Elite talent: 2022 All-County football team released

Published 3:34 pm Wednesday, December 14, 2022

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By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor

Sadly, the 2022 football season has surpassed us, but not without another special season worthy of celebration.

During a year that saw Thompson win its fourth consecutive state championship, Vincent put together its best season in school history and four total teams make the playoffs, including three advancing to the second round, several athletes left their mark on the season.

From the sweat and tireless effort poured into the game starting last spring and throughout the summer, to fall practice, to the season kicking off and coming to an end, teams across Shelby County took us on a remarkable ride.

Now, we get to celebrate the top players from each team on the 2022 All-County Football Team, which recognizes the best offensive and defensive players with a first and second team for each side of the ball in addition to several earning an honorable mention nod for their efforts as well.

First team offense

Quarterback: Christopher Vizzina, senior, Briarwood. A four-year starter at Briarwood, Vizzina faced one of his most difficult schedules yet this season and his clutch play was more than evident. Not only did he lead several game-winning drives early in the season, but he finished with 1,828 passing yards and 341 rushing yards with a combined 27 touchdowns. The four-star recruit is now headed to Clemson.

Running back: AJ Green, junior, Thompson. The county’s second-leading rusher this season, Green played an integral role in Thompson’s state championship success in a year where the run game was featured more heavily for the Warriors. He totaled 1,453 yards and 17 touchdowns on 207 carries, including a 147-yard and two-touchdown showing in the state championship game.

AJ Green

Running back: Rykelus Robertson, junior, Vincent. The big question coming into the season for Vincent was the run game, but Robertson put that worry to bed real quick. He ended up leading the county in rushing this season with 1,824 yards and 19 touchdowns on 179 touches.

Offensive line: Stanton Ramil, senior, Thompson. Arguably the best offensive lineman in the county this season, Ramil really stepped up his game in the postseason and paved the way for a dynamic passing game and rushing attack for the state champs.

Offensive line: Ryan Walker, senior, Thompson. Similar to Ramil, Walker improved as the season went along and became one of the top offensive linemen when it mattered most to help open holes in the run game, while not giving up a sack in the postseason.

Offensive line: Luke Oswalt, senior, Oak Mountain. At 6-foot-4, 285 pounds, Oswalt was a leader up front for Oak Mountain this season and helped set the tone for a strong rushing attack on offense. 

Offensive line: Walker Williams, senior, Chelsea. Going up against some of the top defensive linemen in the state this season, Williams only allowed two sacks, a remarkable feat when you look at who the Hornets faced during their first season in Class 7A.

Offensive line: Harrison Clemmer, senior, Briarwood. The top offensive lineman for the Lions, Clemmer was a leader up front, but was also impressive late in games as well as the run game. 

Receiver: Braylyn Farrington, senior, Calera. The leading receiver in Shelby County this year, Farrington totaled 848 yards and nine touchdowns on 48 receptions in the passing game, while he also returned four kicks for a touchdown this season to lead the Eagles to the playoffs for the second year in a row.

Receiver: Hunter Hale, senior, Helena. An under-the-radar receiver, hale totaled 752 yards and six touchdowns receiving for Helena. He was one of the most sure-handed targets in the county and returned two kicks for a touchdown.

Receiver: Korbyn Williams, senior, Thompson. The leading receiver for the Warriors this season, Williams totaled 671 yards and 11 touchdowns with a 142-yard and four-touchdown performance in the state championship the cherry on top.

Athlete: Tray Youngblood, senior, Vincent. A pure athlete on both sides of the ball, Youngblood led Vincent with 734 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns on offense, while he totaled 83 tackles and three interceptions on defense. He also had a pick six, a kickoff return for a touchdown and a punt return for a touchdown.

Athlete: Darius Copeland, senior, Pelham. Copeland missed close to half of the season with an ACL injury but still put up 565 receiving yards with six touchdowns. In addition to that, he totaled 113 rushing yards and two more touchdowns. He would have contended for the county’s leading receiver had he stayed healthy.

Darius Copeland

Kicker: John McGuire, sophomore, Thompson. Not only did McGuire have a strong showing on field goals as a sophomore with a perfect 26-26 on PATs, but he made a long field goal of 42 yards and booted 35 touchbacks on kickoffs and averaged 41.3 yards per punt.

First team defense

Defensive line: Peter Woods, senior, Thompson. This year’s run-away winner for Player of the Year in Shelby County, Woods was a dominant force up front for the Warriors. Beating double teams with every team’s focus on him, he still totaled 89 tackles, 24 tackles for loss and 11 sacks to help win his fourth consecutive championship.

