The 2019-20 school season may have been cut short, but there were still plenty of games and accomplishments to celebrate. Today, take a look at the male athletes of the year for each of the five Athens County schools.
Athens — Nate Trainer
Nate Trainer set records, and was always in the mix for the Athens Bulldogs.
Trainer excelled on the football field last fall for the Bulldogs, as they won a Tri-Valley Conference Ohio Division title for the second season in a row.
Trainer was a standout linebacker for Athens, winning a share of the TVC-Ohio Defensive Player of the Year award.
Trainer was also a huge threat on the offensive side of the football. He caught 67 passes for 1,049 yards and seven touchdowns. The yardage is a regular-season program record for Athens, and Trainer did that despite missing a game due to injury.
Trainer was named a Third Team All-Ohio selection in Division III as a receiver.
Trainer was a true threat on both sides of the ball for Athens.
Trainer followed that up by earning Honorable Mention honors on the Division II Southeast District basketball team.
After not playing during his junior year, Trainer returned to the basketball court and played a key role in helping Athens win its second straight league title in hoops.
Trainer was the Offensive and Defensive MVP of the TVC-Ohio during the 2019 baseball season. He surely would have added more accolades had the 2020 baseball season been contested as scheduled.
Alexander, Kaleb Easley
Kaleb Easley did a little bit of everything on the football field for the Alexander Spartans.
On offense, Easley navigated the Spartans as the quarterback. On defense, he led the way at linebacker.
Easley concluded his football career in Albany as a four-year starter and three-time all-league selection.
Easley was named one of the Tri-Valley Conference Ohio Division Defensive Players of the Year as a senior. He finished with 141 tackles, four fumble recoveries, five forced fumbles and an interception. He also led the Spartans with 91 tackles during his junior season.
Easley was also a three-year starter at quarterback for the Spartans. He completed 96 of 157 passes as a senior for 1,170 yards and seven touchdowns. He added 581 yards on the ground with 16 more touchdowns.
Easley helped the Spartans 4-6 the last two seasons, improvements from 1-9 records his first two seasons.
Easley was also a key member of Alexander’s TVC-Ohio winning basketball team. Easley earned all-league honors during the season.
Easley was already a starter and key member of the team, but had to handle some point guard duties after regular starter J.K. Kearns was injured. Easley led Alexander with 14 points in his final game, a tournament loss to Adena.
Easley will continue his football career at Wilmington.
Trimble, Sawyer Koons
Trimble’s Sawyer Koons can boast of an accomplishment few players across the Southeast District can claim.
Koons was a two-time state player of the year — in two different divisions — after staring at linebacker for the Tomcats.
Koons was the Ohio Prep Sportswriters Association Division VII Defensive Player of the Year as a junior in 2018. He helped Trimble go 13-2, advancing all the way to the state championship game.
Koons followed that up by helping Trimble to a 10-0 regular season. He was the OPSWA Division VI Defensive Player of the Year.
Koons had 91 tackles, including 12 for loss, four sacks, six forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, three interceptions and two defensive touchdowns during the regular season last year. Koons had 136 tackles, two interceptions and 32 tackles for loss as a junior.
Koons also played a key role in Trimble’s wishbone attack. He didn’t get a lot of carries on offense, but was constantly a lead blocker for Conner Wright or Cameron Kittle, as Trimble churned up yards on the ground.
Trimble went 42-9, winning seven playoff games, during Koons’ four seasons on the football field.
Koons was also a starter on Trimble’s basketball team, earning Honorable Mention honors on the Division IV Southeast District team.
The Tomcats went 22-4 on the basketball court, winning a Division IV district title. Koons played a key role, always rebounding and playing key defense, or setting a pick on offense at the right time.
Koons will continue his football career at Alderson Broaddus University.
Nelsonville-York, Keegan Wilburn
Keegan Wilburn completed one of the best careers in Nelsonville-York history last fall.
Wilburn was a standout tailback and receiver for the Buckeyes, piling up touchdown after touchdown over the last four seasons.
Wilburn’s career finished with him winning the TVC-Ohio Offensive Player of the Year after helping lead the Buckeyes to a 7-3 record and share of the league title. He earned second team all-Ohio honors as an all-purpose player in Division VI.
Wilburn was a true home run threat last season. He rushed for 740 yards and 11 touchdowns, catching 26 more passes for 451 yards and six more touchdowns.
Wilburn caught 100 passes for 1,830 yards and 24 touchdowns, also adding 3,414 yards rushing on 434 carries and 44 more touchdowns. Including defense and special teams, Wilburn scored 72 touchdowns in his high school career. He was the OPSWA Division VI Southeast District Offensive Player of the Year after his junior year in 2018.
Wilburn graduated early from Nelsonville-York to enroll at Ohio University last January. He will continue his football career with the Bobcats this fall.
Federal Hocking, Bradley Russell
Bradley Russell left his mark on Federal Hocking basketball.
The 6-foot-5 senior had a monster year on the basketball court during the 2019-20 season. Russell helped power the Lancers to an incredible turnaround, going 19-5.
Russell averaged 13.8 points, 10.6 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game, earning first-team all-Southeast District honors in Division IV.
Statistics don’t do total justice to how good Russell was last season. In the biggest game of the season, he stood tall by scoring 26 points on 12 of 17 shooting with 12 rebounds, five assists, two steals and a blocked shot in a 69-67 win over the Trimble Tomcats on Feb. 7.
That game, played in front of a capacity crowd at McInturf Gymnasium, helped secure Russell’s place in Federal Hocking legend and lore. The Lancers would go on to win the TVC-Hocking title outright, wrestling it away from the two-time defending champion Tomcats.
Russell led Federal Hocking’s dramatic rise, from no wins his freshman year to a league and sectional championship as a senior.
The success helped Russell win a share of the TVC-Hocking MVP award with Miller’s Colby Bartley. Russell became the 11th Federal Hocking player to win the award.
Russell will go on to play collegiately at Muskingum University.