Final bow on ‘19 football season: GSWA releases all-state team

Former Peach County linebacker Sergio Allen began the 2019 football season as an AJC Super 11 selection. His final high school honor came Friday, when he was named the Georgia Sports Writers Association Class AAA defensive player of the year. Peach County was 48-9 in his four seasons. Allen enrolled at Clemson in January.

Arik Gilbert is already enrolled at LSU, but the former Marietta tight end and many other star players from the 2019 Georgia high school football season got a final honor Friday, when the Georgia Sports Writers Association released its all-state team.

Gilbert, who had 105 receptions for 1,860 yards and 15 touchdowns for state champion Marietta, is the GSWA’s Class AAAAAAA offensive player of the year.

Other GSWA classification players of the year include Dalton 2,000-yard rusher Jahmyr Gibbs (AAAAAA offensive player of the year), North Gwinnett defensive end Jared Ivey (AAAAAAA defensive player of the year), Lanier linebacker Phillip Webb (AAAAAA defensive player of the year) and Peach County linebacker Sergio Allen (AAA defensive player of the year).

Gibbs and Ivey have signed with Georgia Tech, Webb with LSU and Allen with Clemson.

The GSWA all-state team, produced annually since 1994 and dating back further, is typically released in January, but the association’s executive director emeritus, Stan Awtrey, explained the growing challenges of getting it out on time.

‘’Because of the changes in the industry and with all the personnel changes at member newspapers, it just sort of fell through the cracks,’’ Awtrey said.

The Georgia High School Association has expanded to seven classifications, or what might be called eight with a public and private split in Class A. Until 2000, there were only four classes, so the task of compiling a ballot of worthy players from eight classes is tougher than it used to be. And there aren’t as many newspapers covering high school sports as there were then.

‘’It's a huge undertaking, whether you have 15 or 20 people involved or by yourself.’’ said Michael Lough, editor of the Sports Report of Central Georgia and a former sports writer with the Macon Telegraph. ‘’It's hard to imagine not having an all-state team. Area and state teams actually give people a reason to look at stuff because it's about performance, not hype."

The GSWA's all-state team is one of four published for the 2019 season. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Recruit Georgia released theirs in December. The Georgia Coaches Athletic Association's team, selected by head coaches, is done in February.

‘’The GSWA all-state team is the one that is decided by media members throughout the state of Georgia,’’ said Steve Carter, a contributor to GPB and Score Atlanta who began covering high school games in Georgia in 1983, as a high school junior. “I think, even late, it was important to get this team out. The players deserved the recognition, and I feel it was our responsibility to give it to them. It is a tradition.’’

Ironically, the COVID-19 pandemic provided an opening. There are no spring sports, and Georgia schools are shut down early, freeing up the time.

Other GSWA voters were Justin Baxley (Macon Telegraph), Chris Beckham (WVGA Radio/Valdosta), John Bednarowski (Marietta Daily Journal), Will Cheney (Augusta Chronicle), Will Hammock (Gwinnett Daily Post), Scott Herpst (Walker County Messenger), Dennis Knight (Savannah Morning News), Derrick Mahone (Douglas County Sentinel), Jon Nelson (GPB), Daniel Shirley (The Athletic), Matt Stewart (GPB), John Sullivan (Griffin Daily News) and Awtrey.

GSWA 2019 all-state football team:

Class AAAAAAA

Offensive Player of the Year: Arik Gilbert, Marietta

Defensive Player of the Year: Jared Ivey, North Gwinnett

Coach of the Year: Richard Morgan, Marietta

Offense 

QB Harrison Bailey, Marietta, Sr.

RB Cody Brown, Parkview, Jr.

RB Daijun Edwards, Colquitt County, Sr.

WR Josh Downs, North Gwinnett, Sr.

WR Ricky White, Marietta, Sr.

TE Arik Gilbert, Marietta, Sr.

OL Ethan Lane, Archer, Sr.

OL Micah Morris, Camden County, Jr.

OL Jake Wray, Marietta, Sr.

OL Trey Zimmerman, Roswell, Sr.

OL Paul Tchio, Milton, Sr.

