Category: Valley

That’s because Zaler, a standout two-way lineman for the Valley Indians.. Inks with Fairmont State University

LUCASVILLE — Mason Zaler admitted the past two years —off the football field anyway —were some trying times.

However, he said his official signing on Wednesday has already brought him happiness he has been wanting — and anticipates the next four years continuing to do so.

That’s because Zaler, a standout two-way lineman for the Valley Indians, officially announced his intention to play college football for Fairmont State University —an NCAA Division II program located in Fairmont, W. Va.

Zaler — at his signing ceremony inside the Valley High School gymnasium — was flanked by his parents, Matt and Claudia Zaler; Valley High School head football coach and athletic director Darren Crabtree; several of his Indian teammates; and other family members and friends.

Zaler’s signing was one of four involving Scioto County football players on Wednesday —as part of the annual National Signing Day across the country.

Zaler, recruited to the Falcons as a defensive lineman —mainly at tackle but also an end —spoke candidly of what his signing meant to his well-being.

He has endured the passing of two grandparents in the past two years, and so with the ink drying on his official national Letter-of-Intent —perhaps some shed tears will dry up as well.

“This is one of the best things to ever happen in my life,” said Zaler. “I’ve had a lot of disappointments and loss in the past couple of years. Something like this has almost brought me out of a depression kind-of-thing. I lost my grandfather when I was a sophomore and then I lost my grandmother when I was a junior. It’s really brought a lot more happiness.”

And being happy with his college choice, aside from playing football, that meant choosing an institution where education was of the utmost importance.

The six-foot, six-inch, 255-pounder picked Fairmont State over offers he received from Wittenberg University, Thomas More College and Lake Erie College, because “as a person, at Fairmont State, I feel better.”

“I had to look at this from where if I wasn’t going to go play football, I would have to stay there all four years and get a degree. I felt Fairmont State was the best fit for me. They have a winning program, they have a great coaching staff and great facilities. I feel like I can be the best player I can be there,” said Zaler.

The Falcons are coached by Jason Woodman, a native of Fairmont, who is entering his eighth season in 2020.

The program is a member of the Mountain East Conference, having won multiple conference championships in the past — and coming off a 5-5 season in 2019, but having won its final four games.

“They bring in some of the best players throughout the nation to come play for a Division II school, and they can all play at Division I (Football Bowl Subdivision),” said Zaler.

The MEC consists of primarily schools from West Virginia, although Urbana University is a member — as fellow two-way Scioto County lineman Joe Igaz of Portsmouth West announced on Wednesday his intention to play there (see related story), along with former Sciotoville East standout Grant Gifford.

The Falcons’ five losses were by a combined 33 points, including a 41-34 defeat to Frostburg State in double overtime.

The Falcons surrendered some points on the defensive of the ball, but not yards against the run, according to Zaler.

He said he should fit in well with the Falcons’ four-man front, featuring two ends and two tackles.

Sometimes, he said, they shift to a “50” —or five-man —front.

“They like to get a lot of pressure with the defensive line. They like to play nickel with their linebackers, but bring a lot of pressure,” said Zaler. “And they want to stop the run. They held teams to an average of 77 rushing yards per game last year. They like to stop the run and hit the quarterback.”

Zaler was an offensive tackle on that side, but said he prefers to play defense, as he was selected as an all-Southeast District Division VI first-team lineman his senior season.

He made 60 total tackles, including 26 solo, along with a fumble recovery and three sacks.

“Mason provided a ton of leadership on both sides of the ball this year. He had a tremendous year, and really came on the second half of the season as a defensive lineman. He made a number of big plays for us. It was nice to see him grow from where he was as a freshman to his ability and strength and different things this past year,” said Crabtree. “It gave him the opportunity where he has the ability to go play at the next level.”

Zaler was a four-year player for the Indians, and a two-year starter.

“I just like playing defense better. I always like to hit people and play physical. I just love playing physical” he said.

But being more physical at the collegiate level requires more strength, as Zaler said he plans to put on at least 15 to 20 pounds prior to leaving for Fairmont —and improve his overall upper-body.

Zaler said he and his family have hired a personal trainer, “so we can train all throughout the spring and summer before we go up for team camp”.

“Definitely upper-body strength I need to work on. My bench press isn’t the greatest. Maybe a little bit of foot speed, quickness and agility, stuff like that,” he said. “My goal when I go up there is to be about 270 or 275 (pounds). Put on about 15 or 20 pounds of muscle.”

Crabtree commented on Zaler’s strengths that will aid him in making the jump to the much-faster college game.

“Mason has great lateral movement and reads things very well. He has an aggressive personality where he makes a lot of plays just running to the football. He will have his work cut out for him coming from a small school like Valley to go to a Division II school, but the opportunity presented itself, and he knows what it takes to get himself ready to go at the next level,” said the coach. “I think he will be able to do that.”

Fairmont State is also Crabtree’s alma mater, as he believes Zaler “will represent Valley very well there”.

Zaler discussed the family-like atmosphere the Indian program provided him.

“To play for Coach Crabtree was really special. When my dad was a sophomore in high school, it was Coach Crabtree’s first year. (Valley assistant) Coach (Jason) Fell’s son, Connor, is in my graduating class. We’ve been best friends since first or second grade. All of the assistant coaches just accepted me in and made me the best player I could be,” he said. “It felt like family.”

Zaler said he plans to major in nursing, and —in his opinion — his signing provides some daylight at the end of a personal dark tunnel.

“There have been some tough times recently, but I am really excited about this,” he said.

Indians rally past Mohawks in OT thriller

Results

Team1234OTTOutcome
Northwest1400014Loss
Valley6821Win

Indians rally past Mohawks in OT thriller

 

Valley erases 14-0 deficit for 4th straight win

 

By PAUL BOOGS

Photos by Laci Timmons

McDERMOTT – It was almost the best possible birthday gift for Bill Crabtree.

 

It was almost the perfect Homecoming Night at Northwest High School.

 

And, it was almost that utopian moment that the Mohawk football community had desired for so long.

 

But thanks to the visiting Valley Indians on Friday night, they made sure it was “almost”.

 

That’s because the archrival Indians, trailing 14-0 following the first quarter, rallied past the Mohawks for 21 unanswered points – and ultimately captured a 21-14 non-league overtime victory inside Northwest’s sparkling nice and newly-renovated Roy Rogers Field.

