The 2014 football season was a rememberable one thanks to the new classifications. Four of the five county schools squared off in the same region this past season, with the lone exception being Douglas County, which faced four of the five schools out of region, in either regular season games or scrimmages.
Alexander proved to be the dominant team in the county, winning all four of their county games. Because of their county dominance, AHS is named the 2014 Douglas County Sentinel All-County Team of the Year.
The Cougars opened the year with a 30-12 victory over DCHS. After rolling through Chapel Hill in week three, 49-11, Alexander beat out a scrappy Lithia squad, 24-14.
The big game came at the end of the year when AHS hosted New Manchester for third place in Region 5-AAAAA. The game was a shootout, with AHS edging out the Jaguars, 35-26.
The Cougars finished the 2014 regular season with an 8-2 record and a 7-2 region record. The squad faced Stephenson in the first round of the state playoffs. AHS struggled against the powerful running game of Stephenson, falling 41-27, to end the season.
“This was a group of great young men,” said Alexander coach Matt Combs. “They worked hard and set goals early in the year, overcame obstacles, and accomplished a lot of the goals. They came together as a team.”
When asked if any particular moments stood out during the year, Combs said it was a cumulation of moments that made the season special.
“They stepped on the field and expected to win,” Combs added. “It is always a grind going through a season, but these guys made it fun. It was exciting to be a part of, and I was more of a fan than I was a coach.”
Combs was able to lead his Cougar squad to the playoffs for the second consecutive year, despite overcoming a lot of long odds, and having to fill many holes left by the departure of seniors from the 2013 Elite 8 team. For his commitment to the program, and ability to get the best out of his players, Combs is named the DCS All-County Coach of the Year for the second consecutive season.
“It is an honor, but it also draws a lot of attention to the assistant coaches,” Combs said. “The head coach gets the praise but I have a group of guys I am blessed to coach with and an outstanding group of young men on the field. The team showed high character and class, and the kids went out there and performed.”
The Cougars were led to a great record this season thanks to the effort and leadership of their quarterback, Baylor Whitfield. Whitfield wrapped up an outstanding season by leading the county in passing yards and passing percentage during the regular season, and has been named this year’s DCS All-County Player of the Year. The AHS junior completed 62-percent of his passes (155-of-250) for 1,815 yards and 19 touchdowns. He threw only five interceptions.
He had a lot of competition from New Manchester quarterback Tabashi Thomas, who had more passing touchdowns (20) and was a dual threat with his speed and ability to keep broken plays alive for many seconds. However, the deciding factor was the head-to-head, and Whitfield was able to lead his team over New Manchester to take third place in the region.
Whitfield completed 22-of-34 passes for 290 yards and two touchdowns against the Jaguars. The quarterback also excelled in the playoff game, completed 22-of-40 passes for 281 yards and four scores. He finished the season with 2,081 yards and 23 TD’s, but only the regular season stats were calculated into the All-County picks.
“I can not say enough about the way he led us, led the offense, the way the offense helped the defense, he is a great leader,” Combs said. “People always want to classify him as a game manager, but he has made some great plays this year and he is a field general. He has awesome vision.”
Combs also gave a lot of credit to the offense line and their performance this season.
“They were filling in some big shoes, and I am sure Baylor would say he could not be here without the line,” Combs added. “We replaced all five guys and they allowed Baylor to make the plays for us when we needed him most.”
While Whitfield led AHS, the Cougars where not a one man team. Alexander led the All-County First Team selections with 11 selections. Both New Manchester and Douglas County had four selections to the first team, and both Chapel Hill and Lithia Springs had two each.
TEAM OF THE YEAR
COACH OF THE YEAR
Matt Combs (AHS)
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Baylor Whitfield (AHS)
FIRST TEAM - OFFENSE
QB - Baylor Whitfield (AHS)
RB - Tyre Shelton (CHHS)
Shelton led the county this year at running back with 826 yards. He finished with six touchdowns. “Tyre was very impressive and carried the load for the offense. That is saying a lot for a freshman,” said CHHS coach Justin DeShon.
