Jonny Aya-ay’s middle school joke might have landed him a college scholarship.
Marshall University offered the Huntington High School all-state junior kicker on Saturday during his visit.
As an eighth-grader he was goofing around with friends on the football field when he kicked a long field goal. Word quickly spread and HHS coach Billy Seals asked Aya-ay’s sister, Sophie, to encourage him to come out for football. Sophie also earned a scholarship with her legs, playing for Marshall’s women’s soccer team.
“I was very excited to get an offer to play football at Marshall,” said Aya-ay, who impressed at the Thundering Herd’s camp in June. “I’ve grown up going to football games with friends and family. I was able to meet (special teams coach Johnathan Galante) last spring at their practice and get to know him during the summer camps. It was pretty cool to kick on the field last summer, too.”
The 5-foot-10, 155-pound standout is ranked as the No. 5 kicker in the country by National Kicker Rankings. Aya-ay is a two-time The Herald-Dispatch All Tri-State kicker.
Aya-ay made 67 of 69 extra points and two field goals last season to help the Highlanders to the Class AAA state championship. He has a long field goal of 47 yards.
AMAZING STATS OF THE WEEK: Fairland girls basketball junior Bree Allen scored her 1,000th point 10 days after grabbing her 500th rebound. Fairview boys basketball standout Bubba Day scored his 1,000th point. Boyd County beat Campbell County 110-105 in two overtimes in boys basketball.
Former Boyd County girls basketball star Savannah Wheeler of Middle Tennessee State scored her 1,500th college point. Former Ashland girls basketball star Mykassa Robinson played in her 145th game for the University of Louisville, setting a program record.
Rock Hill girls basketball star Haleigh Risner grabbed her 500th rebound. Zach Otis scored his 2,184th point to break the Bath County boys basketball record set by T.C Swartz in 1986. East Carter made 40 of 54 free throws in an 85-64 boys basketball victory over Fairview.
Portsmouth Notre Dame’s girls basketball team has won 116 consecutive Southern Ohio Conference games. Fairland’s girls have won 34 straight Ohio Valley Conference contests. Former Russell girls basketball star Madison Darnell grabbed her 922nd rebound to become the all-time program leader in that category at Georgetown College.
Lawrence County girls basketball standout Kensley Feltner scored her 3,625th point to pass Wheeler and move into sixth place all-time in scoring in Kentucky. Feltner leads the state with a 27.9 per game average and with a 65.2 field goal percentage. Rowan County girls basketball player Haven Ford scored her 3,000th point.
SIGNINGS: Ashland softball pitcher Katie Samuel (Alice Lloyd); Boyd County baseball player Gunnar Gearhart (Pikeville).
COMMITMENTS: Herbert Hoover offensive lineman Caden Dotson (Marshall); Greenup County girls basketball star Rachel Bush (Pikeville); Riverside quarterback Jake Walker and Herbert Hoover defensive end Isaiah Chapman (University of Charleston); Chapmanville softball player Emma Muncy (Pikeville).
OFFERS: Huntington High basketball players Jace Coats (Goshen) and Bentleigh Christus (Cedar Crest); Ironton linebacker Deangelo Weekly (Capital); former Ironton kicker Avery Book (Mercyhurst); Cabell Midland lineman Isaiah Hagley (West Virginia State); Hurricane running back Elijah Rivera (Allegheny);
Wayne girls basketball standout Laneigh Broos (WVU Tech); Ashland girls basketball layer Kenleigh Woods (Alice Lloyd); Portsmouth West running back Ryan Sissel (Ashland University); Ironton wide receiver C.J. Martin (Army).
VISITS: Huntington High defensive back Zah Jackson and offensive lineman Robby Martin (Penn State), wide receivers Wayne Harris and Devin Jackson (Marshall); George Washington quarterback Abe Fenwick and South Point wide receiver Elijah Wilburn and lineman Dontae Harris (Marshall);
Cabell Midland running back Curtis Jones and linemen Michael Lunsford (Toledo) and Hagley (Fairmont State); Hagley (Pikeville); Jones and linebacker Hunter Giaomo (Marshall); Hurricane running back Jeremiah Riffle (Dayton); Spring Valley softball first baseman Brenna Reedy (Glenville State);
Sissel (Findlay); Winfield offensive lineman Caden Beam (Concord, University of Charleston); Ironton softball star Isabella Sorbilli (Ashland University) and quarterback Tayden Carpenter (Georgetown College); softball stars Madison Pitts of Spring Valley and Lindzie Runions of Poca (Rio Grande); Spring Valley softball infielder Sydney Turner (Indianapolis);
Ashland defensive back Kahlil Vaughn (Lindsey Wilson), linebacker Andre Richardson-Crews (Kentucky Christian) and wide receivers Terrell Jordan (Mount St. Joseph) and Asher Adkins (Miami-Ohio); Coal Grove running back Chase Hall (Ohio); Point Pleasant quarterback Evan Roach (Morehead State).
NOTES, QUOTES, ANECDOTES: South Point offensive lineman Maurice Long has been selected to play in the Ohio North-South all-star football game April 29 in Massillon. Bill Renzi of Russell was named the Kentucky High School Athletic Association’s volleyball official of the year.
Huntington High won the Cabell County boys swimming championship. Huntington St. Joe freshman basketball standout Ava Gallion has returned from a knee injury that kept her out all season. Steven Cook is the new head football coach at Wyoming East. Ted Arneault is the new football coach at Weirton Madonna.