December 24, 2012

All-Area football team: Isaiah Mack made himself heard with his play (VIDEO)

Devin Golden
devingolden@daltoncitizen.com

— Leading tackler? Done. In a system benefiting other positions? Sure. While facing double teams? With ease. Then again, Isaiah Mack learned early in his life that some things wouldn’t be easy but were still possible.

At a young age, the boy who has grown up to become Northwest Whitfield’s star defensive lineman had to overcome a speech impediment. He didn’t talk that much in class, and he hated being called on by his teacher.

Now he’s sure not only of his ability to speak, but his skill at stopping opposing offenses.

As the anchor of the Bruins’ defensive line, he did things no other area defensive tackle did this year, even though he probably had the most attention focused on neutralizing the threat he presented. Not many teams succeeded in slowing down — much less stopping — the 6-foot-2-inch, 235-pound junior this year on his way to a strong campaign in which he finished the regular season as the area’s leading tackler with 136.5 stops. He set program records for tackles for loss in a season (26.5), single-game tackles (20) and single-game tackles for loss (nine).

For his achievements, Mack is The Daily Citizen’s 2012 All-Area Football Player of the Year, as chosen by the paper’s sports staff based on input from area coaches.

Mack, a first-time selection to the all-area lineup, admits he likes to speak in front of people now.

The only time he doesn’t want to talk is when it’s time to play football.

“Other than game day, he’s probably the most pleasant kid to be around,” said Northwest coach Josh Robinson, whose Bruins went 6-4 this year and were denied a state playoffs berth by a double-overtime loss to Gilmer in the final week. “I’ve got him in class and he doesn’t talk very much on game days.”

It isn’t like when he was younger, afraid of what he couldn’t say.

From first through third grade, Mack had trouble enunciating certain sounds, specifically one letter in the alphabet.

“I couldn’t say anything with ‘R.’ I could barely say ‘S,’” he said.

No child wants to be laughed at or made fun of, but it’s almost inevitable, and particularly when classmates find something different that sets them apart. That resulted in Mack staying within his shell at school. He hated the teacher calling on him and having to speak in front of his peers.

“I think it could’ve worked to his benefit,” Robinson said. “I’ve been a teacher for a while, and it can be very embarrassing for a kid with that. No one wants to get laughed at.”

In time, Mack eliminated the constraint. He loved talking in class as he began progressing through elementary, middle and high school. He loves talking now, to teammates and friends. He’s good at it, a well-spoken 17-year-old whom you would never guess once viewed a letter’s sound similar to how a college freshman views a final-exam calculus equation.

“Once I hit fourth grade, I loved speaking in front of people,” he said. “Sometimes you’ve just got to get over your fears if you want to get anywhere in life. ... I had my mom and my grandma help me. I think until I was in fifth or sixth grade, my grandma was out there teaching us. It was horrible. I won’t lie, it was worse than school. But without her and my mom pushing me to learn how to talk, I couldn’t be talking now.”

That carried over to football, where Mack excelled despite any added challenges in what he called his “putting it all together” season.

“Next year is my curtain closing,” Mack predicted.

Arguably the most eye-popping statistics are Mack’s tackles and quarterback hurries. His 136.5 tackles came from the strong-side tackle position; 23 times he forced an early throw.

“Half of those (hurries) would be sacks, but they’re fleeing out of the pocket,” Robinson said. “The majority of time he would get the pass hurry and sack. Sometimes the quarterback was running for his life and would throw the ball away near a wide receiver or out of bounds and he wouldn’t get the sack.”

Add in 7.5 sacks and 26.5 tackles for loss, and it all equates to a season-long performance that caught the eye of coaches around Region 7-4A. Mack was named the league’s defensive player of the year, with nine of the 11 votes going his way.

“I’d say looking back at our schedule, he was by far the most dominant defensive line player all year,” said Southeast Whitfield coach Sean Gray, whose team lost 31-7 to the Bruins on Oct. 26 in Tunnel Hill.

“What made him good — well there’s a lot that made him good — but he hustled. I know the night we played them he saved one touchdown for sure on a play that went away from him.

“The ball went away from him on a sweep, and he dove and made a play and tackled our tailback about 10 or 15 yards down the field. It for sure would’ve been a touchdown. You just don’t see that out of an interior defensive player.”

