Fittingly, Mason Rudolphs final pass of his high school career, with 16 seconds left in last Saturdays Shrine Bowl, went for a game-winning touchdown.
The Northwestern senior delivered in the clutch all season, in fact delivered at all times for the Trojans who went 15-0 and won the schools fourth state title. Rudolph is the Heralds All-Area Football Offensive Player of the Year, but he didnt carry Northwestern alone. The Trojans had the best team in the state, and so it should come as no surprise that senior safety Corey Seargent, who turned up for every one of the purple and golds biggest games, is the Defensive Player of the Year, and head man Kyle Richardson, who schemed the whole thing together, is the Coach of the Year.
Rudolph, headed to Oklahoma State to begin his college adventure in early January threw 64 touchdown passes - a great career for many prep QBs - this season, in addition to 16 rushing touchdowns. Rudolphs passes went for 4,377 yards and only eight were intercepted. He piloted an offense that scored 48.3 points per game, only turned the ball over 14 times in 15 games, and scored points on 94 percent of its trips into the opponents red zone.
Seargent was a heat-seeking tackling machine in the Northwestern secondary, racking up 148 tackles, four interceptions, three forced fumbles and breaking up three passes. The safety marshaled a defense that forced 36 turnovers and only allowed 14 passing touchdowns the entire season. Seargent will be a big-time NCAA Division I college football player when he decides where he wants to play this spring.
And Richardson was busy during Shrine Bowl week picking out state championship rings, the result of putting together an offensive scheme that was un-matched by most of the state, while relying on his defensive coaches to put their players in the best possible spots to make plays. Richardsons team stayed out of the newspaper for the wrong reasons, and showed up in their numerous big games all season.
Just like the 2013 high school football season, it was a clean sweep for the Trojans.
2013 Herald All-Area football
QB- Mason Rudolph, Northwestern- Rudolph had a stat-filled senior year campaign, throwing for 4,377 yards, 64 touchdowns and just eight interceptions. The Oklahoma State signee and Shrine Bowl selection completed 72.6 percent of his passes and also ran for 543 yards and 16 touchdowns while leading the Trojans to an undefeated season and a Class AAAA Division II state title.
RB- Ryan Moore, York- Youngstown State commitment rushed for an area-leading 1,585 yards and 17 touchdowns, while averaging 6.4 yards per carry. Moore, a North-South selection, also made 28 receptions for 336 yards and two more scores.
RB- Ladarius Adams, Clover- senior back missed five games this season due to injury, and still rushed for 1,029 yards and seven touchdowns on 185 carries.
OL- Denzel Marshall, Chester- big senior was named the Cyclones Offensive Lineman of the Year, which is saying something considering Chester had one of the biggest o-lines in the area. Marshall graded out at 89 percent in pass blocking and 90 percent in run blocking, and also racked up 42 dominant blocks.
OL- Ryan Ennis, York- graded out at 87 percent with 17 knockdown blocks.
OL- Matt Christopher, Rock Hill- senior graded out at 87 percent for the season.
OL- Raydonn McCloud, Northwestern- North-South selection was a dominant tackle for the Trojans, whether in their quick passing offense, or in the power run game they broke out when necessary. McCloud and his offensive line teammates helped Northwestern average 5.1 yards per carry.
OL- J.P. Titus, Northwestern- another key cornerstone of the Trojan offensive line, Titus graded out at 90 percent this season.
TE/WR- Riley Hilton, Nation Ford- one of the most dependable receivers in the area, Hilton led the Falcons with 86 catches for 976 yards and 10 touchdowns. The North-South all-star also punted and played linebacker on defense.
WR- Dupree Hart, Northwestern- junior receiver caught 115 passes for 1,655 yards and 26 touchdowns, rushed for 245 yards and five more scores, and also returned a punt and two kickoffs for touchdowns. Hart also broke the South Carolina career record for receptions, passing A.J. Greens old mark of 279 late in the season.
