Best of the best: WDN All-Area Football team

Published 12:48 am Thursday, January 17, 2008

By By BRIAN HAINES, Sports Writer
The 2007 season prep football season will go down in the books as one to remember. Football fanatics got to watch the Plymouth Vikings run the table and, even if you’re a fan of a rival team, you still had to be happy at the way they represented East Carolina in the state championship game.
Roanoke and Williamston played two of the most exciting games of the year. The two took it to overtime in each battle and left fans with the feeling that they could have played 20 more quarters and would have still needed an overtime.
Washington’s Travis Daniels turned in one of the most dominant seasons by an area running back in a long time as he galloped for over 2,000 yards to lead the Pam Pack.
In the end, the big story was the Plymouth Vikings and their perfect 16-0 season. After breezing through the regular season, the Vikings stepped it up to a seemingly impossible next level and turned in a postseason defensive performance that would make the ‘85 Bears envious.
In five playoffs games the Vikings pitched three shutouts and let up a total of 19 points. So in honor of the Plymouth defense, the Washington Daily News All-Area Football team will begin with the touchdown takers instead of the touchdown makers.
Defensive Line
Dwayne Brooks, Plymouth
No one on Plymouth has been more overlooked on both sides of the ball than Dwayne Brooks. As a fullback, Brooks played third wheel to Andre Mitchell and Tobias Claggon, while on the defensive side his play was overshadowed by the likes of Dasheen Perry and Angelo Sharpless. However, Brooks’ play on the line as a run stopper and blocking dummy for opposing linemen was critical in freeing up the speedy Vikings’ linebackers.
Chase Tripp, Washington
A move to a different spot on defense didn’t slow down Chase Tripp. He was among the Pam Pack’s leaders in tackles and caused havoc with opposing quarterbacks, sacking the QB nearly a dozen times. Tripp had several games where he had multi-tackles for loss to help Washington post it best defensive effort in years.
Derrick Everett, Williamston
One of the strongest players on the Tigers’ squad, Derrick Everett was a vital cog in Williamston’s defense. Everett’s ability to get in the backfield caused havoc for opposing offenses and made it harder for teams to focus all their attention on the Tigers’ linebackers.
Chuck Woods, Plymouth
The leader of the Vikings’ defense, Plymouth defensive coordinator Terry Perry said that Chuck Woods is the one who calls the plays out on the field. Maybe Woods should try his hand at baseball because the middle linebacker called more perfect games than Yogi Berra. In 16 games Plymouth held opponents scoreless eight times, including a stretch of 16 straight scoreless quarters. Woods’ 141 tackles was second on his team to the WDN Defensive Player of the Year, Dasheen Perry.
Cody Cunningham, Washington
One of the leaders of the Pam Pack defense, Cody Cunningham was one of Sport Sawyer’s most reliable defenders. Cunningham’s strong football instincts, combined with good speed and the ability to wrap up ball carriers made him one of the area’s top linebackers.
DeBriant Everett, Williamston
Together, DeBriant Everett and his twin brother, DeBrian, formed one of the most devastating 1-2 punches in the area. While fans might have noticed DeBrian more because of his ability to rush the quarterback, a lot of that was made possible by the grunt work of DeBriant. Often asked to play on the line of scrimmage, the undersized linebacker more than held his own and was frequently a disruptive force up front for Williamston.
DeBrian Everett, Williamston
A fast, hard-hitting linebacker, Everett was capable of blitzing the quarterback from anywhere on the field. However, it wasn’t all about the pass rush for Everett; the Williamston linebacker routinely made big plays for the Tigers that extended way behind just getting sacks. Together, Everett and his brother, DeBriant, were the heart and soul of a very effective Tigers’ defense.
Defensive backs
Angelo Sharpless, Plymouth
Tallying a mind-blowing 16 interceptions this year, Angelo Sharpless was the ideal ball hawk in the secondary. Benefiting from the front eight’s ability to shut down the run, Sharpless made teams regret going to the air as he routinely tracked down passes and either batted them down or turned them into Plymouth possessions. Blessed with good speed, soft hands and an incredible vertical leap, Sharpless was able to shut down the passing game almost by himself.
