2018 All-County football team released

Published 8:48 pm Tuesday, December 18, 2018

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor 

The 2018 football season across Shelby County will hold some special memories.

It saw the Thompson Warriors advance to the 2018 state championship, making school history. We saw Briarwood head coach Fred Yancey coach in his last football game, announcing his retirement at the end of the season. While we also saw a total of five teams make the postseason, including Thompson, Pelham, Briarwood, Montevallo and Vincent.

Several players were able to make not just those handful of teams successful, but every team in the county a proud one at the end of the season. It was a very competitive year as far as standout talent is concerned with some of the best athletes the county has ever seen, and below we honor the best of the best on the 2018 All-County football team.

First Team Offense

Quarterback: Taulia Tagovailoa, senior, Thompson. One of our two Players of the Year, Tagovailoa posted 3,684 yards and 35 touchdowns passing during his senior season. He is a once-in-a-lifetime type of quarterback and in his four years as a starter between Thompson and Kapolei high schools, he totaled 13,577 yards and 135 touchdowns through the air.

Running Back: Shadrick Byrd, senior, Thompson. Not just one of the best running backs in the county, but the entire state, Byrd totaled 1,403 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns on 215 carries this season. He also posted 484 receiving yards and four additional touchdowns in the receiving game.

Running Back: Jalen Henderson, senior, Spain Park. Henderson closed out a special career with 1,010 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns. That touchdown total was the most of any back in the county. He also added 216 receiving yards.

Offensive Line: Amari Kight, senior, Thompson. A four-year starter and Alabama commit, Kight graded above 90 percent on the offensive line in every game this season and had 31 pancake blocks.

Offensive Line: Seth Macmillan, senior, Thompson. Macmillan was another reason for Thompson’s success on offense this season grading above 90 percent in every game and totaling 17 pancake blocks.

Offensive Line: Seaburn Hines, sophomore, Helena. Hines graded 91 percent and had 19 pancake blocks this season. Head coach Richie Busby said he’s the best he’s ever coached and he’s just a sophomore. 

Offensive Line: Trent Howard, junior, Briarwood. Head coach Fred Yancey has said Howard is the best offensive lineman the Lions have had each of the last two years. He’s got offers from UAB and more on the way. 

Offensive Line: Nate Barron, senior, Pelham. Barron graded above 90 percent for the season on the O-Line and posted a total of 33 pancake blocks.

Receiver: J.J. Evans, junior, Montevallo. The county’s other Player of the Year, Evans exploded overnight this season and picked up an offer from every SEC school imaginable as well as many others. During his junior season he posted 1,706 receiving yards and 18 touchdowns on 74 receptions, which ranks second all-time in the state behind Brandon Greer with 1,735 yards. His average yards per catch was 23. 

Receiver: Mike Pettway, junior, Thompson. Pettway also had a stellar season that wasn’t recognized enough across the state. His 1,219 receiving yards on 64 receptions ranks him 32nd all-time in the state. He also totaled 17 touchdowns, which was second overall by a receiver or running back.


Receiver: Kyle Smoak, senior, Thompson. Smoak got injured in Thompson’s first game of the playoffs, but deserved a spot on the team after totaling 651 yards and four touchdowns on just 53 receptions. He was the most sure-handed receiver I saw this season and rarely dropped a ball thrown his way. A definite difference maker when he was on the field.

Receiver: Quindarius Crews, junior, Calera. Crews continued to stand out during his junior season as one of the best receivers posting 756 yards and six touchdowns on 42 receptions. With the inconsistency at quarterback this year due to injuries, that was an impressive number to post.

Athlete: J.R. Tran-Reno, senior, Briarwood. There may not be a better overall athlete in the state than Tran-Reno. Starting the season at quarterback, and moving back to receiver and running back, he totaled 1,045 all-purpose yards and 20 touchdowns. He was 20-of-40 with 240 yards passing, posted 439 rushing yards with 15 touchdowns and 366 receiving yards with four touchdowns on just 22 receptions.


First Team Defense

Defensive Line: Will Hoffman, senior, Thompson. Hoffman totaled 65 unassisted tackles and 28 assisted tackles for a total of 93, but his 14 tackles for loss and four sacks are what really stand out.

Defensive Line: Jonathan Williams, senior, Helena. Williams earned a spot on the team because of his will to get to the quarterback. He posted 65 tackles, but more importantly led the county with 10 sacks and also had nine tackles for loss.