Defensive line: Curtis Oliver-Avery, junior, Calera. With 94 total tackles, including 61 solo, Oliver-Avery was part of a dynamic force for the Eagles this season finishing with 19 tackles for loss and a county-high 15 sacks.

Defensive line: Caleb Ballard, junior, Thompson. Ballard was the perfect compliment to Woods this season up front, finishing his junior season with 71 tackles, 16 tackles for loss and nine sacks.

Linebacker: Michael Banks-Mason, senior, Calera. One of three players in the county to finish with more than 100 solo tackles, Banks-Mason finished with 103 solo tackles and an additional 34 assisted. More than that, he finished second in the county with 25 tackles for loss and had six sacks with three interceptions, two of which were returned for touchdowns. 

Linebacker: Seth Hampton, senior, Thompson. The leading tackler for Thompson this season, Hampton finished with a total of 99 tackles, including 70 by himself, while he also put together 18 tackles for loss and three sacks with an impressive five interceptions, finishing third in the county in that category as a linebacker.

Linebacker: Garrett Murphy, senior, Oak Mountain. The county’s second-leading tackler by one tackle this season, Murphy finished with 112 solo tackles and 54 assisted during a special senior season. He also totaled 12 tackles for loss, two sacks and three interceptions.

Linebacker: Zack Wright, senior, Vincent. A remarkable senior season for Wright saw him finish as the county’s top tackler. He totaled 126 solo tackles and 41 assisted, while he also added 17 tackles for loss and 10 sacks.

Linebacker: Bradley Horton, junior, Shelby County. Horton was another player that could have been listed as an athlete as one of the team’s top running backs as well, but his 138 tackles and county-leading 26 tackles for loss was too much to ignore on defense. He also finished with two sacks.

Defensive back: Anquon Fegans, sophomore, Thompson. Despite being a sophomore, Fegans showed why he is one of the most sought after young players in the country. Not only did he total 67 tackles with one tackle for loss, but he led the county with nine interceptions and three pick sixes, making him one of the top DBs in the state.

Defensive back: Jamal Miles, senior, Pelham. Passing the eye test, Miles shut down some of the top receivers in the area this season, while many teams stayed away from him. He finished the season with 63 tackles, three tackles for loss and four interceptions.

Defensive back: Kaleb Harris, junior, Thompson. The top three interception leaders in the county this year were from Thompson with Harris finishing second behind Fegans with six. He also totaled 56 tackles and three tackles for loss this season.

Defensive back: Kevin Pinkard, sophomore, Helena. With 10 pass breakups this season, Pinkard was difficult for any team to pass against. He totaled three interceptions and 50 tackles with one tackle for loss.

Second team offense

Quarterback: Clayton Mains, junior, Pelham. One of the most improved players as the season went along, Mains became a major threat for the Panthers and finished the season with 1,800 passing yards, 680 rushing yards and 28 total touchdowns. 

Running back: Emerson Russell, junior, Chelsea. Despite an injury for much of the season and facing some of the state’s most challenging defenses, Russell finished his junior season with 1,130 yards and 11 touchdowns on the ground in addition to 175 receiving yards and two touchdowns. 

Running back: Jordan Washington, junior, Helena. There is still room for growth for the junior running back, but Washington was still one of the leading rushers in the county this season with 149 carries for 898 yards and 12 touchdowns in just eight games played. 

Offensive line: Walker Chambless, senior, Briarwood. Another leader for the Lions, Chambless helped set the stage for Vizzina’s success as a dual-threat quarterback. 

Offensive line: Sawyer Hutto, senior, Oak Mountain. A physical presence with a frame of 6-foot-4, Hutto was another leader up front on the offensive line for a strong rushing attack. 

Offensive line: Trace Barnett, senior, Helena. A three-year starter for the Huskies, Barnett helped pave the way for two running backs who ran for more than 700 yards.

Offensive line: Jacob Carter, senior, Vincent. Carter missed the last two games of the season due to a broken ankle but was one of the biggest keys in the success of this year’s offense.

Offensive line: Noah Watts, senior, Thompson. Another one of those offensive linemen for the Warriors who stepped up in the clutch with an impressive playoff push on the offensive line.

Receiver: Brady Waugh, senior, Briarwood. Briarwood’s go-to target this season, Waugh finished the season with 624 yards and eight touchdowns on 53 receptions despite defenses honing in on him.