The matchup marked the first between the Scioto County nearby neighbors since 2013 – the final season before Northwest dropped down to the Southern Ohio Conference Division I for football, following many years of competing in the larger-school SOC II.

 

The Indians, however, had simply dominated the series – last losing in the closest contest before Friday night in 2000 by a single point (21-20).

 

This time, veteran Valley head coach Darren Crabtree was just happy his squad was somehow, someway, making the short trek back to Lucasville with the ‘W’.

 

It was Valley’s fourth consecutive win – following its mistake-filled 32-27 season-opening loss at Portsmouth.

 

The Indians are now 4-1, while the Mohawks suffered their second straight defeat to fall 2-3.

 

Head Coach Darren Crabtree

Current Team
Valley
“Somehow, we’re sneaking out of here with a win. We were grabbing some sophomores and freshmen and throwing them in there for their first varsity game and in this environment. Through the adversity of losing some key starters, we had people step in and make plays for us,” said Crabtree. “We keep preaching to the kids to do your job, trust your teammate beside you, and late in the game when we needed big plays on offense and defense, they stepped up and made those plays. It’s a good win for us, it’s a win they won’t forget. We played a lot better in that loss against Portsmouth than we did tonight, but when our backs were against the wall, we came out fighting and figured out a way to win one.”

 

It was also an unforgettable night for the Mohawks, with the exception of the final score.

 

Northwest coach Bill Crabtree was celebrating his birthday, and his Mohawks held the lead for all but the final four plays.

 

The program itself was celebrating its first game played at superbly-renovated Roy Rogers Field, complete with new FieldTurf and bleachers.

 

“As far as the facilities, it’s amazing with what they’ve done here,” said Crabtree. “I still can’t even comprehend it, really.”

 

The Mohawks had played their first scheduled home bout this year at Valley (against McClain), before being forced to switch sites for their tilt two weeks ago against Huntington.

 

While disappointed in the final outcome, Bill Crabtree couldn’t complain about anything else.

 

“Valley had kids step up for them and make plays at the end of the game. It’s that simple. Our kids played their butts off. Valley is a solid team, and it’s been a long time since we’ve played them in a tight ballgame like that,” he said. “We had our chances for sure, but it was great to see our kids come out and fight like they did.”

Mistakes – and a bevy of Indian injuries – made Friday night’s encounter extremely interesting, as two first-quarter turnovers by the Indians resulted in two short fields for the Mohawks to work with.

 

The Mohawks, an overwhelming underdog according to some observers, made Valley pay with their two touchdowns over the final five minutes and 23 seconds of the opening quarter for a 14-0 advantage.

 

From there, though, following running 17 scrimmage plays in the first quarter, the Mohawks had just 26 snaps the rest of the way – not including four punts.

 

The Indians answered by overcoming ALL of their adversity – the early deficit, more players exiting due to injury, and the gauntlet of emotions Northwest was playing with.

 

Valley – following its two turnovers in its first seven scrimmage plays – executed its final 48 without another.

 

None were bigger than on the game-tying touchdown drive, which lasted a minute and 25 seconds and covered 53 yards in seven plays – and aided originally by a 15-yard Northwest penalty for fair catch interference on a Mohawk punt.

 

Connor Fell – the senior wide receiver now playing quarterback thanks to the unfortunate injury Andrew Andronis suffered on the first play of Valley’s first scoring series – first found Devin Wiley with a pass completion that gained 24 yards.

 

Wiley was open at the 35 and made the catch, then bounced off a would-be Northwest tackler and gained to the 29.

 

George Arnett, the six-foot freshman tailback who took over in the opening quarter for the injured Kayden Mollette, amounted 21 yards on the next play to the eight-yard line – his longest pickup of any of his 27 carries.

#
17
Name
Kayden Mollette
Position
2020
Current Team
Valley
Leagues
SEO, SOC2
Seasons
2019

Finally, facing 4th-down-and-goal from the Northwest 7, Fell found Arnett open in the front of the end zone for the touchdown – as the left-handed Fell rolled left towards the Mohawk pursuit and threw back right.

 

Arnett made the clutch catch on one knee, as just 35 seconds remained with the Indians now trailing 14-12.

 

Thus, the subsequent two-point conversion was just as big – if not bigger.

 

Fell rolled out again, and this time found Daegan Glover in traffic with three Mohawks immediately around him.

 

Glover made a difficult grab, then hit the paydirt hard – but held onto the ball – after taking a hit from one of those defenders.

 

As a result, the Indians and Mohawks were now tied for the first time since the five-and-a-half minute mark of the first quarter, as Northwest kneeled down at its own 29 and settled for overtime.

 

“They had big play-makers and we knew that. To keep them from making plays, we had to control the clock, which we did for the first quarter and part of the second half. But when they had the ball, we just kept getting ourselves out of position,” said Bill Crabtree. “They picked up momentum and we were comfortable with our lead, but credit them for making plays.”

 

Darren Crabtree certainly did.

 

“I was really happy with the way the kids responded to where we put them in at. We always say ‘next man up’, and they produced. That’s all we can ask of them,” he said. “I don’t believe George (Arnett) had any idea that coming into tonight he was going to touch the ball, but he is going to be a good one. It was good to see him make some plays. Connor Fell ran our offense extremely well, George kept getting more confidence, and we kept pounding them and wearing them down with our base plays. Then Fell made a couple of nice plays through the air on that fourth-quarter drive, including the throwback to George for the touchdown.”

Arnett amassed 135 rushing yards, as the Indians rushed for 173 as a team on 44 attempts – most of which were without senior starting right guard Jacob Ward (6-2, 250), who was injured in the second quarter and did not return.

 

Fell finished 2-of-5 passing for 31 yards, and caught both of Andronis’ completions for 19.

 

The Indians punted twice compared to five times for Northwest, and doubled up the Mohawks in first downs 17-9.

 

Valley’s final first down was an Arnett 16-yard gain on the second play in overtime, setting up Glover going in from a yard away.

 

Austin Sommers, who missed his first extra-point kick, redeemed himself and made his second – making it 21-14.

 

Northwest then got two yards apiece on two carries by Nathan Rivers, sandwiched around a five-yard pickup to the 13 by Brayden Campbell.