Robinson — who estimated that Mack went downfield at least five times this season to make a touchdown-saving tackle — said it’s tough to imagine that Mack averaged almost 14 tackles per game just from looking at him. He’s not as big as other linemen, and it used to be worse. Mack remembers when he first became interested in football and began playing in a recreation league, he was “a fat, pudgy kid with circle glasses.” His best play was when he blocked for the running back all the way down the field, only to have the referee flag him because blocking down the field isn’t allowed.

When he was a sophomore, he wasn’t putting up the impressive numbers he turned in this year. He played around 200 snaps over the course of the season and tallied near 50 tackles. Robinson knew there was talent, but there also was a lot of stuff to work on.

“We knew he was good,” Robinson said. “We knew he’d be good. I’d think we were lying if we thought he’d be this good.”

The first two games of the season, against Pepperell and Pickens, set the tone. Mack recorded 14 and 14.5 tackles in each contest, respectively, with 6.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks combined. Only once this season — against Heritage-Catoosa — did he finish with a single-digit number of tackles in a game.

In that win against Southeast, Mack finished with only 11 tackles, including three for a loss — an average night for him.

“He stood out,” Gray said. “It doesn’t matter where the ball is going, he is making the play. ... He gave us fits all night.”

Compare him to fellow defensive tackle Victor Lopez, who was an all-region first-team selection with four sacks and seven pass hurries. Mack had nearly twice as many sacks and three times as many pressures.

“We’re comparing him to what in all the coaches’ opinions is a really good football player,” Robinson said.

For a linebacker, that stat line is great but not outlandish.

For a defensive tackle, especially in the Bruins’ defensive scheme, it’s unheard of.

“Our defense is set up for the linebackers and safeties to make plays,” Robinson said. “None of our linebackers and safeties made that many tackles.”

If that isn’t enough of a challenge, he’s often having to go one on two. Being the top defensive tackle, he gets the center and guard double-teaming him. That started “after about the second game on just about every single play for the rest of the year,” Robinson said.

“He can make plays even when he’s occupying two people. That’s a big thing for our defense. When they have to take two to block one, in a numbers game that frees someone up.”

On many occasions, the “someone” wasn’t needed. Mack often used his surprising speed to make plays anywhere on the field — near the sidelines, in the secondary, anywhere.

“You can measure whether a defensive tackle is fast by whether he can get close to a jet sweep,” Robinson said. “Well, he would tackle the jet sweep. He has one of the fastest 10-yard dashes on our football team.

“It was his ability to make plays in the backfield and down the field. It was like having another linebacker. He made tons of plays going back and catching up to someone.”

Oh, don’t forget about his poor sight.

Mack wears glasses, but not while playing. He doesn’t wear contacts or goggles either. Sometimes he can’t see the coaches’ signals from the sideline.

It’s another hindrance that might be too much for some.

“You’ve got to roll with the punches,” Mack said. “If I want to play football, sometimes everything won’t be (perfect).”

So he has to rely on his instincts. He has to read the offensive linemen and react quick enough — with his 4.9 40-yard dash speed — to make the play.

“That’s what makes the reading part that much more amazing,” Robinson said. “He has really overcome that.”

Overcoming all these things is just part of a confidence that has been growing since he defeated his speech troubles.

“It teaches me that if you want something bad enough, the only one who will stop you from getting it is you,” he said. “If I say, ‘I’m going to be the best pass rusher,’ I’m not saying it just so I don’t back it up. If I say it, I’m going to be the best pass rusher. You will honestly have to stop me.”

And if he wants to be the best tight end, he probably wouldn’t be far from reaching that goal from the very start of his position switch. The same goes for almost any position on the field, because Mack thinks he can excel there, too.

“He begs me all the time, ‘Can I play tight end?’” Robinson said. “He always tells me, ‘I can play middle linebacker.’ I tell him, ‘I know you can, but we need you at defensive tackle.’ He will play some tight end for us next year. We have to find out if he can catch.

“It’s mostly a joke, but I promise you if we put him back there (at running back), he’ll give everything he had.”

In the year’s biggest game, with the state playoffs on the line, the Bruins’ hearts were broken by Gilmer in a Region 7-4A play-in game. Mack, however, had his premiere performance. He tallied a season-high 20 tackles in the game, nine for losses, plus three sacks.

“The reason Gilmer had such a hard time blocking him was he reads so well he could beat them on blocks, and then when they were pulling he’d beat them to wherever they pulled,” Robinson said.

“I hope he plays a whole year like he did against Gilmer.”

Luckily for Northwest, and unfortunately for his opponents, Mack will get the chance.

“I can tell you this: I’m already thinking about what we have to do next year with him,” Gray said. “That’s a long time away, but I’m already thinking about that.”

