It's time for us to name our All-Mountain teams and to hand out some hardware as we give out some awards.
It was another great season of football in the mountains with many great standout performances, some from the usual suspects, plus a couple of newcomers. It was a tough job to sift through a season's worth of stats and highlights to come up with the best of the season. We had 5 running backs with over 2,000 yards from scrimmage this season and 4 quarterbacks had 40 or more combined passing and rushing touchdowns. Now we will try and give a true representation of the entire year.
We start with the All-Mountain Third Team. It was tough to narrow it down, but these are the people who were right there with best in the mountains. We start with the quarterback position. He makes the calls and runs the offense. It is the position most players look to for leadership, especially in the tight games and with running being key in the mountains, we have found a quarterback who led a deadly passing attack.
This years All-Mountain Third Team Quarterback is Ricky Bowling of South Laurel. The Cardinal completed 64.3 percent of his passes for nearly 3,600 yards. He also led the mountains with 40 touchdown passes while throwing only picks. Keep in mind that the junior now has 96 career TD's. That is only 37 short of Tim Couch.
Running backs have long dominated mountain football. The smash mouth football mentality is still going strong and that is why we have so many backs that put a large chunk of yards, 5 of them with over 2,000 yards from scrimmage. That made the decision of who lands where very difficult. With that in mind we check out this years All-Mountain Third Team Running Backs.
The first back is Greg Adams of Hazard. The 5-9 junior carried 144 times for 1,600 yards. That's 11.1 yards a carry. Adams also proved to be a good back catching passes out of the backfield. He compiled 575 yards and 7 touchdowns receiving. That's 2,175 yards and 22 touchdowns of total offense.
Our second running back is Bell County's Spencer Greer. The junior was a main component in the Bobcats run to a district title. He carried 216 times for over 1,500 yards. That's over 7 yards a carry. He also scored 21 touchdowns. Greer has great field vision and even better ball security. The watchful provider had zero fumbles on the year. Congratulations to Bell County's Spencer Greer.
We now switch from the fast and speedy style of the tailbacks to the up the gut, pound it in your face, hard nose football style action we like to call the fullback position.
Our Third Team Fullback is Nathan Gilliam. He carried his team to an 8-4 record in Cumberland's final year of existence. Gilliam was able to get just over 1,300 yards on the ground this year on 127 carries giving him an outstanding 10.3 yards per carry.
The mountains are not normally known for it's aerial attack, but this year there were quite a few receivers who gave their quarterbacks a go to target. There were 7 receivers with over 1,000 yards and 12 receivers with 10 or more touchdowns. With that in mind, here are the Third Team All-Mountain Receivers.
We start with Josh Kidd out of Hazard. In the high flying aerial attack that was the Bulldogs. Josh Kidd definitely did his part hauling in 45 passes for 1,123 yards. That's 25 yards a catch. He also collected 10 touchdowns. Congratulations to Josh Kidd of Hazard.
Our second receiver comes out of Williamsburg. What can Brown do for you? Dusty Brown was able to pull down 71 balls this year from his signal caller Ryan Moses and more impressive, his 12 touchdown receptions he put up on the scoreboard this year.
Our third receiver on the Third Team is Perry Central's Demetri Travis. The junior is one of the most dangerous players in the mountains. He snagged 44 passes for 890 yards. That's over 20 yards a reception. He also had 11 touchdown receptions on the season. Travis also had 288 yards rushing and added a touchdown on the ground and one in the return game.
We move on to a special position we have created. This goes to the person that has shown that they can just flat out get it done all over the field. We now give you the Third Team All Around Athlete. The man who has the honor of taking this award is none other than the man under center for the Pulaski County Maroons, Chris Muse. Muse had over 1,700 yards in the air with 16 TD's and an incredible 1,973 yards on the ground (leading all of 5A in rushing). He also had 19 TD's on the ground. The man got it done on the defensive side of the ball as well, 5 picks and 3 fumble recoveries. Congrats to Chris Muse.
Our three mountain kickers feature two soccer style kickers and one straight on kicker. They also range in size from 175 pounds to 280 pounds, but the one thing they all had in common, they could boot the ball. Here is our Third Team Kicker.
Austin Delpont of Hazard showed a strong leg routinely putting kick-offs into the endzone. He also booted 59 extra points and put through a 47 yard field goal against Pineville. Congratulations to Austin Delpont of Hazard.
We move on from our third team to our second team now and we start once again at the quarterback position.
