The Covington News and The Rockdale News have once again transcended county lines to bring you the third annual Newton County-Rockdale County All-Area Football Team.
The team represents 25 of the finest football players from six schools throughout two counties, highlighting the seasons of some of Newton and Rockdale counties' best on the gridiron.
It's never easy choosing the yearly honors, but each player on the list earned his spot with blood, sweat and tears shed during the season.
Newton quarterback Romario Johnson (Offensive Player of the Year), Alcovy defensive lineman Curtiss Benton (Defensive Player of the Year), Alcovy quarterback Tristen Payne (Athlete of the Year) and Alcovy coach Kirk Hoffman (Coach of the Year) rose above the rest to earn All-Area top honors.
Although Johnson, Benton, Payne and Hoffman have been highlighted, Newton and Rockdale counties can be proud of their teams this season, with three of the six teams earning postseason bids. The future of football in the area appears to be in good hands.
In the end, every player who laced up cleats, put on pads and strapped on helmets made an impact. The countless hours spent practicing and planning have not gone unnoticed.
Defensive Player of the Year Curtiss Benton, Defensive Lineman, Alcovy
Alcovy defensive lineman Curtiss Benton might not have finished with the most tackles in the area this season, but ask opposing quarterbacks around the area who they wanted to play against the least, and Benton's name would probably be mentioned.
Benton finished the season with 96 total tackles, recording 77 solo tackles while assisting on 27 others.
The 6-foot-3, 245-pound defensive end finshed 2013 with an outstanding 25 tackles-for-loss, including 15 sacks and three forced fumbles.
Benton also scored twice on defense, tallying a touchdown and a safety for the Tigers.
Benton's best effort of the year came against Rockdale County in a 22-7 victory over the Bulldogs. Benton finished with 10 total tackles, four sacks and a touchdown.
Benton and the Tigers finished with a school-best 7-4 record this season.