Good luck, because from fourth grade on, nothing has stopped him.

Here’s a look at the rest of The Daily Citizen’s 2012 All-Area Football Team, as chosen by the newspaper’s sports staff based on input from area coaches:

Brady Swilling, North Murray, QB: As far as dual-threat quarterbacks go, no one was better.

The senior and third-year starter ran the Mountaineers’ triple-option offense like a charm, with his 1,510 rushing yards on 164 carries — including 12 touchdowns — the area’s best regular-season tally on the ground. It was also almost 400 yards more than the combined total for backfield mates Jacob Mays and Christian Bukle.

Swilling was also highly effective and efficient as a passer, throwing for 1,519 yards and 16 touchdowns with just seven interceptions. And he spread the wealth around, with no Mountaineers receiver gaining more than 500 yards.

No one else in the area had 1,500 yards each throwing and running; according to the staff of Georgia High School Football Daily, it’s likely that no one else in the state did, either

This is his his first all-area appearance after earning honorable mention last season.

Kelvis Rhodes, Dalton, RB: Just a sophomore, Rhodes was the legs that carried Dalton’s running game through most of the year and into the state playoffs.

Rhodes was one of two area players — the other was Swilling — to rush for more than 1,000 yards this season. He averaged more than 6 yards per carry and 127.4 yards per game. The 5-foot-9-inch, 184-pound speedster with good lateral quickness to boot finished his first year as a starter with 1,529 yards and 18 touchdowns on 229 carries. He was the area’s leading scorer, and he also had five receptions for 32 yards.

A first-team selection to this year’s All-Region 7-4A team, this is Rhodes’ first selection to the all-area team.

Austin Lowe, Christian Heritage, FB: Fullbacks are most often thought of as lead blockers for the running back. But the junior was more than that for the Lions.

Lowe rushed for 662 yards on 104 carries, a 6.5 yards-per-carry average, and reached the end zone seven times. He also caught 13 passes for 90 yards and a touchdown. In addition, he made a splash on defense as a linebacker. He recorded 87 tackles, recovered three fumbles, grabbed three interceptions and took one of them to the house.

An honorable mention last season, this is his first all-area nod.

Nich Bartley, Christian Heritage, WR: The junior became one of quarterback Trevor Brown’s two favorite targets, and he might be in that same role again next season.

Bartley nabbed 39 catches for 587 yards, both second in the area, narrowly beating out fellow Lions wideout Will Fischer. Of Brown’s 17 touchdowns, nine went to Bartley. He also was the hero in what was arguably Christian Heritage’s best win, a 28-27 comeback victory against Mt. Zion-Carroll. Bartley caught a 27-yard floater with 40 seconds left to give the Lions the lead for good.

This is Bartley’s first appearance on the all-area team.

Brandon Dale, Dalton, WR: When quarterback Cole Calfee dropped back to pass, opposing teams knew they better know where No. 20 was. Not only was Dale the Catamounts’ primary receiving threat, he was also a speedy, shifty talent running the ball and returning kicks on special teams.

He finished his senior season with 34 receptions for 663 yards and nine touchdowns while averaging nearly 20 yards per reception. He had 10 rushes (mainly on reverses) for 161 yards, and had 24 returns (both punts and kickoffs) for 498 yards and a touchdown. Also, in certain situations, he was a fifth defensive back for the Dalton secondary.

A 5-10, 172-pound senior, Dale was a first-team selection to the All-Region 7-4A team as well. This is Dale’s second straight selection to the all-area team.

O’Shea Hill, Northwest, WR: In the world of the spread offense, versatility isn’t just a luxury, it is a necessity. Hill was certainly the definition of versatile.

For the Bruins, Hill was equal parts running back and wide receiver, and he also moonlighted as a punter. He led the area in number of receptions, easily outdistancing the competition with 56 catches for 831 yards and 10 touchdowns. Whether it was a tunnel screen or a deep middle post, there seemingly wasn’t a route that Hill couldn’t exploit, and he was also a good down-field blocker in the running attack. On the ground, he had 28 carries for 116 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

As a punter, he averaged 38.4 yards per kick, and the 6-4, 225-pound senior was a first-team All-Region 7-4A selection. A standout basketball player as well, this is Hill’s first all-area selection.

Will Erwin, Dalton, OL: With Dalton’s offense primarily a running team, the tight end position isn’t as glamorous as it may be in other offenses, but that didn’t mean the Cats didn’t use Erwin in a lot of different ways.

