PORTSMOUTH — The year 2019 will go down as another incredible one in Scioto County high school sports.
Records were broken, championships were won, and memories were made. Here is a list of our 10 best stories from the year that was in Scioto County (listed, not ranked).
‘Burg’s comeback for regional volleyball title
Scioto County’s lone regional team championship during the 2019 calender year was a wild ride in itself.
Trailing sixth-ranked Berlin Hiland 24-23 in the third set and down 2-0 in the match, the Lady Pirates rallied to win the third set, the match in five thrilling games, and in the process the program’s first regional volleyball title.
After Clay’s regional title a year ago, Wheelersburg became the second team in Scioto County to earn the right to play at Wright State University’s Nutter Center in the OHSAA State Semifinals.
First-team all-Ohioan Alli McQuay, third-team all-Ohioan Mallory Bergan, and third-team all-Ohioan Kylee Barney helped lead the Lady Pirates’ volleyball program to new heights in 2019.
Parker breaks PHS all-time rushing mark
The two-time Division V Offensive Player of the Year for the Southeast District claimed a number of records during his time in a Trojan uniform, but none maybe more special than when senior Talyn Parker broke his father’s all-time rushing yardage mark at Portsmouth.
Needing 58 yards entering the Trojans’ home OVC game versus Coal Grove, Parker broke off a 75-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter which gave him the yardage to pass his father, JoJo, atop the all-time Portsmouth rushing leader-board.
Back-to-back playoff appearances for the Trojans for the first time since the early 2000’s ended Parker’s HS career as one of the best football players southern Ohio has produced.
Sweet to be a Tiger
New Boston fans can no-longer refer to 1960 as the last time their boys basketball program won a district championship.
If a team ever fit the definition of peaking at the right time and playing their best basketball come tournament time, it was the 2018-19 Tigers. Their dramatic district semifinal win over South Webster on a snowy Sunday afternoon in Athens paved the way for their 64-53 district final win over Trimble in which five Tigers scored at least eight points.
NB would advance to the regional final before getting derailed by Berlin Hiland, but the Tigers’ story is still being written after losing Tyler Caldwell to graduation from last year’s regional runner-up squad.
Pirates finish perfect regular season
Wheelersburg’s goal for the 2018-19 boys basketball season was a regional championship, but that doesn’t make their feat of a 22-0 perfect regular season any less memorable.
Similarly, their domination of SOC and non-SOC foes in each win a season ago shouldn’t be understated. Out of their 22 regular-season games, only three were single-digit Pirate wins. The closest scares Wheelersburg likely had before falling to Harvest Prep in the Division III regional final were an overtime home win over Jackson and their regional semifinal come-from-behind win over Sandy Valley, but even in those games, the ‘Burg found a way to win.
26-1 isn’t a consolation prize, but it’s a year full of memories from a regular season of perfection.
Emnett wins state championship
Wheelersburg’s Paige Emnett won a state championship in discus at the 2019 OHSAA State Track and Field Meet with her throw of 139-feet — a personal and Wheelersburg school record.
Emnett was one of 16 Scioto Countians to qualify for the 2019 state meet in Columbus while finishing a full five inches ahead of Liberty-Benton senior Chloe Miller, who finished with a distance of 138-07.
“It’s honestly a really good feeling to say that I’ve won,” Emnett said. “I wasn’t coming in seeded first. Came out in prelims and threw a personal record of 130-feet which also broke a school record. Then came out in finals and threw 139-feet, broke my personal record by nine feet. So it’s just really an amazing feeling knowing that my hard work’s paid off.”
Three Scioto County teams make playoffs
An action packed 10-week slate of regular season football was extended when, for the third straight year, three teams from Scioto County qualified for the 2019 OHSAA High School Football Playoffs.
Wheelersburg, Minford and Portsmouth each earned places in the Division V Region 19 playoffs after each earned at least seven wins during the regular season. The Pirates were the lone team to advance past the regional quarterfinals following their 28-23 win over the Falcons.
Shockley drafted by Pirates
Minford graduate Dylan Shockley had a lifelong dream fulfilled this June when he was selected in the 34th round of the 2019 MLB Rookie Draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The two-time River States Conference Player of the Year for the University of Rio Grande received the phone call of a lifetime while warming-up for his game as a team member of the Chillicothe Paints.
“I was out in the outfield shagging balls when I got the call,” Shockley said. “It was an amazing moment, one that I’m really glad I got to share with my family and the Paints.”
Irwin’s game-winner, Lady Pirates regional final run
The unlikeliest of shots from the unlikeliest of heroes. Lani Irwin’s game-winning buzzer-beater versus Morgan to send Wheelersburg into the Division III regional final may top the list in individual “moments” from this calendar sports year.
This wouldn’t be the first or the last time this year that Wheelersburg fans would enjoy the drive to Logan for Division III regional tournaments.
The Lady Pirates’ regional final was undoubtedly the height of their dominance this decade with history continuing to be written into a new decade.
Northwest XC, track place at State Meets
Northwest’s standout year was highlighted in their cross country and track and field teams qualifying and placing at their respective State Meets.
Haidyn Wamsley earned a runner-up in the high jump at the State Track and Field Championships, their 4×800 finished seventh at the State Meet, Landen Smith captured 11th overall at the State XC Meet, and the Mohawks’ XC team finished 14th out of 20 teams at the State XC Meet.
SW boys soccer regional final appearance
South Webster’s latest boys soccer run led the Jeeps to the Division III regional finals, and in dramatic fashion. The Jeeps scored two second-half goals versus Lynchburg-Clay in the regional semifinals to punch their ticket to the Elite Eight in rainy conditions.
Before that, a shutout win in the district final over Ironton St. Joseph helped pave the way for this year’s run for Scioto County’s most consistent program when it comes to postseason success. This year’s district title was the Jeeps’ fourth straight.
Valley’s Jacob Brickey places at state meet, Valley boys basketball sectional title run, Campbell’s record-tying performance, Minford baseball district championship, Notre Dame girls basketball, volleyball and softball district championships, South Webster volleyball district championship, Clay and Green share SOC I baseball title, Toomire ties state record with nine-straight goals, Wheelersburg’s Gill & Sommer go to state girls tennis, Clay wins SOC I boys soccer title (later forfeitted), Ironton football falls in state final
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT © 2019 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved