By Chris McCarthy/Editor
“Without Pace [Ozmint], we would have been 5-5 this year.”
So noted former Glencoe High head football coach Lee Ozmint following the Yellow Jackets’ final game this past November. Since the 2015 Yellow Jackets finished with a 9-2 record, for one player to mean the difference between a win and a loss in half of a team’s games was indeed a high compliment.
Said praise is well deserved, however, as the GHS senior is the Player of the Year for the 2015 All-Messenger high school football team.
“Pace is a playmaker; he makes things happen on offense and defense,” said his dad, Lee Ozmint. “He’s probably not the fastest kid in the state or strongest or toughest, but he makes plays.”
Pace Ozmint served in a variety of roles this past season, hardly ever coming off the field. He finished with over 1,540 total yards and 16 touchdowns while starting at halfback, receiver and kick returner. On defense, he had a team-high 104 tackles (six for a loss) and three interceptions from his safety position. He also had four pass break-ups and two fumble recoveries. Ozmint was major factor in Glencoe making the state playoffs for the seventh straight year.
The postseason honors began rolling Ozmint’s way soon after the season ended – ASWA first team all-state honors for the third straight year, All-Etowah County Most Valuable Player, All-Region first team and Class 3A Back of the Year finalist.
“This past season was a great one,” said Pace Ozmint. “I was able to play offense as well as defense. It was great playing for Glencoe, especially playing for my dad (Lee Ozmint). It made us closer as a family.”
Ozmint certainly had stiff competition for The Messenger’s top honor. West End senior Hunter Grant put together one of the best seasons in quite a while in the area at the quarterback position in being named Offensive MVP. While helping the Patriots post their first winning season in eight years, Grant finished with almost 3,500 combined yards and 43 touchdowns. He threw for 2,611 yards and 31 scores and rushed for 817 yards and 12 TDs.
On the other side of the ball, Defensive MVP Darius Moore made life difficult for opposing ball carriers. The Etowah High senior linebacker had 134 tackles and six sacks while helping the 2015 Blue Devils post a 7-4 record and qualify for the Class 5A state playoffs. A first-team all-state and all-region pick, Moore recently signed a football scholarship with Campbellsville (Kent.) College.
Barney Hood Stadium won’t feel quite the same this fall without Southside’s Hunter Armstrong manning the middle linebacker position, where he has played since the 8th grade and started since his freshman year. The Messenger’s Overall Athlete was his usual dominant self in 2015, finishing with a team-high 91 tackles (including 54 solo) along with four sacks. In addition to seeing time at quarterback and fullback, Armstrong averaged just shy of 40 yards a punt on 22 attempts.
There were several deserving candidates for Coach of the Year, but West End’s Kyle Davis edged out a crowded field. After posting a 2-8 record in his first season in 2014, Davis guided the Patriots to a 6-4 record and the program’s first state playoff berth in five years.
2015 All-Messenger football team
Player of the Year
Pace Ozmint, Glencoe
Hunter Grant, West End
Darius Moore, Etowah
Hunter Armstrong, Southside
Coach of the Year
Kyle Davis, West End
First team offense
Quarterback: Ahmad DeRamus, Sr., Gadsden City
Running back: Alaric Williams, Jr., Southside; Stacy Williams, Sr., Etowah; Jashun Cammeron, Sr., Gaston
Receiver: Andre Little, Jr., West End; Austin Hallmark, Sr., Sardis; Darnell Mooney, Sr., Gadsden City
Tight End: Gavin Orr, Sr., Southside
Line: Jamahl Jelks, Sr., Gadsden City; Jeff Ford, Sr., Glencoe; Peyton Nance, Sr., Glencoe; Devin Chappell, Sr., Gaston; Kyle Murphy, Sr., Sardis
Kicker: Kristian Wilmore, Sr., Southside
First team defense
Line: Crishun Young, Sr., Etowah; Cameron Peacock, Jr., Gaston; Matthew Hood, So., West End; J.D. Gunter, Sr., Gaston
Linebacker: Jarvis Mc-Kee, GCHS; Noah Hauk, Glencoe; Luke Nelson, Jr., Sardis
Secondary: Jer’Michael Isom, Jr., Gadsden City; Fisher Simmons, Jr., Hokes Bluff; Austin Bush, Sr., Glencoe; Greyson Daugherty, Southside
Punter: Glbert Rosas, Westbrook
Second team offense
Quarterback: Joseph Schauer, Westbrook
Running back: Bradley Pruett, Hokes Bluff; Damon Williams, Gadsden City; Paul Ruiz, Etowah
Receiver: Hunter Tarvin, West End; Andrew Schauer, Westbrook; Emil Smith, Etowah
Tight End: Drake Nanny, Hokes Bluff
Line: Levi Nunnally, Hokes Bluff; Austin Gibbs, Etowah; Bailey Britt, Glencoe; Adam Patterson, Hokes Bluff; Luke Long, Glencoe
Kicker: Parker Holland, Gadsden City
Second team defense
Line: Ronnie Van Dyke, Sardis; Montavious Parker, Gadsden City; Mikey Green, Coosa Chr.; Austin Brewer, Southside
Linebacker: Taylor Daugherty, Glencoe; Sam Blackstock, Westbrook; Dakota Harcrow, Southside
Secondary: Tristan Scro-ggins, Sardis; Dalton Roberts, Glencoe; Trey Brasher, Gadsden City; Aaron Bush, Glencoe
Punter: Wesley Grizzard, Coosa Christian