Shelby County Reporter Dream Team
Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 10, 2004
Editor’s note: The Shelby County Reporter Dream Team was selected by the sports editor of the Shelby County Reporter based on the 2003 football season. Players from the following teams were eligible for selection: Oak Mountian, Pelham, Briarwood Christian, Thompson, Chelsea, Montevallo, Shelby County, Calera, Vincent, Coosa Valley Academy, Cornerstone Christian, Kingwood Christian and Shelby Academy. Criteria used to evaluate players for each position included performance this season, statistics and talent. In addition to personal observation, input from Shelby County coaches was acquired through surveys distributed at the end of the football season.
Six football players from Briarwood Christian School were named to this year’s Shelby County Reporter Dream Team, placing the Lions first in number of representatives to earn the honor.
In addition to the six BCS players who made the list, the Reporter Football Coach of the Year, Reporter Football Player of the Year and the Reporter Defensive Player of the Year all hail from Briarwood.
Fred Yancey, who coached the Lions to the Class 5A state championship, was selected as the Coach of the Year. Under his guidance BCS earned a 6-1 record in region play. Briarwood finished the season with a 13-2 record after defeating Russellville 31-7 in the state championship game at Legion Field in Birmingham.
Also considered for Coach of the Year were Shelby Academy coach DeWayne Kervin and Chelsea coach Watt Parker. Kervin led the Raiders to 11-2 record and a runner-up finish in AISA Class 1A while Parker led the Hornets to an 8-3 record and playoff berth despite preseason predictions of a losing record.
Briarwood’s Joe Craddock was named Football Player of the Year. Craddock’s incredible numbers and his versatililty as a runner, passer and punter singled him out as the top choice for the honor. The senior quarterback broke the school record for total offense in a season with 2,958 yards. Craddock completed 145 of 281 attempts and boasted a pass efficiency rating of 134.7. He passed for 2,218 yards and 21 touchdowns while throwing just 11 interceptions. Craddock also rushed 142 times for 740 yards, averaging 5.2 yards per carry, and scored 11 touchdowns on the ground. As a punter, he averaged nearly 42 yards per punt on 50 attempts and had a long of 73 yards. Craddock signed a scholarship to play football at Middle Tennessee State University.
Chelsea running back Grant Sullivan was named Offensive Player of the Year. Sullivan led Shelby County in rushing yards and his ability to fight for short yardage and break long runs made him the top choice for the offensive honor. Sullivan rushed for 1,443 yards on 188 carries. The Chelsea senior averaged 7.7 yards per carry and scored 15 touchdowns.
Briarwood star defensive back Simeon Castille was selected as Defensive Player of the Year. Castille anchored a Briarwood defense that gave up under 13 points per game while allowing an average of just 93.7 passing-yards per game. He totaled more than 100 tackles and intercepted nine passes, returning two for touchdowns. Castille signed a scholarship to play football for the University of Alabama.
Leading the offense of the Shelby County Reporter Dream Team at quarterback is Joe Craddock who was selected ahead of Shelby County’s Dane Vansant, Pelham’s Chase Armstrong and Shelby Academy’s Andrew Elm.
Thompson senior Eric Bogan joins Grant Sullivan in the backfield as a Dream Team running back. Bogan rushed for 1,022 yards on 152 carries and scored 11 touchdowns. He averaged 6.7 yards per carry and also caught 13 passes for 126 yards. Also considered at runningback were Vincent’s Desmond Yowe, Pelham’s Drew Burleson, Shelby County’s Derrick Harris, Shelby Academy’s Ryan Elm, Calera’s C.J. Pearson and Oak Mountain’s Chris Johnson.
Rounding out the Dream Team backfield is Cornerstone Christian fullback Jeremy Walden. The CCS senior had five 100-yard games running the football on his way to a 1,000-yard season. Walden rushed for more than 10 touchdowns for the Chargers on the year.
Pelham junior Montez Billings was selected as the only Dream Team wide receiver after posting 458 receiving yards on 42 receptions. Billings caught three touchdown passes on the year and edged out Oak Mountain receiver Bear Burnett at the wideout position.
Charles Hoke was selected at tight end after piling up 945 receiving yards on the year. The Briarwood receiver averaged 16.6 yards per catch on 57 receptions and caught seven touchdowns for the Lions.
The Dream Team offensive line is anchored by Briarwood’s T.J. Claud. The senior lineman signed a scholarship to play football for the U.S. Naval Academy. Joining Claud on the line are Thompson’s Johnny Scoggins, Montevallo’s Heath Pickett, Pelham’s Brain Huckestein and Oak Mountain’s Scott Deaton. Other offensive lineman gathering consideration were Thompson’s Landon Vickery and Oak Mountain’s Drew Ward.
Ben Bludsworth was selected to handle kicking duties for the Shelby County Reporter Dream Team after nailing all five of his field goal attempts this season for Briarwood. Bludsworth kicked a regular season long field goal of 40 yards and connected on 51 of 55 exra-point attempts. Finishing just behind Bludsworth were Pelham’s freshman kicker Jordan Means and Chelsea’s Austin Averitt.
Simeon Castille is joined in the Dream Team defensive backfield by Thompson’s Tony Myers and Shelby County junior Brandon Burns. Myers recorded 31 tackles and two interceptions for the Warriors this season and signed with the Citadel last Wednesday. Burns, an all-state selection, intercepted seven passes this year for the Wildcats. Also considered at defensive back were Briarwood’s Andy Davis, Oak Mountain’s Matt Taylor, Pelham’s Rob Warren, Chelsea’s Doug Pate and Thompson’s Robin Oden.
Dream Team linebackers include the highly touted Tony Bell of Thompson, Chelsea’s Andrew Lafferty, Pelham’s Scooter Alford and Oak Mountain’s Bradley Frye. Bell recorded 76 tackles for the Warriors despite missing several games due to injury. He signed a scholarship to play football for Auburn University. Lafferty tallied 122 tackles, 34 assists and two interceptions for the Hornets. Alford totaled 103 tackles and 6.5 sacks for the Panthers in just nine games. Statistics for Frye were unavailable. The foursome placed ahead of Thompson’s Justin Griffin, Shelby County’s Marc Lemley, Kingwood Christian’s Lakin Spinks, Briarwood’s John Hall and Ryan Adams and Pelham’s Rusty Jones.
The Shelby County Reporter Dream Team defensive front features linemen Brandon Nix of Coosa Valley Academy, Thompson’s Darious Sheffield, Shelby County’s Sean McKinley and Briarwood’s John Post. Nix signed a football scholarship with Middle Tennessee State University after compiling 84 tackles, five sacks and three blocked field goals for the Rebels this season. Sheffield signed with West Alabama after recording 58 tackles and four sacks for the Warriors. Post will play football for Samford University after signing with the Bulldogs last Wednesday. McKinley made 92 tackles at defensive end for the Wildcats. Other defensive linemen considered were Briarwood’s Andrew McCain and Jonathan Lawrence, Chelsea’s Jonathan Arnold and Pelham’s Michael Adams.
Joe Craddock was selected as Dream Team punter ahead of Chelsea’s Daniel Dempsey