With the conclusion of football season and the crowning of the state’s eight champions, the Walton Tribune is announcing its 2021 All-County football team.
The 2021 football season was a return to normal for most teams after the weird season that was 2020.
Social Circle continued to “raise the standard” under second year head coach Rob Patton. Loganville and Walnut Grove just barely missed out on the state playoffs in an extremely competitive in Region 8-AAAAA. Despite heavy losses to transfer, George Walton was still able to edge out Loganville Christian for a spot in the state playoffs, but the Lions showed a marked improvement in their second year as a member of the Georgia High School Association.
But it was Monroe Area that separated itself from the pack as the best team in the county, and one of the best in the state. That’s reflected heavily in this year’s All-County football team.
Leading the 2021 All-County team as Coach of the Year is Monroe Area’s Kevin Reach. Reach’s team finished 10-0 in the regular season and won the Region 8-AAA title. They also earned the schools first No. 1 ranking.
However, the awards is as much of an award to the entire coaching staff as it is to Reach. The biggest compliment to the culture Reach has established at Monroe Area was what the Hurricanes did in his absence. While Reach was out dealing with a medical emergency involving his wife, the Hurricanes defeated No. 2 ranked Oconee County in a game that catapulted Monroe Area to the top of the region title hunt and near the top of the Class AAA ranking. The Hurricanes also won two other contests before Reach returned to the sidelines.
Much of the success the Hurricanes found on the field can be attributed to the Tribune’s 2021 Player of the Year, Selatian Straughter.
Straughter finished as the top rusher in the county in 2021, totalling 1,533 yards on the ground off 162 carries and scoring 16 times. The Hurricanes quarterback was equally as dangerous through the air, going 76 of 111 for 1,295 yards passing and 18 touchdowns with just four interceptions.
For his exploits, Straughter earned Region 8-AAA player of the year honors, beating out Texas
A&M signee Jake Johnson of Oconee County for the award.
Unsurprisingly, Monroe Area led the way in All-County selections this year with 19, not including honorable mention, followed by Loganville with 10. Social Circle finished with seven selections while Walnut Grove and Loganville Christian logged six each. George Walton has three All-County selections.
Highlighting the 2021 All-County team are eight of the Tribune’s preseason elite 11 selections, five of whom were named first team all-county. That includes Straughter being named Player of the Year.
Most of the Elite 11 selections landed on either the first team offense or first team defense. Logan Cross (Social Circle), Alan Jones (Monroe Area) and Max Thurston (Monroe Area) were named first team offense while Kyle Smith (Walnut Grove) and Tucker Cleary (Social Circle) were named first team defense.
Preseason Elite 11 selection Laythan Folgman (George Walton) was named to the second team offense. Elite 11 selections that wound up on second team defense were Loganville Christian’s Oliver Buckner and Walnut Grove’s Justin Pressley.
Loganville’s Micah Cordle, a preseason Elite 11 selection, was named All-County honorable mention.
The first team offense is made up of quarterback Logan Cross (Social Circle); running back Alan Jones (Monroe Area); wide receivers KJ Reid (Social Circle), Mason Moore (Social Circle) and Jahlon Flud (Monroe Area); linemen Max Thurston (Monroe Area), Dylan Robbins (Loganville), Maleek Wong (Walnut Grove), Tyler Wilhite (Monroe Area) and Mason Mathis (George Walton); tight end David Lalaian (Monroe Area) and athlete Cooper Kennedy (Loganville).
The first team defense is made up of linemen Cortez Sorrell (Monroe Area), Bernard Manga (Monroe Area), Qwayvo Wortham (Monroe Area) and Kyle Smith (Walnut Grove); linebackers Tucker Cleary (Social Circle), RJ Ivey (Monroe Area) and Jakari Jones (Monroe Area); defensive backs Russell Hunley (Monroe Area), Petey Baynes (Social Circle), Zach Ford (Walnut Grove) and Blake Raffield (Monroe Area) and kicker Brenden Hamrick (Walnut Grove).
Second team offense selections include, quarterback Josh Ruder (Loganville Christian); running backs Avery Hamilton (Loganville) and Laythan Folgman (George Walton); wide receivers PJ Rogers (Loganville), Jzon Hawkins (Loganville) and Jeremiah Anderson (Monroe Area); linemen AJ Vinson (Social Circle), Taylor Gordon (Loganville Christian), Walker Salyer (Monroe Area), Sam Buckner (Loganville Christian) and Rowen Vandergriff (Social Circle) and athlete Kendall Lee (Walnut Grove)
Second team defense selections include, linemen Justin Pressley (Walnut Grove), Obie Grimes (Loganville Christian), Oliver Buckner (Loganville Christian) and Jason Eligwe (Loganville); linebackers Bradyn Sorrow (Monroe Area), Cade McClendon (Loganville) and Eli Grimes (Loganville Christian); defensive backs Jaziah Upshaw (Monroe Area), Nico Dowdell (Loganville), Carter Payne (George Walton) and Zillion Hammond (Monroe Area) and kicker Devin Pugh (Loganville).
Honorable mention All-County members include George Walton’s Landon Barber, Calan Fortunat, Mason Maughon, Aiden Townsend, Tristen Hill and Blake Woodring; Loganville Christian’s Gerritt Kemp, Kyler Giddons, Caden Reid, Andrew Wengryn, Josh Towns and Landon Dean; Loganville’s Micah Cordle, Davis Roseler, Solomon Leslie, Jake Taylor, Eric Jones and Connor Wolfe; Monroe Area’s Kalid Lattimore; Social Circle’s Amarion Russell, DaShon Hayman, Jaxon Ethridge and Trey Douglas and Walnut Grove’s AJ Chafin, Collin Ginn, Landen Moss, JT Rainey, and Nick Landrum.
The All-County team is selected by a panel consisting of Tribune sports editor Brett Fowler, proprietor Patrick Graham, publisher David Clemons, news editor Stephen Milligan and correspondents David Johnson, Chris Bridges and Greg Yarman.