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ALL-AREA FOOTBALL

Warriors, Firebirds, Demons dominate Times All-Area Team

Posted on December 27, 2021

SportsSchool Sports
Leading the way for The Wilson Times All-Area team for 2021 are, from left, Offensive Player of the Year Demari Daniels of Fike; Ironman of the Year Jackson Vick of Southern Nash and Defensive Player of the Year Christian Nicholson of Hunt.

Photo illustration by Paul Durham | Restoration NewsMedia

Leading the way for The Wilson Times All-Area team for 2021 are, from left, Offensive Player of the Year Demari Daniels of Fike; Ironman of the Year Jackson Vick of Southern Nash and Defensive Player of the Year Christian Nicholson of Hunt.

The Wilson Times All-Area Football Team

IRONMEN

Jackson Vick, Southern Nash

El Avent, Fike

Tyler Braswell, North Johnston

CJ Foreman, SW Edgecombe

Daniel Frederick, C.B. Aycock

Davon Jones, Hunt

Stephon Jenkins, Hunt

Xavier Mayo, SW Edgecombe

Noah Rowland, Fike

T.J. Taybron, Southern Nash

Zyshone White, Southern Nash

Malik Woodard, Beddingfield

OFFENSE

QB - Demari Daniels, Fike

RB - CJ Joyner, Hunt

RB - Sammy Gandy, Southern Nash

RB - Tralon Mitchell, Southern Nash

ATH - Jonathan Willis, Greene Central

OL - Keyshaun Powell, SW Edgecombe

OL - Jordan Simpkins, Fike

OL - Keegan Wallace, Southern Nash

OL - Grayson Thorne, Hunt

OL - Bryce Auton, Southern Nash

OL - Amantae Jones, Beddingfield

K - Jonathan Daniels, Southern Nash

DEFENSE

Christian Nicholson, Hunt

Ethan Kaosombat, Hunt

Jonathan Hinnant, Hunt

Dusty Hall, Southern Nash

Roderick B-loftin, Hunt

Lee Williams, Hunt

DJ Bolling, Fike

Nigle Richardson, Fike

Dawson May, Southern Nash

Kalaif Artis, Fike

Shawn Jones, Hunt

Jamari Coppage, Greene Central

paul@wilsontimes.com | 252-265-7808

Many of the reasons that varsity football teams from Hunt and Southern Nash each won nine games this season can be found on The Wilson Times All-Area Team.

Ten Firebirds and 10 Warriors dominate the 36-player squad that also draws seven players from a seven-win Fike team in a season that was marked by the return to a fall setting.

After the COVID-19 pandemic delayed the 2020 season to the late winter/spring of 2021, the North Carolina High School Athletic Association launched its first season under the new realignment that only allowed for four state champions. The previous format that had been in place across all classifications since 2002 crowned eight state champs. As such, none of the five area teams to reach the postseason made it past the second round but there were plenty of successes along the way.

Behind a defense led by senior Christian Nicholson, the Times Defensive Player of the Year, Hunt won its first conference title since 2013 when the Warriors posted five shutouts on the way to the 3-A Quad County Conference crown in the league’s first year. Except for a 49-0 win over Beddingfield that turned into a forfeit loss after it self-reported a paperwork oversight, Hunt would have had double-digit wins, including a 34-26 defeat of eventual 3-A East champion Greenville Rose in the opener.

With Times Ironman of the Year Jackson Vick leading the way, Southern Nash finished second in the 2-A/3-A Big East Conference, losing by a point in overtime to Northern Nash, but the Firebirds still finished a sparkling 9-2 despite losing a game to COVID protocols.

Fike also lost a game in the schedule, as well as head coach Tom Nelson for a game, due to COVID. After a 1-2 start to Quad County play and a 3-2 overall mark, senior quarterback and Times Offensive Player of the Year Demari Daniels sparked the Golden Demons down the stretch to reach the NCHSAA postseason for the first time since 2017.

SouthWest Edgecombe landed three selections after reaching the state 2-A playoffs while Greene Central and Beddingfield each placed a pair of players. North Johnston and C.B. Aycock each are represented by one selection.

