PORTSMOUTH — They were their team’s primary playmakers, and now they are — once again — first-team all-Ohioans.
That’s because, as announced on Monday by the Ohio Prep Sports Writers Association, Portsmouth senior Talyn Parker and Wheelersburg senior Makya Matthews made Division V all-Ohio football for the second consecutive season.
Both standouts earned all-state first-team offensive honors as running backs, as Parker’s first-team selection was actually automatic — since he was, for the second and final time, the Southeast District Division V Offensive Player of the Year.
Matthews made the first-team list last year as a wide receiver, but moved to running back early in this past campaign — and stayed there.
Parker graduates as a four-time Division V all-Ohio honoree, as he was a Special Mention listing his first two years.
Matthews made all-Ohio his final three seasons, including as Special Mention as a sophomore — on Wheelersburg’s 2017 Division V state championship squad.
That season, Matthews was a first-team all-Southeast District defensive back — and could have made all-Ohio all three years as an offensive all-purpose player.
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 (all-district) 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.
Wheelersburg, which went 7-3 and won its sixth straight outright Southern Ohio Conference Division II championship, was led on the list by Matthews (5-9, 170 pounds) — who made first team (all-district) as a running back and received strong consideration for Offensive Player of the Year.
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.
Joining Matthews on the all-Ohio list from Wheelersburg were second-team offensive lineman Gavin Welch (6-3, 265, Sr.), third-team all-purpose performer Evan Horsley (5-10, 205, Sr.) third-team punter Braxton Sammons (5-11, 180, So.), and senior Special Mention selections Brady Warner and Hunter Ruby.
Horsley, as a first-team all-district linebacker, was Special Mention all-Ohio last season.
Besides Welch with Wheelersburg, Scioto County was represented on the Division V second unit by two defensive backs — senior Eric Purdy (5-8, 153) of Portsmouth and junior Matthew Risner (5-10, 170) of Minford.
Risner repeated as a first-team all-district DB, and was Special Mention all-state last year.
Speaking of 7-3 Minford, the Falcons’ junior quarterback Elijah Vogelsong-Lewis — also a five-foot, 10-inch, 170-pounder — landed third-team offensive accolades.
Three other Falcons, seniors Levi Warren and Ty Wiget and junior Drew Skaggs, were Special Mention — as were three other Portsmouth Trojans in seniors Austin McKenzie and Bryce Wallace and junior Christian Keys.
Northwest had three Division V Special Mentions — junior Caleb Crabtree and sophomores Brayden Campbell and Evan Lintz.
Portsmouth West was represented on the Division V Special Mention group by senior William Journey and junior Luke Bradford.
The now 13-1 Ironton Fighting Tigers, with seven Division V all-Ohioans including inside linebacker and Ohio State University verbal commit Reid Carrico (6-3, 225, Jr.), take on undefeated Kirtland on Saturday night for the state championship.
Carrico captured some hardware for the Southeast District in Division V — being named the entire division’s Defensive Player of the Year.
Three players shared the Division V Offensive Player of the Year — Akron Manchester’s Ethan Wright, Sandy Valley’s Cameron Blair and West Jefferson’s Gabe Jones.
Jim France, the legendary and longtime mentor at Akron Manchester, was tabbed as the division’s state Coach of the Year.
In Division VI, Valley had three Special Mention selections — freshman Ty Perkins, sophomore Chase Morrow and senior Mason Zaler.
In Division VII, Scioto County was represented by three Special Mention picks — junior Ethan Huffman and senior Seth Imes of Green and senior Braidan Haney of East.
A complete report — and accompanying list — on Scioto County’s all-Southeast District honorees appeared in the Nov. 16 edition of The Portsmouth Daily Times.
The all-Ohio lists for divisions V, VI and VII have appeared in earlier editions this week in The Portsmouth Daily Times, and also 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