Selecting The News Tribune’s All-Area football team is always difficult. There are so many worthy candidates for a limited number of spots. For instance, there were seven running backs in our coverage area that rushed for more than 1,700 yards and we’ve got three running back slots to fill.
For the record, eligible players come from the Narrows League, SPSL North, SPSL South, SPSL 3A, WCC, Nisqually League and Evergreen Conference.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
ANTHONY MERAY, Bethel
Running Back/Defensive Back, 5-9, 185, Senior
Bio: When defenses faced Bethel, stopping Meray was priority No. 1. No team ever fully completed that task. Meray rushed for at least 126 yards in every game and topped 200 yards in four contests, finishing with 2,003 yards on 286 carries. Meray set the SPSL single-season record for all-purpose yards with 2,741 and finished with 29 total touchdowns.
COACH OF THE YEAR
RANDY DAVIS, Cascade Christian
Bio: When the season began, Davis, a Wilson High School graduate, had four starters back from the team that reached the Class 1A state finals in 2008. Cascade Christian didn’t miss a beat in 2009, rolling through the Nisqually League 1A/2B for its third consecutive league title. The Cougars toppled top-ranked Montesano in the quarterfinals to earn a return trip to the semifinals.
Click below for the full team.
GORDY ANDERSON, South Kitsap
Quarterback, 6-3, 205, Senior
Bio: The Narrows League’s first-team quarterback, Anderson set single-season records at South Kitsap for passing yards (1,859) and passing touchdowns (22), and the single-game mark for passing yards when he threw for 360 in a 38-21 win over Heritage in the preliminary round of the postseason. Anderson helped the Narrows League champion Wolves to an undefeated regular season.
JORDAN PINE, Olympia
Running Back, 5-10, 185, Senior
Bio: The Narrows League’s Offensive MVP rushing for 1,700 yards and 23 touchdowns. Pine was the focal point of the Bears’ offense, but couldn’t be stopped even when defenses keyed on him. He erupted for 265 rushing yards and five touchdowns in a 40-20 win at Lincoln this season.
WILLIS WILSON, Lakes
Running Back, 5-9, 192, Senior
Bio: The Lancers have run for more than 3,600 yards this season and Wilson was the team’s leading rusher with 1,398 yards – he averaged 10 yards per carry – and a single-season school record 22 rushing touchdowns. The SPSL 3A’s Offensive Back of the Year has received offers from Hawaii, Idaho State and Washington State.
CODY PETERSON, Black Hills
Running Back, 6-3, 205, Senior
Bio: Peterson has been the engine that made the Wolves go the last two seasons. The two-time Evergreen Conference MVP rushed for 2,100 yards and 23 touchdowns this season, carrying Black Hills to the first round of the Class 2A state playoffs. He plans to play for the U.S. Naval Academy.
RAHMEL DOCKERY, Curtis
Receiver, 5-10, 160, Junior
Bio: Perhaps no player in the state had a break-out season as big as Dockery’s. In first season as a starter, the elusive and athletic junior piled up eye-popping receiving numbers in Curtis’ run-oriented offense, totaling 36 catches for 1,077 yards and 14 touchdowns, and tacked on four rushing touchdowns. Dockery was feared on punt returns and kickoffs, returning a combined five for touchdowns. He finished with more than 2,300 all-purpose yards and 23 total touchdowns.
LEON LA DEAUX, South Kitsap
Wide Receiver, 6-3, 185, Senior
Bio: The Narrows League MVP helped South Kitsap to an undefeated regular season and league title. He set single-season school records for receptions (46) and touchdown catches (12) and also set South Kitsap career records for catches, yards and touchdowns and finished the season with 792 receiving yards. A dangerous kick returner, La Deaux returned a kick 93 yards for a touchdown against Skyline in the Class 4A state playoffs.
AUSTIN SEFERIAN-JENKINS, Gig Harbor
Tight End, 6-7, 248, Junior
Bio: Seferian-Jenkins showed this season why he’s one of the most coveted recruits in the nation. He set single-season school records for receptions (60), receiving yards (1,050) and touchdowns (10). The first-team all-Narrows League selection has scholarship offers from at least 18 colleges, including Florida, Miami, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Washington and Washington State.
CHRIS EDISON, Curtis
Offensive Lineman, 6-1, 265, Senior
Bio: Edison has been the Vikings’ anchor in the trenches for the last two seasons. He’s a two-time SPSL South Lineman of the Year and helped Curtis win back-to-back SPSL South championships and reach the quarterfinals of the Class 4A state playoffs this season.
DANNY SHELTON, Auburn
Offensive Lineman, 6-3, 310, Junior
Bio: Shelton is a two-time all-area selection, and with good reason. An absolutely dominating two-way player, he won the SPSL North’s Lineman of the Year award and was a first-team pick on offense and defense. When Shelton missed two weeks this season because of an injury, he filled in as coach.
DREW SCHULTZ, Olympia
Offensive Lineman, 6-3, 240, Senior
Bio: This mammoth road-grader anchored the Bears’ offensive line and powerful rushing attack. Schultz was a first-team all-Narrows League selection and helped Olympia reach the postseason for the fifth consecutive season.
JOHN FULLINGTON, North Mason
Offensive Line, 6-6, 275, Senior
Bio: Fullington made the transition from being an all-league tight end to becoming an a first-team all-Nisqually Olympic League offensive lineman. Fullington, who has given an oral commitment to Washington State University, was also the league’s defensive MVP.
TRAVIS ERB, Yelm
Offensive Line, 6-3, 245, Senior
Bio: Erb was a first-team all-Olympic League selection as an offensive and defensive lineman. He also led the Tornados in tackles in for the second straight season. When Erb isn’t playing football, he’s competing in rodeos.
