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McMeans bid falls short

When the finalists for 2A Back of the Year was announced, the trio shared something in common. All three had played against each other.

Now, with the season officially over, the awards have been given out.

Despite Leroy's senior tailback Darius Ervin playing a contributing role in the Bears run to a state title and

Zane McMeans 2,319 yards as a junior at Georgiana, Washington County's Tim Hicks was named the 2A Back of the Year for 2004.

"I don't have any problem with Hicks winning the award," said Scott Phelps, coach of the Bears.

"I thought he was well deserving of the award. Especially since he just had an accumulation of good years as a back and he was there last year. It just says a lot about his career. I do believe they voted before we played our game( state championship). "

"I think people got to Darius play, and I think that helped him out, but I don't think made a difference because Hicks was there last year."

Hicks became a winner after finishing last season as the runner up.

"In a way I was surprised, Zane had more yards and more touchdowns, but it was still an honor for him to be selected in those three," said Keith York, coach of the Georgiana Panthers.

McMeans became the driving force for the Panthers down the stretch run of the season, posting at least 100 yards in all but one game this season.

Hicks was able to match McMeans's numbers last season, but fell well short in 2004. Despite tearing his Anterior Cruciate, Media-Collateral and Posterior Cruciate ligaments

during the 10th game of the season, Hicks carried the football 138 times for 1,712 yards and 21 touchdowns.

"I really did think Tim would win," said David Wofford, coach of the Washington County High Bulldogs.

"Any of the three could have won it. But Timothy definitely had the inside track. He came in his senior year and carried us with one offensive starter and defensive starter. "

"We lost 17 starters Timothy really carried us in a year full of inexperience. It was more a feat this year for him running for 1,700 yards with a new offensive line than for 2,400 yards last year with a senior-laden one."

During Hicks's four years as a Bulldog, he ran for a total of 800 yards as a freshman, 1,300 yards as a sophomore and 2,400 yards as a junior and then finished with a 1,700 yards season as a senior.

When the two teams went head to head for the final playoff spot in 2A, McMeans racked up 382 yards and three touchdowns.

"Zane is an outstanding back and being a junior I think he's going to be a frontrunner next season," said Wofford.

Hicks finished the night with 239 yards rushing and four touchdowns.

The award for back of the year along with other annual position awards and the title of Mr. Football were given out Wednesday in a banquet at Birmingham Southern College.

"They got all three of the nominees on stage," said York, "and everyone was presented a plaque. Then they named Hicks as the 2A Back of the Year. Everything was real nice."

For Ervin and Hicks, this marks the end of their high school careers.

According to Phelps, Ervin is making plans to play football on the next level. He is currently being recruited Jacksonville State, the University of West Alabama, Alabama A&M and Delta State in Mississippi.

Hicks is also making plans to continue his athletic career. The 5'8, 186-pound senior is currently planning to attend college as well, although the when and the where have yet to be determined.

"Before his knee injury," said Wofford, "several different schools were looking at him, Alabama Troy and Southern Miss to name a few."

But for McMeans, it means another off-season in the weight room.

"He'll continue to work hard and push himself just to try to top what he did this year," said York.

Next season's schedule's have not been set, but all three teams will play each other again due to them being in the same region.

Leroy is the defending 2A state champions and both squads will have to face McMeans and the Panthers in the heart of Panther Territory, in Georgiana.