The People-Sentinel names its All-Area team
The People-Sentinel announced its fourth annual All-Area football team. Although the football season has come and gone, there were plenty of big accomplishments during the 2008 season.
Again this season, Barnwell County schools bolstered some of the top talent in the 1A and 2A divisions of public school as well as the private school ranks.
Some of the highlights for the 2008 season included Williston-Elko High advancing to the class 1A state finals.
Under legendary coach David Berry, the defending state champions of Blackville-Hilda High finished the regular season undefeated with a record of 10-0 for the fourth time in the last six years.
At Jefferson Davis Academy, Joey Lott returned at the helm where he led to school to its first playoff victory in three seasons.
Although football is a team sport, the 2008 team was selected based on individual accomplishments on the gridiron this past season.
Leading the voting for this year team is Dwayne Garrick of Williston-Elko High. Garrick received Co-Coach of the Year honors last season along with David Berry of Blackville-Hilda High. This season, Garrick led the Blue Devils to a 13-2 record and its first state final appearance since 1999. Garrick's team had the second highest scoring offense in the state this season, averaging 48.3 points per game.
The Offensive Player of the Year recipient is Joe Thomas of Blackville-Hilda. Thomas is a two-time selection to the All-Area team. He led the Hawks with 1,976 yards and 31 touchdowns. Thomas averaged 10.9 yards per carry and 152 yards rushing per game. Thomas was also selected All-Region and All-State.
The Defensive Player of the Year honor goes to Dexter Staley of Williston-Elko High. Staley had a remarkable season, especially during the Blue Devils' playoff run when he registered 34 tackles, seven sacks, two interceptions and a blocked punt. Staley finished the season with 88 stops, including 10 sacks and three interceptions.
This year top quarterback is Chris Johnson of Williston-Elko High. Johnson, a two-time selection to the All-Area team, had his season cut short after 10 games due to an ankle injury. During the regular season Johnson operated at a high level, completing 54 percent of his passes for 770 yards and 10 touchdowns.
In the backfield, there is a host of game-breakers with Josh Epps of Williston-Elko High, Nic Jamison of Jefferson Davis Academy and Coby Carter of Barnwell High.
Epps was the catalyst to the Blue Devils ground game, rushing for 1,317 yards and 23 touchdowns. Epps, an All-Region player was also a participant in the North/South All-Star game.
Jamison became one of the elite rushers in SCISA football, rushing for 1,763 yards and 15 touchdowns. Jamison had nine touchdown runs of more than 50 yards.
Carter burst on the scene in an impressive way in his first varsity start. Carter was the workhorse for Barnwell High on offense, rushing for more than 1,600 yards and 22 touchdowns.
The area's best group of pass catchers include wideouts Jared Williams of Barnwell High, Quantel Mack of Williston-Elko High and tight-end Jackson Cooper of Williston-Elko High.
Williams was Mr. Reliable in the Warhorse passing game with 10 catches to covert third down conversions. Williams averaged 11.3 yards a receptions, finishing the season with 22 catches for two touchdowns.
Quantel Mack provided the big plays in the Blue Devils passing game with 20 catches for 302 yards and four touchdowns.
Cooper was named All-Region and All-State this season.
Cooper is a two-time selection at the position due to his blocking and pass-catching ability. This season, Cooper had 10 catches for 125 yards and touchdowns.
The offensive line consists of Darryl Salley of Williston-Elko at tackle, Justin Ferguson of Barnwell High at guard and Brian Chisholm, DeCarlos Johnson and Okoye Roundtree of Blackville-Hilda.
Ferguson, who started the last three season for the Warhorses is a two-time All-Region performer.
Chisholm, who plays tackle was selected All-Region and All-State this season. He is a two-time selection to the All-Area team.
Johnson, in his first full year as a starter, was selected as at guard. This season, Johnson was named All-Region and All-State.
Roundtree, who is a versatile player and a a two-time All-Region performer, was selected at the center position.
Defense is loaded with headhunters led by nose guard Dustin Beasley of Blackville-Hilda, tackles Andrea Williams of Williston-Elko and Dakota Priester of Barnwell High along with ends D.J Williams of Barnwell High and Brenton Holiday of Blackville-Hilda.
Beasley was named All-Region this season. Beasley is a two-time All-Area selection. This season, he registered 58 total tackles, including five for losses and two sacks.
The All-Area linebackers are headed by All-Region player Marcus Bates of Williston-Elko High. Bates turned heads in the Devils Den in his first varsity start, leading the team with 112 tackles, four forced fumbles and three sacks.
Joining Bates are All-Region players Corwin Roberts of Barnwell High and Roosevelt Hutto of Blackville-Hilda.
Roberts fueled the Warhorse defense, registering more than 80 stops in the season.
Hutto turned in a solid campaign coming off an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) knee injury. Hutto, showed no ill effect of the injury, finishing third on the team with tackles 83.
In the secondary, the selections are corners Jesse Dukes of Blackville-Hilda High and Wilbur Greene of Williston-Elko High. The safeties are Quame Dunbar of Barnwell High and Brant Bonnette of Jefferson Davis Academy.
Bonnette was the top predator in the area with six interceptions and 23 pass break-ups. Dunbar led Barnwell High with 28 pass break-ups and four interceptions while Dukes had 21 pass break-ups and four interceptions. Greene registered 21 pass break-ups and three interceptions.
This year group of special team members include punter Quentin Johnson of Blackville-Hilda, Jordan Toole of Barnwell and returner Larry Johnson of Blackville-Hilda.
Johnson, who averaged 35.5 yards per punt, landed four kicks inside the 10-yard line. Tooled kicked six field goals on the season, including a 32-yard field goal to beat Wade Hampton High. Larry Johnson had 150 returns yards with an average of 14.4 yards per return.
For the second year in a row, John Staley of Williston-Elko High was selected as the defensive specialist. Staley was third on the team in tackles with 83 stops, including four for losses and three fumble recoveries.
The All-Area team is selected by Sports Editor Michael Young. He can be reached at (803) 259-3501 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.