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Here’s a telling fact about small-school football, which, by necessity, is about as iron-man as it comes: Of the 14 names listed on the all-Mountain Empire District first-team defense, no fewer than 11 were also first- or second-team on offense.
That’s single-A ball, where few are expected to do much. Few did more than Galax’s Tyler Houk, the only player named first team at three different positions on the 2008 all-MED football team, voted on by the district’s coaches.
Galax had a total of four players named first-team all-district, as sophomore Terrance Mazon and juniors Tyler Newman and Devae Goins also picked up first-unit honors for the Maroon Tide.
Houk a 6-foot-1, 170-pounder, was a first-team pick at runningback, defensive back and kick returner. Bland County quarterback Josh Shrader was named the district’s offensive player of the year. Houk was also a quarterback by position, but his offensive numbers certainly warranted a slot on the first team after he led the Maroon Tide and the Twin Counties in both rushing and passing with a total of 1,787 yards. Houk finished the season 74-of-146 passing with six touchdowns and six interceptions for 806 yards. On the ground, he carried 152 times for 981 yards and eight scores, with a high of 266 yards and four touchdowns in a season-opening win over Northwood.
As a first-team defensive back, Houk had two interceptions and was the Maroon Tide’s leading tackler with 73 solo tackles and 29 assists.
In his free time, Houk returned a kick or two, totaling 624 yards and one touchdown, earning the district’s first-team award for that position as well.
Much of Houk’s ground yards came thanks to the efforts of Goins. A 6-4, 220-pound junior, Goins gave up the glamour of the wideout position for the benefit of his team, moving to offensive tackle, where he was a first-team choice in his first year at the position. Goins was also a second-team selection at defensive end.
Mazon, a 5-10, 160-pound sophomore, picked up first-team honors at wide receiver after leading the Twin Counties with 22 receptions and a team-high 203 yards.
Newman was a first-team choice at linebacker for Galax, as the 5-10, 170-pounder was second on the team with 51 unassisted tackles and 26 assists.
In earning offensive player of the year honors, Shrader led the Bears to a 9-1 regular season record and the team’s first outright MED championship, rushing 144 times for 840 yards and 20 touchdowns. Bland County filled a total of 10 first-team spots.
Fort Chiswell linebacker Hody Viars was the district’s defensive player of the year, finishing the season with 86 solo tackles and 40 assists.
Earning second-team status for the Maroon Tide were senior guard Jay Miles, freshman runningback Jordan Vaughn, sophomore wideout and defensive back Jerad Brown, junior placekicker Chris Whited and freshman defensive lineman Darius Brown.
Leading Grayson County were a trio of second-team picks, sophomore wide receiver Eric Harvey, junior linebacker Jason Thompson and junior defensive back Ryan Hernandez.
Making the honorable mention list were tight end Ethan Hash and offensive linemen Cody Underwood, Cody Lawson and Garrett Vaughn of Grayson County and Stuart Garland, Jacob Fisher, Brian Martin, Silverio Gonzales, Steven Murillo, Patrick Anderson and Tyler Ward of Galax.
All-Mountain Empire District
First team offense
Center – Anthony Chrisley (Fort Chiswell); guard – Josh Butler (Narrows), Ethan Jones (Bland County); tackle – Dakota McGinn (Fort Chiswell), Devae Goins (Galax); tight end – Nick Leighton (Bland County); quarterback – Josh Shrader (Bland County); runningback – Chris Rodriguez (Fort Chiswell), Tyler Houk (Galax), Korey Kennedy (Bland County); wide receiver – Bradley Robinson (Fort Chiswell), Terrance Mazon (Galax), Kris Kennedy (Bland County); kicker – Kyle Mabry (Fort Chiswell); kick returner – Tyler Houk (Galax).
First team defense
Defensive line – Dakota McGinn (Fort Chiswell), Josh Butler (Narrows), Ethan Jones (Bland County); defensive end – Kyle Kennedy (Bland County), Anthony Whisman (Fort Chiswell); linebacker – Hody Viars (Fort Chiswell), B.J. Gibson (Bland County), Tyler Newman (Galax), Jon Martin (Narrows); defensive back – Tyler Houk (Galax), Bradley Robinson (Fort Chiswell), Corey Lowe (Narrows); punter – Nick Leighton (Bland County).
Offensive player of the year
Josh Shrader, Bland County
Defensive player of the year
Hody Viars, Fort Chiswell
Second team offense
Center – Caleb Johnson (Narrows); guard – Kyle Mabry (Fort Chiswell), Jay Miles (Galax); tackle – Matt Dunn (Fort Chiswell), Cody Reed (Narrows); tight end – Anthony Whisman (Fort Chiswell); quarterback – Corey Lowe (Narrows); runningback – Kyle Kennedy (Bland County), Josh Collins (Narrows), Jordan Vaughn (Galax); wide receiver – Eric Harvey (Grayson County), Jerad Brown (Galax), Zack Cook (Fort Chiswell), Jon Martin (Narrows); kicker – Chris Whited (Galax); kick returner – Chris Rodriguez (Fort Chiswell).
Second team defense
Defensive line – Matthew Porter (Fort Chiswell), Darius Brown (Galax), Zach Blankenship (Narrows); defensive end – Devae Goins (Galax), Zack Cook (Fort Chiswell); linebacker – Kris Kennedy (Bland County), Dieter Chandler (Fort Chiswell), Jeremy Hagerman (Narrows), Korey Kennedy (Bland County), Jason Thompson (Grayson County); defensive back – Ryan Hernandez (Grayson County), Jerad Brown (Galax), Parker Mabe (Fort Chiswell), Josh Pennington (Bland County); punter – Chris Rodriguez (Fort Chiswell).
Galax – Stuart Garland, Jacob Fisher, Brian Martin, Silverio Gonzales, Steven Murillo, Patrick Anderson, Tyler Ward.
Grayson County – Cody Underwood, Ethan Hash, Cody Lawson, Garrett Vaughan.