Our second string quarterback is another junior, Zach Lewis of Clay County is our choice. He continued his chase of Tim Couch's passing yardage record. Lewis completed 63 percent of his passes for mountain high 3,866 yards. He had 32 touchdowns along with that, but Zach showed some versatility with his ability to run the ball this season. He had 413 yards and 9 touchdowns on the ground. That gives Lewis over 4,200 total yards and 41 touchdowns on the season. Lewis is now less than 1,600 yards short of Couch's Kentucky prep passing yardage record. Congratulations to Zach Lewis.
We now give you the Second Team Running Backs. For this we have to start with the team who got the new field turf and that usually helps a running back, less slippage. It goes to the Grim Reaper out in Johnson County, Johnson Central to be exact. Shawn Grim had over 1,800 yards on the ground and he found pay dirt 31 times this year. Not only that, but he also did his best Ladanian Tomlinson impressions this year throwing several passes for TD's as well. The man who always thanks his line for his performance can thank them once again for his tremendous year.
Our other man in the backfield on the Second Team is Allen Craynon of Prestonsburg. The junior compiled just over 2,000 yards rushing along with 27 touchdowns. He did it quietly and did it well. Even more impressive is the fact that he had to split a lot of carries with Seth Setser. His rushing helped the Blackcats capture the district title and advance to the regional championship game. Congratulations to Allen Craynon.
We go back to the big men, the fullbacks as it is now time to announce our Second Team Fullback for this season.
Mr. Kenny Hughes of Somerset is our Second Team Fullback. Reason being, over 1,900 total yards and 26 TD's. Lets break that one down for you. Over 1,500 yards on the ground with 21 TD's and one shy short of 400 yards receiving with 5TD's.
We saw an explosion of aerial artistry this season in the mountains with 5 quarterbacks throwing for over 3,000 yards. Of course that also means that some one had to be on the receiving end of all those yards so we present to you our All-Mountain Second Team Receivers.
We start in Manchester at Clay County. The 6 foot senior set the school receiving yards record with 1,219 yards. He did that on 69 receptions. He also hauled in 9 touchdown catches. Dunn runs precise routes and will be missed when he graduates this season. Congratulations to Phillip Dunn.
Our second receiver on the team comes from one of the few teams in the mountains not named from a form of a cat. It's the South Laurel Cardinals and his name is "Bubba" Bailey. Bubba Bailey went off this year catching just 52 passes, but going for 1,006 yards and 17 receiving touchdowns. It's hard not to catch passes when Ricky Bowling is throwing them, but 17 TD's is just sick. You'll find that only one person on our teams caught more than that.
Our third receiver on the Second Team is actually a tight end and he's probably the best tight end in the mountains. We speak of Joey Meehan of Hazard. The sophomore had 46 catches for an even 1,000 yards and 13 touchdowns. He averaged over 21 yards a catch. Congratulations to Joey Meehan of Hazard.
It's time to announce the Second Team All Around Athlete of the Year and for that we stay in Perry County.
Ryan Miller, the feisty little guy for those Perry Central Commodores, receives this one and when you put up over 1,400 total yards and 26 TD's on the offensive side of the ball and 89 tackles on the defensive side, who can argue with that? More defensive stats to add, Rhyno had 1 sack and four fumble recoveries all this for a team that fought and clawed their way to the playoffs after losing several players.
What can you say about kickers except they kick the ball. They're normally kind of small, but there is one kicker in the mountains that defies that description and bucks the trend of soccer style kicking. We present to you our Second Team All-Mountain Kicker.
Glen Earnest of Belfry is a straight on kicker that has had great success with the antiquated style. He was almost automatic when giving the chance to kick. The senior kicked a field goal in the state championship game and even nailed a 50 yarder. Maybe most important is his ability to spot kick on kick-offs. Congratulations to Glen Earnest.
We have now reached the time were we present our WYMT All Mountain First Team selections and we start with our quarterback. This QB was a danger with both his arm and his legs. Without further ado, we present our First Team Quarterback.
The top spot goes to Tyler Olinger of Hazard. The junior had a season that was off the charts. Not only did he throw for over 3,400 yards, he also ran for over 1,100 yards. That's over 4,500 yards of total offense. That led the mountains. He also tossed 39 touchdown passes and ran for 16 more scores. That's 55 combined Td's that also led the mountains and most importantly, he led his team to a 13-1 record and an appearance in the state semi-finals. Congratulations to Tyler Oliner of Hazard.
