PORTSMOUTH — In an Ohio high school football season like none other, especially among the Ohio Valley Conference, the league did crown a champion —and name an all-OVC team.
And with that, four Portsmouth Trojans —two on the first team and two on Honorable Mention —were selected to the all-OVC squad, which has been officially announced.
For the second consecutive season, Portsmouth junior quarterback Drew Roe recorded a first-team selection, while sophomore wide receiver/defensive back Reade Pendleton posted the Trojans’ other first-team accolade.
Each OVC team was awarded two Honorable Mention picks — as Portsmouth’s pair was junior running back and defensive back Amare Johnson and senior linebacker Christian Keys.
The Trojans went 2-7 in the coronavirus-shortened season, and defeated South Point for their only OVC victory.
Portsmouth was coming off a pair of second-place performances in 2018 and 2019 —with a full seven-game league schedule and with back-to-back experienced clubs.
Ironton, at 5-0 in the OVC, won the league for the second straight year —thus making third-year head coach Trevon Pendleton the Coach of the Year again.
The OVC, under league rules, does not select a Player of the Year honor.
Had it done so this year, it would have easily been Ironton’s Reid Carrico — or would it?
Of Ironton’s eight players which were selected, Carrico wasn’t among them —despite the senior standout and Ohio State University commit capturing multiple postseason awards, including as runner-up for Ohio’s Mr. Football.
But, according to Fairland athletic director Jeff Gorby, Pendleton said Carrico approached him and asked not to be included on the team — in order for another Fighting Tiger to make it.
Roe was one of a dozen repeaters, as seven of those were a second straight selection to the first unit.
They included four Gallia Academy Blue Devils, which shared second-place with Fairland —as both teams lost once including the Blue Devils defeating the Dragons.
Ironton gave Gallia Academy its only league loss —in a season in which the reduced schedule originally called for six games, although some only played five.
Fairland and Ironton, with the revised six-game slate, did not face each other — nor did the Trojans and Rock Hill.
Gallia Academy’s first-team repeaters included James Armstrong, Brayden Easton, Noah Vanco and Riley Starnes — while the others were Fairland’s J.D. Brumfield, Coal Grove’s Ben Compliment, and Roe.
Five players —Ironton’s Cameron Deere, Fairland’s Gavin Hunt, Coal Grove’s Austin Stapleton, Chesapeake’s Donald Richendollar and South Point’s Bennett McCallister —all improved to first team this year after an Honorable Mention honor last year.
The OVC features eight schools, as Portsmouth joined the primarily Lawrence County-based league five years ago.
A year later, Gallia Academy officially entered the OVC — as Coal Grove (2017), Gallia Academy (2018) and Ironton (2019) had captured the league championship in each of the past three seasons.
This season’s OVC schedule featured each team’s original week-five through week-10 opponents — although they were flipped, so their initial week-10 tilt served as the season opener.
Indeed, it was an OVC football season like no other.
2020 all-Ohio Valley Conference football team
Kyle Howell, Ironton; Dalton Crabtree, Ironton; Trent Hacker, Ironton; Matt Davis, Ironton; Rocky White, Ironton; Cameron Deere, Ironton; Gavin Hunt, Fairland; Casey Hudson, Fairland; J.D. Brumfield*, Fairland; Zander Schmidt, Fairland; Max Ward, Fairland; James Armstrong*, Gallia Academy; Brayden Easton*, Gallia Academy; Cole Hines, Gallia Academy; Riley Starnes*, Gallia Academy; Noah Vanco*, Gallia Academy; Austin Stapleton, Coal Grove; Ben Compliment*, Coal Grove; Malachi Wheeler, Coal Grove; Donald Richendollar, Chesapeake; Thomas Sentz, Chesapeake; Hayden Harper, Rock Hill; Jacob Schwab, Rock Hill; Brayden Malone, Rock Hill; Drew Roe*, Portsmouth; Reade Pendleton, Portsmouth; Darryl Taylor, South Point; Bennett McCallister, South Point
Coach of the Year: Trevon Pendleton*, Ironton
* — indicates repeat first-team selection
Uriah Meadows, Ironton; Gunnar Crawford, Ironton; Tevin Taylor, Fairland; Steeler Leep, Fairland; Isaac Clary, Gallia Academy; Trent Johnson, Gallia Academy; Morgan Schultz, Coal Grove; Kyle Robinson, Coal Grove; Ben Bragg, Chesapeake; Ian Hicks, Chesapeake; Owen Hankins, Rock Hill; Brayden Friend, Rock Hill; Amare Johnson, Portsmouth; Christian Keys, Portsmouth; Nakyan Turner, South Point; Cody Brandt, South Point
Reach Paul Boggs at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1926, by email at email@example.com, or on Twitter @BoggsSports © 2020 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved