This fall, the Salem Seminoles dominated the local gridiron, claiming the Region 8-AAAA South subregion title, the Region 8-AAAA championship and a trip to the state playoffs.
So it should come as no surprise that the Seminoles are well represented with 14 players on the Citizen's 2007 All-Area Football Team. What's more, Salem nearly swept all of the top honors.
Salem senior running back Alex Miller and Eastside junior quarterback Justin Wray are Offensive Players of the Year. Miller's hard-nosed running was a key factor in the Seminoles' magical season. In a year of quarterbacks, Wray's passing and running helped Eastside record its first winning season since 2001.
Salem senior safety Corey Shields is the Defensive Player of the Year. With the speed of a defensive back and the size on a linebacker, the Seminoles used Shields to wreak havoc on opposing offenses.
Salem's Chad Estes is the Coach of the Year after guiding his squad to a remarkable 9-2 record in just his second season. The Seminoles won nine straight games in the regular season to claim their third Region 8-AAAA title in the last four seasons and fourth trip to the state playoffs in the last six years.
The junior quarterback compiled 2,085 all-purpose yards for the Eagles this fall. He threw for 1,337 yards and 12 touchdowns while completing 55.4 percent of his passes. Wray was Eastside's leading rusher with 748 yards on 104 carries for an average of 7.2 yards per attempt. He also rushed for five touchdowns. All told, Wray accounted for almost 60 percent of Eastside's total offense.
Seabolt put the air in the Patriots' offense, throwing for an area-high 1,488 yards and 15 touchdowns. The senior quarterback threw only seven interceptions in 208 passing attempts.
The senior quarterback passed for 1,251 yards and completed over 50 percent of his pass attempts for the Tigers. He also rushed for 677 yards on 125 carries. Ledford had 1,928 all-purpose yards.
Davis' senior year was slowed by a hamstring injury, but he still produced strong numbers for the Seminoles despite only being healthy for 5 1/2 games. The quarterback rushed for 461 yards and scored seven touchdowns. He also passed for 653 yards and three scores.
When Davis was slowed by his injury, Miller took over for the Seminoles, rushing for 1,008 yards and 12 touchdowns. The senior running back finished the season with 1,148 all-purpose yards.
The junior running back was the Tigers' leading rusher this fall with 895 yards on 117 carries. Outlaw tallied 1,236 all-purpose yards.
Lucas, a junior running back, was the Bulldogs' main offensive weapon this season, rushing for an area-high 1,107 yards.
Bailey, a junior wide receiver, was the Eagles' leading receiver with 34 catches for 561 yards and four touchdowns. He averaged 16.5 yards a catch.
Strozier led the area in receptions with 41 and receiving yards with 781. The senior wide receiver averaged 19 yards per catch and scored six touchdowns for the Tigers.
The junior center anchored the Seminoles' offensive line, which powered Salem to subregion and region championships.
Ritchey's strong play in the trenches helped the Eagles rush for 2,109 yards this fall.
The senior guard was the leader of a Seminole offensive line that paved the way for 2,443 yards and 26 touchdowns on the ground in 2007.
Schaner, a senior, was a pillar of strength on the left side of the Patriots' offensive line.
Sheppard combined with Quach to give the Seminoles an outstanding duo at the guard positions.
The senior recorded 32 knock-down blocks for the Tigers and graded out at 80 percent or better in eight of 10 games.
Taylor, a senior tackle, was another key component of Salem's dominating offensive front wall.
Hunter was a big-play specialist for the Patriots, scoring 10 total touchdowns - seven on offense, two on defense and one on special teams. At wide receiver, the senior led the Patriots with 30 catches for 657 yards and seven TDs. He averaged 21.9 yards a catch. On special teams, he averaged 19.4 yards per return.
Manget turned in a solid senior season for the Seminoles, connecting on 5 of 9 field goal attempts, including a long of 45 yards. He also hit 33 of 35 extra points, finishing the season with 48 points.
The senior defensive end paced the Seminoles in sacks with six. He also recorded 79 total tackles and seven quarterback hurries.
Yates was the leader of the Tigers' defensive line. The senior defensive end registered 74 total tackles, seven tackles for loss, six sacks, five quarterback hurries and two forced fumbles.
Hill, a junior defensive end, was the Seminoles' top tackler on the defensive line with 83 total stops. He also had two sacks and 10 quarterback hurries.
The junior defensive lineman was a force up front for the Eagles with 52 total tackles and 13 quarterback hurries. He led Eastside in fumble recoveries with four.
Jones, a junior defensive tackle, recorded 73 tackles for the Patriots, including nine for loss.
