We made some changes in the all-county formula this season ó changes that made this year’s all-county football team the easiest one we’ve ever chosen.
And you can thank West Rowan defensive back Justin Avery.
Avery led the county in interceptions in 2006 but was somehow, some way, left off the team. That’s when coaches and sportswriters voted and we went by positions.
If you deserve to make the all-county team, you should make it. Position should not matter.
So the staff just decided to choose the team with some feedback from the coaches.
I think we got it right.
And Avery, of course, followed his snub with an unbelievable season. I don’t think he would’ve been left off this year, regardless of the criteria, or who was voting.
But one thing that hasn’t changed is the year-end awards, the ones the athletic banquets probably won’t give out:
Most Impressive Performance: When you rush for 339 yards in one game, like West’s K.P. Parks did against Northwest Cabarrus, it’s a no-brainer for this award.
The Lunch Pail Award: South’s Derek Davis brought his hard hat to work in a 20-13 loss to Salisbury, recording 26 tackles.
Best Nickname: West’s Malcolm “Mosquito” Gaither.
Runnerup: East’s Josh “Briar” Patch.
He … could … go … all … the … way … Lathan Charleston had the longest touchdown of the season, running an interception back 100 yards in a playoff loss to Brevard. It nipped Parks’ 95-yard kickoff return against North.
Salisbury’s Dario Hamilton and Demetrius Almond each had scores of more than 80 yards.
Diaper Dandy: Salisbury’s John Knox was thrown in at quarterback for Salisbury and got a good start on his varsity future. Defensively, South’s Mark McDaniel had a 70-yard fumble recovery against Salisbury.
Best Fans: East Rowan. The Mustangs finally had something to cheer about during a seven-win season.
Luckiest Fan: Tim Brister picked the right night to buy a half-and-half ticket. At halftime of West’s 29-10 win against East, Brister, a former Falcon player, stuck $760 in his pocket.
Most Exciting Game: Parks scored with two seconds left as West nipped Davie 28-24.
Most Disappointing Game: Carson lost a 17-7 lead and a chance for its first win in school history as North Iredell rallied for a 27-17 win.
Statement Game: When East Rowan beat West Iredell in the third game of the season, people’s heads perked up with a look that said, “We better take these guys seriously.”
The Hard To Believe Award: West’s Parks ran for more than 2,500 yards and was only honorable mention all-state.
Most Depressing First Half: Salisbury trailed Eastern Randolph 25-0 at halftime.
Most Exciting Second Half: Salisbury scored 29 unanswered points to beat Eastern Randolph.
The Roller-Coaster Award: I’ve never seen Salisbury coach Joe Pinyan as high as he was after rallying to beat Eastern Randolph and as low as he was after losing to Ledford.
Juggernaut Award: Salisbury won at least a share of its fifth straight CCC title, while West won its fourth straight in the NPC.
Most Amazing Stat: North Rowan’s defense recovered 14 fumbles this season ó by 14 different players.
Most Impressive Stat: Salisbury rushed for 504 yards in a 48-6 win against Central Davidson.
And the Emmy goes to … On the same night WSOC-TV in Charlotte named West’s Matt Sheets the Beast of the Week, WGHP-TV in High Point gave North’s Rodney Smith the Hit of the Week.
Best Cheerleaders: I wouldn’t touch that with a 10-foot pole.
Most Photogenic: The most photographed player this season was West’s Parks with 25 photos. He had the ball a lot.
Brian Hinson nipped Pinyan as the most photographed coach, 22-20.
For the record, 13 different players had at least 10 photos in the paper. Four had at least 20.
West was the most photographed team. A total of 33 players and 11 coaches had at least one photo.
Best Entrance: Against A.L. Brown, South players ran down the stadium steps through their cheering throng as motorcycles roared onto the field.
Best Coaching Decision: In the same A.L. Brown game, South’s Jason Rollins sent kicker Lucas Soares out to try a 51-yard field goal.
When pressed on the decision afterward, Rollins said, “People are yelling at me, ‘No way’ and the coaches up top are asking, ‘Are you sure you want to kick it?’ I knew he’d do it.”
Odd Stat of the Year: Against Carson, Salisbury’s 1,000-yard back Dario Hamilton had more tackles (7) than carries (6). The tackles were overshadowed because those six totes produced 167 yards and three scores.
The Hit of the Year: In a 34-0 win against Forbush, North Rowan’s Ryan Evans made a crushing hit, forcing a fumble that teammate Vince Shropshire ran back for a touchdown.
The Post’s David Shaw wrote, “Evans’ hit was the equivalent of pouring 93 octane on a brush fire.”
Contact Ronnie Gallagher at 704-797-4287 or email@example.com.