You can’t fully say goodbye to 2017 without a look back at another fun football season. Capping off a year that saw four teams make the state playoffs and one reach the quarterfinals comes the Fayette Newspapers All-County honors.
Topping the individual honors is the man pulling the trigger for the Panthers. Joey DeLuca of Starr’s Mill is the Player of the Year. DeLuca, a senior quarterback who started 37 games with two region titles and three playoff trips, finished with 901 yards passing, 455 yards rushing, and 6 touchdowns. With so many weapons in option attack to call on, it was DeLuca that made it all run. “He’s a good kid. He’s a good leader,” said his coach, Chad Phillips. While his stat line might not have caught the eye of some, his consistent contributions were the envy of opposing coaches. One coach told Phillips, “That quarterback makes your whole offense go,” and another said, “Nobody gives your quarterback the respect he deserves.” Phillips summed it up plainly, “All the coaches recognize the importance of what he does.”
New to playing under center, one Chief put up an amazing season. Dane Kinamon of McIntosh is Offensive Player of the Year. Kinamon, a junior, moved over to quarterback from wide receiver after a transfer left an opening, and the offense soared to new heights with him at the helm. Kinamon threw for 1,041 yards, completing 62 percent, with 15 touchdowns and just 2 interceptions. He added another 754 yards and 9 touchdowns on the ground. “Dane Kinamon is coachable, he’s a fierce competitor, and he cares about his teammates,” said McIntosh coach Lee Belknap. “You are thankful a kid like him is in your program.”
Bursting onto the map with a dynamic senior season, Coltin Houser of Starr’s Mill is the Defensive Player of the Year. Houser paced the Panther pass rush, piling up 61 tackles and a ridiculous 13 sacks. He left his fingerprints all over a number of games as things started to click for him, and now colleges are starting to take notice too. “It’s really the first year he’s stood out,” said Philips. “He’s a talent. There’s no question he’s a talent.”
It wasn’t always the plan for him to be a two-way star, but when his team needed him, he made the most of his opportunities. Ahmad Ragland of McIntosh is the Ironman of the Year. Ragland, a senior linebacker and running back, was at the heart of the defense all along, piling up 91 tackles, 1 sack, 3 forced fumbles, and 3 fumble recoveries. When their lead back went down with a season-ending injury, Ragland stepped up and filled in with a big run down the stretch, piling up 535 rushing yards and 5 touchdowns to help lead the Chiefs back to the playoffs.
“Ahmad Ragland is a great teammate. He is unselfish and very committed to his football family,” said Belknap. “Playing both ways never seemed to bother him. He just plays hard until the game is over and shows up on Monday ready to go again with a smile on his face.”
Most years the next award isn’t given out. Most years you don’t have a talent make such an impact in their first year of high school ball. Jared Nedd of Fayette County is the Freshman of the Year. Nedd, a linebacker, racked up 91 tackles as part of a hard-hitting Tiger defense. It’s a great start for Nedd, but the best is yet to come. “Nedd has the ability to be an outstanding linebacker,” said Fayette County coach Mike Davis. “He works hard, has a good attitude, and good football IQ. I’m expecting good things from him.”
Among a host of great options, Chad Phillips of Starr’s Mill is Coach of the Year. Playing with a bullseye on their backs all season, Phillips led his Panthers to an 11-2 record, a second straight region championship, and a berth in the state quarterfinals.
Leading off the All-County First Team at quarterback is Maddox Mueller of Whitewater. Mueller, a sophomore, got his chance to start due to an injury and he made the most of it, throwing for 1,068 yards and 11 touchdowns and running for 831 yards and 11 more scores.
It was a season played out heavily on the ground. Running back was an exceptionally hard position to pick with 10 players scoring double-digit touchdowns. Grabbing top spots are Bradley Ector of McIntosh, Jordan Clark of Sandy Creek, Miles Montgomery of Whitewater, and Caleb Pressley of Our Lady of Mercy. Ector, a senior, piled up 1,068 yards and 16 touchdowns at 7.8 yards per attempt before injury cut his season short with several games to go. Clark, a senior, ran violently for 1,023 yards and 15 touchdowns. Montgomery, a sophomore, piled up 1,125 yards and 14 touchdowns. Pressley, a senior, rewrote the Bobcat record books with 1,539 yards and 16 touchdowns.
Lining up at wide receiver are Ryan Cate of McIntosh, Amin Shaheed of Sandy Creek, and Jamal Jenkins of Whitewater. Cate, a junior, led the county in catches with 41, tallying 479 yards and 7 touchdowns and adding another 352 yards and 3 scores on the ground. Shaheed, a senior, had the most yards with 594 off 33 catches with 3 touchdowns. Jenkins, a senior, caught 15 passes for 397 yards and a 6 touchdowns.
The tight end is Trey Williams of McIntosh. Williams, a senior, caught 10 passes for 121 yards and 3 touchdowns.
The offensive line is made up of Sandy Creek’s Sam Barczak, Starr’s Mill’s Justin Sanders and Andrew Fierbaugh, and Whitewater’s Miles Langston and Zach Outhavong.
The defensive line is Austin Schriver of Starr’s Mill, Eathan Ange of McIntosh, and Sandy Creek’s Taylor Hodge and Nick Fulwider. Schriver, a senior, tallied 62 tackles and 7 sacks. Ange, a senior, posted 48 tackles and 7 sacks. Hodge, a Furman signee, anchored the Patriot defense in the middle. Fulwider, an Arkansas signee, was a terror off the edge.