Eric Smith, Williamston
Tying a school record with 10 interceptions, Eric Smith was the perfect complement in the secondary to the Tigers’ pass-rush happy defense. While Smith may not possess the blazing speed of a Sharpless, his eye for the ball was uncanny and he was routinely in the right place at the right time for the Atlantic Conference champion Tigers.
Savion Hudson, Roanoke
One of the most football savvy players in the area, Hudson was the prototypical safety. Playing behind Roanoke’s aggressive front eight, Hudson’s ability to keep the action in front of him was vital. A quick, hard hitting player, Hudson was able to come down and help in running situations, and athletic enough to defend passes.
Austin Thompson, Washington
Austin Thompson was impressive as the signal-caller for the Washington Pam Pack. The junior completed 67 of 125 passes (53.6 percent) for 1,072 yards. He added 17 touchdown passes against just five interceptions, coming in a brutal Coastal Conference. Thompson also ran for 129 yards and two more scores. He showed poise and leadership in some of Washington’s biggest games.
Running backs
Andre Mitchell, Plymouth
What’s left to say about Andre Mitchell that hasn’t been said repeatedly over the length of his illustrious career at Plymouth. Last year’s WDN Offensive Player of the Year as a junior, Mitchell came back with a stellar senior performance, rushing for 2,102 yards and 22 touchdowns. A real playmaker, Mitchell was able to change the game whether it was via handoff or catching passes. Mitchell’s ability to come through in the clutch will really be missed by the Vikings’ next season.
Tobias Claggon, Plymouth
Coming into the 2007 season everyone knew about the big play ability of Mitchell and Sharpless and, while we saw flashes of brilliance for Tobias Claggon in 2006, nobody expected him to break out the way he did this season. Claggon led the Vikings with 2,112 rushing yards and 23 TDs and his play made it impossible for opposing coaches to decide which side of the line of scrimmage to load up on.
Wide receiver
Angelo Sharpless, Plymouth
Trapped in a run heavy, wing-T offense, Angelo Sharpless didn’t get many chances to shine as a pass catcher, but if you want to know what he is capable of, watch the tape of the Vikings’ battle with North Duplin in the state championship game. Sharpless dominated the North Duplin defense and finished the day with four catches for 88 yards and two TDs, including one ridiculous catch in the corner of the end zone between two defenders. For the season Sharpless finished with 40 receptions for 601 yards, 12 touchdowns and was named the MVP of the championship game.
Jamont Jones, Washington
A perfect complement to the running of Travis Daniels, Jamont Jones’ ability to catch the ball made teams think twice using eight and nine man fronts against the Pam Pack. Extremely versatile, Jones tallied over 300 yards rushing and two TDs, while catching 40 balls for 622 yards and 10 scores for the Pam Pack. A solid athlete, Jones was quick enough to get open, and tough enough to get yards after the catch.
Savion Hudson, Roanoke
Perhaps the toughest player on the all-area team, Savion Hudson put fear into opposing defenders. The Roanoke running back never went down on first contact, possessed a deadly stiff arm, while equipped with the speed to turn corners. Hudson might have been the most complete running back in the area this season. The Redskins’ rusher led the team with 1,720 rushing yards and fueled a prolonged playoff push by Roanoke.
Offensive line
K.J. Hunt, Plymouth
The leader of one of the best offensive lines in a long time, K.J. Hunt was Plymouth’s Peyton Manning at the line of scrimmage as he called out blocking assignments on each snap. Hunt possessed tremendous size, but still was athletic enough to block down field. With the Vikings’ ability to run the ball so well, Hunt and his fellow line mates often saw heavy pressure for entire games and did a fantastic job of blocking it.
