When the last place team in the league can beat the second place team, it's proof that anything can and does happen in the game of football.
If not for the Jackson Ironmen, who are a perfect 11-0 and will face Jonathan Alder on Friday in a regional semifinal, this year's Southeastern Ohio Athletic was nothing if not a display of football parity.
"Any Friday night anybody could beat anybody else. That's kind of how it turned out," said Warren football coach Andy Schob.
With three of the six teams in the SEOAL finishing with a 2-3 league mark while one was 3-2, there were certainly teams on equal footing.
Equal footing on the field, has a tendency to lead to equal footing in awards, too.
The Ironmen, who finished 5-0 in league play, had six players earn first-team all-league status, including co-Players of the Year in Drew Ervin and Austin Osborne to lead the league honorees.
"They're pretty good. They deserve that many," Schob said. "Jackson, obviously, was the best team, the class of the league."
Gallia Academy, which finished second in the league, had four players receive first-team all-league as did the Warren Warriors, who finished as part of the three-way tie for third.
Portsmouth, which was also part of the tie for third, had three as did the Logan Chieftains, who were last in the league. The Chillicothe Cavaliers, who were also tied for third, had two honorees.
Warren picked up league victories over Portsmouth and Logan to tie for third while Portsmouth beat Chillicothe and Logan.
Chillicothe in turn defeated Warren and Logan to slip into the three-way tie for third.
Gallia Academy defeated Warren, Chillicothe and Portsmouth but lost to 1-9 Logan, 14-3, and to the Ironmen.
Accorded first-team All-SEOAL for the Warriors as a result of their third in the league finish were seniors Jeremy Fivecoait, Jeremy Hastie and Austin Henthorn along with junior Dylan Leffingwell.
"They all did different things and stepped up different games. I thought they all had really good seasons," Schob said.
Running a spread offense designed to throw the football, the Warriors relied constantly on the combination of Leffingwell to Fivecoait, and it paid some dividends this fall.
Fivecoait had 58 catches for 871 yards and 10 touchdowns this fall.
Constantly facing opponent's best defensive back, and often drawing double coverage, Fivecoait still produced at a clip higher than any other receiver in the SEOAL. Fivecoait was also one of just three repeat first-team All-SEOAL players.
"To be a repeat honoree is a big honor. Jeremy was so thought of by the other coaches he got the third most votes behind Ervin and Osborne," Schob said.
Fivecoait's size at 6-foot-3, 210 pounds, combined with his athleticism gave the Warriors a much needed big play threat.
Along with Fivecoait, the Warriors also got some big plays from Hastie.
When Leffingwell went down with an injury midway through the season, Hastie stepped in and played quarterback, guiding the Warriors to their first win over the Chieftains in 13 years.
The 5-foot-9, 155-pound Hastie also saw time at wide receiver and running back on offense before shifting to defensive back on defense. He also returned kickoffs and punts.
"He just did everything for us," Schob said.
As a receiver Hastie had 43 catches for 474 yards and four TDs. As a running back he had 365 yards rushing on 84 carries and four more TDs.
But perhaps Hastie's biggest contribution came on a much improved defense where he had 35 tackles and six interceptions, with two of his interceptions returned for touchdowns.
Along with Hastie, the Warriors got an outstanding senior campaign from Henthorn at linebacker.
One year after recording more solo tackles than any other teammate had solo and assist combined, Henthorn and the Warriors moved to a new defensive scheme that required him to make more plays, but fewer tackles.
Henthorn recorded 148 tackles on the season and nine sacks for 83 yards lost. He also had 14 tackles for loss and two fumble recoveries for the Warren defense.
"I think he's probably the best all around linebacker I've had the pleasure to coach," Schob said. "Austin just reacted so quickly and made so many plays behind the line of scrimmage, and big plays."
Running the Warren offense from the quarterback slot, Leffingwell completed 134-of-232 pass attempts for 1,637 yards. He threw for 13 touchdowns, but was also intercepted 18 times in roughly eight games as he missed the Logan game and most of the Parkersburg South game due to the knee injury.
"I think he started off really well, and then when he got his knee injured it kind of limited what he could do late in the season," Schob said.
Even with a banged up knee, opposing defenses still had to focus on the Warrior pass attack.
"When they prepare for us in the league, they know that's what they have to stop," Schob said.