While he only had six receptions for 92 yards, he was a key part of Dalton’s air attack, usually drawing safeties to his side of the field to cover the middle of the field. In the running game, the Cats ran to his side of the field 60 percent of the time, and the 6-3, 247-pounder always delivered.

“As a blocker, he is a guy where there has been just as much interest in him being a tackle,” Land said. “In the Carver game, he was going against guys who had a lot of stars beside their name, and Will didn’t get whipped. He was eating pancakes.”

Erwin will play this week in the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association’s North-South All-Star Game in Columbus. This is his first all-area selection after earning honorable mention last season.

Harrison Kranzlein, Christian Heritage, OL: For a balanced, power I-formation offense, the junior played a key role opening holes for the Lions’ running backs.

Kranzlein’s average blocking grade for a game was 90 percent, the highest for Christian Heritage’s blockers. He also had 12 pancake blocks as Brown passed for 1,602 yards and 17 touchdowns. The Lions also rushed for more than 1,000 yards.

And he was another who played both sides of the ball, too. On the defensive line, he tallied 57 tackles.

An honorable mention last year, this is his first all-area appearance.

Jake Roberts, Dalton, OL: For Roberts, it was in his blood to finally make his mark on the Dalton offensive line. His father, Steve, was a Parade All-American at Dalton before moving onto Georgia, and his son is following in Dad’s footsteps by being a successful Cats lineman.

Roberts, a 6-2, 255-pound junior, led the team in pancakes this year with 26, and he has never graded below 90 percent in his two years as a starter. He was a first-team selection to the All-Region 7-4A team, and he was a major reason why Dalton’s offense rolled up nearly 3,000 yards rushing.

“He is a true lineman. He is born and bred into it, and he has that lineman mentality,” Land said. “He is going to get down and dirty, and we looked to him this year as a leader in the emotion of our offensive line. He will be relied on heavily, and we will need to see where he can serve our team best.”

This is Roberts’ first all-area selection after earning honorable mention last season.

Wesley Ross, North Murray, OL: When an offense rushes for more than 2,500 yards and passes for more than 1,500 yards, something special is going on.

It also means more than two or three guys are doing their job.

Playmakers make plays, but they can’t do anything without the guys up front paving holes and keeping the pass rushers away. Ross was the best North Murray had at doing that.

The senior graded 85 percent for the year, allowed just one sack and recorded 17 pancakes for a line that cleared the path for an offense that averaged 34.4 points per game.

This is his first all-area appearance, and he’s also the first North Murray offensive lineman to make the team.

B.J. Rowland, Dalton, OL: In the world of offensive linemen, Rowland was nothing if not one word — consistent. A three-year starter and team captain, the senior never graded below 90 percent during his career at Dalton, and he never graded below 95 percent during his senior season.

“He was one of the few blockers that when all of the coaches got together to chose the all-region team, he was unanimous,” Land said. “He was just a dadgum good center. He could make all of the blocks — scoops, combo, chip, trap, pull, get on a linebacker. In my 20 years, he is one of the most complete offensive linemen I have ever seen.”

Not an overwhelming physical presence at 6 feet, 251 pounds, Rowland was one of the few centers to pull, and he ended the year with 22 pancake blocks. This is his first all-area selection after earning honorable mention last season.

Rhett Harper, Southeast, ATH: Harper has been one of the most versatile athletes in the area as a three-sport standout for the Raiders. During his freshman and sophomore years, he was selected to the all-area team as a wide receiver, but he is on this year’s team for showing a little more of that versatility.

At wide receiver, the 6-1, 180-pound junior had 30 receptions for 461 yards and four touchdowns in seven games. He played one game at quarterback after starter Blake Foster was injured and was 7 of 18 passing for 88 yards. He missed two games at the end of the year after being injured early against Dalton.

On defense, he had 37 tackles and an interception from his strong safety position, forcing one fumble and recovering one as well. He also had 13 kickoff returns for 390 yards and a touchdown.

This is Harper’s third straight selection to the all-area team.

Jacob Mays, North Murray, ATH: He was the perfect example of what an athlete is. The senior did a little bit of everything on offense for the Mountaineers, combining for 1,041 yards of total offense and 15 touchdowns.

Within their triple-option attack, he rushed for 591 yards and six touchdowns. When North Murray wanted to go vertical, he caught a team-best 28 passes for 450 yards and nine touchdowns — and he returned kicks and punted, averaging 33.1 yards.

This is his second consecutive all-area nod after earning honorable mention as a sophomore.

