ADEL -- Fifteen local football players received an extra Christmas present today. That was the number of players from the Tiftarea voted All-State by the Georgia Sports Writers Association (GSWA).
Leading the way are the Cook High Hornets and the Fitzgerald Purple Hurricanes as both teams led their respective classes on the All-State teams.
Cook led Class AA with five first-team players and two honorable-mention selections, while Fitzgerald led all teams in Class AAA with four first-team performers and three honorable-mention picks.
The first-team Class AA offense features Deonto McCormick at wide receiver and Vincent Brown at all-purpose, while the first team defense has defensive back Cornelius Brown, linebacker Roshawn Seymore and defensive lineman Mastafa Tippins.
Briand Williams and Demarrow Byron from Cook were two of the 20 players picked to the honorable-mention team.
McCormick caught 40 passes for 661 yards. He caught nine touchdown passes and and averaged 16.5 yards per catch. He also rushed 76 times for 770 yards and seven more touchdowns.
Vincent Brown had 167 rushes for 1,662 yards and 24 touchdowns. He also had six kickoff returns for 316 yards, five punt returns for 65 yards and caught four passes for 70 yards. He scored 174 points on the year and averaged 11.6 yards every time he touched the football.
Cornelius Brown had over 100 tackles from his cornerback position. Seymore had over 150 tackles and recovered five fumbles, while Tippins had over 120 tackles and recovered three fumbles.
The honorable-mention picks also had impressive numbers. Williams had over 120 tackles and recovered three fumbles, while Byron 178 carries for 1,378 yards rushing and 15 touchdowns. He also caught eight passes for 60 yards.
Head coach Michael Pollock was proud of his Cook contingent.
"Deonto is the ultimate student-athlete. Not only is he an outstanding football and baseball player, but he is also an outstanding student-athlete as well. He is going to make the city of Adel proud to watch him at the next level," Pollock said of McCormick.
About Vincent Brown, Pollock said, "If there is a better running back in this state, I would like to meet him. He runs the ball harder than any player I have ever had the pleasure of coaching."
The first year Cook coach was also high on his defensive picks.
"Cornelius Brown may be the best junior in the state. He can do it all -- cover your best receiver, tackle your best back, run the ball on offense and may have the best set of hands I have ever seen on a high school receiver."
"Roshawn Seymore has one of the best noses for the ball I have ever seen on a linebacker. He plays with a level of intensity that most people couldn't understand."
"Mastafa Tippins is the type of player that you can't drag off the field. He plays offense, defense and on all of the special teams. He is one of the most vicious hitters I have ever coached."
About Byron, Pollock said, "If you put his heart in a 6-4, 225-pound kid, then it would be against the law to let him play high school football. This kid plays with everything he had and then some."
"Briand (Williams) is one of the smartest players I have ever coached. He really understands the game and knows how to put himself in the position to make the play."
Head coach Robby Pruitt was also happy about his Purple Hurricane team being recognized.
Class AAA has Fitzgerald's Tyler Pruitt and Kevious Johnson as first-team running backs, Brett Davis as a first-team offensive lineman and Russell West as a first-team defensive lineman.
Pruitt, a first-team selection last season, rushed 235 times for 1,517 yards on the year. Besides averaging 6.5 yards per carry, he also scored 29 touchdowns.
Johnson rushed 114 times for 1,005 yards. He also caught 30 passes for 446 yards, returned 17 kickoffs for 369 yards and 20 punts for 348 yards. The senior averaged 7.7 yards every time he touched the football in 2001.
Davis was the leader of Fitzgerald's offensive line. That line helped the Hurricanes p
ick up 5,785 yards of total offense this season, an average of 413.2 yards per contest.
West was the emotional leader for the Fitzgerald defense. The senior picked up over 80 tackles on the year and had 10 sacks on the year.
Troy Williams and Eric Lewis were also named as two of the 20 honorable-mention picks.
A linebacker, Williams led Fitzgerald in tackles, while Lewis picked off six passes on the year and had numerous hard hits from his cornerback position.
The Fitzgerald head coach was happy so many members of his team were recognized.
"This is something, to have the most players in Class AAA. Football is a team sport, but it is nice to see players honored for all of the hard work they put in to make the team better," Pruitt said.
"All of those players, with the exception of Kevious, are seniors and they all played a big part in our success over the past two seasons (25-3-1). I am very proud of all of them and our entire team."
Besides the picks from Cook and Fitzgerald two other players from the Tiftarea were also chosen, Tift County Blue Devil linebacker Mario Collier and Turner County Rebel quarterback Jerry Dawson.
Collier led Region 1-AAAA with 146 tackles. The senior's numbers included 17 tackles for loss yardage, four sacks, four forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and three pass deflections.
"He did a good job for us this season. He turned into our catalyst on defense," Tift head coach Tommy Seward said. "I feel like he became one of the best linebackers in the state of Georgia."
"I only wish he could come back next year. Right now, I'm hoping he can play college ball, he is certainly capable of playing at that level."
Dawson accounted for almost 2,000 yards of offense for Turner County. The junior was 99-for-217 passing on the year with 1,552 yards. He threw 13 touchdown passes and 10 interceptions, but five of those picks came against the Americus High Panthers.
Besides the passing numbers, Dawson also ran the ball 76 times for 440 yards, an average of 5.8 yards per carry. He also scored four touchdowns.
All of that from a player who did not begin the season as the starter at quarterback.
"Jerry didn't even start out being our number-one quarterback," Turner head coach Lee Hamner said. "But after I got away from our plans for an option-style attack, he stepped right in for us."
"It took a little time for him to learn our offense, but once he grasped it, he made some good things happen."
The Turner head coach is also excited about Dawson coming back next season.
"He flourished in this offense and since he liked it, we are not going to change anything," Hamner said. "He will have to keep up his good work habits, because the more he learns the better he will get."
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