Twenty-five players have been selected to the 2017 The Sumter Item All-Independent Football Team.
The team is selected based on nominations from the head coaches of the seven South Carolina Independent School Association schools that are …
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The team is selected based on nominations from the head coaches of the seven South Carolina Independent School Association schools that are recognized by the Sumter Touchdown Club. The team is selected by The Sumter Item sports department.
The team is made up of seven players from Laurence Manning Academy, five each from Wilson Hall and Robert E. Lee Academy and four apiece from Thomas Sumter Academy and Clarendon Hall.
The team will be honored at the Sumter Touchdown Club banquet on Thursday, Jan. 18, at Central Carolina Technical College beginning at 6 p.m. Former University of South Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw will be the guest speaker.
LMA's Taylor Lee is the Independent Player of the Year. Lee's head coach, Robbie Briggs, is the Independent Coach of the Year.
Lee was a tremendous all-around performer for the Swampcats, who were 10-3 and played for the 3A state title. As a wide receiver, he had 73 catches for 1,353 yards and 22 touchdowns. He returned two kickoffs for touchdowns, two punts for touchdowns and two interceptions for scores. He finished with 174 points.
As a cornerback on defense, Lee had 51 tackles, four interceptions and broke up 12 passes.
The other receivers are Dante Linder of TSA and Zyan Gilmore of Clarendon Hall. Linder had 43 catches for 901 yards and nine touchdowns and also returned three kickoffs for scores.
Gilmore had 30 catches for 722 yards and eight touchdowns as a tight end. He also caught four passes for 2-point conversions. As an outside linebacker, Gilmore had 79 tackles, 69 of them solo, to go with three quarterback sacks, two interceptions and three fumble recoveries. He returned one of the fumbles for a touchdown.
The quarterback is TSA's Eli Kessinger. He completed 148 of 311 passes for 2,786 yards and 29 scoring passes against 16 interceptions.
The running backs are Justin Timmons of Wilson Hall and Tyrese Mitchum of Clarendon Hall. Timmons rushed for 695 yards and 12 touchdowns in nine games for the Barons. He also had three catches for 87 yards.
Mitchum rushed for 1,191 yards and 19 touchdowns on 134 carries. He also ran for five 2-point conversions.
The all-purpose player is TSA's Richard Huntley. He had 42 catches for 771 yards and 11 touchdowns and rushed for 384 yards and six more scores on 70 carries. Huntley also returned two kickoffs for TDs.
The offensive linemen are JD Burroughs, Kodi Reaves and Shayne Stephens of Laurence Manning, Greyson Sonntag of Wilson Hall and Billy Jackson of Robert E. Lee.
Burroughs, a tackle, graded out at 81 percent with 23 knockdown blocks. Stephens, also a tackle, had 18 knockdown blocks with an 83 percent grade. Reaves, a guard, had an 80 percent grade and 18 knockdowns. Jackson graded out at 84 percent and Sonntag had the highest grade for WH linemen. On defense, he had 47 tackles, 11 of them for loss and two sacks.
The placekicker is Wilson Hall's Mills Herlong. He connected on 31 of 33 extra points and was 2-for-4 on field goals with a long of 31 yards. As a punter, Herlong averaged 33 yards on 44 punts.
The defensive backs are Bryce Barrett and Nick Laney of Robert E. Lee, Zach Fugate of TSA and Wilson Hall's Harrison Hudson.
Barrett and Laney were tremendous all-around performers for the Cavaliers. Defensively, Barrett had four interceptions, broke up four passes and had 68 tackles. He was a standout quarterback, completed 135 of 210 passes for 2,369 yards and 29 TDs against just five interceptions. He also rushed for 1,056 yards and 15 scores on 130 carries.
Defensively Laney had five interceptions, returning two for touchdowns, and 63 tackles. On offense, he caught 58 passes for 942 yards and 10 touchdowns and rushed for 722 yards and seven more TDs on 103 attempts. Laney returned 18 punts for 282 yards and one score and returned 20 kickoffs for 345 yards and one touchdown.