Receiver: Javon Rogers, junior, Montevallo. Rogers played on both sides of the ball for Montevallo and had highlights on each, including 639 receiving yards and six touchdowns on 43 receptions for the offense. He also totaled 23 tackles and four interceptions for the defense with seven pass breakups.

Receiver: Jonathan Bibbs, junior, Spain Park. Bibbs was the leading target for the Jaguars this season, totaling 688 yards and four touchdowns on 50 receptions.

Athlete: Zac Carlisle, senior, Vincent. Another all-around athlete for the Yellow Jackets, Carlilse finished second on the team with 611 yards and 15 touchdowns on 35 catches offensively. In addition to that, he finished with 48 tackles and four interceptions, including a pick six.

Athlete: MJ Conrad, senior, Chelsea. Chelsea’s leading receiver this season, Conrad totaled 621 yards and five touchdowns on 44 receptions against some of the state’s top defensive backs in Class 7A, Region 3. He was also totaled more than 300 yards in the kick return game.

Kicker: Jack Seymour, senior, Chelsea. Seymour finished 22-23 on extra points this season and made all three of his field goals with a long of 42 yards. He also totaled 1,411 yards on 34 points and downed 11 punts inside the 20-yard line. 

Second team defense

Defensive line: Easton Fields, senior, Vincent. A leader up front on both sides of the line, Fields totaled 62 tackles this season, including 12 for a loss and eight sacks. He also finished with a pick six, a scoop-and-score and two blocked punts. 

Defensive line: Charlie Adams, junior, Montevallo. Adams was Montevallo’s leader up front this season on the defensive line finishing with 25 solo tackles, 40 assisted tackles, 19 tackles for loss and six sacks with 26 quarterback hurries.

Defensive line: Ty’Qun Goodman, senior, Vincent. An impressive player on the defensive line for the Yellow Jackets, Goodman finished the season with 16 tackles for loss, seven sacks and 46 total tackles this season. 

Linebacker: Jake Ivie, senior, Thompson. Ivie quietly went about his business this season and it led to him finishing as the state champions’ second-leading tackler with 93 total tackles this season. He also finished with 14 tackles for loss, five sacks and an interception.

Linebacker: Nathan Thomason, junior, Helena. Thomason finished with 109 total tackles this season, including 74 solo tackles, while he added an impressive 19 tackles for loss, two sacks, one interception and one blocked punt.

Linebacker: Mason Green, senior, Calera. Green’s 14 tackles for loss were a highlight this year, while he also totaled 122 tackles, including 68 solo tackles.

Linebacker: Ray Albright, junior, Vincent. Deserving of a spot on this year’s team, Albright was a defensive force for Vincent this season. He totaled 101 tackles with 79 solo tackles, while he also finished with an impressive 20 tackles for loss and two sacks.

Linebacker: Bishop Rellah, junior, Pelham. A top-two tackler on the Pelham defense, Rellah totaled 112 tackles and led the team in solo tackles with 78. He also finished with nine tackles for loss, five sacks and two interceptions.

Defensive back: Tony Mitchell, senior, Thompson. Despite missing several games and teams staying away from him, Mitchell was still one of the top defensive backs in the state because of the fear he caused offenses. It not only led to other players having the opportunity to make plays, but Mitchell was able to total 56 tackles, eight tackles for loss and six pass breakups.

Defensive back: Grey Reebals, junior, Briarwood. Reebals totaled 87 tackles this season for the Lions, while he added six tackles for loss, three sacks, five pass breakups and two blocked kicks at the nickel position.

Defensive back: Devan Moss, senior, Oak Mountain. An athletic playmaker, Moss totaled 71 tackles, 12 pass breakups, nine tackles for loss, one sack, three blocked field goals, a blocked punt and one kickoff return for a touchdown. Beyond that, he only allowed three catches this season and didn’t give up a touchdown against some of the best offenses in the state. 

Defensive back: Chris McNeill, senior, Chelsea. With four interceptions in what is arguably the state’s most difficult region, McNeill couldn’t be left off the team. He also 36 total tackles.

Honorable mention: Amari Brundidge, Calera. Danny Brown, Calera. DeKendrick Bennett, Calera. Preston Stokes, Calera. AJ Horstead, Helena. Dalton Lewellyn, Helena. Xavier Guy, Helena. Des James, Helena. DJ Wilson, Helena. Kamari Hollis, Pelham. Will Felton, Pelham. Seth Branham, Pelham. Cooper Pennington, Shelby County. Jack Kendrick, Spain Park. Jonas Harrelson, Spain Park. Trent Seaborn, Thompson. Blake Allums, Vincent.