(Franklin) – All State and All Region accolades were handed down recently in several formats and the Heard County High School’s very successful 10-2 season translated into big postseason awards for lots of Braves.
For the second consecutive year, head football coach Tim Barron and junior running back Duranta Dunson were at the top of the list of the All Region squads as voted on by the Region 5-AA head coaches.
Just like in 2012, Barron was named as Region 5-AA’s Coach of the Year after his team finishing their second consecutive season as the Region 5-AA Champions. Barron was also once again undefeated in Region 5-AA play and has now led the Braves to an excellent 18 consecutive region victories with the last loss coming to Callaway on October 21, 2011.
2013 was a season of milestones for the Braves 12-year head coach who attained his 100th career win at Manchester on October 11.
Also for the second consecutive season, Duranta Dunson captured the Region 5-AA Offensive Player of the Year Award. Dunson had another monster season and has now been a first team all region offensive team member for all three of his high school seasons.
Dunson finished the year with 2193 rushing yards on 154 carries for an unreal 14.24 yards per carry including a state playoff record-breaking 463 yards at Staples Stadium in the 61-57 loss to Jefferson to close the season.
UGA commit senior Jake Edwards was once again named as a Region 5-AA first team offensive lineman for the second year in a row as well as getting a second team nod on the defensive line. The 6’4″ 290-pound Edwards will be fun to watch between the hedges in Athens for the next few years.
Edwards and Dunson’s efforts also helped earn them both spots on the first team on both the AJC and the Georgia Sportswriter’s Association All State squads. it was the second consecutive year each player was named first team all state by the two associations.
Two Brave newcomers to the sportswriter’s All State teams were Junior Elijah Toney and Senior Jonathon Hunt. Toney earned a spot on the second team defense as a defensive lineman.
The 6’1″ 220-pound Toney also cleaned up at the All Region 5-AA awards earning a first team spot on the defense, a second place slot on the offense as well as an all academic team award. Toney follows up a strong 2012 where he made the second teams on both sides of the ball.
Senior quarterback Jonathon Hunt earned an honorable mention at Punter on the sportswriter’s All State team and was named as the first team Athlete in Region 5-AA following up on his first team slot as a Punter last year. Hunt was also named to the second team Region 5-AA defense at linebacker.
Leading the way on the Region 5-AA first team on the defensive side of the ball were two more workhorse Braves. Senior Ta Freeland was named to the first team at linebacker and Levi Brown as a defensive lineman.
Levi Brown improves his stock after an honorable mention in 2012 and earned a spot on the second team offense as well. Freeland will be sorely missed by the Braves in all facets of the game next season.
Senior Taylor Smith earned second team kudos on both sides of the ball at wide receiver on offense as well as at defensive back.
Freshman kicker Trey Wiggins was named as the second team kicker after an impressive season where he only missed three extra points. It was the second straight year a freshman Braves kicker was named to the all region squad.
Braves who earned region honorable mentions included Hunt at QB, Freeland at RB, Toney at TE, Dylan Yates and Jace Mock on the offensive line, Fenuku Shaheed and Zack Stephens at LB, and Austin Barron at defensive back.
Wiggins, Ethan Brant, and Conner Moon impressed region coaches enough to be named to the All Freshmen Team while Yates, Stephens, Freeland, Smith, Barron, Toney, Hunt, Mock, and Daulton Wiggins were each named to the All Academic Team. (Photos Courtesy of Rodney East, Khris Martin, The Warcry, and Heard High School)