By JIM PICKENS

Messenger-Inquirer

MESSENGER-INQUIRER ALL-AREA FIRST TEAM

OFFENSE

QUARTERBACK

Joe Humphreys

DAVIESS COUNTY, 6-4, 185, SR.

The indomitable Humphreys emerged as a Kentucky Mr. Football candidate after completing 263-of-391 passes for 3,940 yards and 48 touchdowns. “The impact this young man has had on our program is immeasurable,” DCHS coach Matt Brannon said. “Joe Humphreys has earned every ounce of recognition that he has received from the media and college recruiters and has handled it with class.” Also a dangerous runner, Humhpreys, who has 4.47 speed in the 40-yard dash, also led the high-octane Panthers with 17 rushing touchdowns.

RUNNING BACKS

Tramel Barksdale

OWENSBORO, 5-11, 218, SR.

Barksdale came up huge for the Red Devils out of the backfield, leading the team in rushing and getting the tough, inside yards needed on short-yardage third- and fourth-down situations. “Tramel is a very strong, durable back who also possesses great vision and elusiveness,” OHS coach Jay Fallin said. “He can handle 20-plus carries a game, and he stays patient when teams are scheming to take our rushing game away early — he is almost always at his best in the fourth quarter of big games.” Barskdale ran for 1,176 yards and 14 touchdowns.

Logan Willis

HANCOCK COUNTY, 6-0, 210, JR.

Despite being slowed by nagging injuries late in the season, the rugged, hard-charging Willis nonetheless produced big numbers for the Hornets — leading the team with 1,197 yards and 11 touchdowns. “Logan is a great running back with a throwback, bruising style that makes him hard to deal with,” Hancock County coach Bobby Eubanks said. “He has great hands out of he backfield and has enough speed to make big plays happen in the open field.” Willis rushed for 613 yards and seven TDs in only seven games as a sophomore in 2020.

LINEMEN

Nick Clemens

OWENSBORO CATHOLIC, 6-0, 225, SR.

The hustling, efficient senior was vital to the Aces’ late-season winning streak, once he returned to the lineup after being hurt in the team’s season-opening loss to Apollo. “Nick has been a force on our offensive and defensive lines for the past two seasons,” Owensboro Catholic coach Jason Morris said. “He missed a few games at the start of our season, and getting him back was a huge reason for our success this season.” Clemens provided solid pass protection for QB Lincoln Clancy and helped pave the way for Hunter Monroe’s 1,000-yard rushing season.

Cameron Dukes

MCLEAN COUNTY, 5-8, 155, SR.

Dukes packed a lot of punch into a small frame and was one of the pivotal factors in the Cougars’ always-solid run game and much-improved passing attack. “Wes is the epitome of a pulling guard, and we utilized his quickness on our jet and rocket sweeps over the past three seasons,” McLean County coach Zach Wagner said. “He has been an integral part of our offensive line since his sophomore year. His ability to get downfield and make blocks has been impressive.” Dukes helped the Cougars rush for 2,061 yards and pass for a surprising 1,147 yards.

Jakson Lindsey

OWENSBORO, 6-5, 283, SOPH.

After bursting onto the scene in a big way as a freshman in the Red Devils’ run to the 2020 KHSAA Class 5-A state title game, Lindsey delivered an impressive encore as a sophomore. “He’s a tough, aggressive, old-school offensive lineman,” OHS coach Jay Fallin said of Lindsey. “Jak loves the game and all the work and preparation that is part of playing well. He is a tremendous run blocker and an equally effective pass blocker. As left tackle, you often play against the most athletic and versatile defensive lineman, and he has typically dominated that battle.”

Trey Miller

OWENSBORO, 6-3, 317, JR.

It was a big season for Miller, a converted tight end who helped Owensboro produce one of the most balanced and efficient offensive attacks in western Kentucky in 2021. “Trey moved to the offensive line mid-season in 2020 and has thrived ever since,” Red Devils coach Jay Fallin said. “Trey is super athletic, big, fast, strong and determined — he has the complete tool box at his position. He can dominate in run blocking and is equally effective in pass blocking against athletic defensive ends and linebackers. They sky’s the limit in terms of Trey’s potential.”

Brandon Shepherd

DAVIESS COUNTY, 5-9, 285, SR.

Shepherd’s line play was instrumental in the Panthers’ wide-open offensive attack, which featured the passing of Joe Humphreys and a surprisingly strong ground attack. “Shep is the epitome of the term, ‘Gentile Giant,’ ” Daviess County coach Matt Brannon said. “Soft spoken off the field, he has been one of our most consistent leaders, purely by the way he approaches the game. He practices harder than anyone on the team, and he has dominated both sides of the ball all season long. A two-way lineman, he only seems to get stronger as the game goes on.”

RECEIVERS

Max Dees

DAVIESS COUNTY, 5-9, 160, SR.

