Last year, Tyler Roberson made my job very easy. As I prepared to write my end-of-the-year All-County Football column, I did not have to put much thought into naming the County Player of the Year. Roberson threw for over 2,000 yards and 18 touchdowns, he ran for over 1,000 yards and 24 more scores, and he led Augusta Christian to a perfect 13-0 record and a state title. Yes, he made many debate for player of the year silly. Well, 2013 may be a different story. Roberson is at Tennessee-Chattanooga, leaving the county’s most coveted football award up for grabs. Here are a few players that may contend for the honor this season.
Thomas Banks (Augusta Christian, RB)
The Lions lost several key players to graduation, but Banks is back and he is bigger and stronger than ever. He rushed for 1,436 yards and 15 TDs on just 168 carries a year ago. He also caught 21 passes for 317 yards and five TDs. He will likely carry a much bigger workload this year, which means he could put up video game type numbers. Considering one of the Lions’ strengths this year is offensive line, 2,000 yards and 25-30 touchdowns is not out of the question.
Jonathan Edwards (Lakeside, WR/RB)
Edwards is not going to put up the numbers Banks will. However, he is just as electrifying. As a junior, Edwards averaged 11.2 yards every time he got his hands on the ball. He finished with six receptions for 615 yards and three scores.
He also ran the ball 48 times for 437 yards and five TDs. So if you compared Edwards and Banks based on number of touches it is almost a dead heat. Edwards does not have the luxury of a great offensive line.
Lakeside’s offensive front is a major question mark for the team. He will also be facing much better defenses this season. So, this could be a very close call by season’s end.
Touches from scrimmage: 189
Yards from scrimmage: 1,753
Average yards per touch: 9.3
Touchdowns from scrimmage: 20
Touches from scrimmage: 94
Yards from scrimmage: 1,052
Average yards per touch: 11.2
Touchdowns from scrimmage: 8
Banks had almost double the amount of touches. therefore, if you doubled Edwards’ opportunities and he kept up the same pace, Edwards would have more than 2,000 total yards and 16 scores. Both players are very good college prospects as well. Come February, they will both likely have a half dozen or so college offers to mull over. I give the slight player-of-the-year edge to Banks, but Edwards is a close second.
All of the players I did not pick as a front runner, should not worry all that much. I did not have Roberson as the favorite a year ago either. He was among the top 5-6 returning players, but he was not the top choice. Juwan Biggers of Grovetown was second in last year’s player of the year race, and he was not even mentioned in the pre-season.
That means, while Banks and Edwards are the early favorites, the winner will be decided on the gridiron over the next three months.
So guys like Jamal Richard at Greenbrier, Ronnie Graham at Evans and defensive standouts Kendall White and Rashad Roundtree at Lakeside have plenty of time to work on their campaign for County Player of the Year.