Fugate had 76 tackles and two picks on defense for TSA. He also caught 36 passes for 770 yards and eight TDs and was 17 of 19 on PATs. Hudson finished with five interceptions to go with 50 tackles.
The linebackers are Hunter McGee of REL, LMA's Dalton Holcomb, Jake Myers of Wilson Hall and Dylan Way of Clarendon Hall.
McGee led Robert E. Lee in tackles with 93 and had two interceptions, returning one for a score. Holcomb led LMA with 103 tackles, including 18 tackles for loss. Myers led the Barons with 109 tackles to go with eight TFLs and two sacks.
Way was a 2-way standout for the Saints. Defensively, he had 80 tackles, 62 of them solo, to go with four interceptions and three fumble recoveries. As a quarterback, Way rushed for 865 yards and 12 touchdowns on 98 carries while completing 72 of 135 passes for 1,343 yards and 10 TDs. He ran for three conversions, passed for six more and also caught a scoring pass.
The defensive line includes Laurence Manning's Brad Goodson, Ben Corbett of Clarendon Hall and REL's Gavin Melton. Goodson had 78 tackles, including 25 for loss and recovered four fumbles, one for a touchdown. Corbett had a whopping 171 tackles, 124 of them solo, to go with six sacks, one interception, four fumble recoveries and three fumbles caused. Melton had 53 tackles and five sacks.
The punter is Laurence Manning's Braydon Osteen, who was also a standout quarterback for the Swampcats. LMA only punted 16 times on the season, and Osteen averaged 41 yards a punt. As a QB, Osteen completed 100 of 204 passes for 1,469 yards and 22 touchdowns while rushing for 269 yards and five more scores on 83 attempts.
Quarterback - Eli Kessinger, Thomas Sumter
Running back - Justin Timmons, Wilson Hall
Running back - Tyrese Mitchum, Clarendon Hall
Receiver - Taylor Lee, Laurence Manning
Receiver - Dante Linder, Thomas Sumter
Receiver - Zyan Gilmore, Clarendon Hall
Offensive lineman - JD Burroughs, Laurence Manning
Offensive lineman - Greyson Sonntag, Wilson Hall
Offensive lineman - Kodi Reaves, Laurence Manning
Offensive lineman - Billy Jackson, Robert E. Lee
Offensive lineman - Shayne Stephens, Laurence Manning
Placekicker - Mills Herlong, Wilson Hall
All-Purpose - Richard Huntley, Thomas Sumter
Defensive lineman - Brad Goodson, Laurence Manning
Defensive lineman - Ben Corbett, Clarendon Hall
Defensive lineman - Gavin Melton, Robert E. Lee
Linebacker - Hunter McGee, Robert E. Lee
Linebacker - Dalton Holcomb, Laurence Manning
Linebacker - Jake Myers, Wilson Hall
Linebacker - Dylan Way, Clarendon Hall
Defensive back - Bryce Barrett, Robert E. Lee
Defensive back - Harrison Hudson, Wilson Hall
Defensive back - Zach Fugate, Thomas Sumter
Defensive back - Nick Laney, Robert E. Lee
Punter - Braydon Osteen, Laurence Manning
HONORABLE MENTION: Mack Ard, Williamsburg; John Bracewell, Thomas Sumter; Brewer Brunson, Laurence Manning; Brandon Carraway, Wilson Hall; Trey Holliday, Thomas Sumter; Brent Jordan, Laurence Manning; Burgess Jordan, Laurence Manning; Jake Jordan, Laurence Manning; Jackson LeMay, Wilson Hall; Mitchell Matthews, Wilson Hall; Landen Rose, Thomas Sumter; Wyatt Rowland, Laurence Manning; Mason Studer, Thomas Sumter; Gray Thompson, Thomas Sumter; Landon VanPatten, Wilson Hall; Mason Warren, Thomas Sumter; David Wilder, Laurence Manning.
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