COACH OF THE YEAR
After being picked fifth in a preseason Western Highlands Conference coaches poll, the Wolverines (9-4, 6-0) won their fifth conference championship since 2006 under Ollis. But it was the first during that time without a league loss. Polk County beat every WHC opponent by double-digits, including runner-up Owen (41-24 on Nov. 1 in Black Mountain). The Wolverines got off to a 0-3 start, which included losses to 2-A state champion Shelby and Mountain Athletic Conference champ Asheville High.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Brown was named the Mountain Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Year after passing for 2,908 yards and 31 touchdowns with seven interceptions. He also ran for 544 yards and six touchdowns to finish with 3,452 yards of total offense. Brown amassed the second-most career passing yards (7,779) in Western North Carolina history, which is the most ever by a Buncombe County quarterback. Brown led the Warriors (9-2) to a school-record start to a season with nine consecutive wins. Brown is the younger brother of 2010 Citizen-Times All-WNC Player of the Year Garrett Brown and holds scholarship offers from Mars Hill and UNC Pembroke.
Brown was named the Western North Carolina Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Year after passing for an area-best 3,068 yards and 36 touchdowns with five interceptions. In his first year as a full-time starter, Brown completed 69 percent of his 296 pass attempts and set school records for single-game offense (469 yards), passing touchdowns in a season (36) and single-game passing touchdowns (eight). His single-game mark for passing TDs is also a WNC record. Brown was responsible for 3,437 yards of total offense for the Black Bears (10-3), who enjoyed their first season with double-digit wins since 2010.
Gardner was named the Western Highlands Conference Player of the Year after rushing for a single-season school record 2,583 touchdowns and 31 touchdowns. He averaged 9.7 yards per carry and set a Western North Carolina record with 459 yards in a 36-27 win at Avery County on Sept. 27. Gardner’s offense helped Owen win its most games (nine) since 2006.
Hoffman was named the Western Highlands Conference Back of the Year after rushing for an area-best 2,750 yards and 29 touchdowns. Hoffman’s single-season yardage is a school record and he also finished with the most career yardage (5,324) and touchdowns (57) in Patriots history. Hoffman rushed for a school-record 344 yards in a 44-26 loss at Owen on Oct. 18.
Foster earned All-Western North Carolina Athletic Conference honors after making 61 receptions for 1,290 yards and 13 touchdowns. He was the first area receiver to surpass 1,000 yards this season and did so despite the fact that the Knights started at least three different quarterbacks due to injuries.
Jenkins earned All-Mountain Athletic Conference honors after making 62 receptions for 879 yards and 12 touchdowns. Jenkins’ number of receptions was the most by any player in the MAC.
Wike received All-Western North Carolina Athletic Conference honors after making 45 receptions for 1,054 yards and an area-best 17 touchdowns. Wike’s touchdown total is a single-season school record.
Murphy | Junior
Puccio earned All-Smoky Mountain Conference recognition after making 25 receptions for 503 yards and five touchdowns, including a 17-yard score in the NCHSAA 1-A championship game on Dec. 14. Puccio was also considered one of the best blockers for an offense that produced three 1,000-yard rushers (Kenton Braswell, Gaige Cox and Deion Johnson) and a 1,000-yard passer (Dalton Kent).
Burton earned All-Mountain Athletic Conference recognition and his blocking at center allowed the Rockets to average a school-record 40.9 points per game. Burton was a Shrine Bowl selection.
Dalton was named the Western North Carolina Athletic Conference Lineman of the Year after grading out at 90 percent with 46 pancake blocks. He also had 67 tackles (29 solo on defense). Dalton was a Shrine Bowl selection.
Marr missed five games this season due to injuries, but still did not give up a sack in two years as a varsity starter. Panthers coach Josh Brooks said that Marr was the most dominant run-blocker for a Western North Carolina Athletic Conference championship team that produced 2,894 rushing yards. Marr was part of wins over two conference champions – Roberson (Mountain Athletic 4-A) and Swain County (Smoky Mountain 1-A) – as well as NCHSAA 1-A champion Murphy.
Tochterman earned All-Mountain Athletic Conference after his blocking allowed the MAC 3-A runner-up Warriors to average 47.5 points per game.
Weeks was named the Smoky Mountain Conference Lineman of the Year after serving as a key blocker for an offense that put up 37.1 points a game and 6,039 total yards. He also made 77 tackles (10.5 for a loss).
Lanning earned All-Carolina Piedmont Football Conference and NCISAA 3-A all-state recognition after making 81 tackles in his first season for Christ School. He has scholarship offers from Albany and Youngstown State.
Leveritt earned All-Western North Carolina Athletic Conference honors after making 68 tackles and eight sacks. He forced a fumble and recovered one. Leveritt has a scholarship offer from East Tennessee State.
McMurray was named the Western Highlands Conference Defensive Player of the Year after making 59 tackles (15 for a loss), two sacks and a fumble recovery.
Towery earned All-Mountain Athletic Conference honors after making 59 tackles (10 for a loss) and two fumble recoveries. Towery also hauled in 30 receptions for 464 yards and four touchdowns as a tight end. Towery has a scholarship offer from Albany.
Bradley was named the Co-Mountain Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year after making a team-high 179 tackles (five for a loss) and two sacks. Bradley recovered four fumbles.
Green received All-Mountain Athletic Conference honors after making 152 tackles to go along with two sacks, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.
