Against all odds, the 2020 football season is finally in the books. The season saw its fair share of excitement with six of the area teams making the postseason.
Four of those teams made appearances in the quarterfinals with Oak Grove winning the 6A State Championship for the second in school history with the first time happening in 2013.
Lumberton won the 1A State Championship for the fifth time in school history which was the first time since 2010.
The 2020 All-Area Team featured a variety of memorable performances with high-powered offenses and dominant defenses.
The Area’s Offensive MVP goes to running back Robert Henry, who is the only returning member from last year’s All-Area team. This season, Henry rushed for 1,961 yards and 29 touchdowns and also made nine receptions for 202 yards and one touchdown. Henry also threw for 419 yards and two touchdowns.
Earning the honor as the Area’s Defensive Player of the Year is linebacker Zach Little. Little led the area with 124 tackles and 16 sacks this season. Little also recorded 24 tackles for loss, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.
Leading the all-area team with 10 selections is the 6A state champions, Oak Grove.
Quarterback Kabe Barnett led 6A in total offense by throwing for 2,387 yards and rushing for 443 yards. Barnett also threw 36 touchdowns and ran for eight touchdowns. Running back Courtland Harris rushed for 1,008 yards and 13 touchdowns while averaging 7.3 yards per carry. In addition, running back EJ Newell ran for 686 yards and eight touchdowns. Wide receiver Tyrell Pollard led the area in receiving yards as he hauled in 990 yards and 15 touchdowns. Offensive linemen Klabron Pollard and Taurese Sibley both earned 6A first-team all-state honors.
On defense, linebacker Braxton Miller recorded 86 tackles, 17 tackles for loss, eight sacks, one fumble recovery and one forced fumble. The Warriors landed two spots at defensive back with Jaylen Aborom, who had six interceptions while also making 61 tackles, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. Dontavious Howard made three interceptions, 41 tackles and three tackles for loss. Lastly, kicker Michael Owens averaged 51.4 yards on kickoffs while kicking 44 touchbacks. Owens was also 64-for-70 on PAT and 12-for-12 on field goals with a long of 47 yards.
The 1A state champion Lumberton Panthers have the second most all-area team selections.
On offense, along with Henry, the team has one other selection on offense with offensive linemen Stephen Lonadier, who was a 1A second all-state second team member. Da’Byron Coerly led Lumberton with 120 tackles and also recorded eight TFLs. Defensive linemen Jonathan Edwards made 95 tackles, 21.5 TFL and recorded one forced fumble and a fumble recovery, and Keyshawn Drummond recorded 63 tackles, 16 TFLs and two forced fumbles.
Both Rodney Parker and Shavante Toney were chosen as two of the All-Area utility players. Parker threw for 591 yards and rushed for 652 yards while scoring a total of 11 touchdowns. On defense, Parker made 61 tackles and eight TFLs while also coming up with two fumble recoveries, an interception and a forced fumble. Toney rushed for 577 yards and eight touchdowns while also making 72 tackles, 12 TFLs and three sacks.
Petal features six players on the all-area team, three of which earned all-state honors.
Quarterback Jackson Allen led 6A with 2,540 passing yards while throwing 27 touchdowns. Wide receiver Jeremiah Robinson hauled in 50 catches for 779 yards and seven touchdowns while rushing for 391 yards and 11 touchdowns. Jonathan Harris also made 21 catches for 500 yards and eight touchdowns. Tight end Garrett Barger also had 29 catches for 254 yards and three touchdowns. Offensive linemen Caleb Taylor was a second-team all-state team member. Defensive back Micah Cherry, who was also a second-team all-state team member, recorded 41 tackles, four interceptions and three TFLs.
Hattiesburg had five all-area selections.
Quarterback Jordan Willis threw for 1,000 yards and rushed for 733 yards while totaling 17 touchdowns this season. Wide receiver Joshua Jones made 17 catches to go for 463 yards and six touchdowns. Running back Jacquez Andrews ran for 728 yards and 12 touchdowns. Punter Matt Adams and returner Chanse Duckworth both were 5A first-team all-state selections.
Presbyterian Christian also had five all-area team selections.
On defense, linebacker Cameron Shaw led the area with seven interceptions and also made 74 tackles, 19 tackles for loss and three sacks. Defensive back Landon Lofton forced 10 pass deflections, and made 45 tackles while also having six fumble recoveries and a forced fumble.
Defensive lineman CJ Buckhalter, who was a MAIS first-team all-state selection, made 69 tackles, 30 TFLs, two fumble recoveries and one interception. Defensive linemen Damion Gooden recorded 50 tackles, 23 TFLs, three forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.
Offensive linemen Carter Edwards was also a MAIS first-team all-state member.
Purvis features two all-area selections, which include Kade Sherrill and Ty Badon. Despite being selected as a 4A all-state team member as a defensive back, Sherrill makes the all-area team as a running back. Sherrill rushed for 716 yards, three touchdowns and averaged 10.6 yards per carry. As a utility, Badon rushed for 446 yards and eight touchdowns while also making 21 tackles and recording two pass deflections.
Sumrall also has two players chosen for the all-area team. Linebacker James Ford recorded 118 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, five sacks, three interceptions and two fumble recoveries. Lastly, defensive lineman Cole Daniels made 44 tackles, eight tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks.
In addition, 34 players received honorable mention honors.
In total the area, had 39 players selected or earn honorable mention the all-state team. This was achieved in the every classification of the area coverage.
Four players were also selected to play in the Mississippi-Alabama All-Star Football game.
Six players were also selected to play in the Mississippi Association of Coaches 2020 Bernard Blackwell Classic All-Star Football game.
Oak Grove coach Drew Causey was also selected to participate as assistant coach in the game.