#
24
Name
Nathan Rivers
Position
2021
Current Team
Northwest
Leagues
SEO, SOC1
Seasons
2019, 2020

But on 4th-down and less than a yard, the Indians’ defensive front got great surge – and stopped Wyatt Brackman before he reached the necessary 10-yard-line.

 

“We got the stop on third down to force 4th-and-1, and we got a good push from our down guys on that final play. We just trusted those guys up front to do what they are supposed to,” said Darren Crabtree. “Our linebackers then scraped in there and cleaned up the play at the end.

 

With that, the Indians had shut out the Mohawks for the final 36 minutes and 41 seconds of regulation – and overtime.

 

“We were our own worst enemy in the first quarter, giving them a short field two times to trail 14-0, then we had two opportunities to score in the second quarter and screwed that up,” said Crabtree. “We were moving the ball, and if we could just get some stops defensively…”

 

The Indians actually drove nine plays apiece and into the red zone on both of their second-stanza possessions before two turnovers on downs, so it wasn’t until their second series of the third quarter that finally paid dividends with precious points.

 

The entire march spanned 70 yards in 11 plays, and consumed six minutes and seven seconds off the clock.

 

Andronis opened the drive by scrambling for 13 yards to the 38, but he suffered an injured clavicle on the fall and tackle – with Fell then taking over under center.

 

Arnett actually carried on the next nine plays, breaking tackles for 14 yards to midfield before a 15-yard run moved the Indians into the red zone at the 7.

 

On the previous play, he gained seven yards, but another 15-yard personal-foul penalty on the Mohawks moved the ball to the Northwest 22.

 

Glover garnered his first 1-yard TD run on 3rd-and-goal – at the 1:55 mark.

That drive followed Northwest’s second three-and-out series, as the Mohawks – which had just 64 second-half and overtime yards on 23 plays compared to 89 yards on 22 plays in the first half – punted twice more before Valley went on its game-tying drive.

 

The Mohawks, operating from their traditional double-wing with tight line-splits formation, managed 153 yards on 43 carries – with Billy Crabtree leading the way with 59 yards on a dozen attempts.

 

Campbell and Rivers recorded 29 yards on seven and 10 totes respectively, while Brackman boasted 23 yards on seven tries.

 

Campbell converted Crabtree’s interception of Andronis with a 10-yard scoring run that capped a 21-yard, five-play drive.

 

Evan Lintz landed the Mohawks’ other touchdown from two yards out, ending a seven-play, 42-yard drive that spanned three minutes and three seconds – and  followed a fumbled Valley quarterback-center exchange.

 

While there were plenty of anxious Indian moments from opening kickoff to closing whistle, the bottom line was Valley rallied for the win.

 

“This isn’t exactly the way we drew it up coming in here, but we’ll take it,” said Darren Crabtree. “We have some work to do, some spots to patch back together, more injuries to overcome. But like I told our kids, sometimes an ugly win is a lot better than a pretty loss.”

 

The Indians open SOC II play next Friday night against Oak Hill, as the Oaks have rejoined the larger division from the SOC I.

Valley vs Oak Hill (On time)

Meanwhile, Northwest – a consensus favorite for the SOC I championship – travels to historic Spartan Stadium on Saturday night to begin league play at Notre Dame.

Notre Dame vs Northwest (On time)

The birthday boy Crabtree, while almost getting an ultimate gift with an upset of Valley, believes another present is in store for his Mohawks.

 

“I feel like we’ve turned a corner here. Things are headed in the right direction,” he said. “In the past, we would line up against Valley and they would have their way with us. Tonight we fought and clawed to the bitter end. Going into conference play, I am excited about the momentum we have going and it’s a great feeling thinking we have a chance (to win SOC I). We haven’t had that in a while.”

 

*     *     *

Valley 21, Northwest 14, OT   

Valley 0 0 6 8 7 – 21

Northwest 14 0 0 0 0 – 14

N — Brayden Campbell, 10-yard run (Dakota Secrest kick), 5:23, 1st (7-0 N)

N — Evan Lintz, 2-yard run (Dakota Secrest kick), :41, 1st (14-0 N)

V — Daegan Glover, 1-yard run (kick failed), 1:55, 3rd (14-6 N)

V — George Arnett, 7-yard pass from Conner Fell (Daegan Glover pass from Connor Fell), :35, 4th (14-14 tie)

V — Daegan Glover, 1-yard run (Austin Sommers kick), OT (21-14 V)

Team statistics

V N

First downs 17 9

Plays from scrimmage 55 45

Rushes-yards 44-173 43-153

Passing yards 50 0

Total yards 223 153

Cmp-Att-Int. 4-11-1 0-2-0

Fumbles-lost 3-1 2-0

Penalties-yards 5-35 6-70

Punts-average 2-29.5 5-39.6

——

Individual Leaders

RUSHINGValley: George Arnett 27-135, Andrew Andronis 9-11, Daegan Glover 5-13 2TD, Kayden Mollette 2-16, Team 1-(-2) ; Northwest: Billy Crabtree 12-59, Nathan Rivers 10-29, Brayden Campbell 7-29 TD, Wyatt Brackman 7-23, Evan Lintz 4-13 TD, Austin Newman 2-0, Team 1-0

PASSINGValley: Andrew Andronis 2-6-1-19, Connor Fell 2-5-0-31 TD; Northwest: Austin Newman 0-2-0-0

RECEIVING Valley: Connor Fell 2-19, Devin Wiley 1-24, George Arnett 1-7 TD; Northwest: none

Northwest

# Offense CMP ATT INT PYDS TD ATT RUYDS TD REC REYDS TD
1Billy Crabtree0000012610000
11Brayden Campbell000007291000
14Austin Newman02000110000
24Nathan Rivers0000010270000
31Wyatt Brackman000008230000
34Evan Lintz000004121000
 Total02000421532000
# Defense Sacks Tackles INT FGM FGA
 Total00000

Valley

# Offense CMP ATT INT PYDS TD ATT RUYDS TD REC REYDS TD
1George Arnett00000251320170
11Connor Fell2502511602200
12Andrew Andronis27120010120000
17Kayden Mollette000002220000
21Devin Wiley000000001180
51Levi Osborne00000312000
 Total41214514117324450
# Defense Sacks Tackles INT FGM FGA
 Total00000

Details

Date Time League Season
September 27, 2019 7:00 pm SEO 2019

Venue

Northwest

Trojans, Blue Devils duel in battle of unbeatens, Week 5 Preview Worthington Christian at Trimble, Valley at Northwest, Amanda-Clearcreek at Waverly

Trojans, Blue Devils duel in battle of unbeatens

Gallia Academy vs Portsmouth (On time)

By PAUL BOGGS & Kent Sanborn

 

 

Two tradition-rich and proud programs, which just happen to be 4-0 for the first time in ages, do battle on Friday night.

