Vinton County 28, Athens 20 (copy)

Vinton County’s Zayne Karr (7) and Caiden Collins (12) celebrate with teammates Lance Montgomery (12), Codey Colley (1) and Boomer Herrold (53) after the Vikings’ 28-20 win at Athens High School.

Well, summer is officially upon us and that means another season of high school sports has come to an end.

While we all had our share of adjustments, the most important thing is that the student-athletes were able to play a complete season without much interference for the most part.

I will openly admit that I absolutely can’t wait to enter a stadium or gymnasium and see it completely filled to the brim with not a mask in sight, unless you choose to continue wearing yours.

I look forward to seeing all of you come late August and beyond, but until then, I’m going sit back and enjoy the summer for a little bit.

But before I do so, let’s take a little walk down memory lane and remember some of the games of the area from this past season:

Note: There will be a part two next week highlighting more moments.

Football: Vinton County shocks Athens

Athens hadn’t lost to Vinton County since 1995 and had won the last 12 straight games. But that streak came to end on a warm September 4 evening at Joe Burrow Stadium.

Tied 6-6 at halftime, the Vikings scored on a three-yard plunge from Zayne Karr and converted the two-point try for a 14-6 lead.

Although they gave up a 70-yard touchdown pass, they responded with a 15-yard touchdown run from Broc Moore to push the lead up to 20-12.

Athens scored on a 57-yard run from Peyton Gail and converted the two points to tie the game 20-20.

But the Vikings maintained ball possession for the next 8:26 before Moore, who had 110 yards rushing that night, scored with 23 seconds left to stunned Athens in TVC action.

Boys Basketball: Jackson defeats Vinton County in overtime for sectional title

The Vikings controlled every single aspect of this game for 31 of the 32 minutes. But that final minutes came back to get them.

Braylon Damron connected on three 3’s in the first quarter to help the Vikings control a 14-12 lead.

Although Jackson took a momentary 21-20 lead after a triple from Drew Bragg, VC’s Eli Radabaugh answered back from deep at the buzzer for a 23-21.

The Vikings pushed the lead up to 36-28 behind Damron and Lance Montgomery, but Bragg countered back with a personal 7-0 run to cut the lead down to 36-35.

Drew Bragg (copy)

Jackson’s Drew Bragg played a pivotal role in Jackson’s 16-4 season with including splitting the FAC championship with Hillsboro and capturing a sectional title as well.

Later tied 42-42, Randall Matteson swished home a triple to put the Vikings ahead with a minute left.

However, Bragg got to the free throw line and connected on 1-of-2. On the second one, he managed to get the offensive rebound and connect on a jumper to tie the game to send it to overtime.

Jackson melted the final 2:15 of the game before Evan Spires found Braxton Hammond for the bucket underneath to secure the win and a sectional title.

Girls Basketball: Vinton County defeats Fort Frye in defensive clinic

This was the game right here that let Division II know the Vikings are for real this season.

Fort Frye, who had defeated the Vikings the season before and went to the Final Four was completely reloaded and ready for battle.

Hannah Archer was 4-for-4 from distance in the first half, and the Cadets buried seven 3’s to control a 27-20 lead at halftime.

Lacie Williams (copy)

Vinton County’s Lacie Williams drives to the rim while being defended by Fort Frye’s Kenzie Dalton in the Vikings’ 40-38 victory over the Cadets.

Cameron Zinn and Lacie Williams scored all 11 third quarter points for the Vikings, which cut the lead down to 34-31.

Tegan Bartoe connected from deep, then Myriah Davis got a steal and found Zinn for the bucket before Williams drilled a triple for a 39-36 lead.

The Cadets made 2-of-4 at the stripe and had a shot to win, but it hit the iron bounced out for the win.

Girls Basketball: Vinton County overwhelms Sheridan in regional final

Maybe it’s a mental or psychological thing, but most teams that play Sheridan tend to lose on arrival because it’s ‘Sheridan’.

However, the Vikings had a special plan for the Generals and executed it to perfection.

Despite trailing throughout the first quarter, it was a feel out process to understand how the Generals were going to attack.

Vinton County regional final (copy)

Vinton County celebrates and raises up the regional championship plaque after defeating Sheridan 54-37 in a Division II regional final at Zanesville High School.

The Vikings in turn got physical, limited the touches to Sheridan’s Faith Stinson inside and turned up the heat.

Myriah Davis and Tegan Bartoe each connected from distance to put the Vikings ahead 20-17, a lead they kept for the rest of the evening. Morgan Bentley later buried a huge triple with a few seconds remaining in the first half for a 29-24 lead.

Davis came out and scored the opening five points as they held the Generals to just six points in the third to control a 39-30 lead. Then in the fourth, with a 41-32 lead, Cameron Zinn corraled a loose ball and Lacie Williams swished a pure dagger to bring the Vikings a regional title.

Girls Basketball: Vinton County defeats Laurel in final minute

What else could possibly be the top moment from this year? If I’m being honest, it’ll probably be the moment of the decade unless a team wins the state title.

I still get goosebumps and a slight adrenaline rush just thinking about this moment, so I can only imagine how the players felt on the court in the moment at the University of Dayton Arena.

VC State Semifinal (copy)

Vinton County’s Tegan Bartoe (back left), Lacie Williams (front left), Morgan Bentley (middle) and Cameron Zinn (right) celebrate after the final buzzer sounds and the Vikings defeated Shaker Heights Laurel 53-51 in a Division II State Semifinal at the University of Dayton Arena.

Vinton County was never really in any danger throughout the contest as it led most of the way, and its biggest deficit was four points.

Lacie Williams cashed three early 3’s to help the Vikings get out to a 24-19 first quarter lead.

Laurel cut the deficit down to 27-25, but that was as close as it got for the time being and the Vikings took a 37-32 lead into the break.

The Gators tightened up defensively and outscored the Vikings 12-6 to own a 44-43 lead heading into the final frame.

Tied 48-48, Laurel’s Haley Thierry banked home a triple with 3:12 left, though it felt much like a dagger.

However, the Vikings held them scoreless for the rest of the game and Cameron Zinn came up with the two most clutch buckets of season in the final 1:45 of the game to put the Vikings ahead for good and send them to the state championship with a 53-51 win.

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