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50 named to Star's All-Area team

By By Marty Stamper/The Meridian Star
Dec. 31, 2001
Fifty area athletes have been selected to The Meridian Star's 2001 All-Area Football Team.
The team was chosen by East Mississippi Group regional sports director Austin Bishop and sports writer Marty Stamper. Among the resources used for selection were available all-state, all-region, and all-star teams, along with nominations from area schools. Schools that nominated athletes were: West Lauderdale, Clarkdale, Southeast Lauderdale, Lamar School, Meridian, Union, Newton County, Leake Academy, Lake, Quitman, and Enterprise.
Nine players were selected as offensive linemen.
Travis Cooley, a 6-foot-3, 230-pound senior, helped lead the way for the Wayne County War Eagles as they went 9-3 and made the Class 5A playoffs.
James Ozment, a 6-foot-5, 320-pound senior, paved the way for Sumter Academy to go 8-4 and make the Alabama Independent Schools Association playoffs. He was named the AISA AA Player of the Year.
Davis Carter, a 320-pound senior, cleared holes for the Louisville Wildcats as they went 8-5 and reached the third round of the Class 4A playoffs. He was voted co-MVP on the offensive line for Region 2-4A.
Reed Myers, a 6-foot-3, 315-pound junior, led Newton County's offense to a 12-1 year as the Cougars reached the third round of the Class 3A playoffs where they lost to eventual state champion Collins. Myers was also chosen the Best Offensive Lineman in Region 5-3A.
Michael Wright, a 6-foot-4, 225-pound senior, helped the Newton Tigers go 9-3 and reach the second round of the Class 2A playoffs.
Joe Conner, a 6-foot-3, 330-pound senior, was the hole maker for the Heidelberg Academy Rebels as they went 9-2 and reached the Academy A playoffs. He was a member of the All-MPSA first team and was co-Most Valuable Lineman of the Academy 3-A league. Conner played in the MPSA All-Star Game.
Brennan Vaughn, a 270-pound junior, was the top lineman for the Meridian Wildcats in a 3-8 year.
Sylva-Bay Academy's Buddy Welborn, a 6-foot, 230-pound senior, helped the Saints to a 7-3 year. He was co-Most Valuable Lineman of Academy 3-A and played in the MPSA All-Star Game.
Completing the offensive line is Noxubee County's Marco Roby, who helped the Tigers go 10-2 and reach the Class 4A playoffs for the second year in a row.
At quarterback are Noxubee County's Omar Conner, Philadelphia's Tyler Threadgill, and Southeast Lauderdale's Ben Reed.
Conner, a 6-foot-1, 195-pound junior, ran 113 times for 1,012 yards and 17 touchdowns. He completed 87-of-156 passes for 1,549 yards and 16 touchdowns. Conner was voted MVP of Region 2-4A.
Threadgill, a 5-foot-11, 165-pound junior, rushed 106 times for 807 yards and seven touchdowns. He completed 29-of-71 passes for 538 yards and four touchdowns. Threadgill also averaged 37.6 yards punting and kicked three field goals as the Tornadoes went 7-5 and reached the second round of the Class 3A state playoffs where they lost to Collins. He also averaged 33.1 yards on eight kickoff returns and 31.3 yards on six punt returns.
Reed, a 5-foot-10, 172-pound senior, completed 94-of-205 passes for 1,414 yards in nine games for Southeast. He had 13 touchdown passes and ran 101 times for 324 yards.
Five running backs were selected.
West Lauderdale's Carlessio Blanks was second in the state in Class 3A rushing yardage as he gained 2,090 yards on 269 carries. Blanks, a 5-foot-8, 185-pound junior, scored 26 touchdowns as the Knights went 7-5 and reached the second round of the 3A playoffs. Blanks was also named Most Valuable Player for Region 5-3A.
Philadelphia's Kenshay Hunter, a 5-foot-10, 160-pound senior, rushed for 1,230 yards on 125 carries and scored 13 touchdowns.
Newton County's Darryl Mapp, a 5-foot-8, 165-pound junior, ran for 1,603 yards on 261 carries. He scored 28 touchdowns.
Hunter and Mapp were named the co-Best Offensive Backs for Region 5-3A.
Cardae Campbell, a 170-pound sophomore, was the top cog in Meridian's offense this fall.
Kelly Jimmerson, a 6-foot-1, 190-pound junior, gained 1,075 yards on 206 carries for the Enterprise Bulldogs as they went 6-5 and made the Class 2A playoffs. He scored 16 touchdowns.
Five players were selected as offensive ends. Newton's Bobby Lindsey, a 6-foot-4, 180-pound senior, caught 40 passes for 621 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Union's Derrick Harris, a 6-foot-1, 180-pound junior, caught 22 passes for 410 yards and five touchdowns as the Yellowjackets went 6-6 and made the Class 1A playoffs for the first time in school history. Defensively, Harris had 83 tackles and four interceptions.
Zach Moore, a 6-foot-2, 205-pound senior, caught 48 passes for 766 yards and six touchdowns to lead Lamar School to a 3-9 year and a berth in the Academy AAA playoffs. He played in the MPSA All-Star Game.
Travis Reed, a 6-foot, 166-pound senior, had 25 receptions for 387 yards and four touchdowns for Southeast Lauderdale. He also ran 103 times for 348 yards and five touchdowns.
Winston Academy's Lenny Boatner, a 5-foot-10, 160-pound junior, ran the ball 113 times for 838 yards and nine touchdowns from his slot position as the Patriots went 9-3 and reached the Academy AA state playoffs.
Chosen as the extra point kicker is Neshoba Central's Scott Shurden. The 5-foot-8 senior was a perfect 16-of-16 in that department. Despite a 2-of-10 showing in the field goal department this fall, the transfer from Noxapater made 37 of 67 field goals for his career and has accounted for 266 career points. He also averaged 38.3 yards on 43 punts in 2001.
Selected as the field goal kicker is Newton County's David McConnell. The 6-foot-2, 180-pound senior was 9-of-17 with accurate kicks of 52 (at West Lauderdale in the playoffs) and 53 (against Morton) yards. He was 45-of-51 in PATs and averaged 38.4 yards punting.