A footballing career has come full circle for Boyd County senior Rylan Keelin.
Keelin scored the only goal in the Lions’ 2018 16th Regional Championship win over East Carter.
Boyd County returned to the same stage in 2021, this time against Rowan County.
Even though it was a different opponent, it was still Keelin who won in the clutch.
This time around, Keelin’s penalty kick helped the Lions win their second regional championship in school history.
“It’s great that we’ve won the only two regional championships and they both came from me scoring the winning goal,” said Keelin. “It was fun. I’m sad it’s over because I really enjoyed it. The training, all the players I have been able to play with, learn and improve with every year, has been special.
Keelin is The Daily Independent All-Area Player of the Year in 2021.
“It was a great honor for me to get this,” Keelin said. “I feel like I deserved it. I feel like I have proven myself throughout the season. Our whole team did it, being able to win an area and go as far as we did. It was really good to prove what we had.
Keelin, the team captain, has led by example, according to his coach.
“Seeing Rylan being able to control the pitch, especially with his emotions, it dissipated on the other guys in a positive and positive way,” Boyd County coach Logan Price said. “It didn’t allow us to be too shaken up. They were never too high and low. This team was very balanced emotionally until the final whistle. “
Price led Boyd County to a 19-3 record and the second round of the state tournament after a 3-0 win over Perry County Central in Game 1. The Lions fell to eventual state champion Paul Laurence Dunbar 4-0 in the second round.
Boyd County has allowed 22 goals, the lowest in the region.
“We lost the four starters on the back line and the goalie. They were all very talented players, ”said Price. “Our defense has held up well this year.
Price is the all-terrain trainer of the year. His Lions have two other All-Area players alongside Keelin: Aiden McCoy and JB Terrill.
McCoy has played in a plethora of positions and “has really beefed up that defense, especially in this playoff series,” according to Price.
“He’s played everything from forward to defenseman this year,” Price said. “He also plays at the center of his travel team so we always knew we had Aiden that we could put there, but he’s also so talented in the midfield.”
Terrill was nicknamed “the terminator” by his trainer because “he keeps coming”.
The senior also played on the cross country team.
“He’ll come to a practice in the offseason and say, ‘I just finished running eight miles. “I’m like, ‘Oh that’s cool, I did 10 miles to get here and it annoyed me, but you ran eight miles and you came to train for two hours,” Price said. laughing.
Region second Rowan County tied with Menifee County for the second best regional score at 14-4-1.
The Vikings won their 21st district championship in a row against Menifee County and their 74 goals dominated the region.
Rowan County has three All-Area recipients: Chase Alderman, Blake Mullen and Aaron Smart.
Alderman averaged a goal and a half per game and finished with 24 goals and 12 assists. He scored two goals and two assists in the regional semi-final victory over Ashland.
Mullen scored 12 goals and 21 assists and came away with an average of more than one assist per game.
Smart was another threat to the Vikings, leading Rowan County with 26 goals. He also had eight assists.
Ashland won the regional title last year but fell in the semifinals to the Vikings this year.
The Tomcats are represented on the All-Area squad by Drew Clark and Parker Miller.
Clark has found the net at least once per outing on average, scoring 20 goals during the year. He also had six assists.
His teammate Miller has always wanted to connect with Clark and as a result he has collected 14 assists this year. Miller has managed to find the net himself eight times.
Menifee County enjoyed the second straight winning season for the first time since 2008-09 after their 14 wins.
Dylan Adams of the Wildcats has 23 goals and 20 assists and an average of more than one goal and one assist per game.
His teammate Jayden Cohelia was also a threat. He scored 24 goals and 10 assists.
While Menifee County had one of the strongest field duos in the 16th region, Lawrence County had one of the best in the state.
Blake Maynard scored the fourth most goals in state (46) and Luke Johnson was right behind him in sixth place (42).
The Bulldogs were tied for the fourth most goals scored per game on average at 5.8, and Lawrence County won the region’s crown.
On their run in district and regional tournaments, the Bulldogs outscored their opponents 15-0, including a 2-0 shutout from Prestonsburg. The Blackcats were the state’s most successful team.
Trenton Adkins was a big reason for the success of the playoffs. He’s had nine shutouts this year and just 19 goals against. He also scored three goals and had four assists.
Lawrence County fell in the first round of the state tournament.
Rounding out the All-Area caps, Russell’s Nathan Totten saw a big improvement for the Red Devils.
After scoring six goals in 12 games the previous year, Totten finished with 21 goals this season, averaging 1.4 per game.
East Carter’s Ashton Tiller was the only Raider to finish with double-digit goals this year at 18.
The team was made up of votes from the coaches. The Independent DailyThe sports department of has selected the player and the coach of the year.
2021 DAILY INDEPENDENT BOYS ‘SOCCER ALL ZONE TEAM
Dylan Adams (Menifee County)
Trenton Adkins (Lawrence County)
Chase Alderman (Rowan County)
Drew Clark (Ashland)
Jayden Cohelia (Menifee County)
Luke Johnson (Lawrence County)
Rylan Keelin (Boyd County)
Blake Maynard (Lawrence County)
Aiden McCoy (Boyd County)
Parker Miller (Ashland)
Blake Mullen (Rowan County)
Aaron Smart (Rowan County)
JB Terrill (Boyd County)
Ashton Tiller (East Carter)
Nathan Totten (Russell)
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Rylan Keelin (Boyd County)
COACH OF THE YEAR
Logan Price (Boyd County)
Honorable mention: Maverick Boyd (Boyd County), Montanna Brashear (Bath County), Grant Chaffin (Boyd County), Sawyer Crum (Johnson Central), Carter Gibson (Boyd County), Rylie Gilliam (Greenup County), Santiago Gutierrez ( Ashland), Blake Hern (Russell), Jackson Hughes (Rowan County), Riley Hutchinson (Rowan County), Brodie Knarr (Fleming County), Austin Peck (Menifee County), John-Tyler Perkins (Menifee County) , Nathan Sabotchick (Russell), Owen St. John (Bath County), Bryson Stigall (Bath County), Cole Thompson (Boyd County), Christian Winter (East Carter), Amos Witter (East Carter).