Maroon Tide players earn first-team all-state recognition

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Senior Joseph Dixon was voted a first-team runningback and junior Caleb Spurlin made the cut as a first-team center.

By Craig Worrell, Sports Editor

An outstanding season by the Galax High School football team has brought statewide awards to a pair of Maroon Tide players as Joseph Dixon and Caleb Spurlin have been named to the Virginia High School League first-team all-Group 1A offense.

A 5-foot-10, 210-pound senior, Dixon landed on the first team as a runningback after becoming the second Galax ballcarrier in as many years to top 3,000 rushing yards. Dixon carried 269 times for 3,109 yards in 13 games. It was the second-highest single-season rushing total in VHSL history and 210 yards shy of the state record, set in 14 games by Powell Valley’s Thomas Jones in 1994. Dixon accumulated 40 rushing touchdowns and concluded his career with more than 5,700 all-purpose yards (4,715 rushing) and 63 total touchdowns.

Spurlin made the first team as a center despite starting the season as a tight end and H-back. A 5-10, 195-pound junior, Spurlin led a Maroon Tide offensive line that paved the way for nine games of 250 or more yards by Dixon.

Not surprisingly, Altavista led the way in all-state voting after claiming its second straight Group 1A state championship. The Colonels filled nine first-team spots and had both the player of the year (Juan Thornhill) and coach of the year (Mike Scharnus).

A quarterback/defensive back bound for U.Va., Thornhill was one of three players named to the first team on both offense and defense, joining fellow Colonel Meche Maulbeck (receiver/defensive back) and Honaker’s Casey Harman (tight end/defensive end).




First-team offense

Center – Caleb Spurlin (jr., Galax); offensive line – Travon Elliot (sr., Altavista), Dominique Gainey (sr., Franklin), Daniel Mullins (sr., Clintwood), Peyton Stevens (sr., Honaker); tight end – Casey Harman (sr., Honaker);

Quarterback – Juan Thornhill (sr., Altavista); runningback – Ryheem Dawson (sr., Parry McCluer), Joseph Dixon (sr., Galax), Heth Grant (jr., Radford); receiver – Tyrell Henderson (sr., Lancaster), Gauge Hill (jr., Haysi), Meche Maulbeck (sr., Altavista);

Placekicker – Walker Allen (jr., Altavista); kick returner – Ameer Veney (sr., Northumberland); all-purpose – Marcus Finley (jr., Radford).


First-team defense

Defensive line – Josh Fleenor (sr., Auburn), Markius Lucas (sr., Essex), Kraig McGlothlin (sr., Honaker); defensive end – Darius Johnson (sr., Altavista), Casey Harman (sr., Honaker);

Linebacker – Sterling Hammond (sr., Essex), Demetrious Johnson (sr., Altavista), Steve Smallwood (sr., Surry), Tristan Yates (sr., Haysi); secondary – Casey Dye (sr., Honaker), Meche Maulbeck (sr., Altavista), Shane Mullins (Clintwood), Juan Thornhill (sr., Altavista);

Punter – Drade Presley (Sr., Twin Valley); punt returner – Austin Turner (sr., Clintwood); all-purpose – Donovan Montague (sr., Altavista).


Player of the year

Juan Thornhill, Altavista

Coach of the year

Mike Scharnus, Altavista


Second-team offense

Center – Tyler George (sr., Parry McCluer); offensive line – Anthony Darby (jr., Rappahannock), Derek Dressler (sr., Covington), Robert Umphlette (sr., Essex), Robby Yates (sr., Haysi); tight end – Dez’John Parker (sr., Colonial Beach);

Quarterback – Jalen Sykes (sr., Haysi); runningback – Marcus Byrd (sr., Rappahannock), Lamar Lucas (soph., Colonial Beach), Austin Smith (sr., Honaker); receiver – Sterling Hammond (sr., Essex), Raquann Matthews (sr., Covington), Austin Turner (sr., Clintwood);

Placekicker – Jordan Stout (soph., Honaker); kick returner – Austin Turner (jr., Clintwood); all-purpose – Jaquann Taylor (sr., Central-Lunenburg).


Second-team defense

Defensive line – Nick Graves (sr., Colonial Beach), Dante Poindexter (jr., Altavista), Daniel Mullins (sr., Clintwood); defensive end – Carter Foster (sr., Colonial Beach), Savon Wadsworth (soph., J.I. Burton)

Linebacker – Destin Brown (sr., Altavista), Tyler Dressler (soph., Covington), Heth Grant (jr., Radford), Grant Ramey (sr., Patrick Henry); secondary – Taylor Gilman (sr., Fort Chiswell), Malik Martin (jr., Essex), Darnell Tolson (sr., Covington), Andrai Turner (sr., Colonial Beach);

Punter – Walker Allen (jr., Altavista); punt returner – Corey Porter (sr., Franklin); all-purpose – Marcus Finley (jr., Radford).