Local football players and coaches won some of the top awards on the 5A All-State and All-Region 3-5A teams, which were announced on Wednesday.
West Jones lineman Byron Young, who has committed to the University of Alabama, was selected Defensive Player of the Year in 5A football and the region after helping lead the Mustangs to their first South State championship in school history and their first trip to the state title game.
Two other fellow Mustangs also made the All-State First Team — defensive lineman Damien “Big Country” Cunningham and kicker Walker Thompson, who has committed to Ole Miss.
Laurel had four players on the All-State Team — offensive lineman Charles Cross, who has committed to Florida State, wide receiver Jontarius Henderson and return specialist Levi Walker made the first team, and running back Zias Perryman was selected for the second team.
The Laurel High crew earned the region Coaching Staff of the Year honor after Todd Breland and his staff led the Tornadoes to a 10-4 record and the semifinals of the South State championship round of the playoffs.
Perryman was selected all-region running back along with South Jones’ Vekelion Campbell, and the wide receivers were Antonie Kirk of West Jones and Laurel}s Henderson.
The all-region offensive line is manned by South Jones’ Justin Crawford and Laurel’s Cross.
The all-region defensive line is manned by West Jones’ Jon Micah Coleman and Cunningham.
Laurel’s Walker was selected as an all-region linebacker and South Jones’ Chad Moses was picked as an all-region defensive back along with Laurel’s Keno Shelby.
South Jones punter Mark Diers and South Jones long snapper Case McCullum were selected all-region along with West Jones kicker Thompson.
The 3-5A Offensive Player of the Year was North Pike’s Alijah Martin.
Laurel, South Jones and West Jones all had five players on the all-region squad.