By Chris McCarthy/Editor
It was a Little bit of this and a Little bit of that all season long for the 2016 West End High football team.
Versatile senior Andre Little rarely left the field for the Patriots as they made their first postseason appearance in six years and won their first playoff game since the 2001 season.
As a receiver, he finished with 62 receptions for 1,323 yards and 16 touchdowns. From his free safety position on defense, he led the team in tackles with 90 (16 for a loss) along with four sacks, two interceptions, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. He also returned 15 kickoffs for 680 yards and a touchdown. Little was named the Class 2A All-State first team and selected as the MVP for the All-Etowah County Schools team.
Little capped off his impressive prep career by signing a football scholarship with the University of North Alabama earlier this year.
For his stellar production, Little is the Player of the Year for the 2016 All-Messenger football team.
“When Andre came back in the 10th grade, he was just a little old scrawny guy and you had to force him to get to the weight room,” Said WEHS head football coach Kyle Davis.
“As time has gone on, he’s just really matured and learned to take his role as a leader on our team and in school. He’s had over 2,000 yards receiving and over 25 touchdowns combined the last two years He went out, worked hard and out-competed the guys he’s played against. Andre’s done his job and done it the way he’s supposed to do it.”
Hokes Bluff freshman running back Darrian Meads is the team’s Offensive MVP after rushing for 1,839 yards and 18 touchdowns on 311 carries. Hokes Bluff Senior linebacker Fisher Simmons gets the nod as Defensive MVP after finishing as The Messenger’s coverage area’s top tackler with 191 tackles. Both players made the Alabama Sports Writers Association’s Class 4A All-State first team.
Mike Robertson is Coach of the Year after he guided the Eagles from a 1-3 start to the state semifinal round for the first time since 2004.
Gadsden City High junior running back Jaelyn Fleming is the All-Messenger Athlete after rushing for 702 yards and catching 19 passes for 419 yards with a combined 10 touchdowns. He helped the Titans win six straight games and make it to the state semifinal round following a 1-5 start. Fleming was an honorable mention All-State pick in Class 7A.
First-team quarterback Daulton Hyatt, a senior from Etowah who signed with the University of Arkansas in November, passed for 2,207 yards and 25 touchdowns with only five interceptions along with a passing percentage of 65. He also rushed for 410 yards and five touchdowns while helping the Blue Devils go 9-3 and win the program’s first playoff game in five years. He was named to the ASWA Class 5A All-State second team.
Joining Meads at first-team running back are Gadsden City senior Damon Williams and Etowah junior Cory Thomas.
A Class 7A All-State first team selection, Williams finished the year with 1,139 rushing yards and nine touchdowns while catching nine passes for 122 yards and one score. Thomas rushed for 1,450 yards and 15 touchdowns on 174 carries.
Joining Little at receiver is Etowah senior Andy Noles, a first team All-State pick who had 38 receptions for 743 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Etowah senior Peyton Nance, Gadsden City seniors Toryque Bateman and Quaddrick Rice, Hokes Bluff senior Adam Patterson and West End junior DeWayne Miller comprise the first team offensive line.
Bateman and Rice signed with the University of Louisville and Arizona Western Community College, respectively, while Nance will be a preferred walk-on at Auburn. Rice and Nance were first team All-State selections, while Patterson made the second team.
Etowah junior Raul Hernandez is the first team kicker after 52-of-57 extra points and making 3-of-5 field goal attempts with a long of 45 yards. He made the Class 5A honorable mention team.
Gadsden City senior Damian Thompson, West End sophomore Michael Patton, Gaston junior Zac Satterfield and Hokes Bluff senior Brett Roberts make up the first team defensive line. Thompson earned first team All-State honors after leading the team in tackles with 88, including 10 for a loss. He also had four sacks. Patton ended up with 75 tackles (20 for a loss), 12 sacks, three forced fumble and three fumble recoveries. Satterfield had 89 tackles – 11 for a loss – and seven sacks.
Making up the first team linebacker unit are Gadsden City senior C.J. Winston, Gaston senior Jesse Samples, Sardis senior Luke Nelson and West End senior Junior Tomas. Winston, who recently signed with UT-Chattanooga, had 75 tackles, 14 for a loss, along with two sacks. Samples registered 104 tackles, while Nelson had 95 stops. Tomas, who was a Class 2A honorable mention pick, finished with 67 tackles (17 tackles for a loss), 10 sacks, four forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries.
The first team secondary features Gadsden City senior and Miles College signee Joe Tillis (36 tackles, four interceptions), Glencoe senior Austin Bush (82 tackles), Southside senior Austin Winningham (51 tackles, three interceptions) and Etowah senior Malik Wilson (75 tackles, eight for loss).
Gadsden City junior punter Jonathan Kilgo kicked 33 times for a 38-yard average. He had a long of 53 yards.
The second team offense includes West End senior Payne Stancil at quarterback; Southside senior Alaric Williams, West End senior Jordan Malin and Gaston senor D.J. Pope at running back; Etowah sophomore Emil Smith and Glencoe senior Aaron Bush at receiver; Gadsden City senior Tank Collins, Hokes Bluff senior Brett Roberts, Sardis senior Brayden Lacey, Southside senior Drake Stewart and Coosa Christian sophomore Chase Burger at offensive line; and Glencoe junior Katie Smith at kicker.
The second team defense features Gadsden City senior Trevonte Car-ter, Coosa Christian senior Teppei Daisaku, Glencoe senior Paul Hicks and Etowah senior Tahj Taylor at defensive line; Gaston seniors Lane Talbot and Cameron Peacock, Eto-wah senior Lovell Cylar and Westbrook Christian junior Court Coley at linebacker; Southside senior Adam Lister, Gadsden City senior Jer’Michael Isom, Hokes Bluff senior Hayes Evans and Etowah sophomore Justin Harris at defensive back; and Hokes Bluff junior Landon Johnson at punter.
Shannon J. Allen of the Sand Mountain Reporter contributed to this article.