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FAR EAST TALENT: Introducing the 2018 All-TCN Football team
After leading the area in rushing with over 1,100 yards and accounting for over 1,600 total yards, Eastside running back, Taylor Carter is our 2018 All-TCN Player of the Year. - photo by Jason Mussell

COVINGTON, Ga. — It was one of the single most newsworthy football seasons in recent Newton County history. One which included a history-making football team, multiple coaching changes a rain-soaked Sharp Stadium during a deep run into the playoffs and some memorable individual performances.

So eventful was this season that it’s almost a shame that it had to come to an end. Yet here we are, putting the final touches on the 2018 high school football campaign by giving you our 2018 All-TCN Football team. 

Coach Troy Hoff
When Eastside football coach Troy Hoff looks back on this season, beyond the Blessed Trinity loss, he'll see what could be a program shifting year. -photo by Anthony Banks

Coach of the Year: Eastside’s Troy Hoff, hands down. His fourth year at the helm was easily his best, and topped the county, as far as regular season records go. Hoff guided a team that lost starters in several key positions, particularly on defense and the trenches, to a perfect 10-0 regular season record, and a Class AAAA state quarterfinals finish in 2018. In so doing, his Eastside squad became the first team in Newton County history to finish a football regular season undefeated. The Eagles also knocked off Hardaway and Burke County in the first two rounds of the playoffs before running into eventual state champion Blessed Trinity in the quarterfinals. 

Chick-Fil-A Football Player of the Year: RB Taylor Carter, Eastside. Okay, let’s talk numbers first. Carter was the area’s leading rusher, piling up 1,123 yards on the ground while averaging 6.7 yards per carry and scoring 15 touchdowns. He also caught 31 balls for 307 yards and tacked on four receiving scores. He showed off his versatility as he took carries from traditional tailback spots and from behind center in the Wildcat formation. And whatever he may lack in top-end speed, he more than makes up for it with his vision, quickness and strength. But beyond that, coaches and players alike have raved all season about Carter’s work ethic, coach ability, dependability and leadership.

Noah Cook
Eastside's Noah Cook threw for over 2,100 yards, 25 TDs and just three interceptions.

Offensive Player of the Year: QB Noah Cook, Eastside. After missing most of his sophomore season with a collarbone injury, Cook bounced back in a major way as a junior who was in complete control of the Eagles’ offense. Beyond simply having the distinction of being signal caller for the area’s best team, Cook’s stats were tremendous. He completed 68 percent of his passes for 2,100 yards with 27 touchdowns to just three interceptions and a quarterback rating of 130.6. But even more impressive was the mobility and athleticism he showed while rushing for 352 yards and five scores while averaging 8.6 yards per carry. He was the total package at quarterback for the Region 4-AAAA champions. He’ll be pegged as one of Class AAAA’s top returning signal callers in 2019. 

Defensive Player of the Year: DE Jalen Banks, Alcovy. Sometimes it’s tough to become the heart and soul of not just your defense, but your team, from a defensive lineman spot. But that’s exactly what Banks did. Banks was sixth on the team with 57 tackles, but he led with 19 for losses while tacking on nine quarterback sacks. Once again, his impact was felt beyond the stats. In a topsy-turvy 2-8 campaign which featured a third straight winless record in region play, the dismissal of an offensive coordinator and the resignation of head coach, Chris Edgar, Banks was a stalwart on defense and a constant for the entire team. Even against top competition, like Alcovy’s trip to Class AAAAAAA state runner-up Colquitt County, Banks showed his ability to compete with the best. 

Jalen Banks
Alcovy defensive lineman Jalen Banks was the heart and soul of the Tigers defense in 2018. -photo by Jason Mussell

Co-Freshman of the Year: WR MJ Stroud, Alcovy. With the exception of Alcovy’s wins against Rockdale and Salem, the Tigers’ offense was a wreck in many ways, but mostly in the passing game. The Tigers managed to get through the entire season without throwing a single touchdown pass. Some of that was due to injuries and inconsistent quarterback play. However, Stroud’s play was an ember of light for Alcovy’s passing offense. He led the team in catches (14) and yards (195) and a 43-yard grab he had in the Lakeside-Evans game tied for the third longest play of the season for Alcovy, and he did this in seven games played. There are currently quite a few question marks surrounding the Alcovy program right now, from coach to quarterback to next year’s style of play. But if Stroud sticks around, he’ll no doubt become an answer for Alcovy offensively for the next three years. 

