PORTSMOUTH — For Portsmouth’s Talyn Parker, it was difficult to determine which was easier.
Breaking off a long touchdown run…or landing a first-team all-Southeast District Division V running back spot.
That’s because Parker — for the fourth consecutive season — captured first-team all-Southeast District Division V running back honors, as officially announced early Friday morning by the Ohio Prep Sports Writers Association Southeast District panel.
In addition, for the second straight season, Parker was named the district’s Division V Offensive Player of the Year.
Once again, Parker — for the final time — headlined the nine-school Scioto County contingent, of which Wheelersburg in Division V had a half-dozen first-team honorees, followed by five first-teamers apiece from Portsmouth and Minford.
Northwest with three first-teamers and Portsmouth West with two rounded out Division V, as Valley — in Division VI — edged both the Mohawks and Senators, which helped the Indians earn three first-team spots.
In Division VII, Green got two first-teamers and Sciotoville East one — while winless Notre Dame had one Special Mention selection.
For the third 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.
For the five-foot, 11-inch 195-pound senior Parker, he is now a four-time first-team running back and two-time Division V Offensive Player of the Year — having set the school’s new career rushing record, previously established by his father JoJo.
As the all-district selections are based on the 10-game regular season, Parker carried 151 times as a senior, rushing for 1,473 yards with 25 touchdowns.
He added 73 yards and one final trip to paydirt on 15 carries in Portsmouth’s playoff game at Ridgewood, as the Trojans finished the regular season at 8-2 — and as Region 19 quarterfinal qualifiers for the second straight season.
In part, that second consecutive playoff appearance helped second-year Portsmouth coach Bruce Kalb claim Division V Coach of the Year honors — of which he shared with Ironton’s Trevon Pendleton and Wellston’s Mike Smith.
Wheelersburg, which went 7-3 and won its sixth straight outright Southern Ohio Conference Division II championship, was led on the list by senior Makya Matthews (5-9, 170 pounds) — who made first team as a running back and received strong consideration for Offensive Player of the Year.
For Matthews, he is now a three-peat Division V first-teamer — having made the unit as a defensive back as a sophomore followed by an all-purpose performer as a junior.
In both seasons, the Pirates reached the state semifinals — and of course winning the Division V state championship two years ago.
Matthews started this season at quarterback before returning as a running back after missing a game due to injury, and rushed for 838 yards and a dozen touchdowns on 103 carries — with an average of eight yards per attempt.
He also made 28 receptions out of the backfield for 465 yards with five scores — with 16.6 yards per catch.
Matthews also averaged 11 yards on kickoff returns and nine on punts, and made 34 tackles with two pass deflections and two forced fumbles from his free safety spot.
Had he not made first team as a running back, he would have done so as an all-purpose player, of which Wheelersburg senior teammate Evan Horsley (5-10, 205) was selected for.
Horsley, like Matthews, is a three-year starter and team captain for the Pirates — playing running back, halfback, linebacker, punter and ultimately quarterback.
Horsley carried the football for 429 yards and five touchdowns on 76 carries, and caught five passes for 58 yards.
As the club’s QB in all but a quarter of the five SOC II tilts, he completed 31-of-53 passes for 601 yards and nine TDs — while making 37 tackles on defense and punting for an average of 38.6.
Horsley actually repeated to the all-district first team — having landed a linebacker spot last year.
Wheelersburg’s four first-team first-timers included offensive lineman Gavin Welch (6-3, 265, sr.), defensive lineman Brady Warner (6-0, 225, sr.), wide receiver Hunter Ruby (6-0, 160, sr.) and punter Braxton Sammons (5-11, 180, so.).
The Pirates’ pair of Special Mention selections were Luke Miller and Gage Adkins.
Wheelersburg remains the only Scioto County club in the state playoffs, as the Pirates play Ridgewood tonight (Saturday, Nov. 16) — at 7 p.m. in the Region 19 semifinals at Lancaster’s Fulton Field.
In addition to Parker, Portsmouth’s players on the first team included four first-timers — defensive back Eric Purdy (5-8, 153, sr.), wide receiver Bryce Wallace (6-2, 155, sr.), defensive lineman Austin McKenzie (5-7, 212, sr.) and linebacker Christian Keys (5-6, 156, jr.).
The Trojans’ two Special Mention picks were Ty Pendleton and Drew Roe.
Minford, which like Wheelersburg went 7-3, tied the Trojans with five first-team choices — including repeat first-team defensive back Matthew Risner.
Risner (5-10, 170, jr.), who would have also made first team as either all-purpose or wide receiver, recorded 86 tackles — while making six interceptions with three pass break-ups and two forced fumbles.
The Falcons’ other four first-teamers were quarterback Elijah Vogelsong-Lewis (5-10, 175, jr.), running back Ty Wiget (5-9, 175, sr.), offensive lineman Levi Warren (5-11, 295, sr.) and wide receiver Drew Skaggs (5-10, 155, jr.).
Vogelsong-Lewis and Wiget were Special Mention selections last season, while Tyler Miller and Hunter Livingston landed that level this year.
Northwest’s three first-teamers were running back Brayden Campbell (5-8, 165, so.), offensive lineman Caleb Crabtree (6-1, 280, jr.) and linebacker Evan Lintz (5-9, 225, so.), as Nathan Rivers and Zane Gilley garnered Special Mention.
West’s William Journey (5-6, 151, sr.) was selected as first-team all-purpose along with Wellston’s Rylan Molihan and Horsley, while Luke Bradford (6-2, 140, jr.) made the list as a first-team defensive back.
Joe Igaz was the Senators’ Special Mention pick.
All of the Mohawks and Senators named all-district were first-time honorees.
The Division V Defensive Player of the Year was Ironton’s Reid Carrico, one of seven first-team Fighting Tigers, which also amounted four Special Mention selections — along with Pendleton as Tri-Coach of the Year.
Ironton went 9-1 in the regular season with only an overtime loss at Ashland (16-10), won the outright Ohio Valley Conference championship, and meets Amanda-Clearcreek tonight (Saturday, Nov. 16) in the other Region 19 semifinal.
In Division VI, Valley’s three first-teamers were all first-timers — sophomore linebacker Chase Morrow (5-10, 165), freshman wide receiver Ty Perkins (5-10, 150) and senior defensive lineman Mason Zaler (6-6, 255).
Tre Bratchett and Kayden Mollette made Special Mention for the Indians.
Northwest, Valley and Green all went an even 5-5, as Green’s only honorees were two first-teamers — wide receiver Ethan Huffman (6-0, 165, Jr.) and offensive lineman Seth Imes (6-3, 265, sr.).
Imes earned Special Mention last season, as Notre Dame’s only honoree was repeat Special Mention choice Logan Emnett.
East earned two all-district selections, including three-time honoree Braidan Haney, who has twice made first-team defense for the Tartans.
As a sophomore, Haney was a first-teamer as a defensive lineman, before transferring to Notre Dame last season and making Special Mention.
He transferred back to East for his senior campaign, and — at five-foot 10-inches tall and weighing 200 pounds — amassed 105 tackles for the Tartans.
Haney averaged 11-and-a-half tackles per contest, making 14 for loss with four sacks, six forced fumbles, two interceptions and two fumble recoveries.
Chase Coyle was the Tartans’ Special Mention selection.
The entire 2019 all-Southeast District football list appears in today’s edition of The Portsmouth Daily Times and online at www.portsmouth-dailytimes.com.
Reach Paul Boggs at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1926, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @BoggsSports © 2019 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved