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Newton Athlete of the Year: Top of his game
McCray turns in strong senior year for Rams

COVINGTON - It didn't matter if Demetrius McCray was on the football field or the basketball court, he was always at the top of his game, making him the Citizen's 2009 Newton Athlete of the Year.

"I feel good. I accomplished a lot my senior year in high school," McCray said. "I wish I could stay longer, but I had to graduate."

On the football field, McCray was undoubtedly the leader of the team on both sides of the ball.

At quarterback, he led the team in rushing, averaging six yards per carry. He ran the ball 69 times for 419 yards.

"Leading the team in rushing came with the option offense," he said. "I feel I could have accomplished more if I wasn't playing quarterback. I would've like to have caught the ball more."

However, it was on defense where he left a lasting impression on the other coaches being named first-team all-region in 2-AAAAA as a safety.

McCray led the region with seven interceptions while breaking up seven other passes. He also finished the season with 40 tackles, including 25 solo stops.

His numbers on the hardwood were deceiving at five points and five and a half rebounds per game. He led the team in rebounds for the number of minutes played, he was second in blocked shots and was third in total rebounds.

In the inaugural Senior All-Star game featuring players from Newton and Rockdale counties, he had a double-double, scoring 14 points with 12 boards and seven blocked shots. His performance made him Newton's Most Valuable Player.

He came close to adding two more double-doubles to his resume. Against Union Grove, McCray had 11 points and nine rebounds, while he had nine points and rebounds against Luella.

Newton basketball coach Rick Rasmussen said of McCray that he was "an explosive leaper with long arms." He also pointed out that his height and general build made him a great defender who was hard to score over.

No matter how much he accomplished on the field, his ability in the classroom made him a true student-athlete, finishing his high school academic career with a 3.2 grade-point average.

McCray considers going to college on a scholarship his biggest milestone to date.

He will be attending Appalachian State University where he will play quarterback.

"I'm going to miss putting Newton across my chest and wearing blue again," he said.

Manny Fils can be reached at manny.fils

@newtoncitizen.com.

SideBar: Past winners

Past winners of the Citizen's

Newton Athlete of the Year Award:

1999: Kerry Gilstrap

2000: Randall Hardy

2001: Shawn Smith

2002: Justin Stafford, Mindy Barnett

2003: Jamica Wyatt

2004: Kemisa Williams

2005: Brandon Heath

2006: Joe Behrmann

2007: Brent Durand

2008: Shay Marks