Carter County players dominate Region 1-A awards

Published 8:48 am Tuesday, November 20, 2018

When it comes to postseason awards, it was a bountiful year for Carter County teams in Region 1-A.

Cloudland and Unaka had plenty of the names at the top of the list.

Highlanders senior running back Jordan Coffey ran his way to biggest award as the league chose him as Player of the Year.

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Coffey’s hard-nosed running allowed him to rush for well over 1,000 yards in 2018 while being a major producer for the Highlanders’ offense.

“He is a heck of a football player,” said Cloudland head coach Mike Lunsford. “You could have put him on a lot of the other football teams that we beat, and they would have beat us. That is just the truth.

“He runs as hard as any kid I have ever coached,” added Lunsford.

Also for Cloudland, Malachi Benfield was a Defensive Back of the Year along with Jellico’s Noah Smith, Dillon Johnson was a Defensive Lineman of the Year along with Jellico’s Zach Albertini, and Triston Lacy was a Special Teams Player of the Year alongside Jellico’s Noah Albertini.

“Dillion called every defense that we ran,” said Lunsford. “He made sure we were all lined up in the right place.

“Malachi is a super competitor and played hard,” continued Lunsford. “He always did what you asked to do and wasn’t selfish.

“The best thing I could say about Triston is that he was always a threat,” added Lunsford. “People were afraid to punt it to him and kick it to him. All that is great. But the night we played Happy Valley we had to have a 95-yard drive, and we ran behind Triston who was not known as a blocker. He blocked his butt off all night. That is probably the proudest night I have of Triston.”

For Unaka, senior quarterback John “Boy” Ramsey was selected as an Offensive Back of the Year with Hancock County’s Seth Hipshire. This season, Ramsey tossed for the Unaka single-season record of 2,182 yards. He recorded 21 touchdowns in 2018 with 11 passing TDs and 10 rushing TDs. Ramsey also set the school record for most career passing yards at 5,182 yards.

Cloudland’s Lunsford was also named the conference Coach of the Year.

All-District Team:

Cloudland: Josh Blair, Garrison Jullian, Jed Childress, KJ Arnold, Hunter Blair

Hancock County: Ethan Short, TJ Poore, Tyler Gibson, Jaydon Royston

Jellico: Keaten Jones, Joe Elliot

Unaka: Bryson Street, Devon Jarrett, Logan Benway

Honorable Mention:

Eli Presswood, Cloudland

Noah Stout, Cloudland

Hunter Shell, Cloudland

Conner Birchfield, Cloudland

Garrett Stiltner, Unaka

Daniel Shearl, Unaka

Nick Bowers, Unaka

Drew Stanley, Unaka