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Patriots all over all-region team, Alford player of year

CONYERS — The Heritage football team had another outstanding season, and was rewarded recently with a number of Region 8-AAAAA accolades.

The Patriots, who went 8-3 and reached the state playoffs for the third consecutive season, put eight players on the all-Region 8 team, led by the league’s defensive player of the year, linebacker Chase Alford.

Joining Alford (team-high 148 tackles) were first-team defensive selections Dustyn Moore, a linebacker who had 83 tackles and tied with Alford for the team lead with seven tackles for loss, and safety Braxton Morton, who had 78 tackles and five interceptions. Offensive lineman Collis Johnson and placekicker Harrison Kulp were first-team offensive selections.

A third member of the Patriots’ excellent linebacking core, Dominique Packer, made the second team after an 81-tackle season, along with cornerbacks Steven Everson (6 INT, 2 defensive TD) and Myles Hunter (12 pass break ups, 4 INT).

Salem lost its last six games and went 2-8, but still put three players on the all-region teams. Damion Gordon, who had at least one touchdown passing, rushing, throwing, returning a kick and on an interception, was a first-team pick in the athlete category, and the Seminoles had two second-team defensive selections in linemen Kevin Holmes and Bear Cooper.

Bruce Miller, who guided Gainesville to the first state championship in school history, was named the region’s coach of the year, while Red Elephants quarterback and Clemson commitment Deshaun Watson was named the league’s offensive player of the year. Winder-Barrow’s Chad Platt received special teams player of the year honors.