The Tri-County Coaches Association voted on its players and coaches of the year Tuesday, picking an offensive and defensive player and coach of the year from the two divisions, the 4A, 5A schools and the 1A, 2A, 3A schools.
South Pointe’s Derion Kendrick is the offensive player of the year for the bigger schools, after taking 69 percent of the vote. Lancaster’s Markees Watts is the defensive player of the year after garnering 61.5 percent of the vote.
Kendrick, the Stallions’ junior QB, beat out three other nominees; he’s completed 148/241 passes for 2,057 yards and 18 touchdowns, and also has run for 472 yards and seven more touchdowns in 10 games.
Watts, a junior defensive end, has 63 tackles to his name, including 28 for a loss and 17 sacks. He’s also broken up eight passes, blocked a field goal and forced a fumble that he returned for a touchdown, all in 10 games.
Clover’s Chad Smith is the 4A, 5A coach of the year. He’s helped orchestrate a five-win improvement for the Blue Eagles, who also landed their first playoff berth since 2010.
Chester QB Malik Williams took offensive player of the year honors for the 1A, 2A, 3A schools, claiming nearly 70 percent of the vote, while Lewisville’s Darryl Manning took 77 percent of the votes to win defensive player of the year honors.
Williams, the senior QB committed to Appalachian State, had an exceptional regular season, rushing for 1,289 yards and 21 touchdowns and completing 86-of-144 passes for 1,390 yards and 11 touchdowns, with just one interception. He also returned a kickoff for a touchdown and was named a North-South all-star.
And Manning has been a defensive terror for the Lions from his edge-rushing position. The senior has 81 tackles, with 24 for a loss, and 14 sacks.
Chester’s Victor Floyd and Andrew Jackson’s C.J. Frye shared coach of the year honors in their division. Both coaches helped their teams to five more wins than last year in the regular season and spots in the state playoffs.
Clover back in the postseason
Clover is back in the playoffs for the first time since 2010. Chad Smith talked with The Herald’s Bret McCormick on Tuesday about that accomplishment and the Blue Eagles’ first round game against Spartanburg:
The Herald’s high school football regular season ballot results
The Herald’s high school football regular season ballot from last Tuesday had over 3,500 responses during the ensuing week. How many of those were from the same people is unclear because of how the ballot was set up; voters were not limited to just one response, which may have ultimately skewed the results. Nonetheless, here they are, the top-five in each category:
Which team has impressed you most in the regular season? Chester (33.4 percent); Other (21.8); South Pointe (16.7); Lewisville (11.6); Northwestern (9.2).
Which individual defensive player has most impressed you? Robbie Cshuta, Indian Land (52.4 percent); Hayden Milley, Clover (14.8); Corbin Tesimale, Nation Ford (9.8); Ken’darius Fredrick, South Pointe (4.7); Nick Truesdale, Rock Hill (3.8).
You have a third and short to get a first down; who carries the ball? Lee Massey, Indian Land (45.9 percent); Jerry Howard, Northwestern (14); Semaj Lakin, Clover (11.6); Voshon St. Hill (5.9); Dre Robinson, Rock Hill and Ant Foster, Lancaster (4.1).
My team does not need to kick (punt/kickoff) to this guy... Nick Truesdale, Rock Hill (30.8 percent); Jae’vion Matthews, York (25.4); Ken’darius Fredrick, South Pointe (15.3); Malik Williams, Chester (13.5); C.D. Catoe, Lancaster (10.4).
You need one player to play both sides of the ball tonight; who do you call on? Ben Tuipulotu, Nation Ford (41.4 percent); Willy Clark, Clover (17.5); Aaron Rice, Great Falls (10.9); Pha’Leak Brown, Chester and Ronnie Hughes, Fort Mill (10.5); Other (9.2).
Last-second field goal; who do you send out to win the game: Brandon Dickerson, Indian Land (54.4 percent); B.T. Potter, South Pointe (14.5); Nicholas Sciba, Clover (14.2); Skyler DeLong, Nation Ford (8.3); Zhenya Deller, Rock Hill (4.8).
Who is the local coach of the year so far? Will Mitchell, Lewisville (28 percent); Chad Smith, Clover (19.2); Michael Allen, Nation Ford (13.9); Strait Herron, South Pointe (12.2); David Pierce, Northwestern (8.3).
Regarding your particular school you follow, how do you feel about their performance so far this year? “Stoked, they’ve exceeded expectations (45.1 percent); “Very pleased. They’ve done what we’ve expected so far.” (18.2); “Pretty good. Hopefully we’re peaking at the right moment.” (12.7); “It could be better but things beyond our control have influenced outcomes.” (12.6); “Not great.” (5.1).
Byrnes looking for a new head coach
Byrnes football coach Brian Lane stepped down Monday after the Rebels missed the playoffs for the first time in 18 years. Lane released a statement to media via text message that read:
“In ten years as a head coach, my record is 88-40. I love God, I love my players, I love Byrnes High School. In life change is inevitable. I didn't get things done this year on the football field so after meeting with administration and discussing different directions for our football program, I will be stepping down as Byrnes High football coach at the end of the school year. Thanks for allowing me to be your coach for three years. God Bless.”
Reporting from the Spartanburg Herald-Journal indicated that Lane stepped down on his own. He was 24-5 in his first two years in charge of the Byrnes program, before the Rebels slipped to a 3-7 record this season. Spartanburg School District Five superintendent Scott Turner said the search for a new coach would begin immediately. There should be no shortage of interested and highly qualified candidates.
Chester can make a run
A talented roster, a switch to a more realistic level of competition and the tough love of coach Victor Floyd helped Chester football to an 8-2 regular season record and a first round home game in the 3A state playoffs. Floyd talked with The Herald’s Bret McCormick on Tuesday about how the team views returning to the playoffs and the season as whole, so far: