2019 was a great year for the big boys up front in Randolph County. All-County teams tend to be dominated by skill players who put up gaudy statistics, but this year five linemen and two more players known primarily for their defense account for seven of the 10 spots on the first team.
Here are those 10 players and how they earned their way onto the Leader’s 2019 All-County Football first team.
Elijah Beverly – Wadley
Put simply, he was one of the most dominant, impactful linemen in the county. Beverly played with a relentless motor and was a key to his team’s success throughout each of the past two seasons. The point is exemplified by Wadley’s 25-6 loss to Billingsley this year, in which Beverly did not play due to a shoulder injury. It’s a game that Wadley almost certainly would have won had Beverly played.
Dylan Brooks – Handley
Brooks was first-team all-state in class 4A and will be one of the most heavily recruited defensive linemen in the county for the 2021 recruiting cycle. His blend of size, speed and athleticism make him a matchup nightmare on the high school level and should pave the way to a successful college career at the highest level of the sport. Brooks also moonlights as a wide receiver, where he was second on the team with 22 catches for 354 yards and seven touchdowns.
Jake Cottle – Handley
He’s no five-star recruit, but Jake Cottle is every bit the menace that Brooks is on the Handley defensive front. Cottle also helped anchor a much-improved offensive line that paved the way for Devontae Houston’s record-setting season. Cottle earned first-team all-state honors for his work on the offensive side of the ball.
Joshua Holloway – RCHS
Holloway joined senior Nick Sims to form an immovable duo on the offensive and defensive fronts for RCHS. Holloway is one of just three juniors on this year’s first team. He also earned second-team all-state honors in class 3A as a defensive lineman.
Dante Jordan – RCHS
Jordan was the most reliable source of offense for RCHS all season, and he created that offense in all three phases of the game. Jordan rushed for 1,451 yards and 18 touchdowns, but he scored a total of 25 touchdowns thanks to his good work on defense and as a punt returner.
Briar Morris – Woodland
Woodland again struggled throughout a 1-9 season, but Morris was a constant bright spot. He led the county in receiving with 35 catches for 486 yards and four touchdowns.
Riley Owens – Handley
Owens was a versatile defender who lined up at both linebacker and safety for the Tigers, and excelled at both spots. He also contributed on offense with six catches for 104 yards.
Jonathan Poole – Wadley
No one was as adept as Poole at winning the jump ball, both offensively and defensively. Poole had 17 catches for 296 yards and five touchdowns and also picked off a handful of passes to lead Wadley in both categories.
Johnathan Prothro – RCHS
Prothro was the thunder to Jordan’s lightning in the RCHS running game as he ran for 550 yards and 8 touchdowns on 77 carries. The big bruising back also played a menacing run-stopping role on the other side of the ball and was a vital part of an RCHS defense that allowed under 50 yards rushing per contest.
Nick Sims – RCHS
RCHS head coach Pat Prestridge has routinely said that if Sims were 6-foot-4 he’d be sorting through SEC scholarship offers. Standing just 5-foot-11 Sims was one of the most dominant two-way lineman in the county, a fact that earned him first-team all-state recognition for his work on offense.