Coker, Mills, Daugherty highlight Times’ All-Etowah County team

Southside's Dantley Coker was named The Gadsden Times' All-Etowah County Offensive MVP. (Photo by Nick Johnston | Gadsden Times | File)

After a record-setting season, it’s only fitting the Southside Panthers lead The Gadsden Times’ All-Etowah County football team for 2013.

A total of nine Panthers landed first-team honors, led by fullback Dantley Coker. The senior was named The Times’ Offensive MVP after rushing for 2,541 yards and 22 touchdowns, leading Southside to a school-record 13 wins and a spot in the Class 5A state semifinals.

It’s the latest in a long list of accolades for Coker, who was selected to the Alabama Sports Writers Association All-State team and was a finalist for the 5A Back of the Year. He also earned a spot on the Super 12, which goes to the top dozen players in the state regardless of classification.

His coach, Ron Daugherty, was named The Times’ Coach of the Year, which comes on the heels of being selected as the 5A State Coach of the Year by the ASWA. It’s deserving honors for Daugherty, who was thrust into the head coaching spotlight just eight days before the season began when former coach Marty Smith abruptly resigned.

Joining Coker as Panthers to earn first-team honors were offensive linemen Tyler Carr and Baylon Stokes, kicker Carter West, defensive lineman Hunter Sparks, linebackers Colton Clay and Hunter Armstrong, defensive back Holt Keeling and athlete Blake Devine.

Earning The Times’ Defensive MVP honor was Coosa Christian’s Ben Mills. The junior defensive lineman had a season for the ages, registering 179 tackles with 33 stops for a loss, seven sacks, seven forced fumbles and a safety. He rarely came off the field, as he led the team in rushing with 1,264 yards and 14 touchdowns. Mills was a 1A All-State selection and a finalist for the ASWA 1A Lineman of the Year.

The Times’ All-Etowah County quarterback was Sardis’ Will Scott. The senior preseason Dirty Dozen member completed 117 of 209 passes for 1,771 yards and 21 touchdowns.

Joining Coker in the backfield was Glencoe’s Thomas Ozmint. The junior was a 3A All-State honorable mention after rushing for 1,528 yards and 14 touchdowns in 2013.

At wide receiver were Sardis’ Brett Rains, Westbrook Christian’s Noah Hunt and Etowah’s Lamar Thomas. Rains led Northeast Alabama with 60 catches for 1,122 yards and 11 touchdowns his senior season. Hunt had 28 catches for 664 yards and eight touchdowns, while speedster Thomas caught 35 passes for 627 yards and six scores.

On the offensive line, Southside’s Carr and Stokes were joined by Sardis’ Blaine Pruitt, Glencoe’s Tyler Johnson and Gaston’s Tyler Pankey. 

Carr earned a spot on the 5A All-State team for the second straight season and is regarded as one of the state’s top linemen. He holds offers from Alabama, Auburn, Georgia and Vanderbilt. He and Stokes helped pave the way for one of the top rushing attacks in the state of Alabama.

Pruitt graded in the 90s all season and was a 4A All-State selection, while Johnson — known as “Big Country” — was a 3A All-State honorable mention. Pankey was the main force on Gaston’s offensive front, and he earned an All-County selection from the coaches.

West, the first-team kicker, made all 55 of his PATs and made 6 of 11 field goals with a long of 38. He was an honorable mention on the 5A All-State team.

Southside’s Sparks, Coosa’s Mills, Gadsden City’s Chris McElderry and Etowah’s Coby Bryant earned the first-team spots across the defensive line.

Sparks had 72 tackles and 11 sacks on his way to being named an honorable mention on the 5A All-State team. McElderry’s big season — 67 tackles, 10 stops for a loss and five sacks — led to a 6A All-State first-team selection. Bryant was a 5A All-State selection after recording 90 stops, 24 tackles for a loss, 11 sacks and 15 quarterback hurries.