 

In a key Ohio Valley Conference clash, the Portsmouth Trojans travel the long trek to Gallia County to take on the Gallia Academy Blue Devils – the defending OVC champion.

 

Both teams are 4-0, with the Trojans 4-for-4 for the first time since 2002, while the Blue Devils hold that same mark – for the first time since 1994.

 

But, for the here and now, the winner will move to 2-0 in the OVC, as both captured their conference openers last week while looking to complete the first half of this season still undefeated.

 

Kickoff inside historic Memorial Field in Gallipolis is set for 7 p.m.

Dating back a decade ago in the now defunct Southeastern Ohio Athletic League, the Trojans have defeated the Blue Devils just twice – in 2009 and 2016.

 

That (2016) was Gallia Academy’s initial season in the OVC, as Portsmouth has been a member since a year earlier.

 

The Trojans tied Ironton for runner-up to the Blue Devils last season, thanks largely to senior running back Talyn Parker, who is back to his rushing – and scoring – ways.

 

#
1
Name
Talyn Parker
Position
2020
Height
5-11
Weight
195
Current Team
Portsmouth
Leagues
OVC, SEO
Seasons
2019
The reigning Division V Southeast District Offensive Player of the Year, Parker put up 266 rushing yards last week against injury-riddled Rock Hill, scoring all five of the Trojans’ touchdowns and a pair of two-point conversion runs in Portsmouth’s 40-28 victory.

 

Meanwhile, the Blue Devils – after edging arch-rival Point Pleasant 14-13 in the Big Blacks’ season-opener the week before – dominated against visiting Chesapeake, rolling to a 55-27 triumph.

 

#
3
Name
James Armstrong
Position
2021
Height
6-00
Weight
190
Current Team
Gallia Academy
Leagues
OVC, SEO
Seasons
2019, 2020
Gallia Academy’s own primary playmaker, junior James Armstrong, enjoyed an excellent game against the Panthers – running wild for 214 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries.

 

Hence, one of the keys to Friday’s contest will be stopping the other’s speedster tailback.

 

Two years ago, in the Blue Devils’ 36-35 nailbiting win, Parker played big as a sophomore, so Gallia Academy is going to have to swarm him under and keep him in check.

The Blue Devils do have an experience advantage up front, however, and are seen by many observers as a decided favorite for Friday night’s outcome.

 

The Trojan lines are indeed young, and two of Parker’s touchdowns last week went for 59 and 69 yards – in which he broke tackles, got free and utilized his speed.

 

Both teams, with the initial release of the Ohio High School Athletic Association computer ratings, are fourth in their respective regions (Portsmouth in Division V Region 19, Gallia Academy in Division IV Region 15).

 

Worthington Christian at Trimble

Trimble vs Worthington Christian (On time)

 

There must be something about the end zone that the Trimble Tomcats are overly protecting.

#
42
Name
Sawyer Koons
Position
2020
Height
6-00
Weight
225
Current Team
Trimble
Leagues
SEO, TVC-Hocking
Seasons
2019

That’s because the undefeated Tomcats – in scoring 35 points in the season opener against Nelsonville-York before back-to-back-to-back Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division shutouts against Belpre (46), Meigs Eastern (48) and South Gallia (45) – have NOT been scored upon all season.

You heard correct.

 

Not one touchdown, not one field goal, and not even one safety.

[event_scoreboard id=”1724″ number=”10″ align=”none”]

But this week, that shutout streak to start 2019 will face – by far – its most difficult challenge yet, as the 3-1 Worthington Christian Warriors will invade Tomcat country for an extremely significant non-league tilt.

 

Kickoff on Friday night inside Glouster Memorial Stadium is set for 7:30 p.m.

#
10
Name
Conner Wright
Position
2020
Height
5-11
Weight
190
Current Team
Trimble
Leagues
SEO, TVC-Hocking
Seasons
2018, 2019

The Warriors’ only loss is against undefeated Galion Northmor, as the remainder of WC’s opponents have combined for a mark of 2-10.

 

Like Trimble, the Warriors play primarily Division VI or VII squads, as the Tomcats’ toppled opponents are all 2-2 with the exception of 1-3 South Gallia.

#
12
Name
Cameron Kittle
Position
2020
Height
6-01
Weight
175
Current Team
Trimble
Leagues
SEO, TVC-Hocking
Seasons
2019

While Worthington Christian is only 13th in the Division VI, Region 24 computer ratings, the Tomcats sit in third in Division VI, Region 21.

 

Valley at Northwest

Northwest vs Valley (On time)

Speaking of protecting a house, that’s exactly what the Northwest Mohawks will attempt on Friday night when they welcome their nearby neighbor – the Valley Indians.

 

But this time, the Mohawks’ house has been superbly renovated, as Northwest will play its first true home game this season – amid its nice new upgraded facilities.

#
12
Name
Andrew Andronis
Position
2021
Current Team
Valley
Leagues
SEO, SOC2
Seasons
2019, 2020

Kickoff at Northwest High School is set for 7 p.m.

 

Both schools are members of the Southern Ohio Conference, but like the Oak Hill Oaks of last week, Northwest of the SOC I faces Valley of the non-league SOC II.

 

Between the lines, the Indians are 3-1 and on a three-game win streak – and could be 4-0 had they not been plagued by mistakes in their 32-27 season-opening loss at Portsmouth.

 

The young Mohawks (2-2), meanwhile, had their two-game win streak snapped at Oak Hill, as the Oaks are now in the SOC II after dominating the SOC I for a decade.

Northwest is now the biggest fish in that small-school pond, as it plays primarily juniors, sophomores and freshmen – despite its dramatically increased numbers.

 

The Indians are more experienced, and currently hold the eighth spot in the Division VI Region 24 computer ratings.

