2009 All-County team named
A strong showing by the Straughn football team in 2009 netted coach Trent Taylor and senior defensive end Caleb Cochran the top spots on the Andalusia Star-News All-County football team as Coach of the Year and Player of the Year.
Straughn finished with another successful season in 2009, making it all the way to the quarterfinal in the Class 3A state playoffs and winning seven games in a row at one point during the season.
The Tigers also make up five out of the 23 players on the All-County football team.
Coach of the Year — Trent Taylor, Straughn
Straughn head coach Trent Taylor is this year’s Coach of the Year.
In 2008, Taylor won the award after leading his team to an 8-3 record, including a 5-2 record in Class 3A, Region 1. This year, Taylor’s Tigers finished 2009 with a mark of 9-4, 6-1.
“I might get my name in the paper, but this is really a compliment to the kids and other coaches on the staff who worked hard all year long,” Taylor said. “We started off the year poorly, and it would have been hard for everyone to give up and just say, ‘Well, we’re not going to be very good this year.’
“But this team didn’t do that. They continued to play hard and they improved throughout the season, and that’s what you want as a head coach. I can’t say enough about the job my assistant coaches did this year; they put in lots of hours because they love the game and they love these kids.”
Andalusia and Opp advanced to the playoffs this year as well. Andalusia made it to the first round and Opp made it to the second.
The runner-up Coach of the Year is Brian Seymore of Andalusia.
Player of the Year — Caleb Cochran, Straughn
Straughn defensive end Caleb Cochran, this year’s Player of the Year, had 39 solo tackles and 42 assists, averaging 6.8 tackles per game. He was also considered a senior leader on Straughn’s defense.
Two of the six coaches in Covington County selected Cochran as the county’s best player.
“It’s quite an honor,” Cochran said in a telephone interview.
In 2008, his season came to an abrupt end during the second game against Choctaw County. Cochran tore his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and meniscus in his knee and sat on the sidelines for the duration of the season.
Cochran said being able to play again this season meant a lot to him, despite the fact that his team lost to Andalusia in the first game, 20-7.
“It was amazing,” he said. “You really don’t know what it feels like to stand on the sideline and know that you could be helping your team and giving it your all.
“Andalusia had a great quarterback and running back. The Lord just blessed me to be able to get to them.”
One moment that Cochran will take with him for the rest of his life was on the Thursday afternoon before the Cordova game on Nov. 20.
“We were all sitting in the weight room waiting for coach Taylor to give his speech for the week,” Cochran said. “I’ll never forget it when all he said was, ‘Wow. Coach (John) Fussell, do you have anything you would like to add?’”
Taylor said Cochran was a player whose “motor never quit.”
“Caleb played hard every snap, whether we were leading or behind,” he said. “It is certainly gratifying to see a kid bounce back from an injury like that, not only physically but also mentally. Early in the year, if it was bothering him mentally, you would never realize it by watching how hard he was playing.
And he’d also be the first to tell you to give credit to his teammates; it was really a team effort for our defense this year.”
The runner-up Player of the Year is Straughn’s Josh Dewrell.
On the offensive side of the ball, Straughn makes up four slots out of 11 on the team.
Straughn’s Josh Dewrell was selected as the quarterback. He was 35-for-76 for 450 yards and threw four touchdown passes. He also had 163 carries for 852 yards and had 16 rushing touchdowns.
His teammate, Eric Samuel, was named one of the two running backs. Samuel had 97 carries for 745 yards and nine touchdowns. He was not able to play in the first five games of the season due to injury.
Andalusia’s T.K. Bullard is the other running back on the team. Bullard ran for 692 yards on 126 carries and seven touchdowns. He also completed six two-point conversion attempts.
Andalusia’s Keontae Freeney, Straughn’s Chase Parker, Opp’s Garrett Grider and Florala’s Matthew Gibbs make up the offensive line.
On the receiving side of the ball, Straughn’s James Byrd was named the tight end. The wide receivers are Andalusia’s O’Brien Curry, Opp’s Josh Thompson and Andalusia’s Derrick King.
Curry had 21 receptions for 329 yards and two touchdowns. Thompson had 14 receptions for 260 yards and five touchdowns. King had 16 receptions for 289 yards and two touchdowns.
Opp’s Josh Scarbrough, running back — Scarbrough had 120 carries for 702 yards and 11 touchdowns averaging 63.8 yards per game.
Opp’s Richard Davis, running back — Davis had 175 carries for 918 yards and six touchdowns.
Andalusia’s Aaron Norris, offensive line.
On the defensive side of the ball, Andalusia’s Johnnie Jones takes the top spot for the linebackers’ position. Red Level’s Desmond Jones and Straughn’s Nick Allen take the No. 2 and 3 spots in the linebacker position. Allen had 131 total tackles.
Cochran, Pleasant Home’s Ethan Soles and Andalusia’s Jacard Townsend make up the defensive line.
Opp’s Britt Wilson, Red Level’s Preston Ryce, Florala’s Hunter Oswald and Andalusia’s Ken Chambers fill the defensive back positions on the team.
Wilson had 77 tackles and Oswald had 76.
The punter is Opp’s Gavin Free and the kicker is Opp’s Hunter Jones.
Andalusia’s Shane Dorsey will take the returner spot on the special teams. Dorsey had one kick off return for 89 yards.
Straughn’s C.J. Christopher, defensive back.
Opp’s Richard Davis, defensive back.
Andalusia’s Lexius Bradley, defensive line.
The All-County team was compiled by Star-News sports editor Andrew Garner. Each of the six county coaches was invited to nominate players to the team.