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Ross won't win Guy Toph

Gaither's Lydell Ross, Hillsborough County's leading rusher for a single season (2,698 yards in 2000) and career (5,120), will not win the county's top honor, the Guy Toph award.

His coach, Howie DeCristofaro, didn't nominate him.

"I had no idea who Guy Toph was and how significant the award was," said DeCristofaro, in his first year as a county coach. "People told me that the Golden Helmet award was the big one, so that's the one I nominated Lydell for.

"I wanted to spread some of the awards around, so I nominated (Gaither defensive end Kenny Huebner) for the Guy Toph award. I'll admit it. I screwed up. I didn't know the Guy Toph award was the award.

"But I also think it's kind of ridiculous that the powers that be didn't see that Lydell wasn't nominated and give me a call about it. I would have nominated Lydell for the Guy Toph if I would have understood the significance of it."

Ross, who couldn't be reached for comment, learned about the situation Thursday but did not say anything to his parents at the time.

"We could tell he wasn't himself (Thursday night)," said Ross' father, Melvin. "He keeps things to himself, but I can tell it hurt him.

"As a family, we think it's a tragedy and it's inexcusable. I'm so mad that if Lydell had another high school season to play, we would seriously have to think about looking for some other school to attend. That's how mad I am.

"(DeCristofaro) dropped the ball, and he's going to hear about it from a lot of people. After what Lydell did for this team, I would think (DeCristofaro) should have nominated him for every single award that came along."