Blake Bryan, Plymouth
The Vikings’ left tackle helped pave the way for two 2,000 yard rushers and also helped the Vikings steam roll their way to a 1-A title. Playing tackle in Plymouth’s wing-T offense, Bryan was called upon to lead block on plays, and more times than not those plays were successful. Also, playing with two cut-back runners, Bryan was forced to hold blocks longer than usual, and the Vikings’ tackle always made sure Mitchell and Claggon could reverse their course with no worries.
Turbian Jones, Roanoke
Like Plymouth’s Hunt, Roanoke’s Turbian Jones was a nimble athlete trapped in a goliath’s body. Jones did a fantastic job run blocking for the Redskins, while also making sure Redskins’ QB Alonza Higgs had plenty of time to pass. Jones’ superior athleticism paid off for Roanoke in their playoff game against Williamston, when coach Brian Paschal put him in the backfield, ala the Fridge, and had him lead block for the entirety of the game.
Derrick Everett, Williamston
The glue that held Williamston’s offensive line together, Everett helped clear a path for Emery Griggs to gain over 1,000 yards, and Cedric Moody to tally 13 TDs. Versatile in his blocking ability, Everett also gave Tigers’ QB Jarrett Coffield enough time to pass his way to the conference leader in yards and passing touchdowns.
Kendrick Norman, Plymouth
While he doesn’t possess the average lineman’s size, the lean and lanky Kendrick Norman was able to use his body type to his advantage. Playing quick tackle in the Vikings’ wing-T offense, Norman’s strength was being able to pull and lead block faster than anybody else.
Angelo Sharpless, Plymouth
It wasn’t often that Sharpless was asked to punt, but when he did it was more than effective. Sharpless routinely booted punts over 40 yards to back opposing offense up. Aside from his two touchdowns in the championship game, Sharpless’ biggest play might have been his 49-yard punt that pinned North Duplin down inside the 5-yard line late in the fourth quarter.
Justin Meekins, Washington
Equipped with a strong, accurate leg, Justin Meekins was a valuable asset in the Pam Pack’s arsenal. As games go on, extra points become so important and Meekins was extremely reliable as he converted 45 of 54 PATs for Washington.
Second team
Jarrett Coffield, Williamston
Running backs
Cedric Moody, Williamston
Emery Griggs, Williamston
Wide receivers
Lakendrick Baker, Roanoke
Eric Smith, Williamston
Kenneth Hyman, Roanoke
Offensive line
Thack Cutler, Northside
Richie Bogdovics, Roanoke
Steven Covey, Northside
Anthony Jones, Plymouth
Steve Kendell, Washington
Defensive line
Reginald James, Plymouth
D.J. McKinney, Washington
Dwayne Morning, Roanoke
Mike Chase, Northside
O’Darrin Jenkins, Roanoke
Zak Manning, Northside
Daniyel Downing, Plymouth
Justin “Weasel” Moore, Washington
Defensive backs
Cedric Moody, Williamston
Kenneth Hyman, Roanoke
Jamont Jones, Washington
Justin Meekins, Washington
Ben Stalls, Williamston
Honorable mention
Regis Bell
Coleman Perry
Justin Barr
Tyler Ange
Justin Barr
Josh Mizelle
Ricardo Richardson
William Rushton
Colby Mason
Thack Cutler
Anthony Martin
Aaron McKinney
Tony Lacey
D.J. Satterwaite
Anthony Jones
Damien Davis
Kelly Chesson
Dominique Butler
Anthony Sealy
Alonza Higgs
Tyreek Cooper
Derek Furlong
Trevon Sheppard
Amos Perkins
Logan Asby
Stevie Farris
Chris Godley
Delshawn Harris
Antwan McCuller
Floyd Moore
Jamal Satchell
Kevin Sparks
Dash Spruill
Terrence Windley
Tony Turnage
Dakuan Spencer
Mike Moore
David Tyson
Ekias Trimble
Steve Whitfield
Kareem Bell
Javian Brown
Trey Perry
Walt Ange
Raheem Speller
Adrian Speller