This past Thursday, I was honored to serve as master of ceremonies for The Augusta Chronicle All-Area Football Awards banquet. What a special night. In addition to honoring high school players from all over the Augusta area, three new members were inducted into the American Football Kicking Hall of Fame, and Louisiana Tech punter Ryan Allen was presented the Ray Guy Award as the nation’s top collegiate punter.
The night however, belonged to the high school honorees. The all-area teams were split into three groups: South Carolina, Georgia, and Independent Schools. Columbia County had plenty to be proud of, as a total of 11 Columbia County players were presented with All-Area First Team awards.
When I announced the Independent School players who were selected, it sounded like a broken record that was stuck on Augusta Christian. The Lions had eight of the 25 independent school players selected. They also swept the two big awards for their category, as Keith Walton won Independent School coach of the year and quarterback Tyler Roberson took home the award for independent school player of the year.
Columbia County also was featured in one of the night’s final two big awards. While Burke County star Donquell Green took home the Deon Grant Award as the top player for the entire Augusta area, Evans punter Jacob Rizner also received a very special award. He was named the Augusta Sports Council Punter of the Year for the second consecutive season.
The Sports Council is the Sponsor of the Ray Guy Award, and in 2006 they began giving out a high school equivalent of the Ray Guy Award to an area high school punter. Rizner is the first back-to-back winner. For the season he averaged 42.5 yards per punt and 14 of his 38 punts were downed inside the 15 yard line. Also, only seven of his punts were returned for a total of just 37 yards.
Here is a list of each Columbia County player honored by The Augusta Chronicle:
Independent schools First Team All-Area
Quarterback – Tyler Roberson (Augusta Christian)
Running back – Thomas Banks (Augusta Christian)
Wide receiver – Nick Fortenberry (Augusta Christian)
Wide receiver – Nate Plyant (Augusta Prep)
Offensive line – Matt Herzwurm (Augusta Christian)
Defensive line – Terin Quarles (Augusta Christian)
Defensive line – Sean Sweeting (Augusta Christian)
Linebacker – Gage Gilbert (Augusta Christian)
Defensive back – Kobie Brinson (Augusta Christian)
Georgia First Team All-Area
Linebacker – Javeon Brigham (Lakeside)
Punter – Jacob Rizner (Evans)
On Thursday, another awards program, the WJBF All CSRA Award Show, will be held. This program will be televised on WJBF News Channel 6 in prime time from 8 to 9 p.m. WJBF only selects one player at each position from the entire Augusta area. Players from South Carolina, Georgia and all the independent schools were each considered for one of 26 coveted spots on this team. Each player receives a All-Area ring made especially for this event by Jostens.
In addition to the All-CSRA selections there will be four special awards handed out Thursday night. They will go to the coach of the year, offensive player of the year, defensive player of the year, and the overall CSRA player of the year.
I will have an overview of the WJBF All-CSRA Award Show in this Sunday’s News-Times.