Along with four first-team All-SEOAL selections, the Warriors also had a pair of honorable mention choices in senior noseguard Dustin Harlow and junior linebacker Tanner Barrows.
Harlow tied Henthorn for the team lead in tackles as he posted 148 on the year. He also had eight sacks for 24 yards lost and 11 tackles for loss.
Harlow also forced two fumbles, recovered another and picked off a pass against Phillip Barbour in the final game of the season.
Combined, Henthorn and Harlow accounted for 17 of the Warriors' 20 sacks as a team.
The duo were also a big component in the decision to change from a 4-3 defensive scheme to the 3-5.
"One of the first things you look at is do I have good linebackers and do I have a good noseguard," Schob said.
Barrows had the misfortune of playing beside Henthorn and Harlow, who made the highest percentage of plays for the Warren defense.
Still, Barrows finished the year with 51 tackles, but only 16 of them solo.
"Unfortunately for him he had a great noseguard and a great linebacker playing next to him," Schob said. "On any other team Tanner probably would've led our team in tackles."
Along with Ervin and Osborne, who shared Player of the Year honors, Jackson had O.J. Barr, Tyler Jeffers, Morgan Landrum and Ty McNelly as first-team all-league players. Josh Cutright and Nathan Parks were honorable mention for Jackson.
Gallia Academy had Brandon Taylor, Aaron Guisinger, Zack Tackett and Ty Warnimont as first-team All-SEOAL while Dallas Moss and Drew Young were honorable mention.
Chillicothe had Jalen Jones and Tyler Roe as first-team selections while Stefan Hinty and Ryan Mathis were honorable mention.
Portsmouth had Wayne Evans, Austin Porter and Zaide Whitley as first-team choices while J.W. Horsley and Dion McKinley were honorable mention.
Logan had Cory McCarty, Aaron Wolfe and Sean Wotring as first-team and Jordan Sharb and Paul Wesselhoeft as honorable mention.
2011 All-SEOAL football team
Player School Height Weight Position
Jalen Jones Chillicothe 12 5-11 165 WR-S
Tyler Roe Chillicothe 12 6-3 255 G-DT
Aaron Guisinger Gallipolis 12 6-3 320 OL-DL
Zack Tackett Gallipolis 12 5-11 195 OL-DL
Brandon Taylor Gallipolis 12 6-1 180 QB-DB
Ty Warnimont Gallipolis 10 5-9 165 RB-LB
O.J. Barr* Jackson 12 5-9 175 DL
Drew Ervin* Jackson 12 6-0 225 RB-LB
Tyler Jeffers Jackson 12 6-0 256 OL-DL
Morgan Landrum Jackson 11 5-11 210 RB-LB
Ty McNelly Jackson 12 5-10 176 WR-DB
Austin Osborne Jackson 12 5-11 201 QB-DB
Cory McCarty Logan 11 5-9 175 RB-LB
Aaron Wolfe Logan 12 5-9 210 C-DT
Sean Wotring Logan 12 5-5 165 WR-K-LB
Wayne Evans Portsmouth 12 6-2 163 WR-DB
Austin Porter Portsmouth 12 6-0 170 TE-LB
Zaide Whitley Portsmouth 12 6-0 173 RB-K-DB
Jeremy Fivecoait* Warren 12 6-3 210 WR-DB
Jeremy Hastie Warren 12 5-9 155 RB-DB
Austin Henthorn Warren 12 6-0 220 OL-LB
Dylan Leffingwell Warren 11 6-2 210 QB-LB
*-Denotes previous All-SEOAL honors. Guisinger, Henthorn, Leffingwell, McCarty and Taylor were honorable mention in 2010.
Co-players of the Year: Drew Ervin, Jackson; Austin Osborne, Jackson.
Coach of the Year: Andy Hall, Jackson
Honorable mention: Stefan Hinty (senior) and Ryan Mathis (sophomore), Chillicothe; Dallas Moss (senior) and Drew Young (senior), Gallipolis; Josh Cutright (junior) and Nathan Parks (sophomore), Jackson; Jordan Sharb (senior) and Paul Wesselhoeft* (senior), Logan; J.W. Horsley (senior) and Dion McKinley (senior), Portsmouth; Tanner Barrows (junior) and Dustin Harlow (senior), Warren.
Team was selected in a recent vote of league coaches. Each team received two automatic All-SEOAL honorable mention selections.