RB - Deandre Gullatt (LSHS)
Gullatt finished the season with 785 rushing yards and 432 receiving yards. He scored a combine 12 touchdowns. “He was our bell cow, a guy who we could rely on to be there throughout the week,” said LSHS coach Craig Chatman. “He was a heck of a player and could go in and run the ball 30 times, go out and make a tackle, and also catch 10 to 12 passes, and then turn around and do it the next week. He is the definition of a football player.”
WR - Isaac Zico (AHS)
Zico was the leading receiver in the county with 55 catches for 889 yards and 12 touchdowns during the regular season. “Anyone fortunate enough to watch him this year got to watch an exciting young man,” said AHS coach Matt Combs. “Every time he touched the ball he had the potential to go all the way. He made plays neither team on the field could make.”
WR - Donavon Richardson (DCHS)
Despite splitting time with another great receiver on the team, Richardson finished the regular season with 43 catches for 605 yards and 12 TDs. “Donavon is a young man who was our tempo setter on offense,” said DCHS coach Jason Respert. “We were able to get him the ball and he was able to stretch the defense vertically. He was a leader in games and in practice.”
WR - Tyrone Scott (NMHS)
Scott finished the season with 550 yards and eight touchdowns. “Tyrone was an all-around great football player,” said NMHS coach Rob Cleveland. “He was explosive on offense and was a great kick returner.”
OL - Brandon Boss (AHS)
Boss had the highest grade out of any offensive lineman in the county with 94-percent. He allowed no sacks and had one pancake block. “
OL - Jordan Pounds (AHS)
Pounds finished the season with a 91-percent gave out. He allowed no sacks and had three pancake blocks.
OL - Justin Beske (AHS)
Beske graded out this season at 90-percent. He allowed only two sacks and had two pancake blocks.
OL - Zack Oliver (AHS)
Oliver graded out at 90-percent this season and allowed only two sacks. He had one pancake block.
“No one thought we could fill the big shoes from last year on the line, but when you look at our offense this year, you had to look at the guys up front,” Combs said. “They started working in the first week of February and set some lofty goals. They were not the biggest, but they were the hardest working.”
OL - Mark Foster (CHHS)
Foster led the county in pancake blocks with 49. “Mark was a sleeper and is a mammoth kid,” DeShon said. “He came on late and I am excited to work with him in the future.”
K - Andrew Chandler (AHS)
Chandler was hands down the best kicker in the county this season. He made all 40 of his point after attempts during the regular season. He was also 8-of-12 on field goals, with a long of 40 yards. He scored 64 points total. “Andrew worked every single day to get better,” Combs said. “If you don’t succeed in that position, everyone sees it. Everyone remembers the bad plays, but not the good plays, but he did not have many bad plays. He is also one of the wittiest young men off the field. You never know what was going to come out of his mouth.”
FIRST TEAM - DEFENSE
DL - Trayzel Jureidini-Wyche (AHS)
Jureidini-Wuche, known as Houdini by his coaches and teammates, was the top defensive lineman in the county in 2014. He recorded 85 total tackles, which included 70 solo. He had 17 tackles for a loss, 12 sacks, three fumble recoveries and 2 caused fumbles.
“He wasn’t even one or two on the depth chart to start the year,” Combs said. “We had some things happen and he was able to get his shot and made play after play. When he walks the hall, you would never expect that he plays the defensive line. He was consistent, and no one studied the game more. He would write three or four pages of notes on a team going into a game. When you needed a big play in the fourth quarter, you could count on Houdini.”
DL - Ryan Santos (NMHS)
Santos was a dominant threat in the backfield. He recorded 59 total tackles, including 43 solo. He recorded 15 tackles for a loss, 12 sacks, one fumble recovery, and two caused fumbles. “Ryan is a great kid and was one of the main leaders on our team,” Cleveland said. “He led by example and let his shoulder pads do the talking.”
DL - Malik Hampton (DCHS)
Hampton recorded 57 total tackles,which included 28 solo. He had eight tackles for a loss, 4.5 sacks, and two fumble recoveries. “He was our best defensive player and was named our MVP,” Respert said. “He is a guy in Sunday preplanning where we would align him with where we thought our opponents were going to run. He did a good job all year of making teams go to their secondary plays.”
