Tigers highlight all-area football team|Creswell, WIlliamston head up the squad

Published 12:40 pm Sunday, December 27, 2009

By By BRIAN HAINES, Sports Writer
Offensive was the theme of the 2009 prep season as seemingly every teamed boasted a high-powered attack on a weekly basis. In one of the most wide-open years in memory, area teams battled for supremacy every Friday, though consistency proved to be the bigger challenge.
With the exception of Williamston and Creswell, area teams’ level of play flew up and down like a stock ticker. Southside, a team which won one game in the previous two years, took a big leap forward as it finished 4-8 and earned a signature win by piecing together a comeback victory over perennial powerhouse Plymouth. However, a few games later the Seahawks dropped a big lead to struggling Roanoke.
The same Vikings team that dropped the ball against Southside in the middle of the season earned redemption in the playoffs when it rolled into Manteo and stunned the undefeated Redskins whom many had predicted to represent the East in the 1-A state title game.
That in a nutshell was the 2009 season.
Though area teams’ play may have been inconsistent, there where several players who brought it every week. Those players comprise the Washington Daily News All-Area Football Team.
Luke Mathews, Jr, Williamston
In 2008 Luke Mathews was a backup who seemed completely overwhelmed in game situations. In 2009 he is the WDN’s All-Area first team quarterback. Mathews’ improvement from one year to the next might be the most remarkable transformation for a player over the course of 365 days in the area in recent years.
Two years ago Mathews played quarterback, this year he was a quarterback as he led one of the area’s most dangerous offenses by connecting on 120 of his 220 pass attempts for 1,516 yards and 10 TDs, while running for 350 yards and nine scores. Mathews has good arm strength and excelled on slant patterns and intermediate passes. If Mathews can cut back on his interceptions (16) he has a chance to have a really special senior year.
Running back
DeMarques Martin, Jr, Northside
Using a combination of speed and power, DeMarques Martin was the key cog in Northside’s high-powered offense. The junior running back tallied 1,621 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns for the Panthers this season. Martin, who could catch passes as well, was the focus of every defense Northside played and he still put up tremendous stats.
Running back
Jaquan Bryant, Sr, Creswell
The Tigers featured one of the most feared running games in the area this season and Jaquan Bryant was a big reason why. Bryant helped Creswell win its second-straight Tideland Conference championship by rushing for a team-high 1,110 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Running back
Timell Sawyer, Jr, Creswell
Sawyer teamed up with Bryant to form the best running back tandem in the area. With two talented rushers in the backfield, opposing defenses had trouble keying on just one player. The result: a pair of 1,000 yard rushers. Sawyer finished just behind Bryant’s team-high 1,110 rushing yards with 1,025, while tallying 10 TDs for the 11-1 Tigers.
Wide receiver
K.J Brown, Jr, Williamston
A real key player in coach Asim McGill’s spread attack, K.J. Brown possesses all the traits you could ask for in a top-notch receiver. Brown’s soft hands allowed him to catch 51 passes this year, while his speed earned him 872 receiving yards and seven scores.
Wide receiver
Lonnie Williams, Sr, Southside
A really good athlete, Williams’ speed, jumping ability and toughness made him a favorite target for Seahawks’ quarterback Terrill Moore. Williams was a big part of Southside’s resurgence as he accumulated a team-high 542 passing yards for five touchdowns this season.
Offensive linemen
Walt Ange, Sr, Williamston
Perhaps the toughest player in the area, Williamston center Walt Ange made up for his lack of size (roughly 5-7, 170 pounds) with pure desire. Ange finished his career starting 53 straight games for the Tigers and did a nice job snapping the ball in coach McGill’s shotgun offense.
Seth Boyd, Sr, Northside
At 6-4, 270 pounds Seth Boyd is by far the biggest tackle on the all-area team, and maybe in all of the Four Rivers Conference. Boyd’s size made it nearly impossible to get around him, as he routinely steam-rolled would-be defenders. Boyd’s efforts helped DeMarques Martin rush for 1.621 yards and allowed QB Isaiah McCullor to gain over 900 yards on the ground.
Tyler Crisp, Sr, Southside
The most dependable player on Southside’s front line this season, center Tyler Crisp played every snap for the Seahawks in 2009. At 6-3, 310 pounds Crisp is a force that allowed Southside to rush for 2,350 rushing yards this season, which is 100 more yards than the team had a total last season.
Marchez Phelps, Sr, Creswell
at 6-0, 180 pounds Marchez Phelps is one of the smaller guards around, but Creswell coach Wayne Rogers cited him as a big reason why his team had two 1,000 yard rushers. Phelps may not have had the typical physique for an interior lineman, but he made up for it by playing with aggression and technique.
Trevon Purvis, Roanoke
The steady blocking of Trevon Purvis played a big role in Roanoke’s strong second half of the season as he provided protection for quarterback Reginald Parker and paved huge holes for running backs Dwayne Morning and Dyquan Cross.
Tim Roughton, Sr, Creswell
One of the most disruptive defensive tackles around, Creswell senior Tim Roughton used every bit of his 6-3, 270 pound frame to wreak havoc on offenses. Roughton averaged an eye-popping 12 tackles a game for a total over 109.
Teon Aaron, Sr, Southside
A real fun player to watch, Teon Aaron might be one of the strongest players on the defensive line in the area. The 6-3, 310 pound tackle wrapped up 69 ball-carriers this season, had 10 tackles for a loss and six sacks. Aaron also did a nice job occupying blockers for his linebackers.
