Defense leads 2010 All-County team
Newton's Rashada leads defensive-heavy All-County team
Offense is sexy. The old adage says it wins football games. But any football coach will tell you that defense is what wins you high school championships.
None of the three county high schools were able to win a state title this year, but it wasn't for lack of defense. Two of the three schools had a defensive player earn top honors in the region. There was plenty of offense in 2010 too. Led by Eastside's Califf Carnes, several players made their mark on the offensive side of the ball. But this year's Covington News All-County team is heavy with defensive stars, led by Newton's Deandre Rashada.
Defensive Player of the Year — Deandre Rashada, safety (Newton)
If you ask Eastside coaches who was Newton's best player in 2010, you might be surprised by the answer. It wasn't Akeem Hunt. It wasn't D.J. Hill. Although those two players made an impact in their own ways, the one player who stood out was strong safety Deandre Rashada.
They weren't the only ones who recognized Rashada's contributions and ability in 2010. Coaches in Region 2-AAAAA agreed Rashada was the best player in their league and named him Region 2-AAAAA Defensive Player of the Year. Not only that, coaches around the state named him to the All-State team.
Rashada led not only the county, region and Class AAAAA in interceptions, but his total of 10 led the entire state. One of them he took back for a touchdown. Rashada wasn't just good against the pass. He finished with 67 tackles and a sack and even blocked a field goal. While there were several worthy candidates for Defensive Player of the Year, including Eastside's
Kevis Bell and Jerrell Crowder, Rashada's monster year made selecting him a no-brainer.
Carnes came on in 2010 to be a better than average quarterback. After an up and down junior season in which he struggled to throw the deep ball and needed receivers to be open to be really effective, Carnes evolved into a very accurate quarterback. He threw for 1,465 yards and 17 touchdowns — both improvements over his 2009 numbers. But more importantly, Carnes was the unquestioned leader on offense.
Carnes' leadership was never more evident than when he went down in the Sandy Creek game and subsequently missed Eastside's next game against Drew. The Eagles folded once Carnes left the game at Sandy Creek and lost to Drew 14-0 the next week. But once he returned, the Eagles didn't lose again until the second round of the playoffs against Cairo.
When Carnes left the Cairo game after a shoulder injury, the Eagles struggled again. But when he was in there, Eastside had control of the game.
Many observers raved at his ability to run Eastside's offense after the Cairo game and admitted the outcome may have been different had he not gone down with the injury.
Carnes was 9-3 as a starter in 2010 and 21-6 overall for his career. More impressively was his playoff record. He left Eastside as the winningest quarterback in postseason history, going 4-2 in two years.
Califf Carnes — QB (Eastside): Carnes led the county in passing yards (1,465) and touchdowns (17) and threw just four interceptions. He led the Eagles to a 7-3 regular season and won a playoff game. Carnes also rushed for 213 yards on 38 carries and two touchdowns. Carnes finished his career with four playoff wins — more than any quarterback in school history. He was named to the Region 4-AAA First Team All-Region team.
Tre Sorrells — RB (Alcovy): Sorrells was the lone offensive standout for an Alcovy team that won just one game in 2010. Normally one win wouldn't help a player's case for postseason awards. But he was named 3AAAAA First Team All-Region. Sorrells led the county in rushing with 1,257 yards. He totaled 1,463 all-purpose yards which included a 25.2-yard average on kickoff returns. Sorrells caught six passes for 80 yards and scored eight touchdowns on the season.
Alex Smith — RB (Eastside): Questions surrounded Eastside's running game after the loss of Git Aiken who set a school record for yards in 2009. Smith was the answer, as he carried the ball 138 times for 729 yards and eight touchdowns. He also caught 17 passes for 272 yards and three touchdowns.
Akeem Hunt — ATH (Newton): Hunt regressed slightly in 2010 offensively but still led Newton with 654 yards rushing. He also led the team with eight rushing touchdowns and caught 13 passes for 223 yards and two touchdowns. But his value went beyond offense. He was a weapon in special teams, returning a kickoff for a touchdown and single handedly led the Rams to a win against Newnan in week 5. Hunt will attend Perdue University as an athlete.
Devon Mann — WR (Newton): Mann evolved into a big-play receiver in 2010. He led the county in receiving yards with 617 on 31 catches. He caught 10 touchdowns and was Tyree Williams favorite deep threat. He caught multiple touchdowns three times. Mann was named to the Region 2-AAAAA All-Region First Team.
Dante Blackmon — WR (Eastside): What Eastside lacked in 2009, they had in 2010 in Blackmon. The junior receiver was a legitimate deep threat with three touchdown catches of 60 yards or more. He finished the season with 29 catches for 607 yards and a countyhigh 11 touchdowns.
Jake Wright — TE (Eastside): When healthy, Wright was a solid option for Califf Carnes over the middle and in traffic for Eastside at tight end in 2010. He led all tight ends in the county in receiving and tied Newton's Corderius Terrell in touchdowns with a pair.
Braxton Bala — OL (Alcovy): Bala was Alcovy's most consistent offensive linemen in 2010. he finished with a team-high 82 percent team grade for linemen and had three pancake blocks He was named honorable mention on the 3A-AAAA All-Region Team.
Max Smith — OL (Alcovy): Like Bala, Smith was instrumental in Alcovy's success in the running game. He finished with a 78 percent team grade for linemen and two pancake blocks. He was a member of the only offensive line with a 1,000-yard back in 2010.
