Although the winter sports season is officially in full swing, there’s nothing wrong with taking a little walk down memory lane, right?
Sports season after sports season, there’s never a shortage of classic moments no matter how big or small the stage might be.
The student-athletes worked their tails off to have the seasons they did. And although some seasons turned out better than others, it didn’t stop those moments from happening.
Here are the top five games from this past fall sports season:
Honorable Mention: Wheelersburg at Jackson, football
The atmosphere was incredible at Alumni Stadium that night. That game meant everything to Jackson, and it played with a chip on its shoulder unlike any other game during the season.
Jacob Winters ran for 126 yards in the second half and Evan Spires finished with two interceptions returned for touchdowns. Total domination from the opening kick to the final play.
5 Unioto at Jackson, boys soccer
I remember when the tournament seedings came out, I saw this matchup and said, “Oh, I can’t wait for this one. This will be good.” And man was I right.
It couldn’t have been a more even matchup between two very solid teams with elite talent on the field. Jackson led 2-0 after a pair of goals from Collin Ghearing, and looked to be on the verge of a rout.
However, Unioto countered back with two goals in the second half and ultimately forced overtime with Jackson reeling.
Unioto looked as if it scored the winning goal just minutes into the extra time, but Ty Broermann managed to snatch the ball out before the referees could see if it crossed the goal line.
That play swung all momentum back to Jackson and Trent Wolford received the ball from Ghearing and sent Jackson to a sectional final, which it won over Miami Trace.
4 Oak Hill at Eastern, volleyball
At this point in the season, Oak Hill had already won more games than it had in the last three seasons … combined.
It had already survived a five-set victory against the Eagles at home, now it was time for go on the road.
Oak Hill took the first set, Eastern took the second and the process repeated up to the fifth and deciding set.
Caitlyn Brisker and Chloe Chambers helped give the Oaks an early lead, only for Eastern to storm back and take an 11-9 lead.
However, the Oaks had the final rally as they finished the set on a 6-1 run to win the match. Brisker had 32 kills, Kailey Adkins had six aces while Baylee Howell passed out 42 assists in the match.
3 Oak Hill at Minford, football
On paper, this was a complete mismatch. Minford was averaging 40.2 points a game and Oak Hill had just been shutout by Wheelersburg the week before.
Despite having a high-powered offense, Minford managed just a 7-0 lead at halftime, which played right into the Oaks’ gameplan.
Triston Diltz carried a heavy load the whole second half, so much so that he was drinking mustard packets to settle some cramping problems. Hey, got to do what you got to do.
He finished with a touchdown, as did Keaton Potter who scored on a 56-yard run to tie the game at 14.
Oak Hill got the last possession and rode Diltz all the way down to the seven-yard line, where Brock Harden kicked the 24-yard field goal at the buzzer to stun the Falcons.
2 Alexander at Vinton County, volleyball
Man, oh man. I’ve watched a lot of volleyball games in my six years as a sports reporter and this game ranks in my list of top 10 games I’ve ever seen.
Despite having two games left in TVC play at the time, this game was for the TVC championship and it lived up to the billing.
After Alexander took the first set, Vinton County took the second set behind a 10-0 run featuring kills from Sydney Smith and Zoey Kiefer alongside the serving of Maylea Huff.
Despite falling flat in the third set, the Vikings showed their grit and character behind their senior leader in Huff. Tied at 20, she ripped a pair of kills to give the Vikings enough momentum to push the game to a fifth set.
Smith went into the zone and scored five of the Vikings’ opening six points for a 6-3 lead. Alexander came back to later tie the game at 12, but it was the Vikings’ night ultimately.
After earning the next two points, Cameron Zinn served up the game-winning ace that put the Vikings in position to later clinch their first outright TVC title in school history.
1 Unioto at Vinton County, volleyball
That Alexander game is probably No. 7 in greatest volleyball games I’ve seen, but this game is easily top five.
And honestly though, what else could really top this list?
The Vikings were 21-2 and faced test after test, but this was the measuring stick of how far they’ve really come over the past few years.
They faced a mental toughness test right out of the gates as they held a 24-19 lead, but were without Huff in the middle who landed awkwardly on her ankle. Unioto capitalized with an 8-1 run to take the set.
Huff returned and the Vikings surged in the second. The duo of Zinn and Smith led the team to a resounding double-digit second set victory.
After Unioto took the third set, it engaged in a fourth set that saw 15 ties, the final one coming at 21-21.
Huff ripped three straight kills before Unioto countered back with back-to-back points. But Zinn pulled a fast one and got the kill to go to a fifth set.
Smith and Kerrigan Ward got the Vikings ahead 9-4, but the Shermans rallied to cut the lead down to 14-13.
After Vinton County returned the Unioto serve, the Shermans’ kill attempt fell into the net and washed away a 20-year drought as the Vikings were crowned Division II sectional champions.
I’m not going to lie. I’ve covered a lot of great teams, but I’m not sure I’ve had more fun watching any team dominate and grow as much as I did with this Vinton County team.
These next two years are going to be fun to watch.