Defensive Line: Cedric Tooson, senior, Spain Park. As a three-year starter, Tooson has been a force on the D-Line for the Jags and posted 72 tackles, 10 tackles for loss and six sacks during his senior season.

Linebacker: Will Conner, senior, Thompson. Conner posted 85 unassisted tackles and 50 assisted tackles for a total of 135 during his senior season, adding 14 tackles for loss, four sacks and one interception. In the last two years, he had a combined 272 tackles, 30 tackles for loss and nine sacks.

Linebacker: Robbie Albright, senior, Vincent. A nose for the football, Albright also posted 135 total tackles this season and added eight tackles for loss, one sack and an interception.

Linebacker: Ryan Jewell, senior, Pelham. Jewell posted a total of 110 tackles this season with four sacks, but his 13 tackles for loss was among the best in the county.

Linebacker: DJ Douglas, senior, Thompson. Douglas really came on strong late for Thompson and ended up posting 95 total tackles this season, but his 16 tackles for loss and four interceptions stood out. The 16 TFLs tied for the highest in the county, while the four interceptions were among the best by a linebacker.

Linebacker: Mark Hand, senior, Briarwood. The county leader in tackles, Hand posted an unreal 187 tackles as a senior. He also added 6.5 tackles for loss, five sacks and three interceptions. Hand scored three defensive touchdowns and was called the best linebacker in school history by head coach Fred Yancey.

Defensive Back: Jalen Bustamante, senior, Thompson. Bustamante led the county with seven interceptions and also posted 85 total tackles, three tackles for loss and two sacks.

Defensive Back: Cade Dickinson, senior, Briarwood. Dickinson totaled 60 tackles, forced four fumbles, recovered three fumbles had two interceptions and blocked a punt this season.

Defensive Back: Jack Schmidt, senior, Helena. Schmidt played a lot at linebacker as well and was able to post 95 total tackles with nine tackles for loss, three sacks and three interceptions.

Defensive Back: Dylan Hoye, senior, Oak Mountain. Played in just eight games this season, but still posted 75 tackles, one tackle for loss, one interception and two forced fumbles in the most difficult region in the state.

Kicker: Noah Nall, junior, Briarwood. Nall was named the first-team kicker for his effort in more than just the kicking game. In addition to going 5-of-7 on field goals with a long of 43 yards, 35-of-38 on extra-point attempts and averaging 35.5 yards per punt pinning teams inside the 20-yard line 13 times, Nall also posted 64 tackles and two interceptions defensively.


Second Team Offense

Quarterback: Malik Inabinette, junior, Montevallo. Inabinette set school records this year passing for 3,376 yards and 38 touchdowns as a junior. Also added 201 rushing yards and five more touchdowns on the ground. 

Running Back: Marquis Johnson, sophomore, Helena. Incredible season with 1,111 rushing yards and eight touchdowns on 153 carries, which put him as the second leading rusher in the county. 

Running Back: Deon Gilliland, junior, Montevallo. The third leading rusher in the county was Montevallo’s Gilliland with 1,089 yards and 13 touchdowns. He also added 335 receiving yards and four more touchdowns.

Offensive Line: J.T. Pennington, sophomore, Shelby County. Pennington has a bright future after totaling 73 pancake blocks for the Wildcats as just a sophomore.

Offensive Line: Gino Ramos, senior, Pelham. Ramos totaled 25 pancake blocks and had one of the highest grades this year at over 95 percent.

Offensive Line: Noah Whatley, senior, Briarwood. One of the best effort players this season paving the way for a strong rushing attack at left guard.

Offensive Line: Dakota McLaren, senior, Pelham. Had 28 pancake blocks and graded out over 90 percent this year.

Offensive Line: Will Howell, senior, Montevallo. Started all 11 games this year and was the leader of an offensive line that had a 3,000-plus yard passer and 1,000-plus yard rusher.

Receiver: J.B. Mitchell, sophomore, Thompson. Mitchell finished third in the county in receiving as a sophomore with 788 yards and six touchdowns on 54 receptions. He and Pettway will be a scary duo next year.

Receiver: Brandon Sledge, senior, Pelham. An all-around athlete, Sledge posted 307 yards receiving and five touchdowns on just 20 receptions, while posting 431 rushing yards on 51 carries with five more touchdowns. Also added a kick and punt return for a touchdown.

