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A total of 13 players from five differ-ent local football teams were respresent-ed when the Alabama Sportswriters Association (ASWA) announced its all-state teams for the 2023 season last week.
Clay Central led the way with four players named to the 5A team. RCHS had three players named to the 3A team, while Handley, Ranburne and Wadley had two players each.
Here’s a look at the players who were named among the state’s elite.
The Volunteers were rewarded for their first ever undefeatead regular sea-son with three first-teamers and a sec-ond-teamer on the 5A team.
Senior offensive lineman Nathan Pybus made the first team after he was part of a Vols’ rushing attack that ran for over 3,000 yards in 11 games this season.
Central’s defense was represented on the first team by senior defensive line-man Aiden Stewart and senior lineback-er Koby Johnson. Stewart and Johnson were the two leading tacklers on a domi-nant Central defense that allowed just 80 points all season and never gave up more than 14 points in a game.
Junior running back LaDamion Boyd, who had a breakout season in his first year as the starter, landed a spot on the 5A second team. Boyd ran for 1,621 yards and 22 touchdowns and averaged over 10 yards per carry before an injury kept him out of the Vols’ first-round playoff game against UMS-Wright.Boyd is the fifth straight Central run-ning back to earn all-state honors going back to Camerun Peoples in 2017.
Three RCHS Tigers earned all-state honors, marking the first time since 2020 that the team was represented among the state’s best.
Senior Avion Willis made first-team as a defensive back after he grabbed 10 interceptions and was the team’s second-leading tackler.
Defensive lineman Tristen Chappell finished as the team’s third-leading tack-ler and posted 12.5 tackles for loss and a team-high four quarterback sacks. He was rewarded with a spot on the all-state second team for his efforts.
Running back Mo Winston joined Chappell on the second team after Winston had a huge sophomore season in his first year as the Tigers’ starter. He ran for 1,571 yards and led the county with 27 rushing touchdowns and 36 total touchdowns.
It was evident that Wadley’s backfield was elite all season, and now they have the all-state hardware to prove it. Sophomore starters Jaquez Wilkes and Cortavion Lynch were both named to the 1A all-state team with Wilkes making the first team and Lynch landing on the second team.
Wilkes rushed for 1,874 yards and 26 touchdowns and averaged 10.1 yards per carry, while Lynch ran for 1,194 yards and 22 touchdowns on 9.5 yards per carry. It’s the second all-state selection for Wilkes, who was a second-team running back last year.
It’s the second time in three years that Wadley has had two all-state running backs in the same season. Jacob Marable and Jumall Buchanan were named all-state in 2021 after Wadley’s run the to 1A state championship game.
The Tigers’ run of all-state running backs continues for a fifth straight year as E.J. Goss was named to the Class 4A second team. The senior ran for 1,485 yards and 25 touchdowns and is the fourth back over that five-year stretch to make the all-state team after Devontae Houston, Tae Meadows (twice) and Jay Haynes.
He is joined on the 4A second team by lineback Amajah Williams, a senior who has been a long-time force as a three-year starter for the Handley defense.
Freshman Bulldog kicker Brylee Cash made first team all state in Class 2A after he connected on 30-of-31 extra point attempts and nailed 3-of-4 field goal attempts.
Senior quarterback Kaide Garrett picked up second team honors as an athlete after he passed for over 1,100 yards and seven touchdowns and led the Bulldogs in rushing with 1,141 yards and 21 touchdowns.