cadia Fain, Owego: Fain led the team in rushing, toting the rock 138 times for 710 yards and a team-high 13 TDs. She added 111 yards on 14 receptions and scored three extra points. On defense, Fain recorded 13 tackles, five
sacks, 30 QB pressures, one interception for a TD and one deflection.

Brooklyn Guarnier, Owego: Gaurnier was second on the River Hawks in tackles (77) and sacks (8). She ran the ball 36 times for 412 yards and 8 TDs and had four extra points. She also completed five passes for 95 yards
and a TD.

Olivia Dodge, Owego: Dodge led the River Hawks with 79 tackles and added six interceptions, a TD, four sacks, five QB pressures and two deflections. She also caught 33 passes for 323 yards, five TDs, an extra point, and added 51 yards and a TD on 15 rushing attempts.

Lexi Herceg, Owego: Herceg caught 14 passes for 372 yards and five TDs, and ran the ball five times for 68 yards. Scored one extra point, picked off seven passes, and tacked on 20 tackles, one sack and nine deflections.

Ally Barrett, Waverly: Barrett got better and better as the season progressed. She rushed for 1,055 yards, and 11 TDs on 94 carries. She also started and was a key defender in the secondary.

Hannah Nichols, Corning: Nichols, a linebacker had six interceptions this season for the Hawks.

Natalia Gieldon, Corning: Gieldon, a  center / pass rusher had 20 tackles behind the line-of-scrimmage this season for the Hawks.

Jacquie Crisco, Corning: Crisco had four interceptions and seven touchdowns as a wide receiver / cornerback this season.

Lauryn Welles, Waverly: Only an 8th-grader, Welles had 99 flag pulls, 7 tackles-for-loss, and 3 INTs for the Wolverine defense, and also caught three TDs passes from the center position.

Emersyn Garvin, Elmira:
Garvin ran for 589 yards, and nine TDs on just 68 carries, and had 11 catches for 68 yards. She also had 68 tackles, with four QB sacks, two interceptions and four pass break-ups.


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