OFFENSIVE STARS: WDN names All-Area Football Team

Published 9:51 pm Wednesday, January 14, 2009

By By STEVE FRANKLIN, Sports Writer
It was an exciting 2008 prep football season throughout Beaufort and Martin counties as eight of our area teams qualified for the state playoffs.
There was an abundance of feel good stories, from Williamston's march to the state title game, to Washington's first playoff win this decade, to Southside's shocking comeback in the Anchor Bowl.
And there were plenty of brilliant individual performances as well, like Southside running back Dash Spruell's Anchor Bowl record 278-yard rushing performance, Creswell linebacker Ralphon Owens' four interception, five-touchdown game and Williamston quarterback Emery Griggs' 326-yard, four touchdown rushing effort to help the Tigers win the Class 1-A East Region Championship.
Over the last few days, the Washington Daily News has honored prep football's best with Williamston coach Asim McGill taking home our Coach of the Year award, Griggs being named our Offensive Player of the Year and Owens taking the WDN's Defensive Player of the Year honor.
Today, we wrap up the prep football season by honoring the rest of our area's best, with the announcement of the 2008 Washington Daily News All-Area Football Team.
Austin Thompson, Washington
Washington's senior signal caller finds himself on our all-area first team for the second straight season after throwing for 1,840 yards and 19 touchdowns this season. The Pam Pack's third-year starter completed nearly 60 percent of his passes this season, and also rushed for 212 yards and five scores to help the Pam Pack finish with an 8-5 record. His best outing of the season came against Northside, as he completed all nine of his pass attempts for 168 yards and four scores.
Running Back
Timelle Sawyer, Creswell
Sawyer sparked the Tiger’ with a plethora of big runs and joined Griggs as one of two area players to average over 100 rushing yards per game as he churned out 104.3 yards per game in 2008. Creswell’s star running back finished the season with 1,251 yards on the ground and 15 rushing touchdowns.
Running Back
Dakuan Spencer, Washington
Spencer is a one of the finest athletes this area has ever seen, with a rare combination of size, power and speed that will surely land him at major Division I program after next season. The gifted Pam Pack star played a plethora of roles in Washington's offense as he shifted between wide receiver and running back. Spencer finished the 2008 campaign with 486 rushing yards and five rushing touchdowns, while hauling in a team-best 39 catches for 609 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Wide Receiver
Kareem Bell, Williamston
Williamston’s Bell was a scoring a threat every time he touched the ball in 2008, coming up with big plays time and again. He was named Williamston’s Most Valuable Offensive Player in the state title game after hauling in touchdown receptions of 53 and 17 yards. In all, Bell caught 21 passes for 516 yards with nine touchdown catches.
Wide Receiver
Mike Moore, Washington
Moore had a stout senior season for the Pam Pack as he emerged as one of Thompson’s favorite targets in Washington’s air-it-out offense. The shifty Moore caught 38 passes for 444 yards and five scores this season, and also carried the ball four times for 61 yards, two of which ended in touchdown scampers.
Tight End
Derek Everett, Williamston
The sure-handed Everett bounced all over the field for Williamston’s offense. A converted lineman, Everett opened the season as a tight end before making the swith to fullback at the midpoint of the season. Nevertheless, Everett made his calling as a pass catcher, pulling in 15 receptions for 514 yards and a score. He also ran for six touchdowns as he totaled more than 1,000 yards of offense.
Offensive Line
Gil Hodges, Washington
Hodges was a force along the Pam Pack’s offensive line this season, thriving as both a run blocker and Washington’s top pass protector. The 6’5”, 270-pounder helped block for a Washington squad that netted more than 3,000 yards of total offense on the season.
Offensive Line
Rakeem Speller, Williamston
Speller anchored the Tigers' regional championship winning line that enabled quarterback Emery Griggs to rush for more than 2,000 yards this season. Any time the Tigers needed to pick up a crucial first down, they usually followed the 6-foot, 2-inch 225-pound lineman.
Offensive Line
Seth Boyd, Northside
At 6-foot, 5-inches and 270 pounds, the Panthers' junior has drawn the eye of several college scouts, including ECU offensive coordinator Steve Shankweiler, who made the trip out to Yeatesville to check out the Panthers' lineman in the season finale. It's easy to see why colleges are after Boyd. The beefy lineman is a devastating run blocker who runs over everything in his path, and he's shown he can move his feet while pass blocking as well.
Offensive Line
Warren Forbes, Roanoke
The Redskins' 6-foot, 205-pound center often gave away plenty of weight to opposing defensive lineman, but Forbes made up for his size with his quick feet and stout technique. The junior excelled as a run blocker, and coach Brian Paschal says he is the unquestioned leader of his offensive line, who has a great knowledge of the game.
Offensive Line
Tim Roughton, Creswell
Though he stands just 6-foot tall and checks in at around 210 pounds, Roughton proved to be a tenacious run blocker for the Tigers. Roughton was the man that the Tigers looked to run behind as often as they could. Tigers’ coach Wayne Rodgers calls Roughton, “a tough kid, who out works you and wears you down.”
Cecilio Cota, Northside
The Panthers' kicker was clutch this season as he converted on better than 70 percent of his field goal attempts, twice nailing field goals of 40 yards or more. And he was nearly perfect on his PAT attempts, making all but three in more than 25 attempts
Justin Meekins, Washington
Meekins kept his leg busy this fall as he pulled double-duty for the Pam Pack in the kicking game, serving as both placekicker and punter. While he converted 34-of-39 PAT attempts and booted a 41-yard field goal, Meekins did much of his damage as the punter, averaging 34 yards per kick and trapping Washington's opponents inside their own 20-yard line on a regular basis.
Kick Returner
Lautez Clayton, Mattamuskeet
As the Lakers’ offense struggled, Clayton proved to be Mattamuskeet’s biggest scoring threat. The Lakers’ senior returned three kickoffs for touchdowns this season, as he averaged better than 30 yards per return.