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PREP FOOTBALL: Eastside pair, Newton's Darnell Jefferies nab all-region players of the year honors
Darnell Jefferies was among the sack leaders in a talent-heavy Region 8-AAAAAAA. - photo by File Photo

COVINGTON, Ga. -- The Eastside Eagles and Newton Rams football teams both represented well in their respective all-region rosters that were revealed this week. 

In Region 8-AAAAAAA, Newton defensive lineman, Darnell Jefferies took home Defensive Player of the year honors, while four other Rams made the first team roster in a region that includes the second and third ranked teams in the state in Archer and Grayson. 

For Eastside, quarterback Brayden Harper and defensive tackle Spurgeon Gaither swept the Region 4-AAAA offensive and defensive player of the year awards, respectively. In all, 13 Eagles were named to the all-region team in some way, whether first, team, second team or honorable mention. 

Eastside DT Spurgeon Gaither makes a cut on his way to a 98-yard touchdown run off an interception. - photo by Cassie Jones | The Covington News

Jefferies, a Clemson commit, registered well over 70 tackles, including eight quarterback sacks during his senior campaign. He also saw extensive playing time on Newton’s offensive line and at tight end. In last Friday’s playoff overtime loss to Parkview, Jefferies caught three passes from the tight end spot, including a game-tying touchdown grab that sent the game into overtime. 

Defensive back and UGA track signee, Elija Godwin won Special Teams Player of the Year after returning three kickoff returns for touchdowns, despite missing several games during the early part of the season. 

Meanwhile, it was Eastside’s Brayden Harper who made things go for the Eagles’ offense as a triple threat player. Splitting time with sophomore quarterback, Noah Cook, Harper still managed to complete 70 percent of his passes for over 800 yards, while rushing for over 400 and eight scores in the regular season and making 16 grabs for 240 yards and two scores from his wide receiver spot. 

Harper helped engineer a rushing offense that ran for 240 yards per game. On the defensive side, Gaither had a dominant senior campaign, registering 55 total stops, including 16 tackles for losses and five quarterback sacks. 

Here’s the full list of Eastside and Newton players who made all-region squads: 


Offensive Player of the Year: Brayden Harper

Defensive Player of the Year: Spurgeon Gaither

First Team: RB Tyon Davis; OL Lamarius Benson; LB Jaylon Lackey.

Second Team: P Dalton Whitley; RB Taylor Carter; OL Dustin Morgan; DL Tanner Feeney; LB Rico Ruffin; DB Jamari Brown.

Honorable Mention: RB Quincy Cullins; TE Colby Shivers; WR Jerry Mayes; WR Jamari Brown; LB Jamari Brundage; DB Taylor Carter. 


Defensive Player of the Year: DT Darnell Jefferies

Special Teams Player of the Year: DB Elija Godwin

First Team: RB Nuru Tinch; OL Jordan Reed; DB/KR Elija Godwin; OL Lewis Naza. 

Honorable Mention:  QB Myron Middlebrooks; RB Adarius Thomas; WR Mike Mathison; LB James Hardeman; DL Dre Butler; DB Rod Kirkland.