De­fense leads 2010 All-County team

Newton's Rashada leads de­fen­sive-heavy All-County team

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

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.

photo by An­thony Banks, il­lus­tra­tion by Brit­tany Thomas/The Cov­ing­ton News

Shut­down corner: Dean­dre Rashada led the state in in­ter­cep­tions and is the 2010 Cov­ing­ton News De­fen­sive

Player of the Year.

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