Regional honors for local gridiron stars

Published 9:31 pm Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Suffolk football received Group 4A South all-region recognition this year with one player on the first team, three on the second team and four being given honorable mention.

All three public schools contributed to the group of honorees. None of the schools had a presence on the voting committee since it only included higher ranked schools, but coaches from opposing teams in the area remembered Suffolk.

King’s Fork High School senior Austin Wall was named to the first team as a kicker.

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“Austin did a good job kicking for us this year and, of course, probably had the biggest kick in school history in the Phoebus game,” Bulldogs head coach Joe Jones said.

Wall nailed a 42-yard field goal as time expired to defeat the No. 1 Phoebus High School Phantoms on their home field in the regional playoffs. He did this moments after drilling a 37-yarder that was called back due to a false start.

For the season, he ended up 4-for-7 on field goals and 41-for-44 on extra points.

Wall also received honorable mention as a punter.

“We didn’t expect him to be the punter, but it was a nice surprise,” Jones said, as Wall averaged about 31.5 yards per punt. “He got us out of some tough situations,” and also helped saddle opposing teams with poor field position.

In a talented regional field of running backs, sophomore Deshaun Wethington was named to the second team. This year, he ran for 1,977 yards and 20 touchdowns, averaging nine yards per attempt.

“I think it’s pretty phenomenal for a running back to average nine yards a carry over 13 games,” Jones said. “He did a great job back there, and he’s a tough runner, and I’ve said before — great vision. He can find the opening, and he’s quick and fast enough to hit it and make people miss, and I’m looking forward to him the next two years.”

Senior Uriah Adams made the second team as an all-purpose offensive player.

“We kind of put him in there as all-purpose because even though he was our quarterback, he was a running back too,” Jones said.

Adams accounted for more than 1,100 yards of offense, along with eight touchdown passes and 10 rushing touchdowns.

Senior Marquell Hart received honorable mention for his defensive line play.

“He did a great job for us on both sides of the ball,” Jones said.

Junior TyQuan Weston received honorable mention as a defensive back. Jones said Weston “had six interceptions and really stepped it up this year.”

Despite Lakeland High School not advancing to the post-season, linebacker Jaquan Yulee made the all-region second team.

“Not really surprised, but I was very pleased with the fact that he did get the recognition,” Cavaliers head coach Bryan Potts said.

Though limited part of the year by a high ankle sprain, he had 70 tackles — 55 of them solo — three sacks and one fumble recovery in 10 games.

Receiving honorable mention for Nansemond River High School were senior running back Latrell Sandifer and senior linebacker Marvin Branch.

“I’m really happy for them,” said their head coach, Tracey Parker, who said they had good years and “were rewarded accordingly.”

In 11 games, Sandifer rushed for 1,377 yards and Branch recorded 92 tackles, 12 for a loss, eight sacks, four pass break-ups and two forced fumbles.