Sunday February 5th, 2023 10:35PM

Football: GHS dominated 8-6A All-Region team

By Jeff Hart Sports Reporter

The Region 8-6A All-Region football team was released this week and Gainesville, fresh off its Class 6A state runner-up finish, dominated the awards, with North Forsyth, Jackson County, and Habersham Central players also snagging some key accolades as well.

For the Red Elephants, senior running back Naim Cheeks was named the Player of Year; junior quarterback Baxter Wright was named Co-Offensive Player of the Year; senior Stacy Hopkins was named Defensive Player of the Year; senior Ethan Couch was named Co-Offensive Lineman of the Year; senior Darius Cannon was named Co-Specialists of the Year; and first-year head coach Josh Niblett was named Coach of the Year.

For North Forsyth, senior defensive lineman Chris Herock was named Defensive Player of the Year, senior Logan Curry was named Athlete of the Year, and junior Abdiel Esponiza was named Co-Offensive Lineman of the Year.

For Habersham Central, sophomore wide receiver Zeke Whittington was named Co-Offensive Player of the Year. For Jackson County, junior running back/linebacker M.J. Spurlin was named the Two-way Player of the Year.

The selections were made by the region coaches.


Player of the year: RB Naim Cheeks, Gainesville, Sr.
Offensive players of the year: WR Zeke Whittington, Habersham Central, So.; and QB Baxter Wright, Gainesville, Jr.
Defensive player of the year: DL Chris Herock, North Forsyth, Sr.
Two-way player of the year: RB/LB M.J. Spurlin, Jackson County, Jr.
Athlete of the year: WR/ATH Logan Curry, North Forsyth, Sr.
Defensive lineman of the year: Stacy Hopkins, Gainesville, Sr.
Offensive linemen of the year: Ethan Couch, Gainesville, Sr.; and Abdiel Esponiza, North Forsyth, Jr.
Specialists of the year: RET Darius Cannon, Gainesville, Sr.; and RET Myles Smith, Shiloh, Sr.
Coach of the year: Josh Niblett, Gainesville

First-team offense
QB - West Roberts, North Forsyth, Sr.
RB - Karson McBrayer, North Forsyth, So.
RB - Jamir Imuzai, Shiloh, Jr.
WR - Tre Reece, Gainesville, Sr.
WR - Travien Watson, Gainesville, Jr.
WR - Chase Jameson, Lanier, Jr.
WR - Aiden Ruckh, North Forsyth, Sr.
TE - Sky Niblett, Gainesville, Jr.
OL - Noe Covarrubias, Gainesville, Jr.
OL - Alex Payne, Gainesville, So.
OL - Xavier Bew, Shiloh, Sr.
OL - Marcus Head, Shiloh, Sr.
OL - Ben Claypole, Lanier, Sr.
OL - Rylan Haight, Lanier, Jr.
PK - Adrian Droze, North Forsyth, Sr.

First-team defense
DL - Jarrious Harris, Gainesville, Sr.
DL - Collin Miller, North Forsyth, Sr.
DL - Mandjou Berte, Shiloh, Sr.
DL - Quincy Smith, Shiloh, Jr.
DL - Peyton Scott, Jackson County, Jr.
DL - Jesse Combs, Jackson County, Sr.
DL - Jahvon Wells, Apalachee, Sr.
LB - Jeremiah Telander, Gainesville, Sr.
LB - Braden Henslee, Habersham Central, Jr.
LB - Braydon Wright, Habersham Central, Sr.
LB - Cole Leroy, North Forsyth, Sr.
LB - Andrew Reaves, Shiloh, Sr.
LB - Ryan Jean, Lanier, Sr.
DB - Elias Ballard, Gainesville, Sr.
DB - Ja'quez Sims, Gainesville, Sr.
DB - Carter Barrett, Habersham Central, Jr.
DB - J.D. Galligan, North Forsyth, Sr.
DB - Brice Pollock, Shiloh, Sr.
DB - Alex Pope, Shiloh, Sr.
P - Ben Haynes, Lanier, Sr.

Second-team offense
QB - Jeremiah Harden, Shiloh, Sr.
RB - Kaden Beard, Lanier, Sr.
RB - Blandon Grizzle, Habersham Central, Sr.
WR - Nazier Griffen, Shiloh, Sr.
WR - Devin Florence, Shiloh, Sr.
WR - Zach Shirley, North Forsyth, Sr.
TE - Cooper Eglian, North Forsyth, Sr.
OL - Brad Chosewood, Habersham Central, Jr.
OL - Colin Kelley, North Forsyth, So.
OL - John William Jira, Apalachee, Sr.
OL - Dylan Villarouel, North Forsyth, So.
OL - Holden Gilstrap, Jackson County, Sr.
PK - Brice Rogers, Jackson County, Jr.

Second-team defense
DL - Julius Columbus, Gainesville, So.
DL - Kadin Fossung, Gainesville, Fr.
DL - Braden O'Shields, North Forsyth, Jr.
DL - Brody Hancock, North Forsyth, Jr.
DL - Joel Parrish, Lanier, Sr.
DL - Tomas Hernandez, Lanier, So.
LB - Luke Cooper, Gainesville, Sr.
LB - Mason Lawson, North Forsyth, Sr.
LB - J'shaun Stroud, Shiloh, Sr.
LB - Gabe Falade, Lanier, Jr.
LB - Daniel Stites, Jackson County, Jr.
LB - Luke Mobbs, Jackson County, So.
DB - Dre Raven, Gainesville, Sr.
DB - Cash O'Callaghan, Gainesville, So.
DB - Chase Colbert, Habersham Central, Sr.
DB - Colton Constable, North Forsyth, So.
DB - Kamron Moore, Lanier, Jr.
DB - Cooper Galley, Jackson County, So.
P - John White, Gainesville, Jr.
P - Judah Powell, Apalachee, Jr.

Honorable mention: Apalachee - Aiden Jackson, Jr.; Jacob Galamo, Jr. Gainesville - Carmelo Byrd, So.; Adarian Cheek, Sr.; Samaj Brown, Sr.; Christian Green, Jr. Habersham Central - Canon Wilbanks, Sr.; Markel Oliver, Sr. Habersham Central - Hayden Gailey, Jr.; Thomas Deals, Sr.; Sombdee Satiphone, Jr. Jackson County - Riley Konarski, Sr.; Bo Souto, Jr.; Chase Berrong, Jr. Lanier - Blaine Garner, Jr.; Damarcus Ash, Sr.; Tayo Ashedele, Jr.; Josh Gallagher, Jr. North Forsyth - Gavin Busse, Sr.; William Verdirame, Sr.; Colter Vela, So.; Jackson Coulter, So. Shiloh - George Benjamin, Sr.; Mekhi Phillips, Sr.; Ajai Cummings, So.; Marlin Mathis, So.

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