By Chris McCarthy/Editor
The 2016 All-Etowah County Schools football team features a somewhat green tint.
Hokes Bluff High took three of the top four awards after recovering from a 1-3 start to finish and make it all the way to the Class 4A state semifinal round for the first time since 2004.
The team’s top honor, however, went to West End High’s versatile senior Andre Little, who was selected as Most Valuable Player. Little was named the Class 2A All-State team as a receiver after finishing with 62 receptions for 1,323 yards and 16 touchdowns. Little was no slouch on defense, as he led the team in tackles with 90 (16 for a loss) from his free safety position. He also returned 15 kickoffs for 680 yards and a touchdown. Little’s production was a big reason for the Patriots’ first postseason appearance in six years and first playoff victory since the 2001 season.
As for the Eagles, freshman running back Darrian Meads was named Offensive MVP after rushing for 1,839 yards and 18 touchdowns on 311 carries. Defensive MVP and Hokes Bluff senior linebacker Fisher Simmons finished as The Messenger’s coverage area’s top tackler with 191 stops. In his 20th season at Hokes Bluff, Mike Robertson was tabbed Coach of the Year after leading the Eagles to a 9-5 record and three straight postseason victories.
Southside High senior running back Alaric Williams was named Offensive Athlete. Despite missing significant time with injuries, Auburn University commitment Williams led the Panthers in rushing with 902 yards and 15 touchdowns. Teammate and senior defensive back Austin Winningham was selected as Defensive Athlete
Joining Meads and Simmons from Hokes Bluff were senior defensive linemen Adam Patterson and Brett Roberts, senior offensive lineman Cody Bryant; junior punter Landon Johnson, senior defensive back Hayes Evans, senior linebacker Korey Stiefel, senior kicker Andrew Colley and sophomore receiver Braydon Hill.
Joining Little from West End were junior quarterback Payne Stancil, senior defensive back Jordan Malin, senior offensive lineman Hunter Moody, junior defensive lineman Dewayne Miller and senior defensive lineman Junior Tomas.
Joining Williams and Winningham from Southside were senior running back Baylon Fry, sophomore running back Kenneth Bothwell, Jr., junior tight end Gavin Orr, senior offensive lineman Drake Stewart, junior offensive lineman Nick Shirley, junior defensive lineman Tyler Abernathy and senior defensive back Adam Lister (special teams).
Named from Sardis were junior quarterback Logan Gaskin, junior offensive linemen Clay Jacobs and Brayden Lacey; senior linebacker Luke Nelson and Ross Strickland and junior defensive back Jake Ross.
Selected from Glencoe were senior quarterback Cole Holbrooks, senior receiver Aaron Bush, junior tight end Bradley Scott, junior offensive lineman Dawson Bass, senior defensive lineman Paul Hicks; senior defensive back Austin Bush and junior kicker Katie Smith.
Named from Gaston were senior running backs D.J. Pope and J.D. Pope, senior receiver Alexander Allen, senior linebackers Jesse Samples and Cameron Peacock, junior defensive lineman Zac Satterfield and senior defensive back Kevin Hollingsworth.
Making the Honorable Mention team were Levi Taliaferro, Nick Underwood, Ashton Gulledge, Cam Dowdy, Ricky Ak-ridge, Carson Eubanks and Peyton Moore from Hokes Bluff; Michael Patton and Gage Lankford from West End; Tywann Ward, Triston Shaw, Logan McGee, Jarren Wright and Chance Moon from Southside; Tristan Holcombe, Anthony Coffee, T.J. Harbian, Kale Walker, Chase Bright, Jesus Hernandez, Clay Roberson, Jarrod Smith, Dakota Daniel and Drew Vaughn from Sardis; Dakota Colvin, Coleman Morris, Micah Sizemore, Noah Huff and Cade Allred from Glencoe; and Lane Talbot, Cole Wadsworth, Christian Farley, Cameron Johnson and Eddie Kozer from Gaston.