ATH Jacurri Brown, Lowndes, So.

Defense 

DL Jared Ivey, North Gwinnett, Sr.

DL Jamil Burroughs, McEachern, Sr.

DL B.J. Ojulari, Marietta, Sr.

DL Myles Murphy, Hillgrove, Sr.

LB Gary Osby, Lowndes, Sr.

LB Barrett Carter, North Gwinnett, Jr.

LB Kobe Wilson, Parkview, Sr.

DB Doneiko Slaughter, Roswell, Sr.

DB Rashad Torrence, Marietta, Sr.

DB Taylor Goodson, North Gwinnett, Sr.

DB Jack Rhodes, Milton, Sr.

Specialists 

PK Noland McCord, Parkview, Sr.

P Brock Travelstead, North Paulding, Sr.

Class AAAAAA 

Offensive Player of the Year: Jahmyr Gibbs, Dalton

Defensive Player of the Year: Phillip Webb, Lanier

Coach of the Year: Matt Dickman, Harrison

Offense 

QB Tate Rodemaker, Valdosta, Sr.

RB Jahmyr Gibbs, Dalton, Sr.

RB Jalen Rouse, Richmond Hill, Sr.

WR Asante Das, Allatoona, Sr.

WR Parker Self, South Paulding, Sr.

TE Miles Campbell, South Paulding, Jr.

OL Jordan Williams, Gainesville, Sr.

OL John Williams, Creekview, Sr.

OL Riley Adcock, Dacula, Sr.

OL Parker Rodgers, Lee County, Sr.

OL Nick Lundberg, Allatoona, Sr.

ATH T.K Mack, North Atlanta, Sr.

Defense 

DL Simeon Barrow, Grovetown, Sr.

DL Makius Scott, Gainesville, Sr.

DL Nathan Vickers, Richmond Hill, Jr.

DL JaQuari Wiggles, Mays, Sr.

LB Phillip Webb, Lanier, Sr.

LB Wesley Steiner, Houston County, Sr.

LB Khatavian Franks, Creekside, Sr.

DB Victor Pless, Harrison, Sr.

DB Jimmy Calloway, Morrow, Sr.

DB Kaleb Edwards, Dacula, Jr.

DB Caleb McDowell, Lee County, Jr.

Specialists 

PK Jude Kelley, Allatoona, Sr.

P Chase Gabriel, Glynn Academy, Sr.

Class AAAAA

Offensive Player of the Year: Jontavis Robertson, Jones County

Defensive Player of the Year: Kevin Swint, Carrollton

Coach of the Year: Bryant Appling, Buford

Offense 

QB Jalen Addie, Warner Robins, Jr.

RB Jo’Quavious Marks, Carver-Atlanta, Sr.

RB O’Brien Barnett, Clarke Central, Sr.

WR Jontavis Robertson, Jones County, Sr.

WR Jairus Mack, Clarke Central, Jr.

TE Billy Ward, Locust Grove, Sr.

OL Broderick Jones, Lithonia, Sr.

OL Seth McLaughlin, Buford, Sr.

OL Austin Blaske, South Effingham, Sr.

OL Conner Griffin, Jones County, Sr.

OL Quantavious Leslie, Rome, Sr.

ATH Sam Brown, New Hampstead, Sr.

Defense 

DL William Anderson, Dutchtown, Sr.

DL Vincent Dinkins, Kell, Sr.

DL Damarjhe Lewis, Griffin, Sr.

DL Nazir Stackhouse, Columbia, Sr.

LB Kevin Swint, Carrollton, Sr.

LB Ahmad Walker, Warner Robins, Jr.

LB Michael Mincey, Ware County, Jr.

DB T. Lee, Buford, Sr.

DB Sheldon Arnold, Loganville, Sr.

DB Tommy Wright, Southwest DeKalb, Sr.

DB Cole Bishop, Starr’s Mill, Jr.

Specialists 

PK Hayden Olsen, Buford, Sr.

P Daniel Gibbs, Veterans, Jr.

Class AAAA

Offensive Player of the Year: Mike Wright, Woodward Academy

Defensive Player of the Year: Bradyn Swinson, Chapel Hill

Coach of the Year: Tim McFarlin, Blessed Trinity

Offense 

QB Max Johnson, Oconee County, Sr.

