SCIOTO COUNTY — This time, a West side story should be told when it comes to all-Southeast District football for Scioto County —along with a new wrinkle, and three three-peaters for first team.
That’s because the West Senators, with winning nine regular-season games including topping Wheelersburg for their first victory over the Pirates in 13 meetings and their first Southern Ohio Conference Division II championship since 2008, spearheaded Scioto’s selections —with choices adding up to eight.
The Senators, arguably to some observers, should have pitched a perfect regular season —losing only at Fairland 14-13 in their season opener.
But West ran the table from there, and had won 11 consecutive contests — entering Friday night’s Division V Region 19 semifinal against Ironton.
The Senators had five first-team selections and three Special Mention picks, as second-year head coach Todd Gilliland was one of three Division V Coaches of the Year.
In going 9-1, Gilliland shared the honor with Ironton’s fifth-year mentor Trevon Pendleton —the former West High School star and now three-time COY at the district level.
Gilliland and Pendleton were on the same Senator staff in 2017 —as Pendleton shared the award with two others in 2019, including Portsmouth coach Bruce Kalb.
He was also the solo Division V COY two years ago—as Gilliand and Pendleton joined Zane Trace’s Heath Hinton for the top district accolade this year.
Both Ironton and Zane Trace went undefeated in the regular season.
The annual Ohio Prep Sports Writers Association all-Southeast District teams were released on Saturday, as ALL of Scioto County’s selections are among those in the smallest three divisions of V, VI and VII.
For the sixth football season in a row, the all-Southeast District teams were selected under the OPSWA umbrella — as the Associated Press is no longer affiliated with choosing all-district or even all-Ohio teams.
Still, ALL first-team honorees are automatic — AT LEAST — Special Mention all-Ohio, as the players of the year in each of Ohio’s seven districts are automatically first-team all-state.
There is also a feature for the Southeast District debuting this season —as the panel has added selection of a Lineman of the Year for each division.
The Lineman of the Year can be a defensive OR offensive lineman —as West sophomore Kade Woods was the Division V honoree, while Green senior Tyler Blanton was the Division VII choice.
Woods and Blanton both were chosen as offensive linemen, as Woods was also strongly considered for first team defensive line.
Woods anchored a Senator offensive front which rushed for over 2,000 yards and passed for another 1,900, as he made 56 tackles —10 of which went for loss with two sacks.
Blanton’s anchor blocking for the run-oriented Bobcats, meanwhile, resulted in Green going for over 3,300 yards —an average of 7.1 yards per rush.
Per the Green stats, he led the Bobcats in “blocking percentage and pancake blocks”.
Woods blocked primarily for West senior running Ryan Sissel, who did receive strong consideration for Division V Offensive Player of the Year.
Sissel, along with Portsmouth senior wideout Reade Pendleton, were both first team Division V “three-peat” honorees — along with Notre Dame senior defensive end Carter Campbell for Division VII.
Sissel, as a sophomore, was a first-team linebacker.
With Woods and Sissel, other Senators for first team were senior quarterback Mitchell Irwin —and junior receivers Jeffery Bishop and Cole Tipton.
The West Special Mentions were Cole Windsor, Mason Parker and Trevor Fike —as Irwin is first team following back-to-back years of Special Mention.
Wheelersburg was next with seven selections at 7-3 —including repeat first-teamer in senior offensive lineman Caleb Miller.
First-time first-teamers included senior Eric Lattimore as an all-purpose performer, junior linebacker Landon Hutchinson, and junior placekicker Connor Estep.
The placekicking position is an offensive one, as is all-purpose, while the punting position is considered a defender.
The Pirates’ Special Mentions were Creed Warren, Ethan Glover and quarterback Eli Jones.
Portsmouth (6-4), Northwest (7-3) and Minford (6-4) all earned five total selections —with Portsmouth posting four first-teamers and one Special Mention, Northwest with three first-teamers and two Special Mentions, and Minford with two first-teamers and three Special Mentions.
Besides Pendleton as a three-time first-teamer, Portsmouth senior Brenden Truett repeated to the first-team defense —this time as a linebacker, after last year along the line.
Other first-time first-teamers were senior quarterback Tyler Duncan and junior kicker Zach Roth, while Noah Livingston landed the Special Mention choice.
For Northwest, which shared the SOC I championship with Eastern in its final year in the division, senior Alex Baer repeated as a first-teamer along the offensive line.
Wyatt Brackman as a senior running back, and after back-to-back Special Mention years, and junior Connor Lintz as an-purpose player made first team — as Tanner Bolin and Carter Runyon received Special Mention.
For Minford, yet another Pendleton — senior linebacker Hunter Pendleton — repeated to the first team, while junior Jeffrey Pica posted first-team honors as a running back.
The Falcons’ Special Mentions were Peyton Caudill, Tysen Kingery and J.D. Matiz.
Speaking of Pica, like Bishop at West, they are first-time first-teamers after making Special Mention .
Valley (3-7) is the county’s only Division VI squad, as senior linebacker Lakota Davis — like Pica and Bishop in Division V—made the jump from Special Mention to first team.
Joining Davis on the first-team unit was fellow Valley senior Colt Buckle —as a defensive back.
The Indians’ Special Mentions were George Arnett and Hunter Edwards.
In Division VII, East (5-5) ended up sweeping both Green and Notre Dame —and got two first-teamers along with three Special Mentions.
Keegan Jackson, a senior, repeated as a first-team defensive lineman — as another senior, Austin Baughman, made it as a first-time first-team QB.
The Tartans’ Special Mentions were Dylan Fitzgerald, Landehn Pernell and Tyell Baker —as Pernell is a three-time Special Mention pick, while Baker repeated to that level.
Besides Blanton for Green, the 6-4 Bobcats’ other three first-time first-teamers were all-purpose senior Landan Lodwick, junior running back Nathaniel Brannigan, and junior linebacker Abe McBee.
Chais Lavender and Blake Smith made Special Mention, as Green played host to its first-ever home playoff game in school history.
The Bobcats lost to Notre Dame, which went 5-5 —and had five total picks.
Besides the three-time first-teamer Campbell, senior Dylan Seison at all-purpose and junior Gavin Hart at running back repeated to the Division VII first team.
Wyatt Webb repeated as Special Mention for the Titans, as fellow senior Dominic Sparks made first team last year —and Special Mention this time.
Ironton amassed a district-best double-digit (10) selections, including a hefty eight on the first team (Division V).
In addition, only Ironton —in any division —swept the top overall players awards, with wideout Ty Perkins as Offensive and linebacker Lincoln Barnes as Defensive.
Both are seniors.
That latter award gives the Fighting Tigers four consecutive Defensive POYs — as linebacker Reid Carrico, the runner-up for Mr. Football two years ago, was a two-time top state award winner.
Last season, two Fighting Tigers shared the district’s Division V defensive top honor — lineman Nate Cochran and linebacker Angelo Washington.
For Division VI, Coal Grove senior running back Chase Hall (Offensive) and Nelsonville-York senior linebacker Leighton Loge (Defensive) landed the top players honors, while Coal Grove’s Elias Bazell and Rock Hill’s Andrew Medinger shared Lineman of the Year.
In Division VII, Meigs Eastern amounted two top honors —with junior linebacker Brandon Oldaker as the Defensive POY, and first-year mentor Jason Jackson as the COY.
The Offensive Player of the Year was Waterford senior quarterback Jake Pantelidis.
The entire 2022 all-Southeast District football list appears in Saturday’s edition of The Portsmouth Daily Times — and online at www.portsmouth-dailytimes.com.