WR- Quadarius Fair, Northwestern- senior receiver offered a lethal alternative to Hart for the Trojans. Fair caught 91 passes for 1,484 yards and a team-high 28 touchdown receptions, including four in the state championship win over Stratford.
DL- Chris Bouyer, Northwestern- Bouyer led Trojan defensive linemen with 83 tackles, including five for a loss, and four sacks. The junior also forced three fumbles and recovered three fumbles.
DL- Zeek Rodney, South Pointe- in an injury-hit season, Rodney, a Shrine Bowl pick, still managed 77 tackles, 16 tackles-for-loss, 12 sacks and 27 quarterback hurries.
DL- Matt Newman, South Pointe- senior had a very productive final campaign in high school football, making 106 tackles, including 12 for a loss, and a team-high 14 sacks and 32 quarterback hurries. Newmans lack of size did not matter; he also forced four fumbles and recovered another three.
LB- Daryl Foster, Chester- senior linebacker racked up 134 tackles, three sacks, 10 tackles-for-loss, five forced fumbles and two interceptions. Foster scored a pair of defensive touchdowns to boot.
LB- Cameron Meadows, Lancaster- stout junior racked up 162.5 tackles, including 4.5 sacks, and also forced four fumbles, recovered two and intercepted two passes.
LB- Russell Hubbs, Northwestern- senior linebacker was a hard-nosed ever-present in the middle of the Trojan defense. Hubbs racked up 125 tackles this season, including a sack and four others for a loss. Hubbs also caused a pair of fumbles. Hell play football at The Citadel next fall.
LB- Dario Brown, York- junior made 137 tackles, including four for a loss, forced and recovered two fumbles each, intercepted a pass, broke up two passes and had two quarterback pressures as the leader of the Cougar defense.
DB- Josh Massey, South Pointe- North-South selection made 85 tackles, including nine for a loss, two sacks and four interceptions. Massey forced three fumbles and recovered another and is receiving heavy recruiting interest from the Fooball Championship Series of NCAA Division I.
DB- Corey Seargent, Northwestern- senior safety was Northwesterns leading tackler with 148. Seargent, a Shrine Bowl pick, forced three fumbles, recovered one, and also intercepted four passes with seven pass break-ups.
DB- Jaquavious Mackey, Northwestern- North-South selection led the Trojans with five interceptions and also broke up four passes. Mackey also had 79 tackles and returned three kickoffs for touchdowns this fall.
DB- Devion Williams, South Pointe- junior defensive back made 51 tackles, intercepted six passes and defended 12. Williams also forced a fumble and scored three defensive touchdowns.
K- Shea Rodgers, Indian Land- kicker hit 8 of 14 field goals, with a long of 37 yards, converted 19 of 21 extra point attempts, and hit 16 of 37 kickoffs into the end zone for touchbacks. Rodgers also punt 41 times for a 40.14-yard average and downed 17 of those inside the 20.
KR/ATH- Quan Caldwell, Chester- senior had a productive season with 1,294 all-purpose yards and 10 total touchdowns. Caldwell caught 24 passes for 683 yards and seven touchdowns, an average of 28.5 yards per catch, and also returned 20 kickoffs for 445 yards and two touchdowns, for an average of 27.4 yards per return.
QB- Deshaw Andrews, York- junior threw for 2,883 yards and 31 touchdowns, with just five interceptions. Andrews completed 68 percent of his passes and also ran for 466 yards and seven more scores.
RB- Justin Stokes, Rock Hill- versatile senior running back rushed for 1,128 yards and eight touchdowns on 182 carries, and also caught 47 passes for 562 yards and three scores.
RB- Malik Long, Fort Mill- junior rushed for 850 yards and 12 touchdowns and also caught four touchdown passes while moonlighting at linebacker for the Yellow Jackets.
OL- Dakeavis Wilmore, Chester- massive senior was a force for the Cyclones, grading out at 87 percent in pass blocking and 89 percent in run blocking, while putting opponents on their backsides with 38 dominant blocks.
OL- P.J. Lucas, Lewisville- senior graded out at 87 percent with 35 knockdowns and five highlight blocks.
