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.
Offensive Player of the Year Romario Johnson, Quarterback, Newton
In 2013, there were few players more electric on the field than Johnson.
Thrust into the starting position, the sophomore thrived at times, navigating his way through his rookie year on his way to five wins and a playoff berth.
Johnson threw for 1,666 yards, connecting on 52 percent of his passes in the Rams' high-octane spread offense under first-year head coach Terrance Banks.
Johnson connected with his receivers for 21 touchdowns, while throwing only 10 interceptions.
Johnson's biggest threat, however, wasn't his arm strength or accuracy, it was his feet.
Johnson rushed 154 times, the highest total on the Rams' roster this season, for 854 yards, finishing second in the area in rushing.
The sophomore averaged 5.6 yards per carry, while finding the end zone three times on the ground.
Johnson accounted for 24 Rams touchdowns this season, scoring 144 total points.
For the season, Johnson finished with 2,520 total yards of offense.
With two more years under center in store for Johnson, Region 2-AAAAAA has taken notice of the game-changing quarterback. The sophomore will likely continue to improve and ensure many more highlight plays for Newton fans in the seasons to come.