The speedy Dees enjoyed a spectacular season on the receiving end of Joe Humprheys’ aerials, catching 75 passes for 1,163 yards and nine touchdowns in his final season with the Panthers. “Max could be the most underrated athlete in the city,” DCHS coach Matt Brannon said. “He is a three-sport star, and he is electric with the football in his hands. He is extremely hard to tackle in the open field, and he has been a lock-down (cornerback on defense) all year. Max wants the ball in his hands on every play, and he will come through when his number is called.

Braden Mundy

OWENSBORO CATHOLIC, 5-11, 205, SR.

Though plagued by a nagging hamstring injury late in the season, the explosive Mundy nonetheless enjoyed another stellar season for the Aces — leading the team with 76 receptions for 1,370 yards and 17 touchdowns. “Braden is one of the best athletes in our state,” Catholic High coach Jason Morris said. “He led the entire state, regardless of class, in receiving yards (per game). He also played some quarterback and running back this season. If he would have played full-time wide receiver early in the season, I believe he would had or been close to 2,000 receiving yards.”

Decker Renfrow

DAVIESS COUNTY, 6-0, 170, JR.

Teaming with Max Dees to provide the Panthers one of the top pass-catching duos in Kentucky, Renfrow enjoyed a highly-productive junior season, making 60 receptions for 1,064 yards and 10 touchdowns. “Decker has been a three-year starter for us, and he is one of the most intelligent football players I have ever coached,” Daviess County coach Matt Brannon said. “He has elite speed and great hands, and that is a recipe for success. Decker has been a consistent deep threat all year, and he’s been able to take the top off just about any defense we’ve faced.”

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DEFENSE

LINEMEN

Isaac Blue

DAVIESS COUNTY, 6-2, 265, JR.

Blue was a major force on one of the state’s most improved defensive units that allowed only 18.3 points per game this fall. Blue finished with 47 tackles. “Isaac is one of the most technically-sound lineman who has ever played at Daviess County,” Panthers coach Matt Brannon said. “He has excellent hands and feet, and he can play just about any position on the defensive side. He can start from a three-point or stand up. Isaac has played defensive tackle, defensive end and even some linebacker. He’s very athletic for his size and can take over a game at any point.”

Jeremiah Goodwin

OWENSBORO, 6-1, 183, JR.

Goodwin spearheaded one of the state’s most opportunistic defensive unit, finishing with 49 total tackles, 17 tackles for loss, and 12 sacks. “Jeremiah is an old-school football player,” Red Devils coach Jay Fallini said. “He plays tight end/wide receiver and defensive end/linebacker for us and starts both ways. As a defensive player, he’s as versatile as anyone we’ve had in a long time. He can line up as an end, or even inside on the line, and he can be an effective run stopper and pass rusher. He can also line up at outside linebacker and pass drop very effectively.”

Sahvon Hines

OWENSBORO, 6-0, 238, JR.

Hines continues to evolve as one of the best defensive players in western Kentucky, enjoying his second consecutive outstanding season for the Red Devils as an anchor on the team’s defensive line. This fall he finished with 54 total tackles. “Sahvon plays with his motor in high-gear at all times,” OHS coach Jay Fallin said. “He isn’t the biggest player out there, but he plays extremely strong and is very explosive. He is nearly impossible to block one-on-one, and is equally effective as a run defender and pass rusher. Sahvon is tough, fearless and loves the game.”

Christian Richards

HANCOCK COUNTY, 5-11, 207, SR.

Richards was outstanding for the Hornets in 2021, finishing with 86 total tackles, including 11 tackles for loss, and four sacks. He also recovered a fumble, helping a resurgent Hancock County program go 7-3 in the regular season. “Christian has been a leader for us over the years on both sides of the ball,” Hancock County coach Bobby Eubanks said. “He’s been a four-year starter and one of the most consistent players I have ever coached. He showed up every day and worked hard for his teammates. He is a great football player — the type of player you love to coach.”

LINEBACKERS

Vince Carrico

OWENSBORO CATHOLIC, 5-11, 195, FR.

Carrico experienced an extraordinary freshman season, easily leading the Aces in total tackles with 199, including 16 tackles for loss and three fumble recoveries. “Vince Carrico led Class 2-A in tackles this year in his freshman season,” Owensboro Catholic coach Jason Morris said. “He is one of the strongest freshmen football players I have ever seen. He has a great attitude, he’s always even-keeled at linebacker, and he has great instincts. Vince is going to have a stellar career at Owensboro Catholic.” Carrico also saw action at running back late in the season.

Jack Duncan

HANCOCK COUNTY, 5-10, 213, JR.

Duncan enjoyed another outstanding season at linebacker for the Hornets, amassing 132 total tackles, including 13 tackles for loss, two sacks, two fumble recoveries and an interception. “Jack does things the right way,” Hancock County coach Bobby Eubanks said. “He works extremely hard and is loyal to his teammates and school. He’s our leader on the defensive side of the ball and is a true warrior. He is one of the most dependable people I have ever met, and that’s a true testament to his character and the type of young man he’s becoming.”