OL James Amos, Eastside. It’s hard enough to play high-level Georgia high school football. Compound that with being a freshman and being able to star on the offensive line for a region championship team that made a deep playoff run, and you’re talking about the makings of a special player. As a freshman, Amos led all Eastside linemen in pancake blocks while starting all 13 games of the season. He was part of an offensive line that paved the way for close to 400 total yard (218 rushing) per game this past season. Don’t be surprised if some scholarship looks don’t start coming his way early as a sophomore. 

MJ STroud
As a freshman, Alcovy's MJ Stroud led the team in receiving, despite being a part of a passing game that struggled throughout. -photo by Jason Mussell

First Team All-TCN Offense

QB LT Stowers, Newton

RB Adarius Thomas, Newton

RB NaTorian Holloway, Alcovy

Natorian Holloway
Alcovy running back Natorian Holloway will be the county's leading returning rusher in 2019. - photo by Anthony Smith

WR Robert Lewis, Newton

WR Mike Mathison, Newton

WR Jamari Brown, Eastside

TE Colby Shivers 

Colby Shivers
Colby Shivers was a dominant pass catcher from his tight end position. -photo by Anthony Banks

OL Kendrick Carlton, Newton

OL Bryant Byrd, Eastside

OL Pierce Downs, Eastside

OL Marcus Perdomo, Alcovy

OL Gavin Fletcher, Alcovy

Adarius Thomas
Newton senior tailback, Adarius Thomas showed he could be an every-down back for the Rams in 2018. He'll get a chance to prove his worth on the collegiate level at Butler (Kansas) Community College. -photo by Sydney Chacon

Kicker Kade Mote, Eastside 

ATH: Jerrol Hines, Newton

Kick/Punt Returner: Andrae Robinson, Alcovy

Junior Andrae Robinson was electrifying at times as a kick and punt returner.

First Team All-TCN Defense

DL Tyon Bigby, Newton

DL Jaylen Atlow, Eastside 

DL Jeffery Cook, Newton

DL Tomarkus Woods, Eastside

Eastside's Jaylen Atlow rounded into one of the most dynamic pass rushers in the area in 2018.

LB Cozbi Craig, Newton

LB Comal Phillips, Alcovy

LB Jamari Brundage, Eastside

LB Ronald Graves, Newton

DB Jamari Brown, Eastside

DB DeJuan Brown, Newton

DB Bryson Wilcox, Alcovy

DB Antavious Cobb, Eastside

Dejuan Brown
Newton corner DeJuan Brown displayed some lockdown tendencies during his junior season. - photo by Sydney Chacon

Punter: Ezra King, Eastside

Returner: Andrae Robinson, Alcovy 

Second Team All-TCN Offense

QB Tate Peters, Social Circle

RB Terrence Reid, Eastside

RB Quincy Cullins, Eastside 

Terrence Reid
Sophomore tailback Terrence Reid was the second leading rusher for the Eastside Eagles. -photo by Anthony Banks

WR Jerry Mays, Eastside

WR Jerrol Hines, Newton

WR Diondre Glover, Newton

WR Davis Smith, Social Circle 

OL Ken Sheats, Social Circle

OL Austin King, Eastside

OL Devin Durden, Newton

OL Jimmy Argueta, Alcovy

OL Chris Simmons, Alcovy

Kicker Abdiel Valesquez, Newton

ATH/Returner Antavious Cobb, Eastside

Antavious Cobb
Eastside's Antavious Cobb was one of the area's most versatile players in 2018. -photo by Anthony Banks

Second Team All-TCN Defense

DL James Adams, Alcovy

DL Hunter Williams, Eastside

DL Gavin Fletcher, Alcovy

LB Jordan Rogers, Eastside

LB Logan Wyatt, Alcovy

LB Dalton Whitley, Eastside

LB Josh Hardeman, Eastside

LB Max St. Juste, Alcovy

DB Nyland Green, Newton

DB AJ Royal, Eastside

DB Andrae Robinson, Alcovy

DB Devon Brown, Eastside

Punter Jose Ramos, Alcovy