Easton Ridley, Southeast, ATH: Ridley was another player who was good as a running back, good as a defender and a standout as an athlete.

A 5-10, 190-pound senior, Ridley stood out after taking over the majority of the carries in the Raiders’ offense. He averaged more than 6 yards per carry in the spread offense, finishing with 621 yards on 100 carries with eight touchdowns. He also had 12 receptions for 111 yards and a score.

Pulling double duty as an outside linebacker on the defensive side of the ball, Ridley had 52 tackles, three tackles for loss, a caused fumble and a fumble recovery as well as three pass breakups.

This is Ridley’s first selection to the all-area team after earning honorable mention last season.

Jayro Perez, Southeast, DL: The numbers alone can’t tell the story of how important Perez was for the Raiders, even though those numbers are pretty impressive by themselves.

Playing different positions throughout the year on the defensive side of the ball, Perez saw plenty of double duty on the offensive side as well. A first-team All-Region 7-4A member on defense, he finished with 76 tackles, seven tackles for loss, three sacks, three caused fumbles and a fumble recovery as well. He led the Raiders in total tackles, starting at linebacker and on the defensive line at different points during the season.

A member of the all-area track and field team the past two years as well, Perez is named to the all-area football team for the second year in a row.

Laighton Reese, Dalton, DL: In Dalton’s defense, Reese isn’t the guy who is supposed to be making the tackles. Instead, Reese is supposed to be taking on offensive linemen and allowing the Cats’ linebackers to roam free and make the plays.

It worked well, but he still found ways to make the plays others were supposed to be making.

“He is a plugger,” Land said. “He is a guy that does their job, and no one knows they are doing their job but their coach and their mama. He did a great job of taking on blockers and keeping our linebackers free. Sometimes he made great plays just by himself, but he did his job on every play.”

Reese, a 6-1, 240-pound senior end, finished with 91 tackles, a forced fumble, eight tackles for loss and four sacks, and Land said the most impressive part of Reese’s final season was that he continually got better each game and played his best football at the end of the season against the best competition, finishing with his highest tackle numbers in the Carver and Sandy Creek state playoff games.

This is Reese’s first all-area selection after earning honorable mention last season.

Cordarius Tarver, Coahulla Creek, DL: On a team playing a varsity schedule for the first time, Tarver proved he could compete with the big boys.

Big already at 6-2, 265 pounds, Tarver was more than just a sizable body. With speed that belied his size, Tarver was a dominating defensive player for the Colts. With his ability to get around slower offensive linemen, Tarver had eight sacks, 14 quarterback pressures and 11 tackles for loss. He finished with 40 tackles despite the fact that most teams ran away from him.

The senior was also versatile, serving both as a lineman and a fullback on the offensive side of the ball. After rarely coming off of the field this year, this is Tarver’s first selection to the all-area team.

John Chastain, North Murray, LB: Despite some struggles this season, the Mountaineers’ defense found itself a leader heading into 2013.

The announcer called the junior’s name 77 times for tackles, more than anyone else on North Murray’s roster. The Mountaineers allowed 32 points per game, but Chastain had eight tackles for loss, seven quarterback hurries and one sack.

He also forced two fumbles, recovered one and got one sack. On top of that, he was able to play fullback for the Mountaineers when starter Christian Bukle needed a breather, and he’ll probably take the starter’s role next year as a two-way player.

This is his first all-area selection.

Robert Hardaway, Dalton, LB: Hardaway was another player who was asked to do a lot of different things and always seemed to deliver. A first-team All-Region 7-4A selection, Hardaway was one of Dalton’s leading tacklers, a grinding fullback and the team’s emotional leader.

On defense, he finished with 142 tackles, seven sacks and a pair of fumble recoveries. At fullback, he took over the starter’s role midway through the season and finished with 253 yards on 39 carries with three touchdowns and was primarily used as a blocker to help spring Rhodes on his touchdown runs.

A 6-foot, 217-pound senior, this is his second straight all-area selection.

Eder Mora, Dalton, LB: In just his second year of varsity play, Mora turned heads left and right and all over the field on offense, defense and special teams. The sophomore shined at a combination linebacker/safety role on defense, as a fullback and receiver on offense and as the team’s punter.

A 5-11, 174-pounder, Mora finished with 164 total tackles, a pair of sacks, five interceptions and four tackles for loss. One of his interceptions he returned for a touchdown against Sandy Creek in the second round of the playoffs, and another was the turning point in Dalton’s win over rival Northwest.

