Cyclone star Nave corrals MVP honors


photo John Bryant
Derek Nave makes one of his 200 solo tackles of the season

  Derek Nave. He could practically do no wrong for the Elizabethton Cyclones during their march to the Class 4A state quarterfinals.
  For his efforts, the senior gets an emphatic nod as Most Valuable Player on this year's All-Carter/Johnson County football team.
  Nave amassed an astounding 160 solo tackles from his linebacker position, harvesting plenty of assists along the way.
  At tight end, he racked up 15 receptions for 212 yards and a trio of touchdowns. He is being recruited by several colleges, and has spoken with Vanderbilt.
  Other top honorees include Unaka junior Charles Lee Guinn (Offensive Player of the Year), Elizabethton junior Charles Peters (Defensive Player of the Year), Johnson County senior Jon Stout (Lineman of the Year) and Hampton sophomore Adam Townsend (Underclassman of the Year).


Charles Lee Guinn


Charles Peters


Jon Stout


Adam Townsend


Gary Keith


Eddie Pless

  Cloudland's Gary Keith and Elizabethton's Eddie Pless share Coach of the Year accolades.
  Ranger tailback Guinn, last season's Underclassman of the Year, picked up 1,619 yards on the ground -- the second-highest single-season total in the school's history, behind Kim Richardson's 1,800 -- and had 15 touchdowns along the way.
  With 3,074 rushing yards in his career, Guinn now stands 734 yards from surpassing Richardson (3,807) as Unaka's all-time leading rusher.
  With 132 solo stops and three interceptions to his credit, Peters, a cornerback, allowed only two passes to be completed directly in front of him the entire season. Teams sent fewer passes his way as the Cyclone schedule wore down.
  Stout proved to be a force at tackle for the Longhorns, and the Johnson County ground game prospered as a result.
  Towsend, a defensive back, was Hampton's second leading tackler with 82 stops. He added a pair of fumble recoveries and notched a quarterback sack.
  Keith, in his first season at the Cloudland helm, took the Highlanders out of a 1-4 hole and led them on a five-game winning streak and the Mountain East Conference championship -- despite the fact the team returned only two full-time starters from a year ago.
  Pless, also a first-year coach, saw his Cyclones get off to a 2-3 start. However, he turned the ship around, guiding 'Betsy to an 8-4 finish and its fourth quarterfinal appearance in the modern-era playoff system.
  After leading his team to a school record-tying nine victories for a single season, and its first-ever home playoff game, Unaka's Mike Ensor gets an honorable mention for the top coaching honor.
  On offense, a pair of juniors occupy the quarterback slots. Weston Jeffers passed for 1,904 yards and 13 touchdowns for Elizabethton while Todd Caldwell totaled 1,154 yards and nine scores through the air.
  The tailback department starts with Johnson County junior T.R. Smith, who 962 yards and nine touchdowns before going down with an ACL injury in the sixth game of the season. 'Betsy's James Peterson, with 821 yards and three TDs on the ground, and Happy Valley's Michael Hollifield, who rushed for 727 yards and 10 TDs, complete the unit.
  At fullback, Hampton junior Jonathan Potter cranked out tailback-like production, rambling for 710 yards and seven scores. He is joined on the squad by Elizabethton senior Steven Bowers, who generated close to 500 yards from scrimmage, caught 19 passes and scored six touchdowns.
  A sturdy line features a pair of Cyclones in junior Logan Hyatt and junior Matt Fox, Happy Valley senior Jordy Harrison, Hampton senior Seth Clawson and Cloudland senior Jimmy Johnson.
  The tight ends are Johnson County senior Mitchell Harper and Hampton junior Brandon Barnett, both good blockers. They also showed they can make the tough catch.
  Elizabethton junior Ryan Kennedy paces the wide receivers after a 39-reception, 744-yard season that included four touchdowns. Unaka senior Daniel McInturff hauled in eight scores among his 22 receptions, which resulted in 500 yards. Warrior junior Greg Swafford totaled 28 grabs for 395 yards and a TD while EHS senior Nathan Bishop finished with 22 receptions for 308 and a score.
  All-purpose selections go to Hampton senior Cody Walsh and Cloudland junior Jonah Horney. Walsh racked up 1,406 yards (797 rushing, 357 in returns, 131 passing, 121 receiving), booted 11 extra points, ran for six TDs, scored on a reception and a kick return and passed for a touchdown. As for Horney, he ran for 726 yards and nine TDs, had 62 yards in receiving and even played some offensive line.
  Cyclone senior Brian Freeman, after nailing 25 extra points and 10 field goals (his long 47 yards), and Happy Valley senior Casey Shatley, 26 PATs and 1 FG, were easy choices for the place-kicking department.
  Cloudland senior Ron Hendry and Unaka sophomore Brandon Medina got the necessary votes as kick/punt returners, an area where each accounted for a touchdown.
  Defensively, Hampton's Lucas Roark (78 tackles, 4 fumble recoveries, 4 sacks), Elizabethton's Justin Conner and Unaka's John Zimmerman -- all juniors -- gain All-Carter/Johnson honors as ends.
  The tackles see Unaka senior Brent Huskins, Happy Valley senior Cane Cannon and Warrior junior Daniel Guinn playing their way onto the team.
  The linebackers are Happy Valley's gap-filling junior Will Lowe, Hampton junior Martin Winters (105 tackles), Cloudland senior Jon Pritchard (96 tackles) and Unaka senior Travis Pasquale, who topped the Rangers in total stops.
  Cloudland junior Jordan Buck heads the secondary following a year in which he made seven interceptions, 46 tackles and two sacks. Warrior junior Drew Davis enjoyed a good season with four interceptions. Elizabethton seniors Jake Berkley and Levi Hooten find themselves in the mix, as do a pair of Longhorns -- sophomore Cody Bryant and junior Ernie Hodge.
  Making the cut as punters are Happy Valley junior Ryan Garland (35.0 avg.) and Johnson County junior Bobby Mounts (32.6 avg.).
  Earning places at the table as athletes are Cloudland senior quarterback/defensive back Toby King and Unaka senior running back/linebacker Cody Hurley.