LOUIS DAVIS JR., Wilson
Athlete, 5-11, 210, Senior
Bio: Davis played a key role in the returning the Rams to the postseason for the first time since 2004. A rushing and receiving threat out of the backfield, he amassed more than 1,400 all-purpose yards and scored 14 touchdowns. He rushed for 322 yards in a playoff berth-clinching 35-27 win over Shelton.
TRENTON PINSON, Federal Way
Kick Returner, 5-11, 185, Senior
Bio: Always the fastest man on the football field – Pinson ran the 100-yard dash in 10.81 seconds at the Class 4A state track meet – he averaged 30.4 yards per kick return. A self-described “Army brat,” Pinson set the SPSL single-game record for touchdowns when he scored seven against Jefferson on Oct. 29. Eastern Washington University has offered him a scholarship.
BRANON BAILEY, Bethel
Kicker, 5-11, 187, Senior
Bio: Bailey set SPSL single-season records for most field goals (11) and points by a kicker (67). He made five field goals that were at least 35 yards or more, including a long kick of 42 yards. Bailey was a first-team all-SPSL South selection.
SCOTT CRICHTON, Foss
Defensive Lineman, 6-3, 225, Senior
Bio: The Falcons’ overpowering defensive end was named the Narrows League’s Defensive MVP. He recorded 78 solo tackles, tipped 10 passes, forced four fumbles and had one interception. Idaho, Oregon State and Washington State have offered scholarships.
DARIUS WATER, Lakes
Defensive End, 6-0, 220, Senior
Bio: Strong, fast and athletic, Waters was a force for Lakes from the edge, leading the team with 4 1/2 sacks. He was also a first-team all-SPSL 3A pick at tight end. Waters has given an oral commitment to play at the University of Washington.
HAPPY IONA, Bethel
Defensive Lineman, 6-3, 275, Senior
Bio: Despite missing half the season with an ankle injury, Iona finished the season with 10 tackles-for-loss. When healthy, he was one of the state’s most dominant interior defensive linemen. He has given an oral commitment to play at Oregon State University.
SIONE POTOA’E, Lakes
Defensive Lineman, 6-3, 265, Senior
Bio: The SPSL 3A’s Defensive Lineman of the Year and two-time All-Area selection is also one of the most coveted prospects on the West Coast. Potoa’e has given a “soft” oral commitment to play at the University of Washington, but he plans to visit other schools to be confident in his decision. Potoa’e will play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in January at San Antonio.
JAKE STEELHAMMER, W.F. West
Defensive Lineman, 6-3, 220, Senior
Bio: The Evergreen Conference’s two-time Defensive Player of the Year had another outstanding season. After missing the first four games with a back injury, he returned to lead the Bearcats to an undefeated regular season, Evergreen Conference title and the Class 2A state quarterfinals. A second-team All-Area pick last season, he finished with 36 solo tackles, 12 tackles-for-loss, six sacks and two fumble recoveries.
DYLAN ZYLSTRA, Kentrige
Linebacker, 6-5, 220, Senior
Bio: Zylstra was the heart of the SPSL’s stingiest defense. The SPSL North’s Defensive Back of the Year, he finished with 62 tackles, 13.5 tackles-for-loss and 5 1/2 sacks. He also tipped two passes and blocked four kicks.
DYLAN SWANSTROM, Timberline
Linebacker, 6-2, 225, Senior
Bio: The Olympic Western League’s Defensive MVP, Swanstrom led Timberline to an undefeated regular season and league championship. He finished the season with 125 tackles, nine tackles-for-loss and three sacks.
DARRIAN CREAMER, Peninsula
Linebacker, 6-1, 195, Senior
Bio: The two-time all-SPSL 3A first-team selection at linebacker possesses a blend of power and speed that allowed him to make plays all over the field. A two-way starter, Creamer was also a first-team all-league pick at running back. He has received recruiting interest from a few schools and plans to play football in college.
JAMAAL KEARSE, Lakes
Defensive Back, 6-3, 210, Senior
Bio: The hard-hitting Kearse made opposing receivers think twice about running routes across the middle of the field. He was a first-team all-SPSL 3A selection at wide receiver safety. Kearse has given an oral commitment to play at the University of Washington with older brother Jermaine.
JAMAL BYRD, Foss
Defensive Back, 5-11, 175, Senior
Bio: Byrd is a first-class ball hawk. He totaled 10 interceptions and returned two for touchdowns as a safety, earning first-team all-Narrows League honors. Byrd wasn’t afraid to get his nose dirty, finishing with 38 tackles, two tackles-for-loss and a fumble recovery.
BRETT MCDONALD, Central Kitsap
Defensive Back, 6-0, 184, Junior
Bio: McDonald terrorized Narrows League quarterbacks and receivers from his safety position. He made 81 tackles, picked off six passes and forced four fumbles. McDonald also recovered four fumbles and returned two for touchdowns, helping Central Kitsap reach the first round of the Class 4A state playoffs.
TRISTAN ASKEW, Kentwood
Defensive Back, 6-0, 170, Senior
Bio: A top-notch defensive back, Askew defended 11 passes and tallied two interceptions for the Conquerors. He was a first-team pick at defensive back in the SPSL North, totaling 52 tackles. Askew also was earned a second-team all-league selection at quarterback.
SEAN TOLLAN, Rogers
Punter, 6-2, 185, Senior
Bio: Tollan led the SPSL in punting with an average of 42.5 yards per punt and didn’t allow many returns, earning first-team all-SPSL South honors. He also was an honorable mention selection at wide receiver, totaling 20 receptions for 330 yards and two touchdowns.