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Ashley Brown: All-County football team selected

Posted: December 18, 2016 - 1:27am
Evans football coach Lemuel Lackey led the Knights to a 7-4 finish, a region runner-up showing and a postseason appearance this past season. Chris Gay/Staff
Evans football coach Lemuel Lackey led the Knights to a 7-4 finish, a region runner-up showing and a postseason appearance this past season. Chris Gay/Staff

Another Football Season is in the books. 2016 was a great year in many ways. Four Columbia County teams earned postseason berths.

Evans finished 7-4, ran the table in the county, and narrowly missed winning a region title. Augusta Prep also won eight games, despite fielding a junior-laden ball club. Greenbrier raced out to a great start and fought hard in region play before missing the playoffs. All in all, it was another fun season of football.

Now, it is time to recognize the top individual performers with The 2016 All-Columbia County Football Team. The decisions were tough. Just take a look at the quality of the second-team linebackers and you can see there was a lot of talent to choose from. More deserving players than spots to fill in some cases.

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Player of the Year: Corey Watkins (Jr., Evans). This was a tough choice, but in the end I felt like Watkins did more for his team than just about anyone else. He helped guide Evans to a home playoff spot and a 7-3 regular season mark that included wins over Lakeside, Greenbrier, and Grovetown. He simply did it all for the Knights, finishing with 917 yards and 11 touchdowns on the ground, and more than 200 receiving yards with one TD. He also averaged 42.7 yards on kick returns with a score and 23.9 yards per punt return with yet another score. He also chipped in on defense with 42 tackles a pair of interceptions, 2 fumble recoveries, and 1 forced fumble. Watkins was also at his best in the biggest games. He rushed for 150 yards and a pair of scores on 19 carries and set up another score with a 75-yard kick return in the Knights' big win over Grovetown. Every time he touched the ball was a possible highlight reel play.

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Coach of the Year: Lemuel Lackey (Evans). In just his second season at Evans, Coach Lackey led the Knights to a seven-win season and a runner-up finish in Region 3-AAAAAA. The win total is even more impressive when you consider that four of the Knights' five non-region opponents earned playoff berths. Evans also toppled county foes Grovetown, Greenbrier and Lakeside in successive weeks to earn the title of Top Dog in Columbia County. Perhaps most impressive was Evans' 4-1 record on the road this season.

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Offensive Player of the Year: Levin Lackey (Sr., Evans). In my opinion, Lackey did not get the notoriety he deserved this season. He did not put up monster numbers, but he was versatile and efficient for the Knights. He ran for more than 600 yards and 6 scores, while throwing for more than 1,200 yards and 7 more touchdowns. He was first- team all-region and has been selected to play in the Border Bowl. He is also getting interest from Division II p rograms in football and baseball.

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Defensive Player of the Year: Shahin O'Neal (Sr., Grovetown). This was an extremely tough choice. It came down to O'Neal, Coby Germany (Evans) and Roshod Nixon (Greenbrier). In the end, I felt like O'Neal was the most disruptive player opposing offenses had to deal with. He led the county with 10 QB sacks. He had another 6 tackles for loss and 8 QB hurries. He had 55 total tackles and a blocked FG as well. His most telling stats were his 5 forced fumbles and 3 fumble recoveries. He even ran one back for a TD. He has a preferred walk-on offer at Toledo, and his recruitment is really just heating up.

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First-team offense
QB: Levin Lackey (Sr., Evans) Ran for over 600 yards and threw for more than 1,200 with 13 total touchdowns. Was a first-team all-region selection.

RB: Latravius Holiday (Sr., Evans) Rushed for 1,169 yards and 12 touchdowns. Was candidate for County Player of the Year and Top Offensive Player. Also, had 38 tackles and 3 QB sacks on defense.

RB: B.J. Stone (Jr., Augusta Prep) Led the county with more than 1,500 yards rushing. First-team all-region and honorable mention all-state for the Cavaliers.

RB: JQ Brown (Soph., Greenbrier) Only a 10th-grader but rushed for nearly 1,100 yards and 9 touchdowns. First-team all-region choice.

WR: Justin Gibbs (Sr., Grovetown) Despite battling a nagging ankle injury most of the season, Gibbs still managed to grab 36 passes for 353 yards and 3 scores. He has more than 20 D-I scholarship offers.

WR: Ayden Panzella (Soph., Greenbrier) Had 21 catches for 385 yards and a pair of scores. Has a great future.

WR: Breshawn Willis (Jr., Evans) Big play guy for the Knights. Had 493 yards and 3 touchdown grabs for EHS.

TE/HB: Garrett Marchman (Sr., Greenbrier) Known primarily as a baseball player, but that all changed with just one season of play on the gridiron. His powerhouse blocking keyed Greenbrier's ground attack.

OL: Deshawn Osborne (Sr., Evans) First-team all-region and selected for the Border Bowl. Getting looks from several colleges, including Stetson, Savannah St. and Benedict.

OL: Cole Norsworthy (Sr., Evans) One of the leaders up front for the Knights the last two seasons.

OL: Hinson Fowler (Jr., Augusta Prep) 6'3" 248 lb standout for the Cavs. Was Augusta Prep's only first-team all-state selection.

OL: Karston Messer (Sr., Lakeside) All-region pick that graded out at 95 percent for the Panthers.

OL: Jordan Adams (Sr., Greenbrier) Leader up front for the Pack. First-team all-region.

OL: Waylin Bell (Jr., Harlem) 6'3" 290 lb., but athletic and quick for his size. Selected to play in the CSRA Junior Bowl and was first-team all-region.

