FIELDER’S CHOICE: Kicking around a Special Teams MVP

Leave it to me to not let football season die.
I’m starting to get in the mood for basketball, but I’m not there just yet. Give me a few more days.
So to keep alive the memories of the season, today I award my Special Teams MVP.
Look back through the archive for my All-Name Team and Coach of the Year.
And check back Wednesday night for my Defensive MVP and Thursday night for my Offensive MVP.
The winners should feel special.
The nominees for Special Teams MVP are …
Bishop Gorman kicker Collin Ditsworth, Green Valley kicker Nolan Kohorst, Bishop Gorman kick returner Johnathan Loyd and Cimarron-Memorial kicker Alex Ramos.
It’s no surprise to see the first two names on the list. The last two do stand out a bit, though.
Ramos is listed as a lineman on Cimarron’s roster, but ended up being the team’s fourth-leading scorer behind speedsters James Poole and Stephen Nixon, and fullback Zach Barbara.
Among Class 4A kickers, only one in Southern Nevada had more points than Ramos’ total of 69, which included five field goals — two of those coming in one game.
Not that the Spartans needed an extra weapon, but Ramos gave them one.
Most people know Loyd from the basketball court where he helped the Gaels win a state title last year.
And then they saw him on the football field … if they didn’t blink.
Loyd returned 15 punts for the Gaels; four went for touchdowns. He returned six kickoffs — one of those 84 yards for a score.
That kickoff return for a score came after Palo Verde had taken a 21-14 lead on the Gaels in a Sunset Region playoff game. Thanks to Loyd, the lead vanished.
There’s no reason to ever kick to this guy.
There’s also no reason to ever question the strength of Kohorst’s leg. Green Valley’s kicker can make field goals from 50 yards away or more.
The problem this year was that was almost the only way he was going to make them.
The Gators just never got their offense in rhythm, scoring only 27 touchdowns, and that limited Kohorst to just 34 points and gave him fewer chances to pin opponents deep on kickoffs.
Kohorst’s 19-yard field goal won the season opener against Centennial. He was also good on kicks of 48 and 42 yards among his five field goals. A solid year, but not enough to capture the MVP award.
That honor goes to …
Gorman’s Ditsworth.
Before you start squawking, I know he had a great offense. But let’s face it, if you score 124 points as a kicker, you’re doing something right … and probably icing down your leg constantly.
Eight times this year Ditsworth outscored Gorman’s opponents. Again, he had a great offense to help.
But move away from the point totals for a second and consider this. He kicked off 109 times this year. More than half (61) went for touchbacks, giving teams no chance to return.
He punted 20 times and five of those had teams pinned inside the 20. His kicking and punting were huge helps to a defense that allowed only 135 points.
The kid should have been tired by the end of the season. Instead, he got better, banging a 49-yard field goal in the Sunset Region final against Cimarron and two field goals in the state title game.
Numbers like that, even on a team as good as his, make this pick easy.
Check back Wednesday night for the Defensive MVP.

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