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Seniority rules on all-area offensive football team

Posted: December 22, 2011 12:09 p.m.
Updated: December 23, 2011 5:00 a.m.

JUSTIN SUTTON WAS A leader along both the offensive and defensive lines for the Camden Military Academy football team in 2011.

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While the wins were far from what Kershaw County coaches, players and fans have become used to in the past, there was no shortage of outstanding individual performances on the football field this past season for the county’s four gridiron squads.
The 2011 Kershaw County Coaches’ All-Area Football Team features a group of experienced players, comprised mainly of seniors with a few juniors mixed in. And, as for the younger players, they will have to wait their turn as there was nary a sophomore or freshman to be selected to the squad by a vote of the four head coaches.
Here is your 2011 Kershaw County Coaches’ All-Area Football Team’s offensive unit:

Quarterback – Grayson King, Jr., North Central – King was a player who improved with each passing week, especially in protecting the football both when he threw it and on those occasions when he tucked it away. He also made better decisions with the ball for the Knights … The second-year starter completed 83 passes for 1,110 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed for 28 yards and a touchdown

Running Back – Jo Jo Brevard, Sr., Camden High – After an injury-marred junior campaign, Brevard added 25 pounds to his 5-foot-11 frame and checked in at 180 pounds laast season… The added mucle allowed him to run between the tackles as well as getting to the outside … Brevard led the Bulldogs in rushing with  760 yards while scoring two touchdowns. He also caught eight passes for 60 yards.

Running Back – Zach Connell, Sr., Lugoff-Elgin – With the myriad of injuries sustained by the Demons this past season, one player whom L-E head coach Scott Jones could rely on was the 5-foot-11, 195-pound fullback … Easily the bell cow of the Demon ball carriers, Connell rushed for 971 yards as a senior and topped the 100-yard mark in each of his final six games, including 186 yards in a loss to South Florence in week 10 … Connell led the Demons with 10 touchdowns and was second on the team in receiving with eight catches for 115 yards … And, by the way, on defense, he had 23 tackles, with two being for loss of yardage, a sack, an interception and a caused fumble.

Running Back – Tavarus Porter, Sr., North Central – After having come agonizingly close to reaching the 1,000-yard mark as a junior with 980 yards, Porter eclipsed the four-digit barrier in his final go ‘round in Boonetown … The 5-foot-11, 200-pounder led all Kershaw County backs with 1,533 yards gained on 179 carries for better than 8.5 yards per carry. His 16 touchdowns --- including one of 90 yards --- and two PAT runs gave him a county-best 100 points on the season … Porter also was an option in the NC passing game as he had four grabs for 63 yards.

Wide Receiver – Cedric Cook, Jr., Camden High – For most of the first part of the season, Cook played sparingly as dropped balls in practice slowed his development. In the second half of the season, however, things started clicking for the Bulldogs’ fastest player … The 5-foot-10, 145-pounder caught six passes for 111 yards through the first six games of the season. In the final four weeks of the year, he caught 14 passes for 340 yards … Cook led all KC receivers in yardage with 451 and yards per catch, 18.0. He also made two trips to the end zone.

Wide Receiver – Raijon Jones, Sr., North Central – The Knights’ main big-play threat and a sure-handed receiver on the outside, Jones again led North Central in receptions with 26 grabs 249 yards … His longest catch from quarterback Grayson King was good for 32 yards … The speedster and two-sport athlete (baseball) had one of three touchdown catches … He also had five carries which netted 28 yards.

Wide Receiver -  Darelle Smith, Sr., Camden High – Smith, who is also the Bulldogs’ point guard in basketball, made the transition from safety to wide out for his senior campaign … His 28 catches led all county players. He gained 335 yards on those grabs and scored four touchdowns … The 5-foot-6, 165-pounder was also the Dogs’ main man on returns as he led the teams with 420 yards on 17 kickoffs and had eight punt returns for 146 yards, including one for a 60-yard touchdown against Ware Shoals.

Tight End – Justin Gilstrap, Sr., Lugoff-Elgin – Gilstrap locked down a starting job as a junior and never slowed down in securing it again this past season … Like all too many Demons, his season was cut short by an injury … The 6-foot-1, 213-pounder’s role was more of an additional blocker on the front line for the Demons’ Wing-T rushing attack.

Offensive Line – Joseph Branham, Sr., Camden High – A three-years starter, Branham handled the center chores for the Bulldogs and their shotgun offense for the second straight year … The 5-foot-10, 210-pounder called the shots for an offensive line which cleared the way for a unit which averaged nearly 220 yards per game.

Offensive Line- Raulo Chafin, Sr., Lugoff-Elgin – A hard-nosed player who was a stalwart in the trenches for a Demon offense which piled up more than 2,200 yards on the ground in the run-heavy, Wing-T offense … A three-year varsity performer, Chafin was one of the Demons’ inspirational leaders and a player who was on the field, day-in and day-out.

Offensive Line – Selwyn Hickmon, Sr., Camden High – The 5-foot-7, 211-pounder earned a starting job on the CHS offensive line as a sophomore and never relinquished it from that point … Played an integral role in protecting the Bulldog quarterback who threw for more than 1,200 yards in 10 games this past season.

Offensive Line – T.J. Love, Jr., North Central – Weighing in at more than 310 pounds, Love was a central point for a North Central offensive line which did not give up a sack the entire season … The son of the late Myronne Love, a former standout lineman at North Central before playing at South Carolina State, T.J. could protect the quarterback with as much ease as he could pave the way for a ground game which averaged more than 200 yards per game.

Offensive Line – Dennis Stevens, Jr., North Central – It should have come as no surprise that when Stevens returned to the Knights’ offensive line after missing several games with a medical condition, the offense clicked again … A player who wears his heart in his sleeve, the 6-foot-2, 240-pounder led the Knights in pancake blocks and will be a building block as the program heads into the AA ranks in 2012.

Offensive Line – Justin Sutton, Sr., Camden Military Academy – Though the Spartans did not scratch the win column this past season, that could not be blamed on Sutton, a team leader both on the interior line on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball … A gritty player who came all the way back from a knee injury, he was a leader for Will Rice’s troops both on and off the football field.

Placekicker – Jake Ansley, Sr., Camden High – Taking a year off to concentrate on baseball did nothing which adversely affected the Bulldog senior who set a new school record when he split the uprights from 50 yards away with his first kick of his senior season … Ansley converted on nine of his 13 field goals tries, with six of those being from 36 yards out, or better … He is also believed to be the first kicker in the 117 years of Camden football to lead the Bulldogs in scoring with 47 points in 2011.

Honorable mention- Defense: Lugoff-Elgin (Omar Anderson, Sr.,  - offensive line; Safad Brown, Sr.,  - offensive line; Jamey Vaughn, Jr.,  - offensive line; Malik Young, Sr., running back)
North Central (Anthony Spinelli, Jr., defensive back)

(The Kershaw County Coaches’ All-Area Football Team defense and honorable mention will be included in Monday’s edition of the Chronicle-Independent.)


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