COVINGTON - Three local players - Eastside's Kaleb Pass, Salem's Sam Watts and Salem's Corey Shields - have been named to the 2007 All-Region 8-AAAA football team, voted on by the football coaches in 8-AAAA.
Pass, a senior, led the Eagles in tackles for the second consecutive season this fall, finishing with 68 total stops - 35 solo and 33 assists. He also broke up nine passes. He's now a two-time all-region selection as a defensive back.
"That's a great honor. To have the other coaches in the region recognize what you do on a weekly basis speaks volumes. He's a big hitter, even though he's not a big kid. But when he brings it, he can make a collision in a hurry," Eastside coach Rick Hurst said.
"There's no slowing down when he's going to tackle somebody. He's always around the ball, whether he was the first one there or he was the third one there.
"He does a very good job at reading the quarterback. If he sees you zero, he's going to get there. Even if you look him off, he's good at getting a recovery and getting back, He's got a lot of game speed, but when you time him in the 40 and you go, 'He's not that fast.' On the field, he takes good angles. He understands that he's not as fast as some of the other kids he has to play."
When Shields is on the field, the opposing quarterback always has to keep an eye out for him. Standing at 6-foot-4 and tipping the scales at 190 pounds, he has the size of a linebacker with the speed of a safety.
"He's got the best of both worlds," Salem coach Chad Estes said.
Shields finished his senior season with 65 tackles, two quarterback pressures and two fumble recoveries, including one for a touchdown against Cedar Shoals.
"He made it very difficult for teams to run. Corey stands out because by playing strong safety he's up a little closer (to the line of scrimmage). Because of his physique, he's able to get in on a lot of plays when they run the ball and when they throw the ball he can defend the pass," Estes said. "He's a great athlete. He's got that height that all the colleges like and he's got the speed to make the plays."
At 6-4 and 280 pounds, Watts, a junior center, anchored the offensive line for the Seminoles.
"He's a hard worker; he's the type that I say I wish I had team full of him. He loves to work, he wants to win and he's a great student. He has all the attributes you like to see in a football player," Estes said. "He's the quarterback of that offensive line. He's certainly the brains of that front line."
Besides grabbing the attention of opposing coaches and players, Watts is also attracting interest from several college teams.
"Sam is a great prospect and he's being heavily recruited," Estes said. "He's been looked at by Mississippi State, Clemson, Auburn and a number of other schools."
Manny Fils can be reached at email@example.com.
SideBar: All-Region 8-AAAA football team
· Coach of the Year: Gene Cathcart, Harbersham Central
· Offensive Player of the Year: Tavarres King, Habersham Central
· Defensive Player of the Year: De De Lattimore, Cedar Shoals
· Special Teams Player of the Year: Jesse McGee, Winder-Barrow
First Team Offense
· QB: Bo Hatchell, Habersham Central
· RB: Cisco Barry, Dacula
· RB: Darreion Robinson, Clarke Central
· WR: Aldreakis Allen, Madison County
· WR: Taylor Bradberry, Winder-Barrow
· OL: Gabe Irby, Habersham Central
· OL: Same Watts, Salem
· OL: Calvin Cantrell, Dacula
· OL: Taylor Pass, Cedar Shoals
· OL: Rodriquez Cade, Clarke Central
· Athlete: Trent McGuire, Cedar Shoals
· Kicker: Jack Orr, Madison County
First Team Defense
· DL: Brent Russell, Madison County
· DL: Wesley Hulsey, Habersham Central
· DL: Alex Veneret, Dacula
· DL: Jarvis Brice, Cedar Shoals
· LB: Daniel Franklin, Habersham Central
· LB: Rhett Grinstead, Habersham Central
· LB: Jeremy Sulek, Dacula
· DB: Josh Anderson, Habersham Central
· DB: Corey Shields, Salem
· DB: Trent McGuire, Cedar Shoals
· DB: Kaleb Pass, Eastside
· Punter: Jack Orr, Madison County
· QB: Justin Wray, Eastside
· RB: Alex Miller, Salem H
· RB: Javon Lucas, Rockdale
· WR: Mikel Hunter, Heritage
· WR: Eric Strozier, Alcovy
· OL: Brandon Sheppard, Salem
· OL: Stanley Lattimore, Cedar Shoals
· OL: Zach Schaner, Heritage
· OL: Brett Cason, Alcovy
· OL: Jordan Ritchey, Eastside
· Athlete: Terrance Davis, Salem
· Kicker: Koy Manget, Salem
· DL: Brandon Hill, Salem
· DL: Jecory Maddox, Eastside
· DL: Kelvin Yates, Alcovy
· DL: Melvin Jones, Heritage
· LB: Alex Wilson, Salem
· LB: William White, Eastside
· LB: Bo Childers, Eastside
· DB: Dacquery Robertson, Salem
· DB: Bubba Freeman, Cedar Shoals
· DB: Larenzo Echols, Eastside
· QB: Drew Payne, Loganville
· RB: Robert Renshaw, Habersham Central
· RB: Zach West, Loganville
· WR: Shawn Scott, Habersham Central
· WR: Adarius Hendrix, Jackson County
· OL: Erik Sheker, Habersham Central
· OL: Charlie Dwozan, Habersham Central
· OL: Trevino Woods, Clarke Central
· OL: Trey Smith, Loganville
· Athlete: Terence Shruggs, Clarke Central
· Kicker: Scott Hulsey, Habersham Central
· DL: Davis Dvis, Winder-Barrow
· DL: Ryan Taylor, Habersham Central
· DL: Eric Wade, Loganville
· DL: Drew Scheie, Loganville
· LB: Cody Esco, Madison County
· LB: Terrance Fambro, Clarke Central
· LB: Zach Mann, Winder-Barrow
· DB: Zach Mayfield, Habersham Central
· DB: Dion Giles, Clarke Central
· DB: Derrick Smith, Clarke Central
· DB: John Wilson, Clarke Central