Robert Roquemore — OL (Newton): One look at Roquemore and you can't help but think lineman. The big senior anchored Newton's offensive line and was name 2-AAAAA First Team All-Region. Roquemore was also reliable, playing in more games the past two years than any other Ram lineman. He recently committed to play at the University of Memphis.
Tarik Dudley — OL (Newton): Dudley was Newton's best run blocker. He along with Roquemore and Chase Dial were named to the Region 2-AAAAA All-Region Team.
Lincoln Temple — OL (Eastside): Eastside's patchwork offensive line saw its ups and downs in 2010. The one constant was Lincoln Temple. Temple led the team in knock down blocks with 20 and was the Eagles' lone offensive lineman to earn All-Region 4AAA honors.
John Hale — DE (Alcovy): Every football team has a heart and soul on defense. For Alcovy, that was John Hale in 2010. Hale led all defensive linemen in tackles with 73. He had four tackles for a loss and forced two fumbles. He also had a nose for the ball, scooping up three fumble recoveries. Hale was named to the 3AAAAA Second Team AllRegion team.
Jamal Hunte — DE (Newton): Hunte was one of three Newton players to earn Region 2-AAAAA Fits Team All-Region. He did so on the strength of his stellar season which included 72 tackles — seven for a loss and a team-high 7.5 sacks. Hunte ranked No. 4 in the state in sacks and had one interception and one fumble recovery to go with everything else.
Sheldon Rankins — DE (Eastside): What else can you say about Rankins in 2010 other than he was dominate? Rankins led the region and county in sacks with 15. He also finished with 14 tackles for a loss and 53 total tackles. He also excelled in pass coverage. He led the defensive line in quarterback pressures with 13 and the team in batted balls with three and had one interception. Rankins was named 4-AAA All-Region First Team.
Shaquille Huff — DT (Eastside): Huff was the key to Eastside's staunch defense. He notched five sacks and 15 tackles for a loss but more importantly, absorbed double teams in the middle that allowed the rest of the Eagles' defenders to mop up. Huff joined teammates Rankins and Jerrell Crowder on the 4-AAA All-Region First Team.
Jerrell Crowder — DT (Eastside): When the coaches in Region 4-AAA talked about one player who stood out above the rest defensively, they all thought of Crowder. The senior defensive lineman was the third member of that unit to make the All-Region team. In fact, he was named 4-AAA Defensive Player of the Year. He racked up a whopping 20 tackles for a loss to go along with eight sacks. He finished his career with 67 tackles in 2010 and leaves as Eastside's all-time sacks leader.
Kevis Bell — MLB (Eastside): What Califf Carnes was to Eastside's offense, Bell was the same to the defense. Bell called all the defensive plays and was seemingly always in on the play. He finished the year with 70 tackles and one interception to go with one sack. He had seven pass breakups and 13 quarterback pressures and was named to the 4-AAA AllRegion First Team.
Blake Rouse — ILB (Eastside): In his second year as a starter, Rouse led the team in tackles with 116. He also finished with a team-high 28 quarterback pressures en route to Second Team All-Region honors in 4-AAA.
D.J. Hill — OLB (Newton): Hill played offense and defense in 2010 but was most valuable as a linebacker roaming the middle of Newton's defense. He led the team with 74 tackles and had 3.5 sacks. Hill also had an interception and a fumble recovery on his way to Region 2-AAAAA AllRegion honors.
Travis Gunnells — LB (Alcovy): Gunnells was the team's leading tackler. The younger brother of former Alcovy great Matt Gunnells, Travis broke out of his older brother's shadow to register 88 tackles during his senior season. He also recorded five tackles for a loss and had two fumble recoveries. Hale was Alcovy's leader on defense. The senior defensive lineman finished second on the team in tack- les with 73 – four for a loss and forced two fumbles. He also led the team with three fumble recoveries.
Bihoma Karmo — OLB (Alcovy): Karmo came out of nowhere in 2010 to have a stellar season. He led the team with four sacks and finished with 59 tackles overall. He also forced two fumbles on the season.
Ryan Sullivan — CB (Newton): Sullivan had a key interception in Newton's 20-14 win over eastside to begin the season. He carried that over to the rest of the regular season and wound up earning 2-AAAAA AllRegion Second Team honors.
Jamaree James — DB (Alcovy): The Tigers placed two players on the 3A-AAAA All-Region First Team and only one on defense. Tre Sorrells made it on offense and James earned it on defense. James led the team in pass breakups with eight and registered 60 tackles as a defensive back. James also led the team in interceptions with four.
Deandre Rashada — SS (Newton): Rashada was filthy against the pass and almost as good against the run. The Region 2-AAAAA Defensive Player of the Year for 2010 led the state in interceptions with 10. he finished third on the team in tackles with 67.
Cody Sandler — KOS (Eastside): Sandler turned out to be a weapon for Eastside in the kicking game. Teams had an average starting position at the 25-yard line thanks in part 27 touchbacks on kickoffs. While he only made 2 of 8 field goals, Sandler was 35 of 37 on extra point attempts.
Chris Dickerson — KOR/S (Newton): Dickerson was Mr. Excitement for Newton on kick returns. He had a 90-yard run back against Eastside for a score and was always a treat to take a kick back for a touchdown. He earned 2AAAAA All-Region honors at safety as well.
Shutdown corner: Deandre Rashada led the state in interceptions and is the 2010 Covington News Defensive
Player of the Year.