Suffolk places top SED players

Published 7:44 pm Saturday, November 24, 2012

King’s Fork senior defensive back/running back Charles Clark (5) was named the Southeastern District’s Defensive Player of the Year after compiling 57 total tackles, returning three out of four interceptions for touchdowns, and forcing one fumble.

Bulldogs’ Jones named Coach of the Year

Suffolk schools were well represented this year among the All-Southeastern District football selections.

The city schools’ representatives were led by King’s Fork football coach Joe Jones, who was named Division 5 Coach of the Year, and by Bulldogs senior defensive back Charles Clark, who was the Defensive Player of the Year.

The King’s Fork Bulldogs had the best season in school history this year, going 7-4 and making the playoffs for the first time to earn the honors from coaches around the district.

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“I think that was a tribute to our coaching staff, especially,” Jones said of his honor. “We all get along good and work well together. We started coaching the way we do three seasons ago, splitting it up offensively and defensively, instead of just varsity and (junior varsity), and I think that’s really starting to pay off for us now, because our JV kids are now — (from) three years ago — our varsity guys, and they’re used to us coaching them.”

King’s Fork head football coach Joe Jones was named the Southeastern District’s Division 5 Coach of the Year after leading the Bulldogs to a 7-4 overall record, a 6-4 district record and the first playoff berth in school history.

Clark was grateful to be recognized for the hard work and dedication that went into making this season possible.

“It’s a blessing and it’s an honor, because all our coaches have respect for you like that, and they acknowledge something that you work so hard for,” he said. “Then, basically, it kind of shows that your hard work is kind of being recognized and not going unnoticed.”

Clark was named to the defensive all-district first team at both defensive back and punt returner. At defensive back, he had 57 total tackles, four interceptions, including three for touchdowns, and one forced fumble. As a punt returner, he had six returns for 188 yards and one touchdown.

His teammate, senior wide receiver/defensive back Davon Grayson, received first-team honors for both his positions. For Grayson, this year was the culmination of a triumphant journey back from an injury-riddled high school career.

“Not taking shots at any one of the other (players), it means a lot more to me than it does to a lot of other people, because I know how hard I had to work to get here, being that I missed the whole junior year and I missed parts of my sophomore year,” he said. “So it’s kind of like this offseason I had to work my butt off, and I came out of nowhere.”

Grayson broke the school record for catches in a season with 39 for 535 yards and seven touchdowns. On defense, he had 29 tackles, three interceptions, and one forced fumble.

Jones heaped praise upon Clark and Grayson for their quality of character on and off the field.

“I can say he and Davon both, they’re the two best all-around football players I’ve ever coached, and I’ve coached some talented football players over the years,” he said. “But as far as guys that have it all together, they’re skilled athletically, they’re both honor students, they’re both a big part of the (Fellowship of Christian Athletes), they’re big-character kids, and that leads to why they’re going to where they’re going.”

Clark has committed to play for Virginia Tech and Grayson for East Carolina University.

Also on the first team for King’s Fork was senior offensive guard Alex Holloway and senior linebacker T.C. Livingston.

For Lakeland, senior wide receiver/defensive back Antonio Jefferson made first team all-district for both positions, as well.

Cavaliers head coach Glenwood Ferebee said that because of injuries in the offensive line, senior running back Raekwon Johnson had limited opportunities to find running lanes, and so Jefferson shouldered much of the offensive burden.

“He was our go-to guy,” he said.

During the regular season, Jefferson had 48 receptions for 712 yards and scored 14 touchdowns. Defensively, he had 75 total tackles and eight interceptions.

“I felt like I deserved it, because I worked hard on both ends,” Jefferson said.

Hard work beginning at the end of his junior season was key.

“As soon as the season ended last year, I was back in the weight room, working hard, doing football drills, until it was time for the next season,” he said.

Senior linebacker Chris Rodgers also made first team all-district for Lakeland.

For Nansemond River, head coach Tracey Parker Sr. was a proud father as his son, Tracey Parker Jr. was named first team all-district for both offense and defense as a lineman.

“I feel like he had a really good season,” Parker Sr. said. “It’s a testament to what the other coaches thought about him, because we don’t actually get to vote for our own player. It seems like all the hard work is kind of paying off for him.”

“I thought I would get one of them, just because of what I had done during the season,” Parker Jr. said. “But I was really surprised when I figured I had got both first team, because it really felt good to know that other coaches in this district really think that highly of me.”

On defense, Parker Jr. had 62 tackles and six sacks. Though statistics are hard to place for an offensive lineman, the excellent year that junior running back Latrell “Vegas” Sandifer had is a testament to what Parker was able to help the team accomplish.

Parker was joined on the offensive all-district first team by center Parker Bowden.