IRONMEN

Southern Nash’s Vick, the only three-time All-Area selection on this year’s cast, leads a multi-faceted dozen who spent less time off the field than on it during games. The list includes two of Vick’s teammates – senior defensive back/wide receiver T.J. Taybron and senior defensive back/quarterback Zyshone White. Both players are repeat All-Area picks.

Hunt senior Davon Jones, who merited serious consideration for Ironman of the Year, was spectacular at times for the Warriors. The area’s top receiver with 41 catches for 776 yards and 10 touchdowns, Jones also intercepted seven passes on defense and returned three for touchdowns. He also returned a kickoff for six points and finished with more than 1,300 total yards. Senior backfield mate Stephon Jenkins proved to be a solid complement to Jones with five interceptions of his own to go with 54 tackles on defense and seven catches, including two TDs, on offense.

Senior Noah Rowland and junior receiver/defensive back El Avent were key multi-faceted performers for Fike. The Demons’ “Tiger” (tight end/fullback) on offense and an inside linebacker on defense, Rowland collected his second All-Area nod.

After winning outright or sharing the 2-A Eastern Plains Conference title the last five seasons, SouthWest Edgecombe struggled in the realigned EPC this season. But despite going 3-7 and finishing fourth, the Cougars still made the state 2-A playoffs. Senior running back Carlo Foreman was SWE’s top rusher and receiver with 644 combined yards while senior QB Zay Mayo had more than 600 passing and rushing yards. Both were significant defensive contributors.

Tyler Boswell, a three-year starter on offense, went from offensive guard to blocking back for North Johnston while starting on the defensive line and serving as long snapper and kicker for kickoffs.

Beddingfield junior Malik Woodard led the team with 728 rushing yards on offense but rarely departed the field for the short-handed Bruins. Junior Daniel Frederick rushed for 901 yards and 14 TDs for C.B. Aycock while also making 17 tackles and two interceptions on defense.

OFFENSE

While Daniels was the motor for the Fike offense, generating more than 2,600 yards, a trio of running backs gives this unit even more firepower. Hunt High senior C.J. Joyner was the area’s leading rusher with 1,777 yards and 28 touchdowns that ranks second among 3-A runners in the NCHSAA East region.

Joining Joyner were the Southern Nash duo of senior Sammy Gandy and junior Tra Mitchell, each of whom with more than 1,000 yards on the ground.

Greene Central junior athlete Jonathan Willis helped his team return to the NCHSAA 2-A playoffs with a variety of ways on offense. Willis led the 4-7 Rams with 433 yards and seven TDs on 12 catches while rushing for 314 yards and three TDs in addition to passing for 159 yards and three more touchdowns.

With an offense that generated 347.6 rushing yards per game, Southern Nash landed two offensive linemen, junior Bryce Auten and sophomore Keegan Wallace, while Beddingfield senior Amantae Jones, Hunt junior Grayson Thorne, SouthWest Edgecombe junior Keyshaun Powell and Fike sophomore Jordan Simpkins round out the line. Powell and Jones are repeat All-Area selections.

Southern Nash senior Jonathan Daniels, who kicked 35-of-42 extra-point attempts accurately and connected on 2-of-3 field-goal attempts, is the elite unit’s kicker.

DEFENSE

Nicholson leads a gang of six Warriors on the All-Area defensive unit that includes freshman defensive end Jonathan Hinnant, with 36 tackles for loss among his 132 total, including 12 sacks.

Sophomore inside linebacker Roderick B-loftin led the Warriors with 138 tackles while senior lineman Ethan Kaosombat rang up 128 stops. Senior end Lee Williams made 75 tackles, 28 for loss and five were sacks. Junior linebacker Shawn Jones recorded 98 tackles, 30 for loss and four were sacks.

Junior linebacker Kalaif Artis led Fike with 88 stops, including 13 for loss, while senior Nigle Richardson recorded 45 stops and senior linebacker D.J. Bolling intercepted two passes to go with his 46 tackles.

Senior inside linebacker Dawson May and junior lineman Dusty Hall helped anchor the Southern Nash defense while junior Jamari Coppage picked off seven passes for Greene Central.

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