Gunnar Evans

DAVIESS COUNTY, 5-8, 190, SR.

Evans turned into one of the most indispensable players on the Daviess County roster, starring at linebacker (129 total tackles) and running back (1,008 yards, six touchdowns). “Gunnar is the definition of a true blue-collar football player,” Panthers coach Matt Brannon said. “There’s nothing fancy or flashy about Gunnar, he just shows up at practice every day and goes to work. He plays low to the ground, and he’s fast, tenacious and very hard to block. He finds himself around the ball on almost every play, has a nose for the ball and has been our leading tackler all year.”

Jarrod Gray

APOLLO, 6-1, 210, SR.

The hard-hitting Gray led the Eagles defense in total tackles with 98 tackles, which included 11 tackles for loss, one sack and a fumble recovery. “Jarrod is a three-year starter who I really enjoyed coaching the past two seasons,” Apollo coach John Edge said. “Jarrod loves football, and he loves Apollo High School. His dedication and his ability has helped lead us to successful seasons the past two years. He’s been one of the foundational pieces to our defensive unit, and he will definitely be missed next season. He’s had a tremendous career here.”

BACKS

Mason Boswell

DAVIESS COUNTY, 5-8, 175, SR.

Boswell was one of the anchors to one of the best secondaries in program history, with 47 total tackles, one tackle for loss and a sack. Boswell also tied teammate Max Dees for the team leadership with six interceptions. “Mason has played outstanding coverage for this team all season long,” Panthers coach Matt Brannon said. “In a scheme that requires him to play man-to-man 70 to 80% of the snaps, he has been able to lock down some of the area’s best receivers. His instincts as a baseball player allow him to track the ball, and he’s one of the best open-field tacklers around.”

Zach Clark

OWENSBORO, 6-1, 175, JR.

One of the area’s best all-around defenders, Clark not only led the Red Devils in total tackles (94), he also returned three interceptions for touchdowns — a clear indication of his burgeoning game-breaking capabilities. “Zach’s commitment to knowing his opponent and executing the game plan are at an extremely high level,” OHS coach Jay Fallin said. “Zach knows what our opponents are going to run based on formation and down and distance. He loves every part of the game — weight-lifting, film, practice, and he always brings great intensity and enthusiasm.”

Max Dees

DAVIESS COUNTY, 5-9, 160, SR.

Another first-rate player in the Panthers’ secondary, Dees utilized his speed, quickness and sheer tenacity to intercept six passes and make 46 tackles, including five tackles for loss and a sack. “Max has become an outstanding member of of what has become an outstanding secondary for us,” Daviess County coach Matt Brannon said. “He’s a great competitor, and he’s continued to get better and better over the course of his career. He’s one of our outstanding senior leaders who has helped us become the team we always believed we could become.”

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SPECIAL TEAMS

PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Maurice Moorman

OWENSBORO, 5-11, 163, SR.

A genuine game-breaker, the speedy, elusive Moorman was a headache for Owensboro’s opposition throughout the season, scoring touchdowns on six punt returns, one kickoff return and one interception. “Maurice has developed into an electric returner for us this season,” Red Devils coach Jay Fallin said. “With great vision and speed, he was dangerous in the return game. Like many returners, he became a victim of his own success when teams teams started kicking the ball out of bounds on punts, or his production may have been even greater.”

KICKER

Drew Lanz

OWENSBORO, 6-0, 164, JR.

For the second consecutive season, the calm and steady Lanz was nearly automatic on extra-points, making 83-of-85 on the year. He also went 2-of-2 from field goal range. “Drew is a testament to consistency and hard work,” OHS coach Jay Fallin said. “He puts in the work in practice to be the best kicker he can possibly be. Knowing that you have a kicker who is virtually automatic on PATs is an incredible luxury. This year, Drew added a great deal of strength and power to his kickoffs and field goals. Drew is as dependable as they come.”

PUNTER

Harrison Bowman

APOLLO, 6-1, 165, SR.

A four-sport standout for the Eagles, Bowman’s combination of power and placement made him one of the most effective punters throughout western Kentucky during his senior campaign — and Apollo benefited exponentially from his talent and experience. “Harrison is a great kicker with a strong leg,” Apollo coach John Edge said. “It’s great that we’re able to make (opposing) offenses start deep in their own territory. He has been a true weapon for our program, a huge asset, and he will be a great kicker for some college football team in the future.”

NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR

Vince Carrico

OWENSBORO CATHOLIC, 5-11, 195, FR.

Carrico’s impact on the Aces as a freshman in 2021 cannot be overstated, according to Owensboro Catholic coach Jason Morris. “He stepped onto the field for us and was ready to produce for our football team in a big, big way,” Morris said. “We knew coming into the season that Vince had the size and skill to be a contributor, but I don’t know if anyone could have imagined the impact and production he would have for our defensive unit. Obviously, the future is very bright for Vince, and I know he’ll keep working hard to become an even better player.”

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