2012 Class 3A-4A All County team

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Straughn’s historic run in the Class 3A state semifinals highlight the Andalusia Star-News’ Class 3A-4A All-County football team. The Tigers finished the season in the seimifinals, falling 35-14 to eventual state runner up, Fayette County. SHS finished the regular season 6-3 and the No. 4 seed out of Region 1. In the first round, SHS beat then-undefeated Daleville 35-7; and handled Trinity Presbyterian’s pass attack easily in round two. On the road at Midfield, Straughn gritted its teeth and took out the versatility of the Patriots in a 17-13 win in Birmingham to reach the semifinals for the first time in school history. As a result of Straughn’s success this season, the Tigers assistant coaches have been selected as the Coaches of the Year. Straughn senior quarterback Chase Short was selected as the Offensive Player of the Year, and Straughn’s Dillan Conner was selected as the Defensive Player of the Year. The head coaches from Andalusia, Straughn and Opp were invited to vote for the All-County football team. The Class 3A-4A Reader’s Choice Player of the Year is Straughn’s Devin Scott and Chase Short. Both received 96 votes.

Coaches of the Year — Straughn assistants Ray Wilson, John Fussell, Kenny Skipper, Garrett Windham, Bret Page and Ricky Messick

Tigers head football coach Trent Taylor said his staff made all the difference this season and so deserves the recognition.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better staff,” Taylor said. “I got some guys who put a lot of long hours in. I think our situation’s a little different in that in the number of kids that we have, the number of coaches aren’t proportionate to what you like it to be. Consequently, the guys have to work a little bit harder.

“I think you take into consideration that I’ve got some assistant coaches that are very, very driven,” he said. “They love what they do. They understand what it takes to be good at it.”

What makes this bunch of coaches really special is their chemistry on and off the field, Taylor said.

“If you could’ve seen the work that went in to the preparation for Daleville, then Trinity and then to Midfield, and Fayette County; there were times that I wanted to say let’s go home,” he said. “They were persistent and did what they needed to do.”

Wilson is Straughn’s offensive coordinator, Fussell is the defensive coordinator, Skipper coaches the offensive line and Windham coached the defensive line and tight ends.

The runner-up Coach of the Year is Brian Seymore of Andalusia.

Offensive Player of the Year — Chase Short, Straughn

Straughn senior quarterback Chase Short described his style of play this season as one of being a leader for a team who craved it game in and game out.

“They knew that I wouldn’t give up and I’d fight to the end,” he said.

Short finished the season with 783 yards on 143 carries and scored 15 rushing touchdowns. In passing, he was 40-of-82 for 634 yards and six touchdowns.

In clutch situations, Short helped lead the Tigers to key wins during the lead. Additionally, he helped put SHS in winning situations.

Short said he knew the team was good enough to have a good regular season.

“I had expected us to do well in the regular season, but as well as we did (in the playoffs), I wasn’t expecting that much,” he said. “I think the main key for us is that we grew closer as a family. Everybody started realizing that they had their job to do, that they couldn’t worry about anybody else.”

Like many players, Short had many other jobs besides being a QB. He saw time as a punter, defensive safety and kicker.

He said it takes a lot of practice to play at each position.

“I haven’t been at the same spot ever since I started high school,” Short said. “I started out as a third string quarterback my freshman year, started fullback as a sophomore and junior year, and as soon as my junior year was over, coach told me I’d be back to be quarterback for my senior year.”

Short is the son of Michael and Sharron Short.

The runner-up Offensive Player of the Year is Devin Scott of Straughn.

Defensive Player of the Year — Dillan Conner, Straughn

A broken jaw never stopped Straughn senior Dillan Conner from going back in when his team needed him the most.

In week two, Conner broke his jaw early in his team’s 36-30 win over W.S. Neal. After a few minutes on the sideline, he went right back in the fire, aiding the Tigers when the Eagles were making a late come back.

“I know they were starting to come back, and I felt like it was my responsibility to stay in the game,” Conner said.

Conner said his style of play is aggressive and fast. At 5-foot-11, 180 pounds, one would think that’s true.

Ever since he was in the tiny mite league, Conner has donned helmet and pads.

The senior credits the defensive line for allowing him to account for 115 tackles on the year. Six of them were for a loss. Additionally, his broken jaw kept him out of action for three games.

This season was Conner’s first to start for the Tigers, as he moved from Red Level last year at the start of his junior season. He had to sit out all last year.

Conner’s first game of the season came in a big rivalry game against Andalusia.

At RLS, he had never experienced a rivalry game of this magnitude before, Conner said.

“Coming from Red Level, there wasn’t that many big games,” he said. “There were a lot of people there. It really meant a lot to us. It was fun to be a aprt of the rivalry game.”

Conner is the son of Eric Conner of Loango.

The runner-up Defensive Player of the Year is Montel Lee of Andalusia.

On the offensive side of the ball, Straughn makes up four of the 11 spots on the team. Andalusia has five, and Opp four.

Andalusia’s Michael McCalman was selected as the quarterback. McCalman rushed 919 yards on 155 carries and scored seven touchdowns. In passing, he was 73-of-139 for 988 yards and 11 touchdowns, and had seven interceptions.

Straughn’s Devin Scott, Opp’s Ta Bonham and Andalusia’s Javonte Johnson were named the running backs. Scott had 1,095 yards on 166 carries and 11 touchdowns. Bonham had 519 yards on 91 carries and six touchdowns. Johnson added 443 yards on 92 carries and three touchdowns.

Straughn’s Dalton Watson and Ashton Mayhall; Andalusia’s Quincy Thomas; and Opp’s Dylan Northey and Hayden Parker make up the offensive line.

The wide receivers are Opp’s Justin Adkins, and Andalusia’s Keontya Johnson and Jalen Cross.

Honorable mentions: Onterrio Jones, Opp; Jacob Johnson, Opp; Ty Wallace, Andalusia; Derek Savage, Opp; Conner Livings, Straughn; Brady Page, Straughn; and Zach Riley, Straughn.

Defensively, Opp’s Quantavis Stoudemire takes the top spot at linebacker. The junior recorded 90 tackles this season. Andalusia’s Ethan Jones and Daniel Henderson, along with Straughn’s Johnny Owens round out the top four.

Opp’s Devon Carnley, Andalusia’s Montel Lee, Straughn’s Jordan Newman and Andalusia’s Randy Boartfield make up the defensive line.

Straughn’s Nick Stepp and Daryl George; and Andalusia’s Jud Rogers and Hiren Patel make up the secondary.

The punter is Andalusia’s Jud Rogers, and the kicker is Chase Short.

Honorable mentions: Russell Moseley, Opp; Austin Leverington, Andalusia; Eric Dorsey, Andalusia; Sam Byrd, Andalusia; Ty White, Opp; Terrance Lane, Andalusia; Steven Twitty, Straughn; Jordan McDaniel, Straughn; and Brennan Head, Straughn.

The Class 3A-4A All-County football team was compiled by Andalusia head coach Brian Seymore, Opp head coach Jack Whigham and Straughn head coach Trent Taylor were invited to nominate players on the team. Sports Editor Andrew Garner reviewed and put together the final team list.