Five Newton players voted to all-region team

COVINGTON -- Newton's Javonte Williams may not fit into anyone's model of a running back, standing at 5 feet, 7 inches while tipping the scale at 170 pounds. But don't let his size fool you; he is a running back.

Not only did he become the first Newton player to rush for more than 1,000 yards since Greg Lackey did it in 1998, he was also named to the All-Region 2-AAAAA first team.

Williams rushed for 1,100 yards for a 6.25 per carry average while scoring 11 touchdowns.

"He had the second most yards from scrimmage in the region. A lot of coaches remember him, they call him a scat back. He did an excellent job and was perfect for what we were doing," Newton head coach Cortez Allen said. "He's an excellent example of what the weight room will do for you regardless of size."

However, Williams realizes that he could not have done it without his offensive line including Chase Dial and Daniel Durden who also made it on the first team.

"I was there with them side-by-side during practice. We worked through the situations, worked through what we needed to accomplish in order to keep the ball moving," Williams said. "I didn't think I'd be able to accomplish it but it has been a goal since last year. I was really motivated by last year's running back (Akeem Hunt). It feels pretty exciting that I made first team. It was never really a thought to make first team so it's a new experience."

Also making the first team for the Rams were defensive tackle Kingsley Ejike and outside linebacker Tyrique Brown.

Brown led Newton with 101 tackles. He also recovered five fumbles, scored two touchdowns and had three safeties.

"Since we've been here the last couple of years, we've had one player that hit the scene by flying under the radar and had an awesome year. He's continued that this year. He had an awesome year leading the team in tackles. We were looking at his highlights and every time the ball hit the ground it was like he was the guy there picking it up," Allen said. "But to have a kid block 10 punts ... I've been looking everywhere to find the information because I'm sure that has to be some kind of record. I think with his size and his length he's going to make somebody happy next year."

Of Ejike's 73 tackles, 21 happened behind the line of scrimmage. He also had a team-leading 9 sacks and forced a fumble. As he heads into his final year wearing a Newton uniform, he is being highly recruited by the like of Florida, Duke and several other top ACC and SEC schools.

"We hope that will manifest for some early offers for him. He had an awesome season and is a very high-motor kid," Allen said.

Giving Allen hope for next season is the fact that three players from the second team will join Durden and Ejike next season. Coming back from the second team are junior punter/kicker Zack Sullivan, and sophomores Desmond Billingsley and Robbie Wallace.

Sullivan's punting and kickoffs are what really set him over and above the rest of the kickers in the region.

"He was somewhere around 95 percent for kicks inside the five. He had 11 touchbacks and was able to pin the ball inside the 10-yard line 15 times in punts. He's definitely a weapon," Allen said.

He also made 100 percent of his PATs for the season.

At defensive end, Billingsley had 45 tackles with six for a loss along with three sacks and forced a fumble.

While Allen said that Billingsley has not touched the surface of his potential, it was Wallace that got the attention of the other coaches in the region.

"In my opinion, (Wallace) should have been on the first team," Allen said. "Basically, the coaches voted him as a first-team kid but it was a tie with another kid and because Wallace is a sophomore and the other kid was a senior ... He had first-team stats,"

Wallace had 72 tackles with six going for a loss. He also had two sacks, forced a fumble and recovered two. What makes Wallace's selection even more amazing is that he is normally a linebacker by trade but earned his accolades as a safety.

Also making the second team were seniors Damon Gresham and Antonio Williams. Gresham had 43 tackles -- 12 for a loss -- along with five sacks and two recovered fumbles which he returned one for a touchdown 46 yards down field. Antonio Williams had 72 tackles for the season with four going for a loss. He had a sack, a forced fumble and had two fumble recoveries returning one for a 25-yard touchdown.

On the honorable mention list were seniors Gmatrien Brown (quarterback), Deshawn McKenzie (wide receiver), Terrell Truitt (inside linebacker), junior Aaron Pierce (wide receiver) and sophomore Corey Thomas (offensive line).