Messenger file photo by Alex Chaney
By Chris McCarthy, Publisher/Editor
With regard to the annual All-Etowah County Schools football team, a certain Hokes Bluff High senior running back finished where he started.
For the fourth year in a row, Darrian Meads was named the All-Etowah County School Overall MVP, a streak that saw Meads (pictured above) rack up 8,049 rushing yards and 100 touchdowns while helping the Eagles make one semifinal and two quarterfinal appearances. In 11 games this past season, he ran 232 times for1540 yards and 17 touchdowns. He also had four receptions for touchdowns.
West End junior Eli Pearce was named the team’s Offensive Player of the Year. In his first year as a starting quarterback. Pearce was 153 of 328 passing for 2386 yards and 32 touchdowns while throwing just seven interceptions. He also rushed 87 times for 768 yards and 11 scores.
Defensive Player of the Year honors went to Hokes Bluff senior Ashton Gulledge for the third season. Starting at strong safety, Gulledge led the Eagles with 105 tackles, averaging just shy of 10 stops per game. Gulledge rarely left the field, as he also started at quarterback, punter and holder.
Hokes Bluff’s Mike Robertson was named Coach of the Year honors after guiding the Eagles to a 7-4 record and a fourth straight playoff berth.
The first-team offense featured Sardis senior Jay Owens at quarterback (1,629 passing yards, 15 TDs; 2223 rushing yards, five TDs); Glencoe senior Daniel Maye, Sardis senior Luke Morris 765 rushing yards, six TDs) and Hokes Bluff junior Hunter Burke at running back; West End senior Jeremiah Roberson (75 catches for 905 yards and 16 TDs), Sardis senior Jacob Hopper (46 catches for 558 yards and eight TDs), Hokes Bluff senior Jalen Robinson (16 catches for 330 yards and five TDs) and Southside junior Alden Battles (43 catches for 598 yards and seven TDs) at receiver; West End junior Trevor Willett (19 catches for 417 yards and four TDs) and Hokes Bluff senior Tristin Billingsley (14 catches for 263 yards and two TDs) at tight end; Southside senior Will Warrick; Southside junior Garrett Orr, Hokes Bluff seniors Austin Elder and Pete Jackson; Sardis seniors Dylan Metcalf and Mason Smith and West End junior Hunter Tucker at lineman; and Southside senior Nolan Johnson (21-for-23 on PATs, made field goals of 50, 48, 37, 29, 26 and 24 yards, 23 touchbacks) at kicker.
The All-County defense incudes Southside senior Chance Moon (17 tackles in 2019), Sardis seniors Trey Dalrymple (53 tackles) and Josh Scales 45 tackles) and Glencoe sophomore Kade Crowder at tackle; Hokes Bluff senior Dylan Boatner, West End senior Mason Barnett (72 tackles) and Glencoe sophomore Levi Long at end; Hokes Bluff junior Will Clemons (85 tackles), West End sophomore Isaiah Roberson 70 tackles), Southside seniors Zeke Hefner (31 tackles) and Austin Schatz and Sardis senior Michael Turner (84 tackles) at linebacker; and Gaston senior Gage McArthur, Glencoe sophomore Bryant Speer and Sardis senior Temon Wilson (45 tackles) at defensive back.
Earning honorable mention recognition were Dakota Stephenson, Cody Roberts, Wes Simmons, Cole Wadsworth, Malikah Warren and Aaron Wood from Gaston; Taylor Shaneyfelt, Eli Huff and Conner Gray Glencoe; Brayden Bridges, Justin Fuller, Taylor Minyard and Peyton Wehrwein from Sardis; and Levi Armstrong, Adam Bates and Jackson Tidmore from West End.