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Local standouts win at Mid-Ohio Valley Football Awards

From left, Parkersburg South’s Gage Wright and Cyrus Traugh are photographed with Tyler Consolidated’s Jayden Helmick following Saturday’s Mid-Ohio Valley Football Awards banquet. (Photo courtesy of MOV2Go)

PARKERSBURG –This year’s Mid-Ohio Valley High School Football Awards banquet took place on Saturday from the Parkersburg Art Center, and numerous local athletes were recognized for their contributions on and off the gridiron. Of the conferences accounted for in the award-giving process, eight were represented (East Central Ohio League, Little Kanawha Conference, Mason-Dixon Conference, Mid-Ohio Valley League, Mountain State Athletic Conference, Muskingum Valley League, Tri-Valley Conference, Two Rivers Athletic Conference).

Festivities started at 5:30 p.m. with a red carpet and culminated in the awards ceremony a couple hours later. Ritchie County running back Gus Morrison capped off a state championship with the Rebels by capturing his second consecutive All-Around Player of the Year Award. Joining him from Ritchie was Austin Bartlett, who was the Outstanding Defensive Lineman winner.

“I don’t have much to say, but I just want to thank my coaches and my teammates who all supported me throughout my career in football,” Bartlett said at the banquet. “They got me where I am today. Thank you.”

Those two played a big role in getting RCHS its first state football title, but it was also a big year for the Little Kanawha Conference as a whole. The LKC won the Conference Cup for the second year in a row. Others from the league have the hardware to back that up.

Jayden Helmick wrapped up his season returning kicks for Tyler Consolidated by being named the Special Teams Player of the Year. Kolton Parsons did his part for Wirt County, as earned Outstanding Linebacker and People’s Choice Award honors. In winning the latter award, Parsons was thankful to everyone in attendance who selected him.

“First off, I’d like to thank my friends, my family, my team and my community,” he said. “Without them, this award isn’t possible. Like I said before, I’m very thankful to have the chance to have this award. Thank you.”

Another successful campaign was in the books for Fort Frye’s Casey Brooker, as he added the Outstanding Offensive Lineman Award to his already-full trophy case for the second straight year. The same can be said for Parkersburg’s dual-threat, Bryson Singer. His abilities on both sides of the ball landed him the Outstanding Utility Back Award. He adds to his MOV award collection which already included last year’s Offensive Player of the Year honor. He kept his acceptance speech short by saying: “I just want to thank my family, my coaches and my teammates.”

Parkersburg South’s Cyrus Traugh led the way for his squad, as top numbers gave him a first-team all-state nod at wideout. The junior proved he belonged, as he was named the area’s Oustanding Receiver.

“Well first, I’d like to thank God,” Traugh said. “I couldn’t do anything without him, so I really appreciate that. I’d like to thank my team, my family and my coaches, because my freshman year, I wasn’t even going to play football. (Head coach Nathan Tanner) was the one who got me to come out. I’d also like to thank my quarterback (Robert Shockey). I couldn’t have done it without him either. Thank you.”

Patriot teammate Gage Wright had a breakout year and was named the Defensive Player of the Year.

On the other side of the river, Belpre’s Jayden Dowell was named the Academic Athlete of the Year, and longtime stalwart Ralph Holder was named the year’s Lifetime Achiement Award winner. Holder was a longtime head football coach at Belpre who put the program on a pedestal. In 35 seasons, he won 11 TVC championships and was named TVC Coach of the Year six times before his 1998 induction into the Mid-Ohio Valley Sports Hall of Fame.

“This is the kind of thing that makes you grateful and humble,” Holder said. “Players, thank you for coming back (to the banquet). It’s kind of like a reunion. It makes you feel good. Again, I’m grateful and humble. This is a fun time for your family, your friends, your neighbors. It’s a time to get together and tell stories, and probably some lies, but we all get better as time goes on, and we have gotten better.”

Holder continued his remarks by thanking his family, remembering what it was like coaching his kids and saying they “turned out to be the kind of adults you’d be proud of.”

Contact Josh Hughes at jhughes@newsandsentinel.com

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