High School Football
Boston heads area standouts on 3-AAAAAA team
by Doug Gorman
Opposing football teams learned something important when it came to playing the East Coweta Indians this past season-senior free safety Markell Boston has a nose for the football.
Boston was named the Region 3-AAAAAA Defensive Player of the Year during the annual coaches meeting on Thursday, earning one of the region's top individual accolades as the Indians' starting free safety.
Repeat champion Langston Hughes, however, dominated the top awards after reaching the second-round of the Class AAAAAA state playoffs. The Panthers had a region-best 14 members between the First and Second teams.
Those numbers didn't include three others that earned top honors for Hughes, which finished 9-2 - Coach of the Year Willie Cannon, Player of the Year D'Andre Walker and Offensive Player of the Year Keion Davis.
Walker improved on last year's sack total from his defensive end spot, posting 21 as a junior to go with 108 tackles and an equally impressive seven caused fumbles.
Davis, meanwhile, was equally dominating on the other side of the ball as a running back, posting 1,652 yards and 24 touchdowns at 7.8 yards per carry. He also caught three passes for touchdowns.
Boston was equally important to the Indians' defensive success during a 5-6 season, finishing with 87 tackles and returning two interceptions for touchdowns while also forcing a fumble in East Coweta's win over Newnan this year to clinch a first-round state playoff game at home.
Despite a first-round loss to Lowndes, the Indians placed three players on the All-Region First Team including seniors Bryce Gemmel at quarterback and Qua Fuller on the offensive line. They were joined by junior receiver E.J. Ransom.
Newnan, which finished with a 6-5 record before suffering a 41-10 loss to Colquitt County, placed four seniors on the first-team, split equally between offensive and defensive units led by senior middlelinebacker Tonarius Portress, who finished his final varsity season with 135 tackles, three sacks and an interception.
Joining Portress on defense was end Mark Harris. Offensive lineman Anfenney Turner and long snapper Walker Sandlin also were First Team selections.
Standouts at both local Region 3-AAAAAA schools finished the regular season by adding to a series of intense rivalry games, the latest of which still was in doubt until the final three minutes of play when the Indians added two late touchdowns to pull away for a 24-7 victory.
Gemmel scored two of his eight rushing touchdowns in the win over Newnan while combining for over 2,000 yards of total offense. He threw for 1,400 and 11 touchdowns and also gained 643 on the ground at over five-yards per attempt.
The East Coweta quarterback was well protected by an offensive line that included three honorees led by Qua Fuller on the First Team. The senior tackle graded out at 85-percent and had 32 pancake blocks. Senior Charles Bush was named to the Second Team along with junior center Dawson Ellis. Bush graded out at 60 percent with 22 pancake blocks and Ellis graded out at 65 tackles and 15 tackles.
Gemmel's top target along with Boston on offense, wide receiver E.J. Ransom, earned First Team honors with team highs in receptions (40) and yards (455) to go with two touchdowns. Indians senior running back Malik Robinson, meanwhile, was selected to the Second Team offense after gaining 425 yards and eight touchdowns at just over five yards a carry.
Newnan senior tackle Anfeney Turner represented the Cougars on the First Team offense, protecting quarterback Bailey Bryant's blind side and grading out at 76-percent with 35 pancake blocks.
The Cougars also had a pair of players on the First Team defense along with senior-long snapper Walker Sandlin on special teams.
Along with Portress, who led Newnan's defense with 135 tackles to go with three sacks, 10 quarterback hurries and an interception, senior end Mark Harris was honored on the First Team. Harris showcased big-play ability to go with his 58 tackles, posting three sacks, four fumble recoveries and an interception that was returned for a touchdown in a win over Douglas County.
Newnan also placed six players on the All-Region Second Team split equally between squads. On offense, newcomer Darryel Hines provided a midseason boost as a sophomore running back, finishing with 385 yards and four touchdowns. Two seniors, Chrishawn Dix (31 rec., 360 yards, TD) at wide receiver and kicker Connor Cox (25 of 26 PAT, 7 of 10 FG) also earned spots on the Second Team.
Five more local players were selected to the Second Team defense. Newnan was represented by senior lineman Chris Porter (63 tackles, six sacks, four forced fumbles), sophomore linebacker Emmanuel Bridges (92 tackles, four sacks) and junior defensive back J.K. Britt (17 tackles, 4 INT).
Representing East Coweta were junior linebacker linebacker Tyler Poythress (66 tackles, two sacks) and junior defensive backs Kevin Lashley and Michael Singleton, both of whom had 41 tackles and a pair of interceptions.