 

Amanda-Clearcreek at Waverly

Waverly vs Amanda-Clearcreek (On time)

 

The Amanda-Clearcreek Aces and Waverly Tigers will play some serious computer games this week, with Friday night’s non-league encounter between a pair of Ohio playoff regulars.

 

The Aces are undefeated while the Tigers are 3-1, as kickoff inside Raidiger Field in Waverly is set for 7 p.m.

 

In a potential playoff points pick-me-up, the Tigers – with wins over Athens and at Fairland – can make a major move in the Division IV, Region 15 rankings.

 

That’s because the Aces are 4-0 in Division V, Region 19, although two of those triumphs are against Liberty Union and Fairfield Union – both winless on the year.

 

Amanda is third in Region 19 while Waverly is fourth in Region 15, as the Tigers’ lone loss is against Unioto, which handled them to the tune of 41-14.

 

That is the same Sherman squad that the Aces, operating out of the power-I and succeeding, trumped 32-14.

 

Raidiger Field will also double as Payton’s Place on Friday night.

#
1
Name
Payton Shoemaker
Position
2020
Height
5-09
Weight
155
Current Team
Waverly
Leagues
SEO, SOC2
Seasons
2019

 

While Waverly and its spread-the-field finesse philosophy is paced by senior running back Payton Shoemaker, Amanda-Clearcreek counters with a power-running attack – engineered by senior quarterback Payton Madison.

 

Expect the Aces to employ a ball-control style, trying to play defense by keeping Shoemaker on the sidelines.

 

Jesse Connell is the lead running back and the Aces’ top defensive player, while wide receiver Jayse Miller is a nephew of former legendary A-C head coach Ron Hinton.

 

Amanda’s aerial assault – unlike the Tigers – isn’t expected to be much more than screens, slants and comeback routes.

 

The Aces have, however, had eight turnovers in the previous three weeks.

Parker scores 5 TD, Trojans push past Valley

Results

Team1234TOutcome
Portsmouth1407632Win
Valley7136627Loss

By PAUL BOGGS

Photo’s by Kent Sanborn

Video by Ben Spicer

 

PORTSMOUTH – Believe it or not, Portsmouth’s Talyn Parker had more points (30) than he did rushing yards (21) on Thursday night.

But, what matters most, the senior standout Parker had more points than the visiting Valley Indians.

Parker scored all five of the Trojans’ touchdowns, including the go-ahead and game-winner with 38.5 seconds remaining, as Portsmouth pulled off a thrilling 32-27 come-from-behind triumph in the 2019 football season opener  – inside majestic Trojan Coliseum in Portsmouth.

It was Portsmouth’s fourth consecutive victory in this series, as the Trojans have scored at least 32 points in all four.

This one, though, on a spectacular night for football weather-wise, was the hardest earned.

Head Coach Bruce Kalb

Current Team
Portsmouth
Past Teams
Waverly
“I think I aged about five years in four quarters. That was just a barn-burner,” said an elated second-year Portsmouth coach Bruce Kalb. “Something we work on is how are we going to respond when we face adverse situations. In sports, it’s easy to blame the officials, blame this person, blame that person, or complain or get defensive. But our kids responded in a way tonight that kept this game going forward in our direction. In the end, we came out on top. We knew it was going to be a 48-minute battle, and our senior class made sure our kids didn’t quit.”

 

The Trojans, coming off their 7-3 regular season a year ago which included a Division V state playoff appearance, racked up 57 points on the Indians last year.

It marked the beginning of Parker’s explosive rushing season, as he amassed almost 300 yards – en route to a campaign of over 2,500 plus 29 touchdowns.

He is the reigning Division V Southeast District Offensive Player of the Year.

 

On Thursday, Parker was surrounded, swarmed under and gang-tackled by the Indians all evening, stymied to only 21 rushing yards on 17 carries.

He had 20 yards on 15 touches in the entire first half.

His longest official runs were a pair of five-yard second-quarter pickups, although he did have a fancy-footwork 53-yard fourth-quarter dash negated due to a crackback block.

Parker touched the ball on offense only three times in the second half, but his final touch was by far the most important.

With the Trojans trailing 27-26, and their 26-14 third-quarter advantage completely evaporated, Portsmouth pushed to the Indians’ 10-yard line – and faced a 3rd-down-and-6.

Drew Roe, the sophomore signal-caller making his first varsity start for the Trojans, found Parker open in the flat for the reception inside the 5-yard line.

Then, for once on Thursday night, Parker didn’t face an onslaught of Indians coming at him – and instead he broke a one-on-one tackle and found the end zone with 38.5 seconds left.

“Talyn gives you that extra gear. He saw paydirt and he made sure he got in there,” said Kalb. “He’s been working a lot this summer on being able to catch the ball out of the backfield. He came up big for us.”

That put Portsmouth in front 32-27, as the Trojans – capping a 50-yard, seven-play drive in only a minute and 21 seconds with no timeouts – took advantage of Valley’s second punt.

It followed an Indians’ three-and-out series, as the Valley punt near the two-minute mark sailed straight skyward, and eventually was covered by the Trojans at midfield.

For whatever mistakes the Trojans made on Thursday, and they did commit nine penalties for 90 yards, Valley made more – and Portsmouth made it pay.

Head Coach Darren Crabtree

Current Team
Valley
“We were our own worst enemy tonight,” said Valley coach Darren Crabtree. “We had a lot of penalties, a bad snap on a punt, a big kickoff return that lead to their first score, we fumble and they recover in the end zone, we missed some opportunities to get off the field (on defense). I told our kids that I don’t know that the best team tonight won. Parker is still, hands down, the best player on the field. But we let ourselves really get in our own way.”

The Indians were whistled for a dozen penalties for 103 yards, and three personal-foul penalties – including a pair of roughing-the-passer calls – aided in the Trojans’ three first-half touchdowns.

But perhaps no Indian penalty was bigger than in the Trojans’ final scoring drive, as a pass interference flag on 2nd-and-10 moved the hosts from the 27-yard-line to the 14.

Roe then connected with Bryce Wallace for nine yards to the five, as a Portsmouth illegal procedure pushed the ball back to the 10, setting up the Roe-to-Parker pass completion two plays later.

For his part, Roe performed quite well on his biggest stage to date.

He completed 10-of-24 passes for 146 yards, did not throw an interception, and knew when to throw the football away.

