COUDERSPORT — The Coudersport Falcons football team capped off yet another successful season in 2020 and was honored with four players being named to the North Tier League All-Star team and also senior Cale Ayers being named to the second team Pennsylvania Single-A All-State team.
Four seniors were recognized for their stellar-play this past fall sports season, with Hayden Keck, Ayers and Brandt Kightlinger all receiving First Team Honors and were also named to the Olean Times Herald-Bradford Era PA Big 30 All-star Team.
Dalton Keglovits was named as an Honorable Mention selection for District 9 All-Conference team.
Headlining the group is senior offensive and defensive lineman Ayers, who was named the Defensive Lineman of the Year and was also selected to the Pennsylvania Single-A Second Team All-State team for his performance in 2020.
“It was really exciting, I was really looking forward to playing this year,” Ayers commented on getting the chance to play this season. “I’ve done a lot in the offseason. Just keeping focused at practice especially, keeping up on things and working on things that needed work.”
His high level of play showed on the field during the season, and Ayers racked up a team-high 49 tackles and was a constant disruptor on the defensive side of the ball recording nine tackles-for-loss on the year.
“Kale is a great kid,” Coudersport Head Football Coach Tom Storey said. “And he is the example for what a high school athlete should be. He came in, just kind of a normal kid his ninth grade year and played with his brother Eli and he knew he had big shoes to fill.”
Ayers without a doubt filled them.
Ayers anchored an offensive line that was responsible for the dynamic rushing attack that Coudersport deployed and helped them rush for nearly 1,400 yards at an impressive 7.1 yards per carry.
His impressive play in the trenches landed him a rare honor for Coudersport players, and even coming from a small school was able to land himself on the All-State team.
“It’s amazing,” Storey said on Ayers making the All-State team. “I think he should have made it last year.... getting recognized is the hard part. Him getting recognized and him making it on the team was just great. He’s a great kid who deserves it, he worked hard for it and that paid off.”
“I mean it means a lot, especially because I’ve never heard of anyone from around here getting something like that...But I felt like I deserved it, if you’re looking at how other teams were performing and how I performed,” Ayers said.
Also receiving top-honors was senior quarterback Keck, who was also named the NTL Defensive Player of the Year for his role from the safety position.
Keck racked up an outstanding 31 tackles from the secondary and also added an interceptions, two pass deflections and two fumble recoveries on that side of the football in just five games.
“He moved from linebacker to safety as a senior,” Coudersport football Head Coach Tom Storey said. “And we were still able to use him as a linebacker sometimes. Its just the way he plays, the effort he puts into it and everything. That’s why the coaches and everyone recognized him and made him Defensive Player of the Year.”
He also took home his fourth consecutive year of being named to the NTL-All Star team and has been a staple for the Falcons over his career.
“You know, Hayden is a great athlete,” Storey said. “It’s an option team and he was amazing. He picked it up and ran the option for us. I believe he was a real-time staff member.”
The final player to be named to the NTL All-Star team was Kightlinger, who from the fullback position was extremely productive, notching 69 carries for 511 yards and four touchdowns on the year in just five games.
“He’s been the utility player for us the past couple of years,” Storey said. “He was always a playmaker for us. When we needed yards the last few years, passing the ball or getting the ball in his hand was something we wanted to do this year.”
A player who amassed more than 100 yards-per-game, Kightlinger was the bread and butter of the option offense that ran through him as the first option on almost every play, and was able to deliver yet another spectacular season for the Falcons.
“He took on the lead back which is the guy that the option always goes in the gut of to start with,” Storey said. “And he always ran hard.”
Also receiving Honorable Mention status was senior Keglovits, who led his team in receiving with eight catches for 269 yards and three touchdowns as well as added 17 tackles and a team-high three interceptions and four pass-break-ups.
“He (Keglovits) is another great athlete,” Storey said. “He’s a great kid and has heart... He’s well-deserving of being recognized and I’m glad he can be on the All-Star team.”