Connor Named First Team All-Ohio
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Junior quarterback Ben Connor was named Division V First Team All-Ohio on Nov. 30, the first Beachwood quarterback to do so in over 20 years.
The last Beachwood football player to achieve this distinction? Current Head Coach Damion Creel, who earned this distinction in 1994.
The wait for the release of the All-Ohio teams kept Connor on the edge of his seat, and he was shocked when he found out he had won.
“Throughout the day, I was just in suspense,” an emotional Connor said. “The day I found out I was on the list, it was just pure excitement and joy.”
He feels that a lot of his great season can be attributed to Creel and his coaching staff.
“Being a quarterback too, he has given me a love of the game,” he added. “He and the other coaches have taught me so much about the game and myself.”
A team captain this year, Connor finished the season 128/221 on passing attempts with 2426 passing yards, a 57.9% completion percentage, 22 touchdowns, 10 interceptions and a 110.41 passer rating.
A noted dual-threat quarterback, Connor can win with his legs as well as with his arm. He ran for a team-high 533 yards on 85 attempts for 8 touchdowns, which, with his 22 passing TDs, brought his overall touchdown count to 30 this season. He accounted for all but nine of the team’s scores this year.
This season, he also earned 2nd team all-CVC at quarterback with 19 total votes. The only teams that didn’t vote for him in the CVC were West Geauga, and, ironically, Painesville Harvey, even with his record performance against them this year.
Connor was named Cleveland Gladiators High School Impact Player of the Week in the eighth week of the season for his performance against Harvey on Oct. 14. He completed 13 of his 18 passes for 352 yards and 5 passing touchdowns for a perfect passer rating of 158.3, and ran 6 times for 62 yards and 3 rushing touchdowns.
His 8 total touchdowns in this game are tied for the 10th most touchdowns in any OHSAA game in history, according to their record books.
Connor also set a record in the week 2 game against Chippewa when he threw a pass from his own end zone to senior LeKendrick Robinson, who ran it all the way for a 99-yard touchdown, the longest touchdown pass in Beachwood history.
Two of his senior teammates, wide receiver and free safety Mark Ferrell and running back, tight end, linebacker, and punter Josh Bialosky were All-Ohio Division V honorable mentions.
His expectations for next season: Do it all again.
“If I can make first team all state as a junior, then I’m sure I can do it again as a senior,” Connor said.
But that isn’t his biggest priority next year.
“My real main goal is to get better as a leader, making sure the team is ready for next season,” he said.
Being Beachwood’s first All-Ohio First Team Football player in 22 years, Ben Connor understands the significance of his accomplishment.
“I’m extremely proud, especially since the last person to do that was our Head Coach Damion Creel…It’s kind of like a bond now. It is an honor to be by his side,” he added.
Creel had heard the hype surrounding his field general when he first came to Beachwood.
“When I got the job here, everybody was telling me about Ben Connor,” Creel said.
Creel has never been one to focus on statistics, but he had no choice after the season his quarterback had.
“I was never much of a stat guy,” Creel said. “I never preached stats to the kids during the season, but when I saw Ben’s stats, I became more of a stat guy.”
Creel is extremely proud of Connor’s accomplishments, and has high hopes for his future.
“Being an alumni, It means everything,” Creel said. “It is going to be nice having Ben’s picture next to mine.”