Garland anchors all-star outfit

from staff reports

   Ryan Garland was the words of a Soul Asylum song come to life during the 2001 middle school football season. Garland proved to be a "Runaway Train" for the Junior Warriors.
   Nicknamed "G-Train," Garland led Happy Valley to a nine-win season and Little Watauga Conference championship. For his efforts, he picks up MVP honors on the annual All-Carter/Johnson County football team.
   Helping Garland lead the way are T.A. Dugger's Aaron Bray, voted Offensive Player of the Year; and Warrior linebacker Will Lowe, selected as Defensive Player of the Year.
   Brian Culbert, whose Junior Cyclones captured the Middle Seven Conference crown, and Happy Valley's Alex Payne share Coach of the Year honors for this season.
   A 1,000-yard rusher, Garland had a hand in 26 touchdowns this season, scoring on runs, receptions and interception and punt returns. He included three passing TDs in that impressive output.
   Bray, meanwhile, emerged as the Junior Cyclones' top offensive threat, and was at his best in the big games. He ran for over 700 yards over a seven-game schedule, and his three-touchdown performance in the season finale at Science Hill lifted TAD to the league title.
   As for Lowe, the steel blanket in the middle of the Warrior defense, he capped off a brilliant career by getting the job done in all phases of his linebacking duties.
   Culbert and Payne continued their roles as successful middle school coaches as their respective teams lost just one game each.
   The rest of the all-star squad begins with two players who helped take Johnson County to the Little Watauga championship contest: quarterback Jeff Brinker and running back Nathan Paisley.
   Hampton running back Jonathan Potter and Cloudland fullback Jon Harrison, a pair of powerful runners, round out the backfield.
   An impressive offensive line features David Lyons and Adam Grindstaff of TAD, Hampton's Lynn Potter and Donnie Davis, and Vince Hodge of Happy Valley.
   Happy Valley's Chris Rutledge and TAD's Ryan Kennedy, two deluxe playmakers, fill the receiver slots. The tight-end position is held down by Unaka's Adam Buckles, a dependable player.
   Hampton quarterback Brandon Barnett, a solid rusher and passer, earns the all-purpose spot while Unaka's Noah Cole, who ripped off three 100-yard rushing games, is the "athlete" on this unit.
   Defensively, Daniel Guinn, HV; Logan Hyatt, TAD; Ernie Hodge, Johnson County; and Chris Bennett, HV; fortify the defensive line positions. At linebackers are Cloudland's Bryan Simmons, Hampton's Johnny Price and Johnson County's Thomas Moore, making for a tough threesome.
   The secondary finds a top-notch group that includes Jordan Honeycutt of Hampton, the Junior Cyclones' Curtis McKeehan, Unaka's Kyle Wilson and Todd Caldwell of Happy Valley.
   "Athlete" honors go to Caleb Trivett, who brought a physical presence to the TAD defense.