Tonawanda News —
North Tonawanda running back Nehemiah Stone and Tonawanda quarterback Clayton Hess were named the Tonawanda News Most Valuable Player for their respective team for their performance in the 103rd T-NT Classic.
Stone ran for 127 yards on 17 carries, and his two touchdown runs helped the Jacks escape Clinton Small Stadium with a victory. The sophomore sensation broke out earlier in the season against Kenmore East, when he rushed for three touchdowns in the game.
Jacks coach Tony Truilizio said he and the team had been teasing Stone about being a one-hit wonder.
"He came out of nowehere," Truilizio said. "He came out and had a tremendous game (against East) and then everybody started looking for him. Now, at a point when everyone is looking at him, he turns around and rose to the occasion. He's not that one-hit wonder anymore. I'm proud of him."
Stone said he was always ready to step up and be a contibutor for the Jacks.
"I was always ready but I just didn't get the chance until (Christian) Mahoe went down," Stone said. "Coach said 'Let's see what you can do,' so I strapped it up and got out there ... Me and Mahoe are really going to put it to some teams next year."
Hess was dominant in the first half and played almost perfect football for 24 minutes. He finished the game with 204 yards passing on 13 of 17 passing. The Warriors needed a big game from him if they were to stay in the game and he came through in a big way.
On defense, Hess played at the free safety position and served as the backbone of the defense, making big hits in the secondary and helping his teammates by shouting out adjustments and where they should be. He sacrificed his body to help his team win, but came up just short in his final T-NT game.
When Stone found out he was named MVP, he tried to give the honor to senior wide receiver Ian Gilhousen.
"I (wanted to give) my spot up to Ian because he's the leader of this team," Stone said. "I wouldn't have those runs if he wasn't blocking on the outside."
Truilizio said it's a testament to the kind of person and teammate Stone is that he would make such a gesture.Contact Sports Editor Matt Parrino at 693-1000, ext. 4117.