Radford and Blacksburg both had deep runs into this year’s state high school football playoffs and thus litter the 2018 all-county/all-city announced Thursday.
Matthew Saunders led one of the best one-year turnarounds in southwest Virginia, going from two wins in 2017 to 11 wins this year for Radford with only two losses. Meanwhile, in Blacksburg, Eddie Sloss inherited a team that had won the Class 3 title three years ago and fell in the regional championship in 2017 when the school moved up to Class 4.
In Sloss’ first year in charge of his alma mater, he took the Bruins to an undefeated regular season and a West Region championship before losing in last week’s state semis to Woodgrove. For their effort, both received all-county/all-city co-coach of the year honors.
The all-county/all-city player of the year is no stranger to Saunders as he helped the Bobcats put a lot of points on the board this season. P.J. Prioleau is only a sophomore, but he put up big numbers rushing for 1,179 yards on 168 carries with 15 touchdowns.
The offensive player of the year is Blacksburg’s Grant Johnston. The senior quarterback was 141 of 224 for 2,156 yards during the regular season with 28 touchdowns to lead southwest Virginia quarterbacks.
The defensive player of the year comes from Christiansburg where the season was tough with a young team that only produced two wins, but linebacker Matson Stanley tallied over a 100 solo tackles before the ninth game of the season. Thus, the junior Stanley claimed defensive player of the year honors.
Blacksburg placed 14 players on the list, while Radford claimed 11 spots. Christiansburg High School had six, while Auburn claimed three and Eastern Montgomery one honorees.
Individuals named to the all-county/all-city team:
Offensive linemen: Ben Cox, Radford; Xavier Wright, Christiansburg; Lucas Jacob, Blacksburg; Drew French, Auburn; Drew Hill, Auburn; Andrew Olverson, Radford.
Receivers: Trace Shepherd, Radford; Thomas Coffey, Blacksburg; Mohamed Karin, Blacksburg, Caleb Henley, Christiansburg.
Quarterback: Grant Johnston, Blacksburg.
Runningbacks: Brian Mitchell, Blacksburg; Devin Owen, Eastern Montgomery; P.J. Prioleau, Radford; Jacob Kelley, Auburn.
All-purpose/utility offense: Zane Rupe, Radford.
Kicker: Conner Lytton, Radford.
Kick returner: Tiquest Terry, Blacksburg.
Punt returner: Brian Mitchell, Blacksburg.
On the defensive side, the front line included: Xavier Wright, Christiansburg; Jacob Alley, Radford; Tim Sawyers, Blacksburg; Ben Cox, Radford; Donald Norris, Blacksburg.
The linebacker corps were: Justice Marshall, Radford; Cole Epperley, Blacksburg; Drew Hill, Auburn; Drew Babcock, Blacksburg; Matson Stanley, Christiansburg; Rally Williams, Christiansburg.
On the defensive back list were: Luke Goforth, Blacksburg; Jaylin Taylor, Radford; Trace Shepherd, Radford; Brian Mitchell, Blacksburg.
Punter: Luke Goforth, Blacksburg.
Defense all-purpose: MJ Hunter, Christiansburg.