Southside’s Armstrong and Clay led a star-studded linebacker corps on The Times’ All-Etowah County team that included Glencoe’s Mason Brown and Gadsden City’s Blair Edwards.

Armstrong made 140 tackles with four sacks and an interception, while Clay made 84 tackles and registered nine sacks. Armstrong was a 5A All-State honorable mention.

Brown made 163 tackles, 21 stops for a loss, six sacks and forced a fumble in his junior season and earned a 3A All-State first-team nod.

Edwards led Gadsden City with 88 tackles to go along with two interceptions and three sacks.

Southside’s Keeling, Glencoe’s Pace Ozmint and Houston Word and Gadsden City’s Tray Dudley were first teamers at defensive back.

Keeling anchored the Panthers’ pass defense in 2013, making 55 tackles and intercepting four passes.

Ozmint was a 3A All-State first-team selection after a sophomore season in which he made 92 tackles, four interceptions — one returned for a score — three pass break-ups and a punt return for a touchdown. He also led Glencoe in receiving. Word had 96 tackles, five stops for a loss, two sacks, one pick and four pass breakups.

Dudley was a shutdown corner for the Titans who is preparing to play at the next level.

The Times’ All-Etowah County punter was Westbrook Christian’s Tyler Lowery, who averaged 40.9 yards per punt on 38 tries.

Southside’s Devine and Glencoe’s Dylan Stone earned first-team honors as athletes.

Devine was a stat-machine, racking up 957 rushing yards and scoring 19 touchdowns either as a running back, wide receiver or kick returner. He also had two interceptions and was named to the 5A All-State team as an athlete.

Stone, who was selected to the 3A All-State team, had a breakout year at quarterback for the Yellow Jackets. After rarely playing as a sophomore, Stone racked up more than 2,600 yards through the air and on the ground combined to go along with 35 touchdowns.

Glencoe, with six players garnering first-team honors, followed Southside’s nine on the All-Etowah County team. Gadsden City and Sardis each had three players selected, Westbrook and Etowah had two, while Coosa Christian and Gaston had one apiece.

Earning honorable mentions at quarterback were Westbrook Christian’s Wil Appleton, Coosa Christian’s Johnny Grizzard and Etowah’s Kordell Rudolph.

Running back honorable mentions were Gaston’s Jailyn Britton, Gadsden City’s Dante Rudolph, Hokes Bluff’s Chase Beggs, Etowah’s Paul Ruiz and Southside’s Aleric Williams.

Hokes Bluff’s Phillip Ward, Southside’s Austin Abernathy (TE), Glencoe’s Andrew Willis, and Gadsden City’s Terrell Malone and Deveunte Blount were honorable mentions at wide receiver.

On the offensive line, honorable mentions went to Coosa Christian’s Mickey Green, Westbrook Christian’s Blaze Johnson, Glencoe’s Garrett Pentocost and Sardis’ Cole Wilson.

The honorable mention kickers were Glencoe’s Joseph Bright and Etowah’s Jose Mandragon.

Getting honorable mentions on the defensive line were Gaston’s Lee Corey and Javonte Pope, Southside’s Saige Dale, Etowah’s Zack Gamblin and Hokes Bluff’s Logan Latronico.

Linebacker honorable mentions were Hokes Bluff’s Chase Pope and Noah Click, Gadsden City’s T.J. Posey, Southside’s Chance Usry, Gaston’s Mitchell Smith, Westbrook Christian’s Dalvin Lewis and Glencoe’s Taylor Daugherty.

Coosa Christian’s Caleb Sanderson, Hokes Bluff’s Dylan Drake, Sardis’ Jesse Hubbard and Gadsden City’s Matthew Posey were honorable mentions at defensive back.

An honorable mention also went to Gadsden City’s David Webb at punter.

The honorable mentions at athlete were Gaston’s Shai Ogles and Braxton Collins, Gadsden City’s Ahmed DeRamus, Sardis’ Keenan Lewis and West End’s Chase Blanton.