Muscle Shoals didn’t reach its state championship goal, falling to McAdory in the Class 5A semifinals, but the Trojans earned a lot of respect when it came to voting for the Alabama Sports Writers Association’s all-state teams.
The Trojans placed five players on the first team and another earned honorable mention status in the wake of a 13-1 season.
Muscle Shoals’ five first-team selections represented nearly half of the area’s 12 first-teamers from across all classifications.
Sixteen players were honorable mention selections.
Also, Red Bay’s John Ritter, a cancer survivor who took over at Red Bay literally the day football practice started, is the Class 2A Coach of the Year.
The ASWA all-state teams were selected by a panel of the state’s sports writers. Voting took place the week of the Super Six in Auburn.
Trojans chosen for the Class 5A first team were nearly equal parts offense and defense. Running backs Tyler Jackson and Jamarcus Nance, and offensive lineman Blake Copeland were first-team picks, while defensive back Levi Fell and defensive lineman Dee Liner were first-team picks on defense. Linebacker Ethan Felton was honorable mention.
Nance and Jackosn combined for 3,000 rushing yards and 42 touchdowns. Liner had 23 sacks and Fell had eight interceptions and blocked five punts and three extra points.
In Class 4A, Rogers linebacker Raleigh Killen, who is third on the state’s all-time list of leading tacklers, made the first team after recording 183 tackles.
In Class 3A, Lauderdale County made a run to the semifinals before falling to eventual champion Madison Academy. Quarterback Samuel Grisham, who rushed for 1,806 yards and 18 TDs, and defensive lineman Brian Puckett, who had 10 tackles for loss and seven sacks were first-team selections, along with Deshler tight end BJ Bailey, a repeat selection from 2011. Bailey had eight TD catches among his 20 catches.
Ritter took over for Dale Jeffreys at Red Bay after two other coaching hires fell through. He was officially hired the week practice started and then guided the Tigers to an 8-4 record that included a Week 10 upset of Class 1A No. 1 Marion County. Woodland ended the season for the Tigers in the second week of the playoffs with an 18-15 win. Red Bay linebacker Barry Reach was a first-team selection.
In Class 1A, Phillips’ QB Rodney Camp and WR Tyler Crumpton were first-team selections. Camp threw for 2,829 yards and 33 TDs, and ran for 1,191 yards and 14 TDs. Crumpton caught an area-best 22 TD passes nd finished with 1,367 receiving yards.
Among the honorable mention selections were Florence QB Kendrick Doss, WR J.J. Green and LB Rashawn Smith in Class 6A; Felton in Class 5A and Haleyville defensive lineman Dakota Rushing in Class 4A.
Class 3A, Area 16 was considered the toughest in the state and in addition to the first-team selections, honorable mention choices reflected that. Colbert County RB Ryan Carpenter, defensive back Tobias Qualls and defensive lineman Dee Qualls were honorable mention picks, along with Lauderdale County offensive lineman Tyler Smith and linebacker DJ Simmons. Deshler LB Ladrelin Cheatom also was an honorable mention pick.
Hamilton had two Class 3A honorable mention picks — wide receiver Jessie Box and offensive athlete Mitch Stults.
Red Bay’s Matt Belue was honorable mention as defensive athlete, while Sheffield receiver JD Smith also earned honorable mention status.
In Class 1A, Tharptown’s Edgar Bahena (WR) and Hackleburg’s Dalton Hamby (DL) were honorable mention picks.