Kalb said the Trojans only averaged about seven passes per game last season, but they had to offset the Indians stacking the box on Parker – and Portsmouth only rushing for 28 yards on 26 tries.

“We did stop Parker on the ground. The kids did a real nice job of tackling him. Our outside guys came up and forced and made the tackle. Our interior seven guys played extremely hard and gang-tackled him, which is what you have to do,” said Crabtree. “But we also talked before the game about not letting their other players beat us.”

“We knew Valley was going to come in with that defensive gameplan. When you have a young man like Talyn (Parker) and a young and inexperienced offensive line, we expected that from them. But Drew Roe really stepped up tonight,” said Kalb. “We ended up deciding today (Thursday) that he was going to be the one to lead this offense. He is an ‘X’ factor with his legs and his decision-making. He is a sophomore stepping into a very senior-laden group, leading the team on that game-winning drive.”

While Wallace caught three passes for 37 yards and Tyler McCoy one for 23, it was the tight-end drag pattern between Roe and Michael Duncan that made a major difference.

Duncan, the fellow sophomore who battled Roe in Portsmouth’s preseason quarterback competition, did his job at tight end – and caught four passes for 69 yards.

“Hats off to Michael Duncan tonight. He was battling Drew Roe for that quarterback position. As a junior, he said he wanted to see the field, and he told us that he can play at tight end,” said Kalb. “As a quarterback, he knows all the routes and all the blocking schemes, and he stepped up big time.”

Parker’s final of five touchdowns followed his first-half hat trick of short rushing ones – on plunges of two, four and three yards.

Valley’s punting problems set up the Trojans’ TD that gave them the 20-14 lead with 45-and-a-half seconds left before halftime.

Near the six-and-a-half minute mark of the second stanza, and with the Indians in their own territory between the 27 and 47, Valley’s Andrew Andronis lined up to punt the ball set at the 37.

An Andronis punt from the 42  on the previous snap rolled deep into Trojan territory, but the Indians were flagged for a false start – and forced to re-kick.

On the second attempt, the ball sailed high over Andronis’ head, and he could only fall on the pigskin at his own 12-yard line.

Although the Trojans didn’t score, they had flipped field position, and Valley’s first three-and-out series resulted in a 29-yard punt from the six with an 11-yard return.

From the 24, Roe found Parker for a seven-yard completion, as Parker accounted for the final two plays – the second of which was the 3-yard TD run.

More poor field position set up the Trojans’ next score, making it 26-14 midway through the third frame.

A 40-yard Portsmouth punt pinned the Indians at the 12, as a holding penalty and an incomplete pass set up 2nd-and-15 from the seven.

With Andronis in the shotgun, and almost on the goal-line, he never got the snap as he himself somewhat mishandled it – and a sea of Red buried him under as the ball was loose.

Parker recovered the fumble in the end zone, making it 26-14 for Portsmouth’s largest lead.

“This early in the season, it’s who is going to make the fewest amount of mistakes, and who is going to capitalize when the other team makes a mistake,” said Kalb. “We had a defensive score in the end zone, and they had a high snap which turned the first-half field position in our favor.”

However, the Indians answered over the next 12 minutes and 40 seconds, erasing that dozen-point deficit to seize a 27-26 advantage with five minutes remaining.

Late in the third, and in between runs by Kayden Mollette and Andronis, Andronis found Mollete for a 20-yard gain to the Portsmouth 22.

 

Daegan Glover completed a 10-play, 65-yard four-minute and 51-second scoring drive with a 1-yard dive at the 56-second mark.

Austin Sommers’ third successful extra-point kick made it 26-21, as the Indians then forced a pair of Portsmouth three-and-outs.

The second such punt following those was from deep in Trojan territory, as Valley quickly moved 42 yards in five plays and a minute and 51 seconds, staking the lead with 5:08 to play.

For the second time in the game, Andronis found freshman Tyler Perkins on a deep slant route for a touchdown – this time on a 30-yard pitch-and-catch, in which Perkins was wide open at the 20 when made the reception.

Like Roe, the junior Andronis made his debut under center, and threw for 164 yards on 8-of-20, while leading all rushers with 74 yards on 19 totes.

Perkins caught four passes for 104 yards, as the Indians actually outgained the Trojans 312-174, including a 120-yard (148-28) advantage on the ground.

The Purple and Gold ran 69 plays to Portsmouth’s 50, and held an 18-13 advantage in first downs.

“Our kids played hard, their kids played hard, it was a great ballgame to watch,” said Crabtree. “We did some good things, such Kayden Mollette running the ball really hard in the second half and a couple of pass plays produced touchdowns. But we made too many mistakes, the stupid things that we did won’t beat anybody. Every time we made a mistake tonight, it came back to bite us.”

In the first half, Andronis accounted for Valley’s two touchdowns, trading two scores apiece with the Trojans for a 14-14 tie with 9:21 left in the second quarter.

Andronis found Perkins on a 20-yard deep slant to cap a nine-play, 79-yard drive, then ran the final 11 yards himself to end an eight-play, 63-yard march.

The Trojans answered each with Parker’s first two touchdowns – finishing a five-play, 21-yard drive that was set up by Eric Purdy’s 61-yard kickoff return and an impressive 11-play, 65-yard series in four minutes and 10 seconds.

James Thurman successfully kicked both of those extra points.

Sommers made his first three PATs for Valley, but missed on his final attempt.

The Indians return to the road, and return to non-league action, next Friday night at Coal Grove.

“It was a good high school football game. Somebody is going to win and somebody is going to lose,” said Crabtree. “We came up short, but we’ll get back to work. We’re all disappointed we lost, because we felt like we were in a position to win. The mistakes we did make tonight, we do know we can correct those.”

Meanwhile, the Trojans travel to arch-rival Portsmouth West next Friday night.

“We have to make sure we cut out the mental mistakes,” said Kalb. “We made some errors tonight where we shot ourselves in the foot, but those are fixable, which is a good thing.”

For the Trojans on Thursday, Parker’s points (30) were a great thing – much more so than his rushing yards.