OL- Spencer Strong, South Pointe- senior was the best blocker on a team that averaged over 200 yards rushing per game and 5.2 yards per carry.
OL- Sam Smith, Fort Mill- senior was the best blocker on a team that rushed for over 200 yards per game.
OL- T.J. Graham, Chester- junior graded out at 88 percent in pass blocking and 87 percent in run blocking, with 28 dominant blocks.
TE/WR- Brandon Cureton, Nation Ford- senior missed the final two games of the Falcons season after a severe knee injury, but still caught 52 passes for 1,069 yards and 10 touchdowns, all while playing full-time at defensive back too.
WR- Josh McCoy, York- reliable senior receiving target led the Cougars with 77 catches for 797 yards and six touchdowns.
WR- Anthony Johnson, South Pointe- senior was as effective of a big play threat as could be found in the Heralds coverage area. Johnson made 46 catches for 923 yards this fall, an average of over 20 yards per grab. He also caught 11 touchdowns, returned a punt for a score and also ran the ball and played in the secondary some for the Stallions.
DL- Cam Bell, Rock Hill- senior made 74 tackles, four sacks and recovered a fumble for the Bearcats.
DL- Darius Truesdale, Lancaster- senior made 103 tackles and six sacks for the Bruins.
DL- Marquis Hart, Lewisville- disruptive junior made 92 tackles, seven sacks and 23 tackles-for-loss.
LB- Marveon Mobley, South Pointe- junior made 55 tackles and had an area-leading eight interceptions. Mobley also recovered a pair of fumbles, and finished the season with two defensive touchdowns.
LB- Josh Miller, Northwestern- senior linebacker was the second leading tackler for the Trojans (131), and also tied for most tackles-for-loss with seven.
LB- Chris Harvell, Nation Ford- linebacker made 112 tackles, including seven for a loss, and also forced and recovered a fumble each and broke up three passes.
DB- Tyquan Huntley, Rock Hill- defensive back made 94 tackles, picked off four passes, forced a fumble and recovered two more for the Bearcats.
DB- Brayon McCoy, Northwestern- senior made 90 tackles and intercepted three passes, while breaking up a team-high 10 passes and blocking an unusually high eight kicks.
DB- Chris Smith, South Pointe- sophomore defensive back made a splash in his debut varsity season, notching 72 tackles, three interceptions and defending 10 passes.
DB- Shy Kelly, Great Falls- junior defensive back was one of the best in Region 3-A for the Red Devils stingy defense.
K- Buddy Anderson, York- junior kicker bashed 38 of his 69 kickoffs for touchbacks, successfully converted 49 of 50 extra points and made 4 of 6 field goals.
KR/ATH- Tony Gaston, Lewisville- senior played wide receiver for the Lions, then switched to quarterback after an injury to the starter. Gaston finished the season with 462 yards passing, 414 yards rushing and 485 yards receiving, for 1,361 total, and 11 touchdowns.
QB- Dalton Helms, Nation Ford
RB- Dre Bailey, Lewisville
RB- Josh Brice, South Pointe
OL- Ty Ross, Great Falls
OL- Shuler Littleton, York
OL- Barrett Courtwright, Clover
OL- Tyrone McCullough, Lewisville
OL- Tyler Schmidt, Nation Ford
TE/WR- Daurice Simpson, York
WR- Jay Hood, Lancaster
WR- Jamarcus Culp, Great Falls
DL- Tay Robinson-Locke, South Pointe
DL- Pulzario Kennedy, Northwestern
DL- Quay Reid, Lancaster
LB- R.J. Neely, Rock Hill
LB- David Jeter, Great Falls
LB- Traevon Hinton, South Pointe
LB- Parker Cox, Lewisville
DB- Omar Dean, Great Falls
DB- Michael Allen, Nation Ford
DB- Dante Seargent, Northwestern
DB- Tommy Sanders, Chester
K- Sully Foy, Northwestern
KR/ATH- Manny McCord, Indian Land
Bret McCormick • 803-329-4032; Twitter: @BretJust1T