Marquin Hill, Sr, Washington
Like Aaron, Hill is a phenomenal athlete who used his superior strength to account for 87 tackles this season for the Pam Pack. Washington coach Sport Sawyer used Hill all over the defensive line and counted on the fiery senior to be one of his leaders on the field.
Mathew Macon, Sr, Mattamuskeet
One of the better rush defensive ends the Tideland Conference, Mattamuskeet’s Mathew Macon racked up eight sacks and over 68 tackles in nine game according to MaxPreps.com. Macon’s effort was a strong constant during an up and down Lakers’ season.
Ronnie Woolard, Sr, Washington
The Pam Pack had the No. 1 rated defense in the Coastal Conference this season and outside linebacker Ronnie Woolard was a big part of that. Woolard led the Pam Pack in tackles with 126, while his nose for the football earned him five fumble recoveries. Woolard also had 4.5 sacks this season and one interception.
Cole Hartley, Sr, Washington
At middle linebacker, Cole Hartley was the leader of the a fore mentioned No. 1 defense in the Coastal Conference. Hartley finished the year with 110 tackles despite missing a game. Together, he and Woolard helped the Pam Pack defense keep opponents out of the end zone five times this year, leading to three shutouts. Washington’s fifth-year defensive coordinator Jon Blank said that Hartley and Woolard tallied the most tackles between two linebackers in all his time with the Pack.
Johnnie Pender, Fr, Southside
There is a lot of optimism in Southside these days and linebacker Jonathan Pender is a big reason for that. As a freshman, Pender stepped into the starting lineup and had a team-high 103 tackles from the outside linebacker position for the Seahawks. If Pender can continue to improve, Southside’s defense could be very special for the next three years.
Trevon Rodgers, Jr, Williamston
The Tigers’ secondary was tops in the area in 2009 and junior cornerback Trevon Rodgers was an integral part of their quartet of defensive backs. Rodgers had a team-high seven interceptions this season. Aside from his nose for the ball, what made Rodgers special was his ability to run after the catch.
Tony Turnage, Sr, Washington
A three-year starter, Tony Turnage deserves as much credit for the Pam Pack’s defensive success as its more prominent linebackers. Turnage had three interceptions this season and one defensive touchdown for the Pack.
Laquan Speller, So, Williamston
The Tigers’ coaching staff is very high on sophomore safety Laquan Speller, and for good reason. At 6-0, 165 pounds, Speller has good dimensions for a young safety and is considered one of the hardest hitters on the team. Speller also has a good sense for the ball and intercepted five passes this season.
Petre Franks, So, Northside
Like Speller, Franks is another young defensive back with a bright future. Franks was one of the few consistent performers on an at times unsteady Panthers’ defense. Franks’ efforts allowed him to lead Northside with six interceptions this season.
Special teams
 Place kicker
Cecilio Cota, Sr, Northside
Without a doubt Panthers’ kicker Cecilio Cota had the strongest leg of any kicker around this season. Northside coach Keith Boyd said that Cota has made field goals of over 45 yards in practice and has a game-long of 40. Fans of prep football know how much a quality kicker means to the team in terms of extra points, field goals and field position on kickoffs. This year having Cota was a real weapon for the Panthers.
Isaiah McCullor, Northside
A great athlete with a strong leg, Isaiah McCullor routinely boomed kicks with a good mix of hang time and distance. On the season, McCullor averaged 42 yards per punt.
Return man
Garry Blount, Sr, Creswell
Blount, the Tigers electric wideout, had a huge impact for Creswell on special teams this season. The speedy Blount accounted for 10 special teams touchdowns, six on kickoffs and four on punts. Tideland Conference opponents will no doubt be happy to not have to kick to him anymore next season.
Isaiah McCullor, Sr, Northside
A real dangerous weapon to have behind center, McCullor teamed up with DeMarques Martin to compose a real frightening backfield. McCullor, who was a threat to run or pass on any down and situation, threw for over 700 yards, while rushing for nearly 1,000 yards (931) and accounted for 14 touchdowns.
Second team
Terrill Moore, Southside
Running backs
Elmer Cooper, Plymouth
Dwayne Morning, Roanoke
Dylan Watts, Plymouth
Wide receiver
Garry Blount, Creswell
Jermaine McGhee, Williamston
Offensive line
Paris Palmer, Plymouth
Ethan Gurganus, Jamesville
Marquin Hill, Washington
Nathan Price, Williamston
Tyler James, Plymouth
Defensive line
Benji Taylor, Northside
Mike Ramos, Plymouth
Shaton Basnight, Creswell
Amiar Johnson, Washington
Marchez Phelps, Creswell
Ronnell Blount, Plymouth
Elmer Cooper, Plymouth
Quinton Lawrence, Williamston
Curtis Myers, Southside
Justin Phelps, Creswell
Humberto Husband, Southside
Hatteras Brooks, Washington
Place kicker
Hatteras Brooks, Washington
Return man
Kenny Brown, Williamston
Reginald Parker, Roanoke
Honorable mention
Danvonte Phelps
Justin Phelps
Tommy Cherry
JaPaul Whitehurst
Anthony Copeland
David Grays
Devonte Green
Joey Gibbs
Emauri Byrd
TaMichael Tounge
Damount Harvey
George Simpson
Azaam Gross
Tyler James
Tavin Sheppard
Dyquan Cross
Aaron Oden
Aaron Baker
Derrick Cannon
Sam Jarman
Gregg Crisp
Brandon Lee
Josh Brown
Lindsey Harris
Dakuan Spencer
Trey Harris
Johnny Broadway
Andre Speller
Keith Padgette
Christian Leggett
Cash Green
Thurman Collier