To have just one all-stater in any sport is a special feat that a county should behold.
However, when a county puts up 18 all-state talents — in one division, no less — that total is something that a county should be immensely proud of.
On Monday afternoon, those 18 individuals — including 12 from just West and Wheelersburg — earned All-State honors on the Division V All-Ohio units that were released by the OPSWA (Ohio Prep Sports Writers Association) in conjunction with the OHSAA.
The Pirates, who are playing for a state championship this weekend for the first time since 1989, used a simply dominating campaign to put seven players on the All-State lists, including five alone on the first team.
Tanner Holden, who was the only player of less than senior eligibility to be named as a Ohio Mr. Football finalist, certainly earned that right with his outstanding 2017 campaign in obtaining an incredible 1,488 yards and 20 touchdowns on 80 catches, which are all marks that put Holden in the driver’s seat as far as all-time great wideouts are concerned. Holden who is also tied with Makya Matthews for a team-high four interceptions, was named as the D-V Co-Offensive Player of the Year.
However, without a great quarterback, Holden can’t put up the stats that has made the junior such a standout wide receiver. That is exactly what Trent Salyers, who obtained 3,301 yards passing and 34 touchdowns, did, which made the junior a first-teamer, as well. Salyers, who has added 479 yards rushing and 10 scores on the ground, has completed 193 of his 296 passes heading into the contest. Jeremy Cooper, who aided a line that blocked for 5,815 total yards, joined the pair on the first team in a line rotation that could’ve easily seen one of a dozen linemen obtain such an honor.
On the first-team defense, a trio of players with relentless motors joined the three offensive honorees, as Wheelersburg’s Nic Parsley and Xander Carmichael, along with West’s Jakeb Guilkey, obtained First-Team Defense honors in Division V. Carmichael leads the way as his 91 tackles and three interceptions, along with his 424 total yards of offense and nine touchdowns on the offensive side of the football, heads the charge, while Parsley follows close behind with 87 tackles and six sacks. Guilkey, meanwhile, finished his senior season with an astonishing 107 tackles, 15 tackles for loss, and five sacks to head an outstanding effort for the Senators, who finished 10-2 in 2017.
Behind the main six, West began making its presence felt as the Senators put three players on the second and third team units, with Garrett Hurd and Drew Cassidy obtaining second-team honors and Cody Staggs throwing his name in the hat on the third team list.
Hurd obtained 1,345 and 11 touchdowns on 229 carries in leading a ball-control offense that left its mark, and finished as the second leading receiver on the entire unit with 188 yards receiving, while Cassidy made 40 of his 42 point-after-attempts and eight of his 11 field goals — including a long of 44 yards — and collected 69 tackles defensively. Staggs, a fiery competitor who proved himself as one of the best cornerbacks in the state, obtained a team-leading six interceptions and led the Senators in receiving yards (423 yards receiving and four touchdowns on 20 grabs).
On the honorable mention list, nine additional hands joined the aforementioned nine as three Portsmouth hands, two Minford standouts, a star offensive lineman for Northwest, and three players combined from ‘Burg and West added to the strong showing for Scioto County. Makya Matthews and Cole Lowery led the way for the Pirates, with Lowery collecting 851 yards and three touchdowns on 58 catches and Matthews adding four interceptions, 400 punt return yards, and a score apiece on defense and special teams. Matthews has added 274 yards and three touchdowns on 17 catches for the Pirates in 2017.
Deaver, a skilled offensive lineman who helped pave the way for the Senators to collect 3,633 yards of total offense, led a strong linemen group that included Northwest’s Bruce South (49 pancake blocks) and Portsmouth’s Colin Boehm, a Division I prospect who is a three-year starter, rounded out the linemen who made the list.
The Trojans, along with Minford, each had two skill players make the list, as Isaac Kelly, who obtained 2,320 yards of total offense and 21 touchdowns in 2017, and Talyn Parker, the ever-dynamic running back who ran for 1,010 yards and 16 touchdowns in just six games in 2017, made the list. The Falcons’ Luke Lindamood, who made 96 tackles and forced three fumbles, and Breydan Tilley, who obtained 496 yards receiving and four touchdowns on 30 receptions and added a 98-yard kick return to go along with a 64-yard punt return in 2017, rounded out the Scioto County honorees.
Oak Hill, who finished 7-3 in 2017, put four players on the All-Ohio lists, with Bayley Clutters leading the way with his second-team accolades. Zach Fisher, Hunter Fleming, and Ramsey Sites all obtained honorable mention billing. Waverly, who put star throwing arm Clayton Howell on the first team, also put three players on the honorable mention list, as Easton Wolf, Drew Kritzwiser, and Cobe Marquez all made the same unit.