By Brad Morris
ASHVILLE — Peyton Weiler threw a touchdown pass, ran for five touchdowns, caught a touchdown pass and was a leader on the Teays Valley defense this season.
But according to coach Mark Weber that description only begins to describe what Weiler meant to the Vikings.
“Teays Valley has been playing football for around 60 years and Peyton is probably one of the top 10 players to ever put on that jersey,” he said. “Peyton won the Bob Tucker Award this year for our most outstanding player and talking to guys who played with Bob like Champ Henson and others, Peyton is probably one of the players most like Bob to win that award.
“He’s a tremendous football player on offense and defense. He’s also a tremendous leader and a tremendous young man. He’s the type of player that you really enjoy coaching.”
Weiler was recognized on Thursday for his season by earning the Bill McGaffney Award, presented to the top senior football player in Pickaway County.
“It means a lot to represent our senior class and our football team by winning this award,” Weiler said. “I know I put in a lot of work and my teammates put in a lot of work to make the season we had possible.
“It started last December during winter workouts and carried into our summer workouts and all of the practices and sweat we poured into getting ready for the season and being ready for Friday night. We had some new coaches on the staff this season and they really pushed us and challenged us to give our best and be at our best.”
Weiler was second on the team in rushing for 451 yards and five touchdowns, but he made his greatest contribution to the Vikings on defense.
The Teays Valley linebacker led the team with 101 tackles, including 26 for loss, made three interceptions and had a sack.
“I really loved playing defense, because it fits my personality,” Weiler said. “I like to fly around and hit people, but it also takes a defense executing together to have success and get stops out there.”
“Peyton was the heart of our defense,” Weber added. “He’s the type of player who has a nose for the football, is tough and is going to make plays.
“When Peyton wasn’t out there for a play on defense, you could tell.”
Weiler served as one of the captains on the football team and led by his example.
“I’m the type of guy that can go to someone and tell them something that needs to be said,” Weiler said. “I also believe leadership starts by setting an example with how hard you work, how you play the game and how much you want to be successful.”
The Vikings enjoyed their best start to a season in program history by rolling off seven consecutive victories to open the year.
Teays Valley opened the season with a 28-17 win over Chillicothe, which marked the first time in four trips that the Vikings returned from the First Capital with a victory.
To start the second half of the season, the Vikings met Hamilton Township in a battle of then unbeatens. Teays Valley avenged a loss from the year before with a dominating 33-0 manhandling of the Rangers, where the Vikings outgained HT 346-125.
Two weeks later, the Vikings bounced back from a 14-7 halftime deficit to rival Amanda-Clearcreek with a trio of third quarter touchdowns to emerge with a hard-fought 28-14 win.
“Starting the season off with a win in Chillicothe was nice, because Teays Valley hadn’t done that before,” Weiler said. “When we played Hamilton Township here (in Week 6), that was a measuring stick game because we were both undefeated and we really came out well and executed on offense and defense.
“Then a couple of weeks later, we were down at halftime to Amanda and the captains and the coaches challenged everyone at halftime and we were able to respond and play the way we were capable of in the second half.”
While it’s not the fondest memory Weiler will take from 2021, he’ll also look back at a Week 9 battle of unbeatens when Bloom-Carroll recorded a 49-0 win over Teays Valley.
“There was a lot of buildup to that game and you dream about playing in a game like that late in the season,” he said. “We obviously didn’t get the outcome that we wanted, but what I will remember from that is no one quit and everyone kept playing hard until the end.
“Then we came back next week and had our Senior Night against Logan Elm. We got off to a great start and got to have our moment before the entire community.”
The 34-21 win over Logan Elm allowed the Vikings to cement the fourth-seed in Division II, Region 8 and a home playoff game against Stebbins.
Weiler ran for two touchdowns and tossed a 35-yard touchdown pass in the 41-27 setback on a rainy late October evening.
While the Vikings ended the season with a 9-2 mark, Weiler will first think back to all the fun times that the team had together.
“This is the closest team that I’ve ever been on,” he said. “We had a brotherhood and really enjoyed being around each other, having fun together and playing for our community. I hope we gave them something to be proud of.”
Weiler is currently in fire school and he hopes by this time next year to be a firefighter.
“I guess I love it because it’s a lot like playing sports,” he said. “There is teamwork and a brotherhood between firefighters and you are doing something that makes a difference for the community.”
McGaffney Award Winners
1985 — John Berry, Westfall
1986 — Sean White, Logan Elm
1987 — Shane Roese, Teays Valley
1988 — Bill Currence, Logan Elm
1989 — Lance Gibson, Westfall
1990 — Bill Davis, Westfall
1991 — Shawn Buescher, Westfall
1992 — Brian Dollison, Westfall
1993 — Greg Colburn, Westfall
1994 — Nate Hamman, Circleville
1995 — Billy Hamilton, Circleville
1996 — Lance Heath, Westfall
1997 — Brian Bigam, Circleville
1998 — Gavin Cupp, Logan Elm
1999 — Joe Lewis, Teays Valley
2000 — Matt Colopy, Logan Elm
2001 — Tyler Jenkins, Logan Elm
2002 — Aaron Palmer, Circleville
2003 — Brice Redman, Westfall
2004 — Wade Bartholomew, Westfall
2005 — Evan Blake, Logan Elm
2006 — Kevin Smith, Westfall
2007 — Drew Clanin, Circleville
2008 — D.J. Cain, Westfall
2009 — Johnnie Brown, Logan Elm
2010 — K.C. Hawkins, Circleville
2011 — Anthony Vagnier, Logan Elm
2012 — Trent Williamson, Westfall
2013 — David Burroughs, Circleville
2014 — Anthony Jones, Teays Valley
2015 — Drew Pennington, Teays Valley
2016 — Logan Holbert, Logan Elm
2017 — Brandon Coleman, Teays Valley
2018 — Taylor Robinson, Teays Valley
2019 — Tristan McDanel, Teays Valley
2020 — Conner Robinson, Logan Elm
2021 — Peyton Weiler, Teays Valley
— Bill McGaffney was a former sports editor at the Circleville Herald.
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