Young was named the Western North Carolina Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year after making a team-high 101.5 tackles to go along with 2.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. Young was also the leading rusher for the WNCAC champions with 275 carries for 1,788 yards and 28 touchdowns.
Braswell received All-Smoky Mountain Athletic Conference honors after making 47 tackles in an injury-riddled season for the NCHSAA 1-A champion Bulldogs. Braswell played the entire season with a torn labrum (in his left shoulder) and was hobbled by an ankle injury in November. He was named the most valuable player of the NCHSAA 1-A title game after making six tackles in a 35-34 win over Plymouth. Braswell also ran for a game-high 150 yards and two touchdowns.
Davis was named the Co-Mountain Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year after making 115 tackles (10 for a loss) and three sacks. Davis forced four fumbles and recovered two of them. He has committed to Charlotte.
Schlabach was named the Western Highlands Conference Offensive Player of the Year, but contributed plenty on defense with 73 tackles (three for a loss), an interception and a sack. He was also the team’s punter and averaged 30 yards a kick. The WHC champion Wolverines (9-4) only punted 16 times. On offense, Schlabach passed for 1,638 yards and 12 touchdowns, as well as rushing for 1,102 yards and 23 touchdowns.
Scott received All-Mountain Athletic Conference honors after tying a school record for single-season interceptions (seven) to go along with his 45 tackles.
Anderson earned All-Western North Carolina Athletic Conference honors after averaging 48.2 yards per punt. He was also a 1,000-yard receiver for the Black Bears with 62 receptions for 1,010 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Blakey earned All-Mountain Athletic Conference honors after breaking or tying 14 school kicking records. He made 72 of 74 extra-point attempts and nine field goals, including a season-best kick from 47 yards. Blakey’s 30-yard field goal in the third ovetime gave the Rockets a win at Statesville in the second round of the NCHSAA 3-AA playoffs.
Simpson earned All-Mountain Athletic Conference honors after averaging 24.1 yards on punt returns with two touchdowns and 23.6 yards on kickoff returns. His all-purpose yardage (1,817) was the second-highest total on the team and Simpson scored 28 touchdowns. He rushed for 1,167 yards and 21 touchdowns, while averaging 9.3 yards a carry. Simpson also made 22 receptions for 362 yards and five touchdowns. He made two interceptions on defense.
Levi Ledford, Reynolds senior
Spencer McCoy, Swain County junior
Bryce Myers, Tuscola junior
Jonathan Allen, Erwin senior
Anthony Carson, Polk County senior
Raymond Reid, Hendersonville senior
Zach Graham, Franklin senior
Zane Capozzi, Polk County senior
Hunter Haney, Tuscola senior
Cody Lamb, Pisgah senior
Peter Leota, Asheville sophomore
Michael Penland, Asheville senior
Reggie Pinner, Roberson senior
Quentin Carver, Owen senior
Patrick Gilliam, Roberson senior
Hayden Neadeau, Swain County senior
Dakota Wright, Erwin senior
Lucas Brovet, Hendersonville senior
Austin Satterfield, Murphy senior
Andrew Swicegood, Reynolds junior
Jalyn Folston, Asheville senior
Cruz Galaviz, Robbinsville junior
Trevor Johnson, Pisgah junior
Chavis Williams, Erwin junior
Stephen Bridges, Christ School senior
Foster Stroup, Murphy junior
Ellis Pace, Christ School senior
Cameron Ray, Jarques Smith, Fred Lindsey, Travis Lytle and Jose Daniels.Asheville:
Jay Evans and Naeem Swinton.Asheville School:
Jack Bonds.Christ School:
Josh Conard.East Henderson:
Shadow Christenson and Brandon Hughes.Enka:
Tyler Sullins, DeAngelo Collington, Aaron Marquez and Triston Jones.Erwin:
Trey Maslin, Ethan Price and Zane Fox.Franklin:
Cole Cleary, Raymond Reid, Cavon Scott and Sawyer Heery.Hendersonville:
Cole Cuthbertson, Daniel Nash and Dylan Hilemon.Madison:
Trey Anderson and Matt Robbins.McDowell:
Trevor Robinson, Jake Virnelson, Dalton Robinson, Colby Presnell, Jake McClellan and Drew Hoilman.Mountain Heritage:
Gaige Cox, Dalton Kent, Deion Johnson, Justin Martin, Erik Rollins and Malachi Beaver.Murphy:
Tucker Garren.North Henderson:
Zee Johnston, Taylor Earley, Grant Dickerson, Cade Fox, Mason Eades, Austin Bennett and Sam Drummond.Owen:
Jordan Smith and Tyrone Miller.Polk County:
Khiry Lytle, Caelan Rhinehardt-Walker, A.J. Logan, Jared Green, Andrew Long and C.J. Allen.Reynolds:
Skyler Matheson, Alex Wash, Coy Jordan and Brandon Lee.Robbinsville:
Raymius Smith, Blake Wright, Taylor Oros, Nelson Pinto, Jordan Cody and Kobe Toineeta.Swain County:
Woody Cornwell, Daniel Smathers and Brent Rathbone.Tuscola:
Alex Ball, Zack Boyd, Brian Albea, Casone Ward and Brendan Goings.West Henderson:
ABOUT THE ALL-WNC TEAMS
The Citizen-Times All-WNC teams are compiled by staff writer Andrew Pearson after nominations are requested from area coaches. Athletes who are not nominated are not eligible for the teams.