Austin Jones and Nathan Strock were the blood and guts of three consecutive playoff teams for Tri-Valley’s football program.
The Scotties won at least one postseason game in each of their three seasons as starters, while they also won a pair of Muskingum Valley League titles.
Their efforts were honored by The Associated Press, which released its All-Ohio teams in Division I and II on Monday.
Jones was named to the first-team defense as a linebacker, and Strock and Collin Prouty were second-team offensive selections as a quarterback and lineman, respectively. The Scotties recorded the school’s first 10-0 season this year.
Zanesville junior receiver J.T. McFarland also was a first-team offensive performer in Division II, while junior quarterback Thomas Wibbeler and junior defensive back Jamal Gladden were second-team picks.
The three were key cogs on a team that finished 9-1 and hosted a playoff game for the first time in school history.
The teams are picked by the AP in Columbus based upon recommendations from a panel of voting media from each district.
Jones (5-10, 208) had a banner year on both sides of the ball, leading the area with 1,459 yards on 157 carries with 27 TDs. He also caught 17 passes for 296 yards.
Defensively, he had a team-high 54 1/2 tackles, 10 1/2 of which were for losses. He also had four sacks and three forced fumbles, enough to earn East District Player of the Year honors.
The 6-foot-4, 190-pound Strock, who also started at safety, passed for 1,883 yards and completed 61 percent of his passes. He had 20 TDs and was intercepted once. He committed this past summer to Kent State, which is playing for a Mid-American Conference championship this weekend.
The 6-4, 285-pound Prouty, a junior, and seniors Daniel Sensabaugh and Tyler Edwards-Frick helped pave the way for an offense that averaged 48.5 points and 480 yards per game. Sensabaugh and Edwards-Frick were both special mention picks.
The 5-10, 170-pound McFarland arguably had a better season than anyone.
He set school records with 57 catches for 1,088 yards and 17 receiving TDs. He also ran for seven scores, averaged 21 yards on seven punt returns, intercepted two passes and returned a kickoff for a touchdown.
Wibbeler passed for a school-record 2,697 yards with 34 TDs and had three receivers with at least 40 catches.
Gladden had a team-high 17 tackles for loss as a strong safety in the Blue Devils’ 3-3-5 defense.
“All that work they put in puts them over the top,” Zanesville coach Chad Grandstaff said. “J.T. and all of those guys are purpose driven players. They set goals for themselves and they go out and do it.”
They also said they appreciate their teammates.
“If you ask them, every one of those guys will mention that,” Grandstaff said. “They have a whole lot of teammates that help them get where they are.”
The special mention list included Zanesville receivers Dar Stanford and Matty Lynn, linemen Will Weir and Austin Kimble, defensive lineman David Johnson and linebackers Tristan Rock and K.J. Grimmett.
Tri-Valley receivers Trevor Krouskoupf and Kris Michael and linebacker Seth Brock also were special mention picks.