McMeans Back of the Year finalist, gets All-Star invite

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Several weeks ago a list was released by the Alabama High School Athletic Association that named the nominees for various year-end awards.

That list has been amended to three finalists at each position.

In class 2A, the three backs that have been named finalists all have on thing in common – they played against each other during the regular season.

Zane McMeans from Georgiana High School, Tim Hicks from Washington County High School and Darius Ervin from Leroy High School are all nominated for the award.

"It just surprised me," said McMeans. "I'm happy about being a finalist though."

With this nomination and making the final cut, McMeans is also a nominee for Mr. Football Alabama.

During the regular season Georgiana, Leroy and Washington County all competed against each other.

"It's really remarkable that all three backs are from the same region," said Keith York, coach of the Panthers. "They are all quality running backs. It says something about those three. In order for a player to be on the list the head coach has to nominate a player. But they don't get to be in the top three unless other coaches who have played against him nominate him. From there it's a selection committee that determines who makes the final list."

To further illustrate how competitive this region was, each school scored a win over the other.

Leroy beat Georgiana.

Washington County beat Leroy and then Georgiana beat Washington County in the last game of the season.

For the Panthers that last game of the season could be easily described as a track meet between McMeans and Hicks.

Zane carried the football for 382 yards and three touchdowns while his counterpart Hicks carried the ball for 239 yards and four touchdowns. Both backs received mention in that week's Prep Football Spotlight.

"That game was very big for him," York said. "He was going head to head with Tim Hicks, last year's back of the year. The thing about Zane though is that he's unselfish. He knows it can't happen without those other guys and it's all about team to him. He's the first one to tell you that his teammates played a big part in it."

The Panthers won the game 42-35 and with an Excel loss received a bid into the 2004 playoffs.

During the last game of the season, McMeans would have broken the 400-yard mark had he not had a touchdown called back in the second half.

The winner will be announced on December 15 at a banquet held at Birmingham Southern.

For McMeans though, that's not the only accolade he's garnered.

Monday night, York informed him that he had just been invited to play in the North vs. South All-Star game.

"It makes you nervous, I'm going in there without my fullback," said McMeans. "I've never played on turf before."

This year's All-Star game will be played on the turf of Movie Gallery Stadium in Troy and will be the first time that the teams are comprised of primarily juniors.

Kickoff for the game is 3 p.m. and it will be played on Dec. 21 in Troy.