Cleveland quarterback Peyton Gilliland and Oneonta linebacker Riley Cole have been nominated for Back and Lineman of the Year by the Alabama Sports Writers Association (ASWA).
Gilliland is nominated for Back of the Year in Class 2A while Cole is a finalist for Lineman of the Year in Class 4A.
Gilliland helped to lead the Panthers to a 9-3 record and the second round of the playoffs. He put up amazing numbers – 2186 yards and 27 touchdowns on the ground while completing 91 of 176 passes for 1497 yards and 16 touchdowns. In addition, he added touchdowns on an interception return and a punt return. That’s a total of 45 touchdowns on the year.
He is joined on the 2A Back of the Year nominee list by a pair of running backs – Washington County’s DeAnthony Holcombe and Fyffe’s Austin Stiefel.
Cole played a huge role for the Redskins on both sides of the ball. The 6’3, 190-pound junior caught caught 47 passes for 624 yards and 10 touchdowns. He added a pair of rushing touchdowns.
However, it was his play on defense that earned the nomination. Lining up at both defensive end and linebacker, Cole led the Redskins with 148 tackles, including 23 tackles for loss, and tied for the team lead with five sacks.
He is joined on the 4A Lineman of the Year nominee list by Dadeville’s Anfernee Jennings and Leeds’s Josephus Smith.
The Back of the Year and Lineman of the Year class winners and Mr. Football will be announced at the annual Player of the Year Banquet in Montgomery on Jan. 14. The banquet is sponsored by the Alabama High School Athletic Directors and Coaches Association (AHSADCA).