11 Ea­gles named 4-AAA All-Re­gion

De­fen­sive POY Crow­der, Carnes head­line All-Re­gion team

The Covington News - - Front page - Josh Briggs Sports Edi­tor

At the end of the 2008 high school foot­ball sea­son, on the day East­side was about to make its play­off de­but un­der Rick Hurst, de­fen­sive end Jer­rell Crow­der was in then school prin­ci­pal Bob Daria's of­fice. It was at the end of the day no less — hours be­fore kick­off at Sharp Sta­dium against Creekview.

Later that night, the Ea­gles cel­e­brated their first play­off vic­tory in a decade. All of them ex­cept Crow­der. There was no more foot­ball for him. He was done and on his way out of East­side.

Fast for­ward to 2011 and Crow­der is smil­ing again. He was named Re­gion 4-- AAA Co-De­fen­sive Player of the Year and was one of 11 Ea­gles to be rec­og­nized.

"We got to talk­ing with all the coaches and ev­ery­one was talk­ing about how good Shel­don (Rank­ins) was then some­one said, 'what about No. 53?' They all said he caused so much havoc that they had to game plan for him as much if not more," East­side coach Rick Hurst said. "If you look back at film he prob­a­bly flushed a lot to Shel­don (Rank­ins) that he cleaned up. He def­i­nitely de­served the honor."

Crow­der, Rank­ins and fel­low de­fen­sive line­man Shaquille Huff all gar­nered First-Team hon­ors. Crow­der fin­ished with 67 tack­les, eight sacks and a team-high 20 tack­les for a loss. He also forced one fum­ble and bat­ted down two balls. Rank­ins led the team in sacks with 15 and 14 of his 53 tack­les were for a loss. Huff was East­side's best run stop­per. He fin­ished with 58 tack­les — 15 for a loss and five sacks.

"That's prob­a­bly the strength of this re­gion is de­fen­sive line­man," Hurst sad. "I def­i­nitely think all three of them earned the honor. For them to all get first-team, that shows you the re­spect they had in the re­gion."

Ke­vis Bell was the other de­fen­sive star to earn First­Team de­fense. Bell fin­ished with 70 tack­les — 13 for a loss and a sack and an in­ter­cep­tion. Bell was in­stru­men­tal in East­side's de­fen­sive play call­ing and the

unit's leader on the field.

"They (coaches) all spoke of him (Bell) and said they had to ac­count for him," Hurst said. "You had to know where he was on the field. He was a leader on de­fense and called all of our plays. He played hard ev­ery down and de­served to get the recog­ni­tion. It shows when the rest of the coaches feel that way."

Quar­ter­back Califf Carnes was East­side's lone rep­re­sen­ta­tive on the re­gion's First-Team of­fense. Carnes com­pleted 93 of 186 passes for 1,465 yards and 17 touch­downs against only four in­ter­cep­tions.

"Ev­ery­body was com­pli­men­tary of how well he (Carnes) ran the of­fense and the de­ci­sions he made and some of the throws he made this year were big- time throws," Hurst said. "Even the Sandy Creek coach said if he didn't get hurt in that game, it could have been a dif­fer­ent out­come."

Carnes was sad­dled with tak­ing over the quar­ter­back po­si­tion from the Re­gion Player of the Year and cur­rent Ap­palachian State Uni­ver­sity star Justin Wray. He strug­gled to start his ca­reer as the starter, throw­ing four in­ter­cep­tions in losses to Newton and Al­covy in 2009. But he evolved into per­haps and even bet­ter quar­ter­back than Wray.

"His num­bers will be an in­di­ca­tion of how well he played and led our team," Hurst said. "He worked so hard the two years he was our starter. He made so many im­prove­ments af­ter the rough start. He's a great leader and a great kid. He was kind of an af­ter­thought af­ter Justin Wray but he's go­ing to go down as the best quar­ter­back East­side had."

First-year start­ing tail­back Alex Smith was named to the All-Re­gion Sec­ond Team as was wide­out Donte Black­mon. Smith ran for a team-high 729 yards and eight touch­downs. He also caught 17 passes for 272 yards and three touch­downs. Black­mon was Carnes' fa­vorite tar­get, es­pe­cially in the sec­ond half of the sea­son. He led the team with 29 catches for 607 yards and eight touch­downs. He had two touch­down catches of more than 80 yards and av­er­aged 21 yards per re­cep­tion.

Of­fen­sive line­men An­drew Heilsen and Lin­coln Tem­ple were also named All-Re­gion Sec­ond Team on of­fense. On de­fense, Blake Rouse gar­nered Sec­ond Team hon­ors. Only a ju­nior, Rouse led the team in tack­les with 116 and 28 quar­ter­back pres­sures. Rouse forced a team-high three fum­bles and picked off one pass.

Cody San­dler earned Sec­ond Team hon­ors at kicker. He made 35 of 37 ex­tra point at­tempts and pinned teams on touch­backs on 27 of 53 kick­offs.

Of the group of play­ers named to the All-Re­gion team, only Carnes, Bell, Tem­ple and Crow­der are se­niors. For Crow­der es­pe­cially, it's likely to be an un­for­get­table honor.

"It speaks a lot for him and how hard he works on the field and the type of kid he is," Hurst said. "It shows you if you give some­one a sec­ond chance, some­times they make the best of it."

Josh Briggs/The Cov­ing­ton News

Take a bow: East­side de­fen­sive end Jer­rell Crow­der in­voked fear in the op­po­si­tion in 2010 and peo­ple took no­tice. Crow­der was named Re­gion 4-AAA Co-De­fen­sive Player of the Year and was one of 11 Ea­gles hon­ored

Huff

Rank­ins

An­thony Banks/The Cov­ing­ton News

Leav­ing his mark: East­side quar­ter­back Califf Carnes was named All-Re­gion 4-AAA First Team Thurs­day.

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