Receiver: Edward Gipson, senior, Pelham. Gipson was one of the top-5 receivers in the county with 567 yards and six touchdowns. He only had 33 catches but had an average of 17.2 yards per catch. 

Receiver: Lando Nichols, senior, Chelsea. Nichols was a consistent receiver this season totaling 347 yards and three touchdowns on 44 receptions. He also added five rushes for 66 yards and a touchdown.

Tight End: Kasey Clark, senior, Pelham. Clark posted 424 yards and four touchdowns this year and caught 28 of the 29 balls thrown his way.

Athlete: Chris Hardie, senior, Vincent. Hardie was a two-way player for Vincent posting 184 rushes for 1,054 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns, while also adding 53 tackles, 12 tackles for loss and five sacks defensively.


Second Team Defense

Defensive Line: Eric Mizell, senior, Thompson. Mizell faced double teams often this year but adjusted and totaled 73 tackles, 14 tackles for loss and four sacks.

Defensive Line: Brock Higdon, senior, Pelham. Posted 54 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, eight sacks, three forced fumbles and 15 quarterback hurries.

Defensive Line: Dalton Brooks, senior, Briarwood. A three-year starter, Brooks totaled 60 tackles, had 15.5 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks with two blocked punts and a defensive touchdown.

Linebacker: Jacob Fitzgerald, senior, Oak Mountain. A stellar career for Fitzgerald ended on a strong note posting 114 total tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, two pass breakups and three forced fumbles in just nine games.

Linebacker: Nathan Dunaway, junior, Helena. Dunaway posted 106 tackles, 11 tackles for loss and two sacks as a junior.

Linebacker: Jeremiah Alexander, freshman, Thompson. Blew up from a recruiting standpoint thanks to 74 total tackles, 16 tackles for loss and six sacks as a freshman.

Linebacker: Josh Wallace, senior, Spain Park. Posted 88 tackles this season with two sacks and two tackles for loss. One of the leaders of a great defense.

Defensive Back: Patrick Durr, senior, Pelham. Durr was solid in the secondary this year with 50 tackles, 15 pass break ups, four tackles for loss, one interception and one forced fumble.

Defensive Back: Matt Mizerany, senior, Helena. Mizerany had a total of 85 tackles, including four for a loss, while also posting three interceptions and forcing two fumbles. 

Defensive Back: Garrison Frisch, senior, Oak Mountain. Only posted 43 tackles, but played in just five games. He also posted three pass breakups, two fumble recoveries, one interception and one tackle for loss. Would have likely been a first team guy had he stayed healthy.

Kicker: Evan McGuire, junior, Thompson and Greg Blue, senior, Pelham. Both guys were too close to separate. McGuire posted 51 touchbacks in 76 kickoff attempts, went 5-of-9 on field goals, hit 51-of-54 PATs and averaged 35.6 yards per punt on 24 punts. Blue was 46-of-48 on PATS, hit 4-of-7 field goals with a long of 44 yards, put 95-percent of his kickoffs in the end zone and averaged 38.1 yards per punt on 28 punts.

Long Snapper: William Mote, senior, Spain Park and Xander Echols, sophomore, Chelsea: Two premier linemen, especially at the long-snapping position. Mote is headed to Samford to do just that and Echols is getting a lot of attention for his effort as well.

Honorable Mention: Cole Garner, Briarwood. Cal Reebals, Briarwood. Luke Prewett, Briarwood. Matthew McKenna, Briarwood. Jayson Jones, Calera. Zach Ford, Calera. Tyler Olds, Calera. Turner Griffin, Chelsea. Todd Justice, Chelsea. Laddarius Rice, Helena. Jay Sullens, Montevallo. Tavicia Tutt, Montevallo. Jemari Harris, Montevallo. Jamarius Carter, Montevallo. Clay Collins, Oak Mountain. Luke Percer, Oak Mountain. Evan Smith, Oak Mountain. Zykeius Strong, Oak Mountain. Jaylen Thomas, Oak Mountain. Xzavier Brown, Oak Mountain. Matt Rye, Pelham. Dylan Peterson, Pelham. Dorian Tolbert, Pelham. Phillip Duke, Pelham. Trinity Martin, Shelby County. Braxton Hall, Spain Park. Cameron Young, Spain Park. Mason Pronk, Spain Park. Scott Moates, Spain Park. Martaviun Lawson, Vincent. Zach Munoz, Vincent.