Payne, Gordon named All-Conference

Published 4:40 pm Monday, December 4, 2023

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The offensive and defensive mainstays for the Washington Pam Pack earned All Eastern Plains Conference honors in a vote from the league’s coaches.

Senior linebacker/tight end Gary Payne and running back Josh Gordon represented the Pam Pack (3-7) on the squad.

The 6’3 210 lb. Payne led the Pam Pack with 67.5 tackles, including 15 for loss, 4.5 sacks and recovered four fumbles. He also caught seven passes for 113 yards and scored a rushing touchdown. He will play in the 252-919 All Star Classic later this month in Greenville to wind up his high school career.

“He was our best player and one of the top defensive players in our conference in my opinion,” coach Matt Taylor said. “He had so many impact plays defensively and had his moments at tight end as well. He did it the right way in practice every day and was one of our leaders.”

Gordon gained 574 yards rushing and scored a pair of touchdowns. He also caught three passes for 54 yards.

“He ran hard every time he touched the ball and carried our offense,” Taylor said. “He was a serious guy and approached practice with great intensity. He has excellent leadership skills and did a great job for us. I enjoyed coaching both of these guys.”

Undefeated conference champion Southwest Edgecombe swept almost all the major awards as senior running back Jalen Willoughby was the overall Player of the Year with 1,385 yards and 29 touchdowns.

Teammate Jhakri Lovely was the Offensive Player of the Year after gaining over 1,400 total yards with 17 touchdowns, kicker Aiden Knudsen was Special Teams Player of the Year and Carter Varnell was the Coach of the Year.

Farmville Central’s O’Maurie Phillips was named Defensive Player of the Year.