DL - Anthony Oscar (LSHS)
Oscar recorded 55 total tackles this season. He had 18 tackles for a loss, five sacks, and three pass breakups. “Anthony is an athlete that plays on the defensive line,” Chatman said. “He is strong, quick, and gets after it. He can probably play linebacker and tight end. He is a tireless worker and an effort guy.”
LB - Jordan Pounds (AHS)
Pounds, the only player to get selected for the First Team on both sides of the ball, led the county with 107 total tackles. He had 54 solo tackles, three tackles for a loss, one interception, and one caused fumble. “Jordan was a great leader and another junior that stepped up on the team,” Combs said. “He went from not playing as a sophomore to getting over 100 tackles by putting the work in during the offseason.”
LB - Drake Battle (DCHS)
Battle recorded 85 total tackles, including 37 solo. He had six tackles for a loss, half a sack, one interception and one caused fumble. “Drake is a three year starter at middle linebacker,” Respert said. “He is a young man that practiced every day. He practiced hard and played hard.”
LB - Robert Walker (NMHS)
Walker recorded 88 total tackles, including 57 solo. He had one caused fumble. “Robert was a physical player. We had him move from the defensive line and he led us in tackles.”
S/C - Isaiah Britt (NMHS)
Britt had 66 total tackles, including 46 solo. He had eight tackles for a loss, two sacks, two interceptions, and two fumble recoveries. “He is a savvy player and understands the game,” Cleveland said. “He is one of our thinkers on defense and we use him to make adjustments because he understands what we are trying to do. He is always around the ball.”
S/C - Joe Caldwell (DCHS)
Caldwell recorded 65 total tackles, including 29 solos. He had 2.5 tackles for a loss, one sack, one interception, and one fumble recovery. “He is a player that is hard to get off the field,” Respert said. “He moved to a hybrid safety-linebacker position and played well for us all year. He is going to shine at that position moving forward.”
S/C - Leon Agee (AHS)
Agee recorded 56 total tackles, including 44 solo. He had one tackle for a loss and led the county with four interceptions. He also played offense, picking up 262 receiving yards and two touchdowns.
S/C - Mikell Lands-Davis (AHS)
Lands-Davis recorded 51 total tackles, including 33 solo, in only seven regular season games. He had two interceptions, two fumble recoveries, and one caused fumble. He once again excelled on the offensive end with 507 rushing yards for five TD’s and 272 receiving yards for two touchdowns. “Lands-Davis was instrumental in our success,” Combs said. “He was one of two or three guys who never game off the field.”
SECOND TEAM - OFFENSE
QB - Tabashi Thomas (NMHS)
RB - Brian Herrien (NMHS)
RB - Caleb Freeman (AHS)
WR - D’Ondre Glenn (DCHS)
WR - Jacob Battle (NMHS)
WR - Tyler Simmons (NMHS)
OL - Langston Sullivan (AHS)
OL - Dameon Griggs (CHHS)
OL - Justin Minard (CHHS)
OL - Travis Booker (DCHS)
OL - AJ Clark (NMHS)
K - Jesse Theodocion (NMHS)
SECOND TEAM - DEFENSE
DL - Leo Aylsworth (AHS)
DL - Kreg Jenkins (NMHS)
DL - David Jackson (AHS)
DL - Jullian Slater (NMHS)
LB - Keegan Moody (CHHS)
LB - Anthony Carmichael (LSHS)
LB - CJ McPherson (NMHS)
S/C - Tikal Petty (NMHS)
S/C - Derrell Mims (AHS)
S/C - DJ Avery (DCHS)
S/C - Jaytlin Askew (DCHS)
Conner Perry (AHS)
Garrett Nalley AHS)
Jacob Whitley (AHS)
Kristaps Dickinson (AHS)
Justin Hall (AHS)
Quinton Guessintanner (AHS
Cameron Gill (CHHS)
Aaron Jeffries (CHHS)
Jalen Ammons (CHHS)
Khaleed Holt (CHHS)
Malik Oliver (DCHS)
Israel Strickland (DCHS)
DeOnte Coker (DCHS)
Austin Perry (DCHS)
Jadon Walker (LSHS)
Dexter Hightower (LSHS)
Kamari Williams (LSHS)
Jordan Harris (LSHS)
Omahri Jarrett (NMHS)
Lionel Lewis Jr. (NMHS)
Keith Lloyd (NMHS)