Patton, a senior, led the Bulldogs' defensive line with 63 tackles and five sacks.
The senior linebacker missed the first of the season with an injury, but he came back with a vengeance in the second half, recording 74 total tackles and four quarterback hurries for the Seminoles.
Childers, a senior, was the top tackler of the Eagles' linebacking corps with 63 total stops. He also had 11 quarterback hurries, four pass breakups, three forced fumbles and three tackles for loss.
The junior linebacker was the Seminoles' top tackler this fall, recording 109 total stops. He also had 10 quarterback hurries and three sacks.
Cheek, a senior linebacker, chalked up a team-high 111 tackles for the Patriots. He also had 16 tackles for loss and two fumble recoveries.
The senior linebacker registered a team-high eight sacks for the Eagles. He also 56 total tackles and two forced fumbles.
The versatile Shields collected 65 total stops for the Seminoles, including 32 solo tackles. The senior strong safety also recovered two fumbles and returned one for a touchdown.
The senior free safety paced the Eagles in tackles with 68. He also recorded one interception and broke up nine passes.
Robertson intercepted an area-high five passes this fall for the Seminoles. He also chalked up 44 tackles.
The leader of the Patriots' secondary, Nash recorded 54 tackles and one interception in his junior season.
Echols, a senior, notched one interception and broke up five passes for the Eagles. He also tallied 27 tackles.
The senior punter turned in an outstanding season for the Rams, averaging more than 40 yards a kick.
SideBar: All-Area Football
Coach of the Year: Chad Estes, Salem
Offensive Player of the Year: Alex Miller, Salem; Justin Wray, Eastside
Defensive Player of the Year: Corey Shields, Salem
· QB: Justin Wray (Junior, Eastside)
· QB: Kenny Seabolt (Senior, Heritage)
· QB: Ryan Ledford (Senior, Alcovy)
· QB: Terrance Davis (Senior, Salem)
· RB: Alex Miller (Senior, Salem)
· RB: Malachi Outlaw (Junior, Alcovy)
· RB: Javon Lucas (Junior, Rockdale)
· WR: Andrico Bailey (Junior, Eastside)
· WR: Eric Strozier (Senior, Alcovy)
· OL: Sam Watts (Junior, Salem)
· OL: Jordan Ritchey (Senior, Eastside)
· OL: Danny Quach (Senior, Salem)
· OL: Zach Schaner (Senior, Heritage)
· OL: Brandon Sheppard (Senior, Salem)
· OL: Brett Cason (Senior, Alcovy)
· OL: Josh Taylor (Senior, Salem)
· Specialist: Mikel Hunter (Senior, Heritage)
· Kicker: Koy Manget (Senior, Salem)
· DL: Zach Roddenberry (Senior, Salem)
· DL: Kevin Yates (Senior, Alcovy)
· DL: Brandon Hill (Junior, Salem)
· DL: Jacorey Maddox (Junior, Eastside)
· DL: Melvin Jones (Junior, Heritage)
· DL: Chris Patton (Senior, Rockdale)
· LB: Alex Wilson (Senior, Salem)
· LB: Bo Childers (Senior, Eastside)
· LB: Bobby Martin (Junior, Salem)
· LB: Zach Cheek (Senior, Heritage)
· LB: William White (Senior, Eastside)
· DB: Corey Shields (Senior, Salem)
· DB: Kaleb Pass (Senior, Eastside)
· DB: Dacquery Robertson (Senior, Salem)
· DB: Khairi Nash (Junior, Heritage)
· DB: Larenzo Echols (Senior, Eastside)
· Punter: Matt Veal (Senior, Newton)
Alcovy: Bryan Daniels (Sophomore, LB), Cody Edwards (Senior, WR-DB), Rodrick Tolen (Sophomore, DB)
Eastside: Broderick Alexander (Junior, RB), Kyle Durand (Senior, OL), Maurice Gaither (Junior, LB), Johnny Norrington (Junior, RB), Jamario Parks (Senior, DB), Aaron Terrell (Senior, DL), Yanrick Tinker (Junior, K)
Heritage: Corey Alford (Junior, LB), Brandon Coleman (Senior, DL), Garry Peters (Sophomore, WR), Willis Zanders (Junior, OL)
Newton: Demetrius McCray (Junior, DB), Kenneth Patrick (Freshman, QB), Quenton Pooler (Junior, TE)
Rockdale: David Callaway (Junior, LB), Neville Hewitt (Freshman, DB)
Salem: Sammy Ahonen (Senior, RB-WR), Tyler Askew (Sophomore, DB), Nick Dennis (Junior, DL), Kris Sykes (Senior, DB-WR), Tyrel Wellington (Sophomore, DB)