Offensively, he ran for 211 yards on 45 rushes in the second half of the season, scoring a pair of touchdowns. As a punter, he utilized three different kicking styles and had an average of 39.5 yards per punt, which would have been greater if there weren’t certain times when he was instructed to kick the ball out of bounds to avoid a return.

He was a first-team selection to the All-Region 7-4A team, and this is his second straight all-area selection.

Evan Townsend, Christian Heritage, LB: It’s tough to become the leader so early, but Townsend quickly became it for the Lions’ defense.

The sophomore middle linebacker served as the quarterback on that side of the ball, and he played like it, too. He led the team with 108 tackles, 10 for a loss, and added three sacks and three fumble recoveries.

On offense, he played guard and was one of a handful who never left the field for Christian Heritage this season.

This is his first all-area appearance.

Erick Dominguez, Coahulla Creek, DB: One of the things opposing coaches learned early when breaking down film on the Colts was to avoid throwing to the side of the field Dominguez was lined up on.

The junior free safety led the area with seven interceptions and also had six pass breakups while keying Coahulla Creek’s pass defense. Speedy and with good size at 6-2, 185, Dominguez took advantage of those interceptions and racked up 140 return yards.

He was also a key part of the offense for the Colts as a wide receiver, finishing with 25 receptions for 298 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

This is Dominguez’s first selection to the all-area lineup.

Kaleb King, Northwest, DB: In a region with some pretty good cornerbacks — including five-star recruit Vonn Bell at Ridgeland — King was high on the list of talent.

King was selected by the coaches as a first-team All-Region 7-4A selection at corner after recording 84 tackles. He had his best game of the year against the best competition, finishing with 17 tackles against Ridgeland and bringing down the elusive Bell three times in one-on-one situations.

A 5-9, 145-pound senior, King played a lot bigger than his weight and size would suggest, with three tackles for loss, an interception, a caused fumble and a fumble recovery.

This is his first all-area selection after earning honorable mention in 2011.

Tevin McDaniel, Northwest, DB: When McDaniel made a hit, he made it count. The 5-8, 140-pound junior cornerback might not look intimidating, but he could deliver a shot, and opposing players knew when they had been hit by McDaniel.

He led the Bruins in takeaways with four caused fumbles, five fumble recoveries and two interceptions — one of which he returned for a touchdown. He finished with 52 tackles.

On the offensive side of the ball, he had 13 touches for 173 yards of total offense.

This is McDaniel’s first all-area selection after earning honorable mention as a sophomore.

Abel Mendiola, Southeast, PK: Already a standout on the pitch as a two-time member of the all-area boys soccer team, Mendiola proved his value on the football field this fall.

A junior starting for the first time this season, Mendiola was 16 of 18 on extra points and 3 of 5 on field goals.

This is his first selection to the all-area lineup.

Jonathon Sanchez, Southeast, P: In an area filled with standout kicking prospects heading into the year, Sanchez may have been the biggest surprise of the season. Without a doubt, he was the most consistent.

A junior, Sanchez led the area with a punting average of 40.1 yards per kick. Also, he had four “coffin corner” kicks that pinned opposing teams inside of the 10.

This is Sanchez’s first all-area selection.

Honorable mention: Christian Heritage — Trevor Brown (Jr., QB), Jake Stokes (Jr., RB), Michael McKinney (Sr., TE); Coahulla Creek — Jordan Tant (Sr., LB), Michael Ward (Jr., WR); Dalton — Lyle Durham (Jr., LB), Ethan Fromm (Sr., DB), Pepe Gardea (Jr., PK), Jay Rockholt (Jr., LB); Murray County — Kevin Chavez (So., LB), Brady Todd (Sr., ATH), Jordan Walls (Jr., ATH); North Murray — Christian Bukle (Sr., FB), Jared Campbell (Sr., LB), Tino Hernandez (Sr., DB), Isaiah Jackson (Sr., DL); Northwest — Caleb Bowie (Jr., LB), Tyler Floyd (Sr., OL), Jarrod Farmer (Sr., LB), Silas Ledford (Sr., QB), Victor Lopez (Sr., DL), A.J. Orozco (Sr., WR), Seth Pierce (So., DB), Dustin Stanley (Sr., OL), Chris Tinson (Sr., RB); Southeast — Matt Cloer (Jr., OL), Jared Davis (Sr., OL), Carlos Fraire (Sr., DL), Blake Foster (Jr., ATH), Luis Fraire (Jr., DB), Michael Izaguirre (Sr., ATH), Anthony Ortiz (So., LB).