Local athletes make ASWA All-State list

Published 5:33 pm Tuesday, December 26, 2017

A number of Butler County athletes were showered in accolades this weekend as the Alabama Sports Writers Association announced All-State honorees.

For the second year in a row, five Georgiana players were represented on the list in Class 1A, including three seniors on the first-team lineups.

Georgiana head football coach Ezell Powell said that though the feat is nothing new for the Panthers, he was surprised nonetheless.

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“It just shows the caliber of kids that we have,” Powell said. “One of the reasons why we’re pretty good year-in and year-out is because we have quite a few guys who are great football players.”

One development that didn’t come as a surprise to Powell was Georgiana quarterback Jamichael Stallworth being seated at the helm of the figurative table as the first-team quarterback representative of Class 1A.

“He’s been a three-year starter, and it just shows what all he’s learned over the years, and what I trusted him to do every time we got out there on the field,” Powell said.

“I thought he was one of the elite in the state, and he had enough weapons around him at his disposal to do things that other quarterbacks couldn’t do.  He did a great job of running the football, as well.”

Rounding out the first-team Georgiana honors are outside linebacker Jamarcus Sims and defensive lineman Lecedric Haynes, both seniors whom Powell considered the leaders of his defense.

“Lecedric was one of those kids who was undersized, but he played as big as any 6-foot-4 or 6-foot-5 guy could play,” Powell added. “He was elusive, he played with a lot of passion and he was hard to stop.

“And I always thought Jamarcus was a really good outside linebacker/strong safety, and he played that way all year long. I can just think of several plays he made throughout the year where I would say to myself ‘I’m glad that guy is on my team, because everybody can’t make that play.’ We were fortunate enough to have two of them on our team, and it shows.”

Offensive lineman Kendall Long and defensive lineman Jalen Nettles round out the list on second team and honorable mention respectively.

“Kendall has done a great job all year long of staying consistent,” Powell said. “Just last week I was watching film and I saw how we progressed all year as a group, and he was an anchor of what we did.  He was rewarded for his efforts, and he’s one I’m extremely proud of.

“And the same goes for Jalen Nettles. Jalen told me during the offseason that he was going to get himself in a position to have a really good season for us. He got overshadowed a lot of times by Lecedric on the defensive line, but Jalen had a tremendous season for us. And his efforts didn’t go unnoticed, either.”

Greenville senior Jeremiah Owens made waves in Class 5A as a standout second-team athlete.

Greenville head football coach Josh McLendon said that Owens’ presence was invaluable for the Tigers both on and off the field.

“He has a great senior season,” McLendon said. “He is just someone that did a great job for us defensively, and he was a force.  We had big expectations for him, and for the most part he lived up to those expectations. He’s just a really hard-working player; you knew every night when the lights came on he would bring everything he had.”

McLendon added that Owens was emblematic of what the program has shown for the past several years–that many of the Tigers’ best parts are often interchangeable.

“He’s somebody that can do a little bit of everything,” McLendon added.

“He had a receiving touchdown and a punt return for a touchdown, so he was able to do everything and impact the game in all phases.  That just tells you that he’s a well-rounded player.”

Fort Dale Academy was well represented in the AISA with offensive lineman Trevor Langford serving on first team, Tripp Richardson as first-team defensive back and Austin Phillips rounding out the list of honorable mentions.