The Dublin Scioto football team couldn't overcome a slow start to the season.

The Irish lost their first two games and were 1-3 before winning three consecutive games. They ended the season on a three-game losing streak to finish 4-6 overall and miss the postseason for the third consecutive year.

Scioto finished 11th in Division II, Region 7, three spots shy of a playoff berth.

"It's an emotional time, the end of the season," coach Karl Johnson said. "We have a good group of seniors. They did a lot of work for us. They put it out on the line. You're disappointed that you're not in the playoffs. You're disappointed that you didn't have a winning record, but ... I'm not disappointed with our effort and our preparation during the season."

A key reason for the slow start was not having senior quarterback Chad Ray in the lineup for the first three games because of a leg injury. He returned in a 25-17 loss to Jerome on Sept. 20 and was 109-for-187 passing for 1,310 yards with 10 touchdowns and four interceptions over the final seven games.

Ray was named first-team all-OCC-Cardinal Division as the Irish went 3-4 in the league to tie Thomas Worthington for fifth behind champion Jerome (6-1).

Senior Pete Hrelec (RB/DB) led the team in rushing with 1,050 yards and 15 touchdowns on 182 carries, and senior Tobias Thomas (RB/WR/DB) ran for 336 yards and six touchdowns on 65 carries and had 24 receptions for 269 yards and two scores.

Hrelec was first-team all-league and Thomas made the second team.

"Our chemistry wasn't there at the start of the season and we ended up losing three of the first four games," Hrelec said. "Starting 0-2 set us in a hole. We just didn't have the team chemistry that we all knew we could have had from the beginning of the year and that led to losing games and a 4-6 season. We got better from the beginning to the end of the season."

Junior Xavier Lopes (WR/DB) had a team-high 49 catches for 681 yards and seven touchdowns and was honorable mention all-league.

Senior Marty Neuhardt (WR/DB) had 166 yards receiving, junior Joe Trent (TE/DL) had 165 yards receiving and sophomore Xavier Jeffy (WR/LB) added 144 yards receiving.

Junior Ibby Abumallouh (QB/LB) replaced Ray at quarterback to start the season and completed 25 of 46 passes for 225 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Abumallouh should be a candidate for the starting quarterback job next season.

Defensively, senior Deron Pulliam (RB/LB) led the team in tackles with 91.5 and sacks with eight. Hrelec had 80.5 tackles, followed by Neuhardt with 65, senior Sam Roper (TE/LB) with 63 and junior Zion Freeman-Walker (WR/DB) with 51.5.

Neuhardt had a team-high three interceptions.

Pulliam and senior Yousef Alchahal (OL/DL) were second-team all-league, as was senior Declan Farrell (K/P) as a punter. Senior Alex Mar (OL/DL) was special mention all-league.

Other key players expected to return are juniors Koel Shaw (OL/DL) and Vernon Williams (TE/DL) and sophomores Lesley Andoh (WR/DB), Nick Ansley (OL/DL), Maxwell Martin-Lee (OL/DL) and Terrell Triplett (OL/DL).

"Outside of (Hilliard) Darby (a 35-14 loss on Nov. 1), all of our losses we had an opportunity to win, and that makes it even harder because you know you belong," Johnson said. "You just didn't find a way to win."

fdirenna@thisweeknews.com

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