RB Elijah Green, Blessed Trinity, Sr.

RB Khiari McCoy, Carver-Columbus, Sr.

WR Ze’Vian Capers, Demark, Sr.

WR Brent Carr, West Laurens, Sr.

TE James Bryant, Blessed Trinity, Sr.

OL Jackson Filipowicz, Blessed Trinity, Sr.

OL Jonah Gambill, Cartersville, Sr.

OL Kobe McAlister, Heritage, Sr.

OL Zaire Flournoy, Chapel Hill, Sr.

OL Nate Howard, Mary Persons, Sr.

ATH Mike Wright, Woodward Academy, Sr.

Defense 

DL Bradyn Swinson, Chapel Hill, Sr.

DL Lane Phillips, Heritage, Sr.

DL Spencer Dacus, West Laurens, Sr.

DL Adam Weynand, North Oconee, Sr.

LB D’Eryk Jackson, West Laurens, Sr.

LB Aaron Washington, Woodward Academy, Sr.

LB West Weeks, Oconee County, Jr.

DB Brian Branch, Sandy Creek, Sr.

DB Chase Dial-Watson, Flowery Branch, Sr.

DB Quinton Reese, Blessed Trinity, Sr.

DB Ambe Caldwell, Woodward Academy, Sr.

Specialists 

PK Noah Jones, Cairo, Sr.

P Ezra King, Eastside, Sr.

Class AAA

Offensive Player of the Year: Malachi Thomas, Hart County

Defensive Player of the Year: Sergio Allen, Peach County

Coach of the Year: Miguel Patrick, Cedar Grove

Offense 

QB Ladd McConkey, North Murray, Sr.

RB Malachi Thomas, Hart County, Jr.

RB Chavron Wright, Cedar Grove, Sr.

WR Jaylon Barden, Westside Macon, Sr.

WR Za’tarious Anderson, Monroe, Sr.

TE Cane Berrong, Hart County, Jr.

OL Myles Hinton, Greater Atlanta Christian, Sr.

OL Avery Jernigan, Pierce County, Sr.

OL Terrance Ferguson, Peach County, Jr.

OL Mason Ware, Jefferson, Sr.

OL Colton Oliver, Crisp County, Sr.

ATH Shaheim Bailey, Stone Mountain, Jr.

Defense 

DL Alvin Williams, Cedar Grove, Sr.

DL Demarius Jackson, Cedar Grove, Jr.

DL Taurus Simmons, Jenkins, Sr.

DL Akelo Stone, Jenkins, Sr.

LB Sergio Allen, Peach County, Sr.

LB Isaiah Ratcliff, Cedar Grove, Sr.

LB Choe Bryant-Strother, Greater Atlanta Christian, Sr.

DB Ronald Cooper, Jenkins, Sr.

DB Tee Denson, Cedar Grove, Sr.

DB Tyler Bride, Greater Atlanta Christian, Sr.

DB Anthony Henderson, Jackson, Sr.

Specialists 

PK Alex Bachetta, Westminster, So.

P Luke Holloway, Fannin County, Jr.

Class AAA

Offensive Player of the Year: JaQues Evans, Dublin

Defensive Player of the Year: Romelo Height, Dublin

Coach of the Year: Roger Holmes, Dublin

Offense 

QB Gunner Stockton, Rabun County, So.

RB JaQues Evans, Dublin, Sr.

RB Tank Bigsby, Callaway, Sr.

WR Braxton Hicks, Rabun County, Sr.

WR Rico Powers, Hapeville Charter, Sr.

TE Payten Singletary, Thomasville, Sr.

OL Tate Johnson, Callaway, Sr.

OL Jabari Brooks, Washington County, Sr.

OL Ty McRae, Dublin, Sr.

OL Amarius Mims, Bleckley County, Jr.

OL Jakobee Mitchell, Brooks County, Sr.

ATH Bryce Bailey, Bleckley County, Sr.

Defense 

DL Romello Height, Dublin, Sr.