We now head to the First Team Running Backs for the 2007 football season and that takes us nearly to West Virginia. That running back is Adam Dials. Dials ran for 2,185 yards and 29 TD's. He then had 208 yard receiving out of the backfield and 4 more TD's. Dials was an absolute work horse for the Cardinals as he carried the ball more times than anyone in the mountains with 304 carries, but it paid off as his 2,185 yards on the ground was also the most in the mountains.
Our other First Team Running Back is Channing Fugate of Breathitt County. He was a dual threat both rushing and receiving. Fugate rushed for over 1,700 yards and he also caught 45 passes for 625 yards. That's over 2,350 yards from scrimmage. When you add his 30 touchdowns on the ground with his 5 through the air, he reached the endzone 35 times. That is the most of any player in the mountains. He combines great size with agility and is tough to bring down, plus he can tap dance. Congratulations to Channing Fugate.
We now have for you the First Team Fullback for the 2007 season. Dustin May from the Pirates of Belfry put up over 1,800 yards and 30 TD's and led his team to their first state title game in 3 years. The man of few words, at least on camera, played a pivotal role in getting them back to the state championship game. Over 1,700 yards on the ground and 28 TD's. It was hard to bring this guy down on the first hit. Congrats to Dustin May.
This year's batch of receivers is like few, if any, ever seen in the mountains before. The three receivers on our first team each had over 1,100 yards and 16 touchdowns receiving. We'll leave you in suspense no more as we present our All-Mountain First Team Receivers. We start with the most prolific receiver in the history of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. We speak of course of John Cole. The Somerset senior set numerous records including receiving yards in a season and a career and touchdown receptions in a season and a career. Cole capped a great career with over 1,600 yards and 23 touchdowns. His 5,031 career yards rank him second in the nation on top of all of that, Cole also was exceptional as a return man. Congratulations to Somerset's John Cole.
For our second receiver on the team, we shoot back down 80 to south side of Laurel County. Wes King of the South Laurel Cardinals, the other half of that receiving duo, caught 74 passes with 1,185 yards receiving and found the end zone a remarkable 16 times this season. Congrats to Wes King.
Our third receiver on the First Team is Aaron Brock of Williamsburg. The junior caught 62 passes for 1,160 yards and 17 touchdowns. Brock was an excellent go to receiver and helped lead the Yellow Jackets high flying offense and he can only get better next season. Congratulations to Aaron Brock of Williamsburg.
It is now time to present our First Team All Around Athlete of the Year and it goes to a man who just goes absolutely bananas when he steps onto the football field. That guy is Pikeville's Daniel Harmon. You could not go to a game this year without his name being called. Harmon showed great duality on the field this year as had over 2,000 yards rushing, 27 touchdowns, 4 interceptions. He also ran back a kick return for a touchdown.
We have reached our last position on the First Team, the kicker. This kicker is anything but last. This kicker is deadly from anywhere on the field. The All-Mountain First Team Kicker is Monte Merrick of Bell County. The junior possess the strongest leg in the mountains. Merrick nailed 5 field goals including a crucial 56 yarder as the first half expired against Rockcastle County. Merrick's true value though is on kick-offs where he routinely buried them into the endzone. Add on to that the fact that he is a great punter and you've got yourself a WYMT All-Mountain First Team Kicker. Congratulations to Monte Merrick.
Even with so many amazing offensive performances, we still had quite a few standout defensive performances. That is why we now present to you our WYMT Super 30 Defensive Players:
Joe Nichols (Pike Central)
E.J. Hampton (Pike Central)
Tim Honaker (Pikeville)
Jordan Gilliam (Pulaski Co.)
Winston Hines (Pulaski Co.)
Nathaniel Stephens (Prestonsburg)
Scott Daughtery (Rockcastle Co.)
Jonah Justice (Shelby Valley)
Fred Hutchinson (Southwestern)
Garrett Phillips (Williamsburg)
John Howard (Hazard)
Ian Welch (Johnson Central)
Nathan Dials (Johnson Central)
Justin Mills (Knox Central)
Tyler Hinton (Lawrence Co.)
Caleb Frazier (Letcher Central)
Hunter Adams (Middlesboro)
Daniel Crawford (Middleboro)
Blaine Asher (Perry Central)
Donald Baker (Perry Central)
Christian Mason (Bell Co.)
Charlie Dotson (Belfry)
Phillip Hickman (Belfry)
Ethan Nolan (Clay Co.)