*     *     *

V – Ty Perkins, 20-yard pass from Andrew Andronis (Austin Sommers kick), 6:47, 1st (7-0 V)

P – Talyn Parker, 2-yard run (James Thurman kick), 4:26, 1st (7-7 tie)

V – Andrew Andronis, 11-yard run (Austin Sommers kick), 1:31, 1st (14-7 V)

P – Talyn Parker, 4-yard run (James Thurman kick), 9:21, 2nd (14-14 tie)

P – Talyn Parker, 3-yard run (kick failed), :45, 2nd (20-14 P)

P – Talyn Parker, fumble recovery in end zone (run failed), 5:47, 3rd (26-14 P)

V – Daegan Glover, 1-yard run (Austin Sommers kick), :56, 3rd (26-21 P)

V – Ty Perkins, 30-yard pass from Andrew Andronis (kick failed), 5:08, 4th (27-26 V)

P – Talyn Parker, 10-yard run pass from Drew Roe (run failed), :38, 4th (32-27 P)

TEAM STATISTICS

V P

First downs 18 13

Plays from scrimmage 69 50

Rushing (plys-yds) 49-148 26-28

Passing yards 164 146

Total net yards 312 174

Passes (cmp-att-int) 8-20-0 10-24-0

Fumbles (no-lost) 2-1 0-0

Penalties 12-103 9-90

Punts (no-avg) 2-20.5 5-34.8

Time of Possession 28:30 19:30

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING

Valley —  Andrew Andronis 19-74 TD, Kayden Mollette 13-33, Daegan Glover 8-38 TD, Tre Bratchett 7-34, Team 2-(-31); Portsmouth— Talyn Parker 17-21 3TD, Ty Pendleton 2-8, Tyler McCoy 1-4, Drew Roe 6-(-5)

PASSING

Valley — Andrew Andronis 8-20-0-164 2TD; Portsmouth — Drew Roe 10-24-0-146 TD

RECEIVING

Valley — Ty Perkins 4-104 2TD, Kayden Mollette 2-36, Connor Fell 2-24; Portsmouth — Michael Duncan 4-69, Bryce Wallace 3-37, Tyler McCoy 1-23, Talyn Parker 2-17 TD

 

Video

Ben Spicer recaps a wild season opener between the Portsmouth Trojans and Valley Indians in Ohio football action. Portsmouth wins 32-27.Portsmouth Daily Times recap: https://www.portsmouth-dailytimes.com/sports/40479/parkers-5-tds-lead-portsmouth-past-valley

Posted by My Town TV HD on Thursday, August 29, 2019

Portsmouth

# Offense CMP ATT INT PYDS TD ATT RUYDS TD REC REYDS TD
1Talyn Parker 00000182832171
2Bryce Wallace000000003330
5Drew Roe821010913-80000
14Michael Duncan000000003510
35Tyler McCoy00000120180
40Ty Pendleton00000280000
 Total821010912430391091
# Defense Sacks Tackles INT FGM FGA
1Talyn Parker 00000
2Bryce Wallace00000
5Drew Roe00000
14Michael Duncan00000
35Tyler McCoy00000
40Ty Pendleton00000
 Total00000

Valley

# Offense CMP ATT INT PYDS TD ATT RUYDS TD REC REYDS TD
3Ty Perkins0000000041042
11Connor Fell000000002240
12Andrew Andronis 8200164219741000
17Kayden Mollette00000133302360
24Trey Bratchett000007340000
40Daegen Glover000008381000
 Total8200164247179281642
# Defense Sacks Tackles INT FGM FGA
3Ty Perkins00000
11Connor Fell00000
12Andrew Andronis 00000
17Kayden Mollette00000
24Trey Bratchett00000
40Daegen Glover00000
 Total00000

Details

Date Time League Season Headline
August 29, 2019 7:00 pm SEO 2019 Parker scores 5 TD, Trojans push past Valley

Venue

Portsmouth

Games of the Week: Indians, Trojans open 2019 Season Thursday, Athens @ Waverly, Nelsonville-York @ Trimble, Wellston @ Jackson

Indians, Trojans open season Thursday

 

By PAUL BOGGS

Photo’s by Kent Sanborn, Tim Gearhart & Shawna Ruckel

Also see game of the Week Wheelersburg @ Ironton 

As has become customary, the Valley Indians and Portsmouth Trojans are once again opening the football season in Southeastern Ohio on Thursday night.

And, with not only the one-night spotlight on almost exclusively themselves, the individual spotlight is on Portsmouth senior tailback Talyn Parker.

#
1
Name
Talyn Parker
Position
2020
Height
5-11
Weight
195
Current Team
Portsmouth
Leagues
OVC, SEO
Seasons
2019

Parker, the defending Division V Southeast District Offensive Player of the Year, leads the talented and highly-touted Trojans against the upstart Indians – as kickoff inside sparkling Trojan Coliseum in Portsmouth is set for 7 p.m.

Portsmouth is coming off a 7-3 regular season, and a berth in the Division V state playoffs, plus Parker returns after a 2,500-yard and 29-touchdown rushing campaign a year ago.

As part of Parker’s offensive onslaught last season, the Trojans topped the Indians 57-40 in the season-opening shootout in Lucasville, which was a back-and-forth affair for three-and-a-half quarters.

It was Portsmouth’s third consecutive victory in the series, as the Trojans have scored at least 32 points in all three.

Valley won the four previous meetings, including a 41-40 scorefest five years ago.

Thursday could be a repeat of such, as the Trojans turn to Parker – plus some other offensive weapons.

“Talyn Parker had an amazing year last year and set three school rushing records and gained all kinds of honors. But we have some other weapons than just him that we need to get the ball to if we’re going to be successful again,” said Portsmouth coach Bruce Kalb. “Let’s be honest, if you’re scouting us, you’re thinking I’m going to get eight, maybe nine, even a 10th guy in the box. We probably averaged only seven passes a game last year. We want to take some of that pressure off Talyn.”

The Indians – off a 4-6 season – were already thinking about defending Parker during Valley’s Media Day activities, per 30-year head coach Darren Crabtree.

Head Coach Darren Crabtree

Current Team
Valley

“If you guys (media) know of a way to stop Parker, please let me know,” said Crabtree. “He only rushed for over 300 yards against us last year. I know they lost some good linemen, but this is a game that we feel we can compete well in like we did last year.”

 

Athens at Waverly

 

Speaking of shootouts, Athens and Waverly will likely be just that in their season-opening affair at Waverly’s Raidiger Field.

Kickoff is set for Friday night at 7 p.m.

