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There's been no shortage of prep football talent

Posted: December 22, 2013 - 1:05am
Lakeside's Rashad Roundtree falls on a fumble diring the game against Warner Robins. Photo by Jim Blaylock
Lakeside's Rashad Roundtree falls on a fumble diring the game against Warner Robins. Photo by Jim Blaylock

This was a tremendous year on the gridiron. For the second straight year a Columbia County team won a state championship; Harlem posted a seven-win season; Lakeside made the GHSA state playoffs; and Evans knocked off Lakeside in arguably the game of the year in the CSRA. The Knights earned county bragging rights with their come-from-behind shocker over the Panthers, while Lakeside was the lone public school to earn a playoff berth. Panthers defensive back Rashad Roundtree also emerged as one of the top players in the state for the Class of 2015. We had dozens of players who deserved recognition, so here is our 2013 All-County Football Team.

FIRST TEAM OFFENSE

QB Hunter Banks (Sr. Lakeside) Banks was 111 for 212 passing with over 1,600 yards and 16 TDs. He was second team All-Region.

RB Austin Burt (Jr. Harlem) Burt may be the most underrated player in the CSRA. The 6-0, 206-pound junior amassed 1,186 yards and nine TDs on 211 carries. He is a first team All Region choice in 3-AA. He is getting interest from several Division I programs.

RB Nolan Brandon (Sr. Augusta Prep) Brandon had an incredible senior campaign. He carried the ball 272 times for 1,798 yards and 29 TDS and helped guide the Cavaliers to an 11-1 mark and the Glory for Christ league title. He also had 81 tackles at LB for Prep’s defense. He will be attending the Naval Academy and plans to be a walk-on player for the Navy football team.

WR B.J. Raymond (Jr. Lakeside) First team All-Region selection after hauling in 37 passes for 596 yards and six TDs. Raymond also had 43 tackles and three interceptions on defense. He is starting to get lots of attention from college scouts.

TE Mike Downing (Sr. Augusta Prep) The Cavaliers rarely threw the ball, but Downing managed to catch 10 passes for 239 yards and three TDs. He also ran the ball five times for 109 yards and a TD and completed eight passes for 81 yards and a TD. Most importantly, he anchored an offensive line that piled up an astounding 4,200 yards rushing, piling up 75 knockdown blocks on the year.

OL Clay Norsworthy (Sr. Evans) The 6-2, 233-pound Norsworthy was a three-year starter for the Knights. He graded out at 89 this year and stepped up in the biggest games this year. He is getting attention from several small-college programs.

OL Zach Giella (Jr. Augusta Christian) At 6-7, 295 pounds, it is easy to spot Giella on the field. That is good for recruiters who will be flocking to see Giella play next season. He is getting interest from Missouri, Pittsburgh, Duke, Arkansas, FSU, UGA, Vanderbilt, Indiana and Mississippi State.

OL Nick McGee (Jr. Lakeside) The 5-11, 250-pound McGee helped spearhead the Panthers’ dangerous offense this season. He earned Second Team All-Region honors in 2-AAAAA.

OL Joey Shaffer (Jr. Lakeside) Shaffer was solid on both lines of scrimmage for LHS. The 5-11, 245-pounder was a second team All Region choice and is one of many returning players that has Panthers’ fans excited.

OL Mac McCall (Sr. Augusta Prep) McCall was the leader up front for a Cavaliers offense that amassed 4,760 yards in just 12 games. He had 54 knockdown blocks and also had 53 tackles on defense.

OL Thomas Richey (Sr. Evans) The 6-0, 256 lb. Richey is an intelligent and intense player. His leadership will be sorely missed next season. He will likely be playing on Saturdays, as Newberry and West Georgia are showing interest in his services.

Athlete Stephen Houzah (Jr. Lakeside) Houzah emerged this summer as a player to watch. He rewarded those who did watch with a sensational campaign for the Panthers. He did a little bit of everything this year. He caught 16 passes for 235 yards and two TDs; he rushed for 113 yards and a TD on 13 carries; and he returned four kickoffs for touchdowns this year. He was a threat to go the distance the minute he stepped on the field. Houzah also had 57 tackles and five interceptions. He was named first team All-Region and is getting attention from D-I Programs.

All-Purpose Nate Pylant (Sr. Augusta Prep) Nate’s move to QB early in the season was a key to Prep’s incredible championship run this season. Pylant piloted the Cavs offense with precision. He rushed for 845 yards and 12 TDs on 77 carries. He was 17 of 31 passing for 407 yards and three TDs. He also had an 80-yard kick return for a score. That was just on offense. Defensively, Pylant had 78 tackles and recovered five fumbles, returning two of them for scores. He will play at Davidson College next season.

All-Purpose Bryson Ashmore (Sr. Augusta Christian) With star RB Thomas Banks nursing an injury early in the season, Ashmore picked up the slack, rushing for 747 yards on just 87 carries (8.6 per carry) He also caught 12 passes for 129 yards. Defensively, Ashmore made 56 stops and picked off three passes.

First Team Defense

DL Devin Lampkin (Jr. Evans) Lampkin has great movement for a big guy. The 6-0, 265-pounder had 45 tackles, six tackles for a loss, and created a log jam up the middle for opposing teams.

DL Javan Marshall (Jr. Evans) Marshall had 41 tackles on the season and used his 6-0, 245-pound frame to cause problems for opposing offenses all season. He is an intense competitor. His father, Bernard, was a stellar two-sport athlete and was on Evans’ 1988 state championship baseball team.