DL Robert Lee, Hapeville Charter, Sr.

DL T.J. Davis, Metter, Sr.

DL Carlos Allen, Douglass, Sr.

LB Seth Hodges, Bremen, Sr.

LB Kydran Jenkins, Jefferson County, Sr.

LB Ty Anderson, Thomasville, So.

DB Chance Gamble, Fitzgerald, Jr.

DB Jalin Shephard, Callaway, Jr.

DB Enoch Howard, Hephzibah, Sr.

DB Josh Ross, Pepperell, Sr.

Specialists 

PK Hurston Waldrep, Thomasville, Sr.

P Joseph Weiers, Hapeville Charter, Sr.

Class A Public

Offensive Player of the Year: Trice McCannon, Marion County

Defensive Player of the Year: D.J. Lundy, Irwin County

Coach of the Year: Buddy Nobles, Irwin County

Offense 

QB Trice McCannon, Marion County, Sr.

RB Tyler Morehead, Clinch County, Jr.

RB Kolbi Ferguson, Lincoln County, Sr.

WR Jamorri Colson, Irwin County, Sr.

WR Shakari Denson, Claxton, Jr.

TE Garland Benyard, Irwin County, Jr.

OL Austin Duffy, Marion County, Jr.

OL Cooper Smith, Bowdon, Sr.

OL Conner Kyle, Commerce, Sr.

OL Kameron Wideman, Montgomery County, Sr.

OL Bubba Johnson, Irwin County, Sr.

ATH James Thomas, Mitchell County, Sr.

Defense 

DL Craig Harris, Clinch County, Jr.

DL JyQuez Marshall, Irwin County, Sr.

DL Zykevious Walker, Schley County, Sr.

DL Dominique Mills, Jenkins County, Jr.

LB D.J. Lundy, Irwin County, Sr.

LB Desmond Tisdol, Wilcox County, Sr.

LB Kendrick Hawkins, Marion County, Sr.

DB Gabriel Benyard, Irwin County, Jr.

DB Ben Fortson, Bowdon, Sr.

DB Darrell Starling, Pelham, Sr.

DB Antaevious Brown, Lincoln County, Sr.

Specialists 

PK Jorge Gonzalez, Claxton, Sr.

P Jackson Bostick, Baconton Charter, Sr.

Class A Private

Offensive Player of the Year: Keaton Mitchell, Eagle’s Landing Christian

Defensive Player of the Year: Jonathan Hammond, Mount Vernon Presbyterian

Coach of the Year: Jonathan Gess, Eagle’s Landing Christian

Offense 

QB Brock Vandagriff, Prince Avenue Christian, Jr.

RB Keaton Mitchell, Eagle’s Landing Christian, Sr.

RB Michael Cox, Holy Innocents’, Sr.

WR Donnavan Moorer, Hebron Christian, Sr.

WR Justin Robinson, Eagle’s Landing Christian, Sr.

TE Kaleb Park, Calvary Day, Sr.

ATH Niko Vangarelli, Mount Paran Christian, Sr.

OL Tanner Bivins, Wesleyan, Jr.

OL Shedrick Rhodes, Eagle’s Landing Christian, Sr.

OL Charlie Patterson, Fellowship Christian, Jr.

OL Tate Ratledge, Darlington, Sr.

OL Trey Bedosky, Landmark Christian, Sr.

Defense 

DL Marquis Black, Eagle’s Landing Christian, Sr.

DL Jonathan Hammond, Mt. Vernon Presbyterian, Sr.

DL Cade Brock, Darlington, Sr.

DL Andre Miller, Savannah Country Day, Sr.

LB Josh Aspinwall, Wesleyan, Sr.

LB Hunter Hawk, Holy Innocents’, Sr.

LB Josiah Cotton, Mount de Sales, Sr.

DB Kurt Knisely, Athens Academy, Sr.

DB Deion Colzie, Athens Academy, Jr.

DB Shamari Reed, Trinity Christian, Sr.

DB Micah Smith, Wesleyan, Sr.

Specialists 

PK Joe Dixon, Christian Heritage, Sr.

P Marshall Nichols, Holy Innocents’, Jr.

About the Author