Now that summer has officially arrived, it’s time to look back at the 2018-19 school year that just passed.
For the remainder of the week, Ohio Valley Publishing will be taking a look back at some of the top sports highlights from each season … starting with the 2018 fall campaign today.
The 2018-19 winter season will run in the Thursday editions of the Gallipolis Daily Tribune, Point Pleasant Register and The Daily Sentinel, while the 2019 spring season will appear in print on Friday.
The weekend sports editions of the Point Pleasant Register and the Sunday Times-Sentinel will feature the top overall sports story to come away from Gallia, Mason and Meigs counties this past school year.
So, with all that in mind … here’s a look back at some of the highlights in the OVP area from the 2018 Fall Sports season.
Like all high school sports, it starts with football … and a pair of traditional powers were solid in 2018.
Point Pleasant continued its traditional dominant ways after securing the program’s 11th consecutive postseason appearance, as well as a sixth consecutive season with a playoff win — both school records.
The Big Blacks set a handful of offensive records and finished the campaign 9-2 overall. Point lost to eventual Class AA state champion Fairmont Senior in the quarterfinal round.
Gallia Academy made a prominent return to the gridiron in 2018 as the Blue Devils captured the program’s first league title and playoff appearance since 2012 — ending a pair of six-year droughts simultaneously.
Gallia Academy followed a 5-5 debut under head coach Alex Penrod by stringing together a 9-1 regular season record that included the program’s first-ever unbeaten Ohio Valley Conference title.
The Blue Devils, thanks to those seven consecutive league wins this past fall, enter the 2019 campaign with nine straight OVC victories. GAHS also picked up consecutive victories over Ironton for the first time since 1965 and 1966.
Due to weather, Gallia Academy had to move its Division IV opening round home game to Alumni Field in Jackson — before ultimately dropping a 36-12 decision to eventual state semifinal Licking Valley.
River Valley outlasted South Gallia for a mud-covered 7-0 victory in the inaugural Clash of the County, the first-ever meeting between the Gallia County programs.
Needing a win to secure a guaranteed playoff spot in Division VII Region 27, Southern dropped a heartbreaking 27-26 setback to host Eastern in the season finale — eliminating the Tornadoes from postseason contention.
Both Marshall (9-4, 6-2 CUSA East) and Ohio (9-4, 6-2 MAC East) finished second in their respective football conferences, as well as picked up bowl wins to cap those successful campaigns.
Each county had its fair share of memorable moments in volleyball, starting with a Gallia Academy program that appeared in its fourth consecutive district tournament while also winning yet another OVC championship.
The Blue Angels finished the year with a 21-4 overall mark and claimed the program’s second unbeaten outright league title ever.
Point Pleasant volleyball set a program record for wins after stringing together a 26-5 overall mark, while Eastern went 19-6 and came up one win short of appearing in the Division IV regional finals.
Soccer took on a special meaning at Gallia Academy this past fall as the Blue Angels embarked on their inaugural varsity campaign by winning the OVC championship with an unblemished 8-0 record. Gallia Academy finished its first-ever girls soccer season with a 12-4-1 overall record.
The Point Pleasant boys soccer team finished the season with a solid 17-3 overall mark, which included producing a pair of 20-plus goal scorers for the first time since 1989.
Eastern cross country captured its eighth consecutive Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division girls title, with senior Rhiannon Morris leading that charge after winning the girls race individually.
Point Pleasant senior Luke Wilson capped his third consecutive state championship race with a career-best sixth place effort in the Class AA cross country final. Wilson set the PPHS cross country record his junior season with a time of 16:39.2.
The Gallia Academy girls golf team made history in its second season as a varsity sport as the Blue Angels won both the Division II sectional and D-2 districts en route to a 12th place finish in the program’s first-ever state appearance.
The Meigs girls golf team also made history by capturing the first-ever TVC girls golf championship held in late August at Athens Country Club. The Lady Marauders finished 20 shots ahead of runner-up Waterford with a winning tally of 211.
Eastern and Southern shared the TVC Hocking championship in boys golf, then both programs advanced to the district round before ultimately coming up empty on state berths.
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.