For the second consecutive season, the last two teams standing in Class 4A in the southern half of the state were East Central and Poplarville.
For their accomplishments, the two programs will split the Sun Herald’s top individual honors for 2018.
Poplarville head coach Jay Beech is the Coach of the Year for the second time in three seasons and East Central senior linebacker Avery White gives his program the Player of the Year honor in consecutive seasons. East Central running back Tony Brown won the honor for the Hornets from Hurley a year ago.
Coach of the Year
About Beech: For the second time in three years, Jay Beech led the Poplarville football program to the Class 4A South State championship. The Hornets are 55-12 since he took over the program prior to the 2014 campaign. Poplarville beat East Central 33-17 in the South State title game and fell 25-20 to Louisville in the state championship contest.
20-18 record: 13-2.
Quotable: “(Beech) is just one of those guys that shows up for work every day. He gives you everything he’s got. It’s not very hard to play hard for him.” — Poplarville senior wingback Tyson Holston.
Fan Vote Winner
About Archie: The first-year head coach led the Admirals a 10-2 record and a Region 4-6A regular season championship. He previously served as the defensive coordinator at Germantown and had a prior stint on the Gulfport staff.
Player of the Year
About White: The senior linebacker had back-to-back outstanding seasons to close out his career at East Central. The speedy Southern Miss commit is listed at 6-foot-4, 195 pounds and will participate in the Mississippi-Alabama Football All-Star Game. He was named the Class 4A Defensive Player of the Year for 2018.
2018 stats: He registered 167 tackles as a senior after putting together a 202-tackle season as a junior. He also had 33 tackles for negative yardage this year, 11 sacks and a kick return for a touchdown.
Quotable: “(Former Mississippi State linebacker) Richie Brown is probably the best linebacker I’ve seen in 15 years of coaching and Avery is the closest to him I’ve seen, and that’s because of his speed.” — East Central coach Seth Smith said.
Fan Vote Winner
About Ramsey: The 6-foot-2, 330-pound senior offensive lineman earned Class 6A First-Team All-State honors. He verbally committed to Ole Miss in March and is set to take part in the Mississippi-Alabama All-Star Football game.
Here’s the rest of the Sun Herald All-South Mississippi Team for 2018:
QB — T.Q. Newsome, Gulfport — Class 6A Second-Team All-State and a Southern Miss commit. Senior threw for 1,923 yards, 19 TD and three interceptions; ran for 921 yards and 14 TD.
QB — Cade Crosby, Long Beach — Holds a Tennessee-Martin offer and is drawing Division I interest in baseball as well. Junior threw for 2,167 yards, 23 TD and seven interceptions.
RB — Ham McGee, St. Martin — Mississippi-Alabama All-Star Game invitee who received Southern Miss and Indiana State offers. Senior rushed for 1,185 yards and 11 TD.
RB — Jortin Raine, Picayune — Class 5A First-Team All-State. Senior led the state in rushing with 361 carries for 2,898 yards and 18 TD.
RB — Micah Kelly, Ocean Springs — Class 6A First-Team All-State and holds an Indiana State offer. Senior ran 263 times for 1,560 yards, 16 TD.
RB — Chase Shears, Poplarville — Junior helped spark Poplarville to a Class 4A South State title, running 75 times for 1,316 yards and 19 TD.
OL — Bryce Ramsey, Harrison Central — Class 6A First-Team All-State, Mississippi-Alabama All-Star Game invitee and an Ole Miss commit.
OL — Louis Paul Smith, D’Iberville — Class 6A First-Team All-State and a Southern Miss commit.
OL — Brandon Cunningham, St. Martin — Class 6A Second-Team All-State and a Mississippi State commit.
OL — Deonta Reed, Picayune — Junior who earned Class 5A First-Team All-State.
OL — Zach Overstreet, Vancleave — Senior who earned Class 4A First-Team All-State.
WR — Khalil Levy, Ocean Springs — Class 6A First-Team All-State. Senior caught 48 passes for 875 yards and 10 TD.
WR — Brandon Smith, Harrison Central — Class 6A Second-Team All-State. Senior caught 35 passes for 544 yards and eight TD.
WR — Tommie Johnson, Gulfport — Key part of a talented Gulfport receiving corps. Junior caught 37 passes for 626 yards and six TD.
Athlete — Jaden Walley, D’Iberville — Junior holds Southern Miss and Alcorn State offers. He rushed for 1,214 yards and 16 TD while throwing for 660 yards, 10 TD and one interception.
Athlete — Dayln Anderson, Harrison Central — Senior threw for 1,872 yards, 18 TD, 11 interceptions and ran for five TD.
DL — McKinnley Jackson, George County — Class 6A First-Team All-State, holds a long list of SEC offers. Junior made 91 tackles, 32 tackles for negative yardage and 11 1/2 sacks.
DL — Juvonta Raymond, Picayune — Class 5A Second-Team All-State. Senior had 82 tackles and six sacks.
DL — Keandre Booker, Moss Point — The Southeast Missouri State commit earned Class 4A First-Team All-State. Senior made 86 tackles, 12 sacks, 26 tackles for negative yardage, six blocked kicks and ran for six touchdowns on offense.
DL — Shaheim Carroll, Gautier — Senior is a Jones County Junior College commit who also received a Jackson State offer. He made 55 tackles and four sacks as a senior.
DE/LB — Lee Negrotto, St. Stanislaus — Junior made 88 tackles and five sacks.
LB — Ross Barnett, Poplarville — Class 4A Second-Team All-State. Senior made 165 tackles and 21 for negative yardage.
LB — Derick Hall, Gulfport — Senior who holds several SEC offers. He made 83 tackles and four sacks this season.
LB — Trenton Ladner, Hancock — Class 6A First-Team All-State. The senior had 129 tackles.
DB/LB — Dylan Lawrence, George County — Senior made 61 tackles while splitting time at linebacker and defensive back. He holds several junior college offers and is drawing Division I interest.
DB — Isaac Gowdy, Ocean Springs — Class 6A Second-Team All-State. Junior had seven interceptions.
DB — Trenton Baldock, East Central — Class 4A Second-Team All-State. Senior had four interceptions and 40 tackles.
DB — Jordan Montgomery, Biloxi — Senior defensive back had 77 tackles and one interception. He holds offers from multiple junior college offers and is drawing Division I interest.
DB — Jammy Boulton, Stone High — Senior safety who had 90 tackles, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries
K/P — Branson Davis, East Central — Class 4A First-Team All-State. Senior Pearl River CC commit hit 4-of-6 field goals, 55-of-57 extra points and 48 of 59 kickoffs were touchbacks.
Kick returner — Kameron Kincaid, Gautier — Class 5A Second-Team All-State. Senior had three kickoff returns for touchdowns, 1,435 all-purpose yards.
Punt returner — Elijah Washington, St. Martin — Senior had four touchdowns on returns — one on a punt return and three on kickoff returns. He had 1,346 all-purpose yards.