DL Kendall White (Sr. Lakeside) The 6-2, 230-pound White will play at Western Carolina nest season. He ended his prep career on a good note with 75 tackles, four sacks and nine tackles for loss. He earned first team All-Region honors.

DL Tyler Sheppard (Sr. Harlem) Sheppard has had an outstanding high school career. The 6-1, 215-pound DE/LB will play at Liberty University next year. This season he had 104 tackles, five fumble recoveries and seven QB sacks.

LB Daniel Cotty (Sr. Lakeside) At 6-1, 210 pounds, Cotty had the perfect size for his position, and he used it to pile up 80 tackles for the Panthers. He was named first team All-Region in 3-AAAAA and will definitely be playing on Saturdays next year.

LB Jonquell Jones (Sr. Evans) In seems like the 5-11, 212-pound Jones has been playing for a decade at Evans. Well, he certainly left his mark. This season, Jones had 96 tackles and nine tackles for loss. He was a first team All-Region pick.

LB Justin Jackson (Sr. Evans) Jackson has emerged as a solid college prospect. The 6-1, 193-pound standout earned second team All-Region honors after posting 73 tackles, nine tackles for a loss and two sacks this season for the Knights.

LB Kevin Huggins (Sr. Augusta Prep) Terrific all around player for Augusta Prep. Huggins led the Cavs with 109 tackles, had two QB sacks and forced a fumble. He also was a standout on offense, rushing for 1,092 yards on 144 carries (9.6 per carry) and nine TDS.

DB David Mims (Sr. Evans) Mims had a terrific senior season. He amassed 90 tackles, seven tackles for loss, two interceptions, and one fumble recovery. The 6-0, 190-pound Mims will likely play at a prep school or a junior college next year.

DB K’Lon Lovett (Sr. Evans) Simply a great all around player. Lovett did it all for Evans. He had 47 tackles, three interceptions, six pass break-ups, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. He also had 25 receptions for 312 yards on offense. He has received several scholarship offers.

DB Mason McDaniel (Sr. Harlem) McDaniel had 105 tackles and led the county with seven interceptions. The 6-0 185-pounder was not afraid to lay the lumber. He is tough as nails and a great competitor.

DB Rashad Roundtree (Jr. Lakeside) Roundtree was named first team All-Region last season as a sophomore and he built on the fine showing by emerging as one of the top prospects in Georgia for 2015. This season, he helped the Panthers advance to the state playoffs leading the team in tackles with 97 and earning Region 2-AAAAA Defensive Player of the Year.

Honorable Mention

Evans: Matlin Marshall and Sean Vandiver

Greenbrier: Chris Michals, Jamal Richard, Malcolm Thomas and Michael Kay

Grovetown: Donovan Davis, Reggie Cox, Jeremiah Moss, Desmond Sampson, Linward Jackson, Charles Lindermuth, Zach Merritt and Eugene Govan

Harlem: Jordan Dorsey, Austin Hubert, Andrew Smith, Carson Gurley, Hunter Maddix, Tanner Miller and Jonathan Worrell

Lakeside:Forrest Nanney, Jonathan Edwards, Jalen Harrison, Micah Johnson, Austen Townsend, Ishmael Bethel and Zaccheus Banks

Aug. Christian:Thomas Banks, Alan Worsham, Nick Fortenberry and Tyquan Burns

Augusta Prep: Jonathan Grickis, Jordan Smalley, Patrick Reynolds, Sam Cleary and Steven Vinson

(Thomas Banks (ACS) and Jonathan Edwards (Lakeside) were tough to keep off the first team, but both dealt with injuries this season that kept their production down.)

Coach of the Year: Harry Bacheller (Augusta Prep)

This was a year where you could actually make a good argument for three or four coaches. Evans swept the county this year, Lakeside made the GHSA state playoffs, Harlem posted seven wins, and Augusta Prep went 11-1 with Regional Title under their belt.

In the end I chose Bacheller narrowly over Harlem’s Jimmie Lewis. Bacheller’s team labored in obscurity last season and early this year. However as the wins piled up people took notice. Bacheller has had stints at two of Georgia’s premier private school programs in St. Pius and Marist, and he brought their ground attack with him when he took over the Cavaliers’ program. His team racked up 4,200 yards rushing and more than 4,700 yards of total offense this year. They outscored their opponents 457-143 and averaged over 38 points per game.

Some may say they played in a weak league, but keep in mind they beat Curtis Baptist 33-14, and Curtis was the GISA Class A Runner-up this year.

Player of the Year: Rashad Roundtree (Lakeside)

While we had several terrific players in the county this year, when it came time to a pick a player of the year, it was hard to look past Roundtree. The 6-1, 198-pound safety was the heart and soul of Lakeside’s defense. This year he became the team’s vocal leader, and he backed it up with stellar play on the field. He led the team with 97 tackles from his safety position. He also picked off four passes, forced three fumbles, and had two fumble recoveries.

He was named the Defensive Player of the Year in Region 2-AAAAA which features a pair of powerhouse programs in Northside Warner Robins and Warner Robins. Some players just look the part. You know the minute you see them that they can play. Roundtree epitomizes that notion. The game seems to come easy for him, but he is an extremely hard worker. He already has an offer from Duke, and I would not be surprised if this time next year he has offers from a dozen SEC/ACC schools.

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