Bryan Way took a program coming off a decades-worst season, and he pushed the Demons to a spot in the GHSA Class AAAA semifinals one year later.
Already having earned coach of the year honors from The Telegraph (co-coach with Peach County’s Chad Campbell) and the Atlanta Falcons, the Warner Robins head coach was named Class AAAA Coach of the Year by the Georgia Sports Writers Association.
Way was one of two overall winners from Middle Georgia on the sports writers’ annual all-state team.
Wilcox County quarterback Makail Grace was named Class A Offensive Player of the Year after leading Middle Georgia in passing yards, passing touchdowns and overall touchdowns in 2011.
Grayson’s super junior prospect Robert Nkemdiche, who is ranked by some as the overall No. 1 prospect in his class nationally, was named the All-Classification Player of the Year.
Several other Middle Georgians were named to all-state teams.
Northside offensive lineman D.J. Williams and linebacker Trey Payne joined Warner Robins defensive back Jalen Rountree and Greg Farms on the first team in Class AAAA. Northside receiver Keshun Hill and defensive lineman Josh Chester earned second-team honors. Warner Robins linebacker Moses Allen was an honorable mention.
Fresh of a state championship appearance, five Peach County players received recognition. Wide receiver Demarcus Robinson, offensive lineman Brandon Wiggins and linebacker Ryan Bowman made the first team, while linebacker Cassuas Hall and defensive end Bryan McQuay were on the second team. Baldwin defensive back Donte Beckham joined them on the first team, while West Laurens linebacker Johnny O’Neal, Mary Persons defensive back Akebren Ralls and Washington County punter J.W. May made the second team. Central linebacker Nigel Bowden was an honorable mention.
Putnam County’s Marteze Waller capped a record-breaking career with a second consecutive all-state appearance. Dublin senior Maurice Martin joined him on the first team as an athlete, while Dodge County defensive end Leonard Floyd, Fitzgerald defensive back Jaquadrian Lewis and Lamar County defensive back Quay Searcy landing on the first team defense. Offensive linemen Ben East (Dublin) and Brett Steverson (Fitzgerald) were on the second team alongside Lamar County defensive tackle Frederick Walker, Fitzgerald linebacker Jerome Baker, Lamar County linebacker Nicolas Heminger, Bleckley County defensive back Zack Moe and Northeast defensive back Ronnie Cabiness Jr. Dublin’s Cedric O’Neal, Bleckley County’s Tavon Ross, Fitzgerald’s Tolerance Shepherd and Lamar County’s Denarius Rutherford were all honorable mentions.
In Class A, Grace was joined on the first team with his receiver Quez Mahogoney, Dooly County defensive lineman Montravius Adams and Taylor County punter Hunter Davis.
Wilkinson County quarterback David Whipple, Wilcox County receiver Johnathan Howard and FPD linebacker Kalo Oglesby made the second team. FPD quarterback Brooks Stroud was an honorable mention.
The players of the year for each class: Tyren Jones, Walton and Darius English, McEachern in Class AAAAA; Kevin Ellison, Habersham Central and Jermaine Hough, Lovejoy in Class AAAA; DeShaun Watson, Gainesville and Reuben Foster, Troup in Class AAA; Taylor Lamb, Calhoun and Alex Kirby, Calhoun in Class AA; Grace, Wilcox County and DeAngelo Brown, Savannah Christian in Class A.