Football Defense

Football Defense

May 3rd, 2012 in Bestofpreps2012

PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Vonn Bell

Vonn Bell

Photo by Jenna Walker /Times Free Press.

VONN BELL

When the junior transfer from Central first showed up for summer workouts, Ridgeland coach Mark Mariakis knew right away he was getting a talented athlete. He just didn't know how good. Bell, a 6-foot-1, 180-pounder, was the main piece for a Ridgeland team that, despite starting nine new defensive players, overcame a slow start to earn a Georgia playoff spot and reach the second round. Bell, a two-way starter, totaled 178 tackles (119 solo stops), picked off five passes, caused three fumbles and recovered five, returning three for touchdowns, from his safety position. Offensively, on a team not known for its passing prowess, he had 31 receptions for 487 yards and six touchdowns. "Honestly, he's the best we've ever had here," said Mariakis, who currently has three players in the SEC and another starting for Oklahoma State. "He's just scratching the surface of what he can do. When he first got here, I wasn't sure, but as the season went along we saw a great player emerge."

COACH OF THE YEAR

Hal Lamb

Hal Lamb

Photo by Jenna Walker /Times Free Press.

HAL LAMB

Any coach in any sport at any level would envy Hal Lamb's accomplishments. Entering this season he had coached Calhoun to 10 region titles in 12 years, four of those ending in the state championship game. But he lacked a state title, until 2011, when the Yellow Jackets completed their 15-0 season by beating the Buford program that had defeated them the last three years in the title game. "It was a special season for a lot of reasons, and I feel so good for the seniors on this team after losing to the same team three years in a row and for this community that has supported us so well over the years," said Lamb, who had among his starters this year his son, senior receiver Ben Lamb, and nephew Taylor Lamb, the junior quarterback. "These kids overcame a lot of adversity, and now they get to say they're state champions."

FIRST TEAM

Reed Allen

Reed Allen

Photo by Jenna Walker /Times Free Press.

Reed Allen

CALHOUN

- Senior lineman

- The end headed to the Air Force Academy had 71 tackles and four sacks for the state champions.

Jake Ables

Jake Ables

Photo by Alex Washburn /Times Free Press.

Jake Ables

SODDY-DAISY -

Senior lineman

- He was among the area's leaders with 23 tackles for loss.

Deres Benn

Deres Benn

Photo by Jenna Walker /Times Free Press.

Deres Benn

RED BANK

- Senior defensive back

- He led the area with eight interceptions, returning one for a touchdown.

Coltin Blevins

Coltin Blevins

Photo by Jenna Walker /Times Free Press.

Coltin Blevins

SOUTH PITTSBURG

- Senior linebacker

- A two-time all-state player, he was named Class 1A's Mr. Football and led the Pirates with 120 tackles.

Kahne Cooper

Kahne Cooper

Photo by Alex Washburn /Times Free Press.

Kahne Cooper

NORTH JACKSON

- Senior defensive back

- He turned two of his four interceptions into TDs and had 39 tackles and 1,600-plus allpurpose offensive yards.

Rue Goldston

Rue Goldston

Photo by Jenna Walker /Times Free Press.

Rue Goldston

BRADLEY CENTRAL

- Senior defensive back

- He had 75 tackles, five for loss, and seven pass breakups and returned one of his interceptions for a TD.

Caleb Houston

Caleb Houston

Photo by Alex Washburn /Times Free Press.

Caleb Houston

WALKER VALLEY

- Senior punter

- He led the area with a 42.3-yard punting average for the Mustangs this season.

Alex Kirby

Alex Kirby

Photo by Jenna Walker /Times Free Press.

Alex Kirby

CALHOUN

- Senior linebacker

- The future UTC Moc totaled 184 tackles and was Georgia's Class AA defensive player of the year.

Hunter Knight

Hunter Knight

Photo by Jenna Walker /Times Free Press.

Hunter Knight

CALHOUN

- Senior linebacker

- He had 139 tackles, 131/2 sacks and 10 other tackles for loss for the state champions.

Phillip McClain

Phillip McClain

Photo by Alex Washburn /Times Free Press.

Phillip McClain

OOLTEWAH

- Junior kick returner

- He averaged 25.5 yards per punt return with three TDs and also returned one kickoff for a TD.

Henry McClendon

Henry McClendon

Photo by Jenna Walker /Times Free Press.

Henry McClendon

CLEVELAND

- Senior lineman

- He played both tackle and defensive end, finishing with 53 tackles, 15 for loss and seven sacks.

Jay Rudwall

Jay Rudwall

Photo by Alex Washburn /Times Free Press.

Jay Rudwall

OOLTEWAH

- Senior linebacker

- He led the Owls with 1201/2 tackles and was named all-state in Class 6A.

Dorian Simpson

Dorian Simpson

Photo by Jenna Walker /Times Free Press.

Dorian Simpson

McMINN COUNTY

- Senior defensive back

- He had 50 tackles, intercepted three passes and had six pass breakups.

SECOND TEAM

JUSTIN ADEKOYA Heritage Lineman Senior

ALEX AKINS Polk County Defensive back Senior

C.J. BELL Gordon Central Linebacker Senior

ZACK BOWMAN Signal Mountain Linebacker Senior

GABE FREEMAN Calhoun Linebacker Senior

DUSTIN LEWIS Heritage Punter Senior

CHANDLER PATRICK Tyner Linebacker Senior

KELLY PAYNE Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe Lineman Senior

CHASE REED Boyd-Buchanan Kick returner Senior

ZACK REED Dalton Linebacker Senior

ADAM SELBY Northwest Whitfield Lineman Senior

ELI STOUT Sequatchie County Defensive back Senior

KYLE THOMAS Boyd-Buchanan Defensive back Senior

THIRD TEAM

HAYDEN CRONAN McCallie Linebacker Senior

KLAY DURHAM Gordon Lee Defensive back Senior

TYLER HENDERSON Bledsoe County Linebacker Senior

DEMETRIC JOHNSON South Pittsburg Kick returner Junio

MIKE JOHNSON East Ridge Linebacker Senior

JESSE JONES Cleveland Linebacker Senior

CHRIS MOORE East Hamilton Punter Senior

FRANCISCO RODRIGUEZ East Hamilton Lineman Junior

NATHAN SCHUSTER Chattooga Defensive back Senior

CARTER SCOTT Meigs County Lineman Senior

JAMES STONE Ooltewah Lineman Senior

JOSEPH STURKEY Tyner Defensive back Senior

JOSH TISDALE Central Lineman Senior