ATHENS, Ohio — A total of 20 individuals representing the six Ohio schools in the Ohio Valley Publishing coverage area have captured all-Southeast District football honors, as the Southeast District released its annual squads on Friday.
That number is down five from a year ago, as there were no state playoff qualifiers from either Meigs or Gallia counties.
The Southern Tornadoes, with a 7-3 record after an 8-2 mark and OVP’s only Ohio playoff berth last season, once again led the way with the most all-district selections — which was five.
Meigs and Gallia Academy managed four picks apiece, as Eastern ended up with three while both River Valley and South Gallia each garnered two.
Southern, Eastern and South Gallia were part of the sizable Division VII list, while River Valley was the sole representative in the large Division V pool.
Both Gallia Academy and Meigs were Division IV programs this past season.
The Tornadoes tallied three first-teamers, paced by two-time repeat first-team running back Riley Roush.
Roush, after an 800-plus yard campaign in 2016, rushed for 1,170 yards and 23 touchdowns on 174 carries in nine games this season.
The senior stood five-foot, 10 inches tall and weighed 175 pounds.
Dylan Smith, after back-to-back years as a Special Mention choice, made first team in his senior season — as an all-purpose performer.
Through nine games, the 5-10 160-pounder posted 608 rushing yards and nine touchdowns, while making 11 receptions for 251 yards and four scores.
Andrew Evans, a 5-10 180-pound senior, was named first team on the defensive line.
Austin Arnold and Alex VanMeter made Special Mention for Southern, as Evans, Arnold and VanMeter made all-district for the first time.
For Eastern, senior Wyatt Bissell repeated to the first-team offensive line, standing 6-foot-5 and weighing 170 pounds.
The Eagles, which went 3-7, also earned two Special Mention honorees — Brandon Colburn and Josh Brewer.
Brewer was a repeat Special Mention choice.
South Gallia’s only first-teamer was senior offensive lineman Colton Bowers — a Special Mention selection last season.
This year, Bowers — standing 6-2 and weighing 266 pounds — blocked primarily for freshman quarterback Kyle Northup, who was Special Mention for the 2-8 Rebels.
For Gallia Academy and Meigs, each club had a pair of first-teamers and Special Mentions.
The 5-5 but improved Blue Devils had two juniors on the first team — linebacker Jacob Campbell and quarterback Justin McClelland.
Campbell collected repeat first-team linebacker honors, having landed the same accolades at River Valley a year ago.
Despite playing in only six games after suffering a season-ending injury, the six-foot 195-pound Campbell made 56 tackles, which included 11 for loss and three sacks.
McClelland, standing only one inch taller than Campbell but weighing the same, completed 105 passes on 184 attempts with a 57-percent completion percentage — and racked up 1,457 yards and 15 TDs with five interceptions.
He also rushed 118 times for 651 yards and eight touchdowns, as he repeated to the list after earning Special Mention last year.
Nathan Mitchell and Garrett Burns, both seniors, were Special Mention picks for their only all-district berths.
The Meigs Marauders, which went 4-6 but knocked off the Blue Devils in the season opener, managed three repeat honorees — Zach Bartrum, Cole Adams and Matthew Brown.
Bartrum — at 6-1 and 175 — repeated as a first-team wide receiver, recording 29 receptions this season for 430 yards and six scores.
Adams and Brown both repeated to Special Mention, while the Marauders’ other first-teamer was senior linebacker Lane Cullums.
Cullums — at six-foot and 210 pounds — collected 95 total tackles, including 10 for loss with four sacks and two fumble recoveries.
For the 3-7 Raiders, Patrick Brown — a 6-2, 190-pound senior — repeated to the Division V first team as a defensive back.
Despite not playing the final two weeks after suffering a ruptured appendix, Brown was credited with 106 tackles from his safety spot.
River Valley’s Special Mention selection was first-time choice Cole Young.
The all-Southeast District football teams are selected by a media panel from throughout the district, as actually Associated Press is no longer affiliated with choosing any all-district teams.
Those individuals which make first-team all-district are automatically chosen, at least, as Special Mention all-Ohio.
Paul Boggs can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2106