Football players from Cleveland, Oneonta, and Southeastern have been named first team all-state selections by the Alabama Sports Writers Association (ASWA).
Cleveland junior quarterback Peyton Gilliland and Southeastern senior punter Austin Cates were named first team in Class 2A while Oneonta junior linebacker Riley Cole was a first team selection in Class 4A.
Gilliland rolled up 2186 yards on the ground and passed for 1497 yards in leading the Panthers’ to a 9-3 season. He accounted for 45 touchdowns – 27 rushing, 16 passing, one kick return, and one interception – and also added 54 tackles and three interceptions on defense for a team that reached the second round of the playoffs.
Cates started at wide receiver and defensive back for the Mustangs but becomes the school’s first all-state selection as a punter. He averaged 41 yards per punt and had 22 punts downed inside the 20, including nine inside the 10.
Cole led the Redskin defense with 148 tackles, including 56 solo stops. He had 25 tackles for loss and five sacks for a Redskin team that finished 9-3 and made the second round of the playoffs.
Second team and honorable mention
Several players from the county made the list as either second-team or honorable mention selections. Second team Cleveland – LB John Michael Lauderdale, Sr Oneonta – WR Luke Wall, Sr; OL John Micah Whited, Sr; DB Zach Dimmock, Jr; DL Cody Tolbert, Sr Honorable Mention Cleveland – OL Trent Tatum, Sr J.B. Pennington – QB Brandon Butts, Sr Southeastern – DB Brandon Jones, Jr
The finalists for Back of the Year and Lineman of the Year will be released this weekend.