Rob Madon (Corbin)
James Brown (Cumberland)
John Fields (Cumberland)
Michael Rowe (East Ridge)
Mikael Campbell (Hazard)
Bart Teague (Hazard)
Now it's time to show some of the big guys up front some love. They spend all their time blocking for running backs and quarterbacks that get all the glory. Now we recognize the best offensive linemen in the mountains as nominated by the coaches.
We start with Shane Webb form Bell County. Jimbo Stanley from Belfry makes the list, Hunter Morgan, the senior from Breathitt County is there. Do not forget about Letcher Central's Brakota Smith, and A.J. Jones of Middlesboro joins the group.
The next five include Jake Hall of Pike Central, the big Tight End Jordan Johnson from Pikeville is listed, Tyler Cobb of Somerset, Derek Triplett of South Floyd, and Tyler Rollins of Williamsburg round out the list.
We had a lot of performances that were great in their own right, but just didn't quite make our first, second or third team. For those players, there is a special spot reserved for them on our WYMT All-Mountain Honorable Mention List.
Colby Fugate (Breathitt Co.)
Clint Cashen (Corbin)
Charlie Banks (Letcher Central)
Chris Muse (Pulaski Co.)
Chase Hall (Somerset)
Ryan Moses (Williamsburg)
Ivan Lee (Belfry)
Ryan Fritts (Corbin)
Lance Simmons (Cumberland)
Coby Roberts (Lawrence Co.)
Joe Roskopf (Lynn Camp)
Sidney Wagner (Lynn Camp)
Jordan Howard (Magoffin Co.)
Seth Setser (Prestonsburg)
Winston Hines (Pulaski Co.)
Casey Hayes (Rockcastle Co.)
Kyle Howell (South Floyd)
Will Moses (Williamsburg)
Ethan Nolan (Clay Co.)
Michael Campbell (Hazard)
Dakota Brock (Letcher Central)
Hunter Adams (Middlesboro)
Ryan Allen (Breathitt Co.)
Wes Epperson (Breathitt Co.)
J.V. Hooker (Clay Co.)
Rob Madon (Corbin)
Brandon Helton (Evarts)
Acie Waller (Lawrence Co.)
Ronnie Claiborne (Pulaski Co.)
John Coomer (Somerset)
Shane Pack (Lawrence Co.)
Will Wilson (Somerset)
As for the Players of the Year, we'll name one for each class and we'll start in Class A.
We start with our total yards and touchdown leader in the mountains, that being Tyler Olinger of Hazard. The junior is our Class 1A Player of the Year.
In 2A, we discussed this one for a while and we decided on Clint Cashen, the Corbin senior did a phenomenal job of running the Roundhounds offense. It was his leadership plus his numbers that make him our 2A Player of the Year.
In 3A, we spent a week debating this one. Our top two players in the mountains both play in Class 3A. For the first time in a while, we have a split Player of the Year. The award goes to both Dustin May of Belfry and John Cole of Somerset, both are very deserving.
In 4A, we go with the model of consistency for the best team in the class. Spencer Greer was excellent week in and week out for the Bobcats. He put up big numbers for a team that won it's first 12 games of the season. Congrats to Spencer Greer.
In 5A, this was another tough debate. We went with the player who keyed his team on both sides of the ball. Pulaski County's Chris Muse picks up the award. He was dangerous as a dual threat quarterback and as a defensive back for a Maroons team that went 10-2.
We now take a look at our top coaches in the mountains and just like the players, we have one for each class.
In Class A, the award goes to Hazard's Mark Dixon. He led the Bulldogs to their first undefeated regular season. Hazard advanced to the semi-finals before falling to Lexington Christian. Congratulations to Mark Dixon.
In Class 2A, we give the nod to Corbin's Steve Jewell. The Redhounds went an impressive 11-2, claiming the district title. Their only two losses were to two state runner-ups. Conragts to Steve Jewell.
In 3A, we give the Coach of the Year award to Phillip Haywood of Belfry. Coach Haywood collected win number 300 on his way to a 14-1 season and a trip to the state title game. Congratulations to Coach Haywood.
In 4A, it's another coach with 300 wins, 2 state titles, and whose name starts with "H". Dudley Hilton is our 4A Coach of the Year. His Bell County Bobcats rolled off 12 straight wins before falling to Lex Cath. Coach Dudley Hilton is our 4A Coach of the Year.
In 5A, we tab Hillard Howard as our Coach of the Year. There were several strong candidates, but Coach Howard did an excellent job getting the Cougars headed in the right direction. They should be good for years to come. Congratulations to Hillard Howard.