Photo: Hokes Buff High School senior Tucker Griffin, pictured above in a game against Southside this past season, was named Player of the Year for the 2021 All-Etowah County Schools football team. (Photo by Alex Chaney)
By Chris McCarthy, Publisher/Editor
Tucker Griffin rarely came off the field this past season, resulting in impressive numbers on both sides of the ball.
The Hokes Buff High senior was selected by the six school district coaches as the Overall MVP of the 2021 All-Etowah County Schools football team.
Griffin finished as the top rusher in The Messenger’s coverage area with 1,102 yards along with 14 touchdowns. On defense, he totaled a team-high 75 tackles at cornerback.
The respective Offensive and Defensive MVPs and the Coach of the Year hailed from Southside in Gauge NeSmith, Jerrod Harden and Miles Holcomb.
A sophomore quarterback, Ne-Smith was 126 for 240 in passing for 1,931 yards and 18 touchdowns in his first year as a starter. A junior defensive end, Harden finished with 47 tackles, including nine for a loss, and 18 quarterback pressures. In his first season on the sideline at Barney Hood Stadium, Holcomb guided the Panthers to a 5-6 record and a second straight berth in the Class 6A state playoffs.
The first-team offense included Hokes Bluff senior Jordan Bradley at quarterback, West End senior Isaiah Roberson and Glencoe senior Levi Long at running back; Southside junior Cody Roberts, Southside senior Damion Hitch-cock, West End junior Thad Pearce and Sardis sophomore Eli Morton at receiver; Hokes Bluff senior Kyle Patterson and Glencoe senior Drew Johnston at tight end; Southside senior Tucker Pearce, Southside junior Jacob Strunk, Hokes Bluff senior Mason Lockridge, West End senior John Collier, Glencoe senior Connor Brown, Glencoe freshman Jamin Brown and Gaston freshman Nemo Samples at offensive line; and Hokes Bluff senior Jaden Burns at kicker.
The first team defense features Southside seniors Taylor Carr and Carson Riddlespur, West End senior Jake Edwards and Sardis junior Garrett Burns at defensive back; Southside senior Jacob Davis, Southside sophomore Tytan Rich, West End senior Russell Smith, West End sophomore Rockman Sainsbury, Sardis senior Case Martin and Glencoe senior Hunter Hanners at linebacker; Hokes Bluff senior J.R. Golden, Glen-coe senior Kade Crowder and Gas-ton senior Brady Underwood at defensive tackle; Southside senior Ethan Light, Hokes Bluff senior Will Wellingham and West End senior Ashton Self at defensive end; Glencoe senior Kade Kueny at punter; and Sardis senior Brody Samples (Athlete category).
Earning honorable mention recognition were Cayden McMichael, Jake Stewart, John Gilbert, Spencer Sharpe, Broady Johnson, Smiley Jones and Koal Garrett from Southside; Dakota Holcomb, Ian Stinson, Leon Chen, Jaylen Simmons and Brayson Hayes from Hokes Bluff; Tyler Jones, Jacob Umphrey, Jay Glover and Kaiden Silor from West End; Mason Teague, Kody Kueny, Nolan Fairley, Aaron Mann and Gavin Bray from Glencoe; Jose Ponce, Logan Edwards, Jacob Smith, Kane Lawson and Chris Compton from Sardis; Kobe Harris, Cayden Battles, Justin Pope, Ethan Herrera, Nate Oliver and Kodie Bogle from Gaston.