North Surry had seven football players make all-conference and Surry Central one as the Western Piedmont Conference announced its team this week.
Carver won the conference title and took home the two individual awards. Quarterback Jamal Williams was named offensive player of the year, and defensive end Lucas Brim was defensive player of the year.
Williams was fast and had a cannon for an arm, said Surry Central Coach Monty Southern. Brim had such a high motor, never taking a play off.
Forbush’s Chris Johnson earned the coach of the year honor.
North Surry had a couple of players repeat on the all-conference team.
Running back Blaze Acord went for 2,000 yards last year, but missed much of the season with a broken collarbone. Still, he showed enough in the games he played to garner attention.
Blocking for Acord the past two years was lineman Devin Pruitt.
Devin has given a lot over the past two years, said North Coach Danny Lyons. He was one of the better linemen in the league despite playing the entire conference schedule on a severely sprained ankle.
In North’s offense, Carlos Flores (an honorable mention) often pulled and led the way for the running back. Pruitt would have to block down on Flores’ man and did that as well as anyone despite being 220 pounds going against bigger defensive tackles, Lyons believed.
Carlos was undersized but very strong and athletic for a lineman, Lyons said. Pound for pound, Carlos was one of the strongest kids on the team thanks to his time in the weight room.
When Acord was out, fullback Dakota Goss stepped in at running back and put up 1,000 yards rushing in addition to being a full-time linebacker.
Dakota led the team with 121 tackles. Being able to put up 1,000 yards and 100 tackles tells people all they need to know about the effort of that young man, he said.
Alongside Goss on defense was LB Hunter Snow. In addition to being the quarterback, Hunter made all the defensive calls. He tallied more than 90 tackles on the year, with 13 or 14 in North’s biggest win of the year against West Stokes, Lyons said.
George Rumplasch was an all-conference linebacker last year and might have given the team a third LB selection if not for injuries. Rumplasch was slowed with a shoulder injury, then he was moved from defense to fullback when Goss moved to halfback.
On the defensive line, Ty Harold and Ben Nichols made the first team.
Ty was probably the most improved player on the whole team, said Lyons. He was the most consistent lineman and finished with 3.5 sacks, nine tackles for loss and a forced fumble.
Nichols had 5.5 sacks and had his two best games against Carver and West Stokes, two of the best teams in the league, said Lyons. Ben needs to be more consistent and then he’ll be a real force next year, he added.
Alex Edwards and Colton Acord made the honorable mention team.
Alex played tight end and spent most of his time blocking in a run-heavy offense. Still, he made 21 catches, with most of them on third down to move the chains. He also played defense and special teams, so he never left the field, the coach noted.
Blaze’s younger brother made a name for himself on the defensive side. As a safety, he was effective both in covering receivers and in coming up for run support. He intercepted one pass, broke up three others and made four tackles for loss.
He always seem to be in the right place, which is impressive for a sophomore, Lyons said.
Goss was the only skill player to make both offensive and defensive teams. Forbush’s Donovan Beavers made both teams as a lineman.
North Surry’s coach, however, believed that Surry Central’s Alex Martin should have made both teams, too.
Martin made the first team as a defensive back and was honorable mention as quarterback.
“Alex is a really good player,” Lyons said. “He really sparked them in the fourth quarter of our game. He made the plays they needed to make.”
The plan was to have Alex and Kirk Needham split time at quarterback so that both would be able to play defense, too, said Central’s Southern.
However, after Needham went down, Martin had to play both ways about 90 to 95 percent of the time, Southern said.
Alex could be good at any position, Southern said.
“He understands the game of football. He understands our schemes, what we’re trying to do and how he fits into that,” said the coach. “And, as a defensive player, if he gets his hands on you, you don’t get away from him.”
While he could lower the boom from time to time, what stood out about Alex is that people just couldn’t pull free of him, he said.
He intercepted one pass, broke up nine more and forced five fumbles.
Considering that Central finished in the middle of the pack this season, Southern admitted to being a little disappointed at having only one first teamer.
He praised inside linebackers Zack Martin and Stephen Bruner, who made honorable mention.
Zack was effective on both sides of the ball even though he is a little bit slow for a linebacker and small for an offensive lineman, the coach said.
Zack is very aggressive, the coach said. He also wrestles, and he has that mentality where he doesn’t care who is across from him in either sport. Even if he is going against an all-conference player, Zack will give it his all.
Bruner was the mainstay of the defense and the leading tackler. Southern said he was in double digits in tackles almost every game. He also dropped back into coverage effectively and closed off passing lanes.
Southern is glad that both of those young men will be back next year.
Nick Coe was honorable mention as a defensive end. At the start of the season, Shawmain Fleming drew a lot of attention, but Nick was always there taking care of his responsibilities, the coach said. When Shawmain’s family moved away, Nick took on a bigger role with QB hurries and stuffs.
Kenyon Martin made the team as a running back, but his greatest contribution was special teams. He often took a kickoff back across midfield to give the Eagles a short field.
When he was on the field for offense, the defense was very aware of him, noted Southern. He made some big plays on offense, but also pulled defenders his way as a decoy.