Suffolk totals nine for VHSL all-state

Published 10:39 pm Friday, January 19, 2018

Suffolk players received a wealth of accolades at the state level after a strong year for football in the city.

All-state honorees were finally released this week, and Suffolk totaled nine players on the Virginia High School League all-state teams. Nansemond River High School led the way with six selections. Each school had at least one selection.

Nansemond River went the furthest as a team of any school in Suffolk this past season. They made it all the way to the Class 5 state semifinal game, which was a first.

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The Warriors lost to the eventual state champions, but their historic run still led to many Warriors selected to the Class 5 all-state teams. They placed three on the first team — Gerard Stringer, Evan Lomax and Rashaad Williams — and three on the second team — Quijon Gordon, Kevin Johnson and Joeziah Autrey.

King’s Fork had a season to remember becoming the Southeastern District champions. They had the district’s Offensive Player of the Year and Coach of the Year honorees. They had two all-state selections at the Class 4 level, with Darran Butts being a first-team running back and Chris Shearin a second-team defensive back.

DeAndre Faulk was a repeat selection for Lakeland High School. He made second-team linebacker at the Class 3 level his junior and senior seasons.

This year’s honorees total the most all-state selections Suffolk has received as a whole in one season. Local players said it means talent is developing and Suffolk football may be close to finally getting the respect it deserves. Numerous athletes feel that they proved a lot of doubters wrong this season.

“We get slept on a lot,” first-team all-state linebacker Gerard Stringer said. “Having nine players out of the city of Suffolk make all-state says a lot.”

“It says a lot about the talent in the city,” Lakeland High School’s DeAndre Faulk said. “A lot of people think Suffolk doesn’t have ball players that can live up to standards like other cities. Suffolk always gets overlooked in football.”

However, 2017 may be the last year that Suffolk football as a whole gets overlooked. Athletes who may have been in serious consideration this year may get the nod next year, and many of those who made it this year have the chance to repeat. Of the six Nansemond River placed, four will be returning next season.

Of the nine total selected for all-state, four will go on to play NCAA Division-I football. Butts, Faulk and Lomax will all attend Hampton University, while Stringer attends East Carolina University. Many more have picked up interest from other colleges.