Area athletes earn All-State honors

Published 7:48 am Saturday, December 23, 2023

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On Saturday, Dec. 23, the Alabama Sports Writers Association (ASWA) released its annual All-State Football Team and a number of athletes in The Messenger’s coverage area earned honors.

A total of four Charles Henderson stars made the First-Team All-State in Class 5A. Senior offensive lineman Benton Dunn, senior kicker Nik Peerson, junior defensive end Zion Grady and senior athlete Jywon Boyd all earned First-Team All-State honors.

Boyd, who recently signed with Troy, ended his high school career with a second consecutive 1,000-yard receiving season, grabbing 62 catches for 1,025 yards and 14 touchdowns along with 334 yards and four touchdowns rushing. He also returned 15 kickoffs for 398 yards and two touchdowns and earned 44 tackles and three interceptions on defense.

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Grady, who is committed to Alabama, tallied 82 tackles, 27 tackles-for-loss, 11 sacks, 22 quarterback hurries and an interception return for a touchdown. Dunn paved the way for a CHHS offense that compiled over 4,000 yards, with 1,793 yards on the ground.

Dunn didn’t give up a single sack all season long and earned 52 pancake blocks, while Peerson converted 13-of-16 field goal attempts and 28-of-31 PATs.

Goshen was represented by senior running back Jamauri McClure and junior linebacker Landon Chandler, who both earned Second-Team All-State honors in Class 2A. McClure led the Goshen offense with 1,618 yards and 25 touchdowns as a senior, while Chandler led the Goshen defense with 133 tackles, 17 tackles-for-loss, five sacks, two forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries.

Zion Chapel quarterback Mason Stuart earned second-team All-State honors as an athlete and sophomore linebacker Brayden Benbow earned All-State honorable mention. Stuart and Benbow are the first Rebel players to earn All-State honors since 2016.

Stuart served as quarterback, defensive end, long snapper and place kicker for the Rebels in 2023. On offense he became the first Rebel to ever to pass for 1,000 yards and rush for 1,000 yards in the same season as he completed 64-of-121 passes for 1,160 yards and 10 touchdowns along with 187 carries for 1,293 yards and 15 touchdowns. On defense, he tallied 37 tackles, nine tackles-for-loss and two sacks.

Benbow was the leader of the Zion Chapel defense, netting 124 tackles, 12 tackles-for-loss and two sacks on the season.

Ariton is represented on the 2A All-State team by defensive back Ian Senn, who earned First-Team honors on defense, while offensive lineman Jamarion Govan and linebacker Trevor Johnston earned Second-Team honors, as well.

Govan allowed zero sacks as a senior and was Ariton’s leader on the offensive line. Johnston tallied 132 tackles, 17 tackles-for-loss, three sacks and an interception to lead the Purple Cat defense. Senn was Ariton’s “do everything” athlete, playing quarterback, receiver, running back and defensive back. He totaled 66 tackles, five tackles-for-loss, four interceptions and an interception return on defense.

Pike County was represented by junior athlete Nemo Williams, who earned Class 3A Honorable Mention. Williams rushed for 1,121 yards and 10 touchdowns on 131 carries in just seven games. On defense, he tallied 31 tackles, six tackles-for-loss and four sacks.