The linebackers are Karlen Samples of Fayette County, Ryan Sanders of McIntosh, TJ Peavy of Sandy Creek, and Charlie Mizzell of Starr’s Mill. Samples, a senior, was named Region Defensive Player of the Year for his bone-rattling hits and 105 tackles. Sanders, a junior, posted 121 tackles. Peavy, a senior, piled up 42 tackles. Mizzell, a senior, racked up 98 tackles, 2 interceptions, and 4 fumble recoveries.
The secondary is made up of De’Andre Wade of McIntosh, Bryan McIver of Fayette County, LaCory Ryals of Sandy Creek, and Cameron Browning of Our Lady of Mercy. Wade, a senior, tallied 6 interceptions and 46 tackles. McIver, a senior, posted 60 tackles and 1 interception. Ryals, a senior, notched 4 interceptions and 32 tackles. Browning, a senior, posted 5 interceptions and 60 tackles.
The kicker is Michael Lantz of Starr’s Mill. Lantz, a junior, kicked 42 extra points and was 8 of 12 on field goals with a long of 50 yards.
The First Team is rounded out by the multi-talented players, Reggie Booker of Fayette County, Mitch Prowant of Starr’s Mill, and Our Lady of Mercy’s Javon Henderson and Taj Dodson. Booker, a junior wide receiver, defensive back, and return man, hauled in 24 catches for 506 yards and 4 touchdowns and notched 46 tackles and 1 interception. Prowant, a senior who played all over the Panther backfield, piled up 1,184 all-purpose yards, including 824 yards rushing, and 12 touchdowns. Henderson, a senior quarterback, wide receiver, and defensive back, threw for 728 yards and ran for 546 yards with 17 total touchdowns, then caught 10 passes for 169 yards and another score. Dodson, a junior receiver and defensive back, caught 21 passes for 220 yards and 4 touchdowns, ran for 360 yards and 5 scores, and racked up 92 tackles and 3 interceptions.
Kicking off the All-County Second Team at quarterback is Matthew Williams of Sandy Creek. Williams, a sophomore, led the county in passing with 1,577 yards. He threw for 6 touchdowns and ran for 3 more with an extra 277 yards on the ground.
At running back are Cole Gilley and Kalen Sims of Starr’s Mill and Corey Andrews and Jalil Dabney of Fayette County. Gilley, a senior, ran for 763 yards and 14 touchdowns in an injury-shortened season. Sims, a sophomore, flashed big-play ability with 871 yards and 13 touchdowns at 9.4 yards per attempt. Andrews, a senior, piled up 656 yards and 12 touchdowns. Dabney, a bruising senior, ran for 806 yards and 10 touchdowns.
At wide receiver are Brandon Rew of Starr’s Mill and Whitewater’s Hunter Williams and Nolan Wallace. Rew, a senior, caught 13 passes for 380 yards and 2 touchdowns. Williams, a junior, caught 20 passes for 338 yards and 3 touchdowns. Wallace, a senior, caught 23 passes for 269 yards and 2 touchdowns.
The tight end is Shane Leinberger. Leinberger, a junior, earned All-Region Second Team honors.
The offensive line is made up of Josh Battle of Sandy Creek, Aric Yelverton of Fayette County, Grayson Bullard of Whitewater, and McIntosh’s Cam Walter and Ryan Siegel.
The defensive line is Javon Coleman of Fayette County, Phillip Stout of Whitewater, and Our Lady of Mercy’s Tyler Hill and Adrain Andrews. Coleman, a junior, posted 55 tackles and 4 sacks. Stout, a junior, notched 39 tackles. Hill, a senior, put up 56 tackles and 2 sacks. Andrews, a senior, tallied 76 tackles and 3 sacks.
The linebackers are Jack Bylsma of Sandy Creek, Justin Smith of Our Lady of Mercy, and Whitewater’s Dalton Goodman, Will Lewis, and Grayson Samples. Bylsma, a senior, posted 40 tackles and 2 fumble recoveries. Smith racked up 113 tackles. Goodman, a senior, posted 74 tackles, 4 sacks, and an interception. Lewis, a junior, tallied 102 tackles and 3 sacks. Samples, a senior, notched 64 tackles and 3 sacks.
The secondary is made up of Phillip Pfaffman of Starr’s Mill, Tavian Suggs of Sandy Creek, Camron Ivey of Fayette County, and Nik Gcabashe of Whitewater. Pfaffman posted 37 tackles and 2 interceptions. Suggs, a senior, tallied 36 tackles and 3 sacks. Ivey, a sophomore, tallied 48 tackles and 2 interceptions. Gcabashe, a senior, posted 38 tackles.
The kicker is Aaron Hauck of Fayette County. Hauck had a long field goal of 41 yards for the Tigers.
Rounding out the Second Team are Jalen Moore of Our Lady of Mercy and Starr’s Mill’s Nick Brown and Ryan Cockes. Moore, a junior lineman, earned All-Region First Team honors on the offensive line and piled up 82 tackles and 3 sacks on defense. Brown, a senior running back and return man, piled up 1,253 all-purpose yards and 10 touchdowns. Cockes, a senior linebacker and punter, notched 40 tackles and 4 interceptions despite missing four games and earned All-Region Second Team honors at punter.
The squad is completed with a batch of deserving Honorable Mentions. Honorees for Fayette County are JeKobe Coleman, Cameron Carstarphen, and Jaylan Coleman. Honorees for McIntosh are Jake Ellis and Will Vaughn. Honorees for Sandy Creek are Rashad Amos, Ahmad Jackson, Till Garvin, Alexander Christopher, and Brian Branch. Honorees for Starr’s Mill are Eric Donevant, Endrit Hoti, Hunter Fenton, and Awbrey Mitchell. Honorees for Whitewater are Kyris Barnett, Jake Burns, and Donovan Stai. Honorees for Our Lady of Mercy are Tim Summers, Jerrell Smith, Tyson Meiguez, and Colin Schmitz.
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