It’s a new opponent on the schedule for both, as both are coming off 9-1 regular seasons and state playoff appearances a year ago.

Athens is Division III, falling only at Fairland 35-31, before steamrolling through the Tri-Valley Conference Ohio Division and scoring no fewer than 39 points in each league tilt.

Waverly is Division IV, and only lost to Division V state semifinalist and Southern Ohio Conference Division II champion Wheelersburg.

The Tigers tallied at least 31 points in each victory.

While Waverly graduated wide receiver Easton Wolfe, the Southeast District Division IV Offensive Player of the Year, they return fellow first-team all-district all-purpose performer Payton Shoemaker.

Shoemaker, a second-team all-Ohioan, carried the ball 157 times for 1,050 yards and 10 touchdowns – while returning 24 kickoffs or punts for a combined 516 yards and one score.

In an anticipated up-and-down hurry-up battle, the Tigers may have a difference-maker in third-team all-Ohio placekicker Grayson Diener.

Diener averaged 53 yards on kickoffs with 22 touchbacks in 2018, and made 31-of-35 extra points and 3-of-4 field goals.

The Bulldogs have a new head coach in Nathan White, who has been an assistant since 2011 under the highly-successful Ryan Adams, who resigned after last year and with a coaching record of 96-27 in a dozen seasons.

Adams is the winningest football coach in Athens High history, as the Bulldogs advanced to the Division III state championship game in 2014, with that season’s Ohio Mr. Football and current LSU quarterback Joe Burrow calling the signals.

This season, Athens is replacing 19 seniors, including the TVC-Ohio Offensive Player of the Year and all-Ohio quarterback Clay Davis.

Several first-year varsity players are starting for the Bulldogs, but junior Joey Moore looks to become the next successful Green and Gold gunslinger.

Nate Trainer (46 receptions, 619 yards and 6 TD) and Peyton Gail (33 receptions, 462 yards and 1 TD) return as receivers.

 

Nelsonville-York at Trimble

 

Last year, the Trimble Tomcats torched arch-rival Nelsonville-York 34-7 in the season opener – an emphatic jump-start to their second Division VII state championship bout appearance in school history.

Only a one-point late loss in the middle of the march to Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy (21-20) prevented a perfect regular season.

The Tomcats, now a Division VI program by the narrowest of margins, seek similar – even perfect – results again.

Nelsonville-York, meanwhile, must bounce back after a rare losing campaign – a disappointing 4-6 season.

In fact, the Buckeyes have endured just two losing seasons since the 1970s – the other being four years ago after opening with a win at Trimble.

The two Athens County archrivals renew their series Saturday night – this time at Trimble inside Glouster Memorial Stadium at 7:30 p.m.

Since 2000, the Buckeyes actually lead the Tomcats in the all-time series 11-10, as Nelsonville-York had won three consecutive prior to last year.

Trimble returns eight starters on defense, including the reigning Ohio Division VII Defensive Player of the Year Sawyer Koons.

Koons – a senior linebacker – collected a massive 136 tackles including 32 for loss, as end Ian Joyce joins him in triple digits in tackles (102 and 34 for loss).

On Saturday night, Trimble tries to bottle up Buckeye backfield standout Keegan Wilburn – the defending Division VI Southeast District Offensive Player of the Year.

#
3
Name
Keegan Wilburn
Position
2020
Current Team
Nelsonville-York
Leagues
SEO, TVC-Ohio
Seasons
2019

Wilburn, an Ohio University commit and first-team all-Ohioan, was a 1,000-yard running back which scored 21 of the Buckeyes’ 32 total touchdowns.

In his first three seasons of his decorated Orange and Brown career, he has amassed 2,674 rushing yards, 1,379 receiving yards and 55 trips to paydirt.

But Wilburn won’t be the only all-Ohio offensive player on the field.

Trimble senior quarterback Cameron Kittle – directing a wishbone attack – was a third-team all-stater last year, rushing for 1,018 yards and throwing for 750 more with 24 touchdowns.

He is joined in the backfield by Conner Wright, who rushed for 1,848 yards and 27 TDs.

 

Wellston at Jackson

All things, whether good or bad, must come to an end.

So too must the Jackson-Wellston football series, as the two Jackson County archrivals renew their matchup for the 106th and final time.

Saturday night’s series finale kicks off inside Jackson’s Alumni Stadium at 8 p.m.

It was announced exactly 18 months ago that with this year’s conclusion of the current four-year contract, the Ironmen and Golden Rockets would part ways with their week-one contest.

However, it’s been a series seriously dominated by the Ironmen, as Jackson owns a lopsided 73-26-6 advantage in the all-time tally, including winning 27 of the past 28 meetings.

Wellston’s win in 2010 snapped its infamous 19-game losing streak against the Ironmen, of which the program is traditionally two divisions larger than the Golden Rockets.

In the past 14 meetings, of Wellston’s losses, the closest the Golden Rockets got was a 21-7 decision in 2009 and a 14-0 shutout in 2005.

Since that shocker of nine years ago, the Ironmen have won every matchup by at least three touchdowns, including last season’s blowout by a count of 54-14.

On Saturday, the Ironmen are indeed heavy favorites again, as two returning all-Southeast District Division III players headline their 48-man roster, including the reigning Defensive Player of the Year in senior Brice Parks.

#
25
Name
Brice Parks
Position
2020
Height
5-10
Weight
190
Current Team
Jackson
Leagues
FAC, SEO
Seasons
2019

#
12
Name
Jared Icenhower
Position
2020
Height
6-00
Weight
185
Current Team
Jackson
Leagues
FAC, SEO
Seasons
2019
Fellow Jackson senior Jared Icenhower  – and fellow all-district first-teamer – returns as the Red and White’s quarterback.

Head Coach Andy Hall

Current Team
Jackson
Jackson coach Andy Hall   begins his 11th season in the Apple City, while Mike Smith takes over the young Golden Rockets, becoming the 11th head football coach at Wellston since 1990, when the late Bill Fyffe concluded his five-year stint.

The Golden Rockets, under Fyffe in the late 1980s, won three of four meetings against Jackson, including Wellston’s last win AT Jackson in 1989.

Beginning in the 2020 campaign, the Ironmen open against Logan – and the Golden Rockets open against Oak Hill.

Also see game of the Week Wheelersburg @ Ironton