Athlete: Lane Phillips (Sr., Harlem) Ran for more than 1,100 yards and 14 TDs and threw for 532 yards and 2 more scores. Also, had 31 tackles on defense. Being recruited by Berry, Samford and Newberry

Athlete: Corey Watkins (Jr., Evans) Accounted for 15 touchdowns this season (11 rush, 2 receiving, 1 kick return and 1 punt return). Also had 42 tackles and a pair of interceptions.

Athlete: Nick Reid (Sr., Lakeside) Injuries are the only thing that slowed Reid down this season. Still managed to rush for 650 yards and 6 scores with 350 yards passing and 3 more TDs. First-team all-region.

Returns: Verenzo Holmes (Sr., Grovetown) Region 3-AAAAAA Special Teams Player of the Year. Returned 17 kicks for 552 yards (over 31 yards per return) and 2 scores. Also, a great defensive back with 15 D-I offers.

Kicker: Donny McLean (Jr., Grovetown) Did not get as many chances as some other kickers, but he made the most of those chances nailing 19 of 20 PATs and going a perfect 4 0f 4 on field goal tries, with a long of 37 yards.

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First-team defense
DL: Coby Germany (Jr, Evans) Should get plenty of attention from colleges next season. Had 81 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss and 6 sacks this season. Also caused 2 fumbles and recovered one.

DL: Shahin O'Neal (Sr., Grovetown) Led the county with 10 sacks. Earned Region 3-AAAAAA Defensive Player of the Year. Was almost impossible to block this season.

DL: Dylan Hammett (Sr., Lakeside) 12 tackles for loss and 45 total stops. First-team all-region.

DL: Michael Thomas (Sr., Greenbrier) Led the way up front for a solid Greenbrier defense. Shocked he did not make first-team all-region.

LB: Roshod Nixon (Sr., Greenbrier) Under the radar before the season, but changed that pretty quick in 2016. Had 73 tackles, 4 fumble recoveries, 3 forced fumbles, and 2 interceptions. Also, blocked 4 kicks.

LB: David Bramble (Sr., Augusta Prep) Heart and soul of the Cavs team that finished 8-2. Led the team and was among CSRA leaders in tackles. Also, rushed for over 1,000 yards. Excellent student-athlete.

LB: Greggory Rodgers (Jr., Grovetown) Led the team with 108 tackles. Chosen to play for Team USA vs. Canada in February and gained good recruiting momentum.

LB: DJ Lewis (Jr., Evans) Piled up 104 tackles for the Knights. Seemed to always be around the ball. Had 9.5 tackles for loss.

LB: Jake Knight (Sr., Evans) Had 96 tackles, 11 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks for EHS. Team leader throughout his career.

DB: Andrew Mumford (Sr., Greenbrier) 56 Tackles and a pair of interceptions. First-team all-region performer.

DB: Martrell Beall (Sr., Grovetown) 61 tackles, 3 sacks, 3 interceptions, 2 forced fumbles, and 2 fumble recoveries. Also, blocked a pair of kicks and took one for a TD.

DB: Russell Page (Sr., Grovetown) Underrated player who plays very physical. Had 91 tackles. One of the hardest hitters in the county.

DB: Antonio Oliver (Sr., Grovetown) Great athlete with over 15 D-I offers. Had 42 tackles, 1 INT, 1 blocked kick, 1 forced fumble on the season.

Punter: Brendan Gribek (Soph., Lakeside) Averaged 36 yards per punt and landed 23 kicks inside the opponents 20-yard line.

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Second-team offense
QB: Taylor Youngblood (Grovetown)

RB: E'Mon Reeves (Augusta Christian)

RB: D'Angelo Durham (Grovetown)

RB: Jacob Matthews (Harlem)

WR: Graham Tulowitzky (Lakeside)

WR: Connor Sommers (Evans)

HB: Hunter Encapera (Augusta Prep)

OL: Sam Knight (Evans)

OL: Christian Williams (Harlem)

OL: Carlos Carter (Lakeside)

OL: Darrin Transou (Grovetown)

OL: Eric Chatman (Greenbrier)

Kicker: Max Tyler (Evans)

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Second-team Defense
DL: Hamp Gibbs (Augusta Prep)

DL: Ben Prescott (Evans)

DL: Cam Voliton (Grovetown)

DL: Baret Doss (Lakeside)

DL: Xayvion Johnson (Evans)

LB: Shamar Cofield (Grovetown)

LB: Brendan Maddox (Harlem)

LB: Chicago Certain (Grovetown)

LB: Jacob Hardin (Lakeside)

LB: Grayson Sheppard (Harlem)

LB: Houston Barbee (Evans)

DB: Reid Tulowitzky (Lakeside)

DB: Jason Delley (Evans)

DB: Tyler Mullins (Evans)

DB: Phenix Jenkins (Evans)

Punter: Matt Davidson (Evans)

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Honorable mention
Evans: Cameron Caldwell, Tyson Scott, Adrian Tillman, Davis Watson, Skylar O'Dell, Aharon Davidson

Greenbrier: Tareal Hooks, Jaden Smith, Tyson Garnett, Kolby Jones, Bryce Atchison, Talon Godfrey

Grovetown: Elijah Reed, Tres Omar, Kyle Bryant, A.J. Brown

Harlem: Jeremy Glidewell, Brody Lane, Shaun Tate, Jody Cooper, Triston Williams, Curt Muns, Dequan Dorsey, Dawson Los

Lakeside: Savon Stokes, Lathan McLaurin, Gray Nichols, Sam Han, Troy Pelep, John Arneman, Cameron Jackson, Will Childers

Augusta Christian: Jackson Wingard, Griffin Hansen, Nyle Grove

Augusta Prep: Will Dorn, James Garnett, Caleb Wells

 

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