Four area high school football teams made the playoffs during the 2012 season, and three of those teams — Moore County, Cascade and Tullahoma — made it to the second round.
It should be no shock then that 28 of the 56 players on the 2012 Lakeway Publishers All-Area Football Team (LPAAFT) come from those three teams. And of the 56 positions that were voted on by area coaches — 28 first team and 28 second team — those 28 players from those three teams occupy 31 spots.
Moore County has eight players on the team. Tullahoma leads the list with 10 players in 13 positions, while Cascade has 10 players on the team as well.
All three of those teams also had dominant players.
Moore County had an outstanding quarterback in senior J.P. Evans, a do-everything player who made an impact on both sides of the ball. As a QB, Evans accounted for 22 touchdowns. He added one on an interception return from his linebacker spot for the Raiders, who finished 10-0 in the regular season en route to the District 9-A championship.
Evans, who rarely came off the field for the Raiders, has been named the 2012 Lakeway Publishers All-Area Football Team Player of the Year.
Cascade had a player just as influential. Creed Rose, a sophomore, ran for 2,043 yards and accounted for 22 touchdowns. The Champions, who were extremely young this season, rode the production of Rose all the way to the second round of the Class 2A playoffs before losing to Friendship Christian.
For his effort this season, Rose is the 2012 LPAAFT Offensive Player of the Year.
The 2012 LPAAFT Defensive Player of the Year — Franklin County’s Justin Campbell — may not have been a stat sheet packer like Evans and Rose, but he was just as special nonetheless. The Rebels lineman was a team leader, who helped carry the Franklin County defense.
He didn’t go unnoticed by District 8-AAA coaches either, as they named him the conference’s top defensive player.
On special teams, Shelbyville Central’s Tyler Eddings was a dangerous return man who helped the Eagles flip field position, while also returning three kicks for touchdowns. Eddings is the 2012 LPAAFT Special Teams Player of the Year.
After guiding his team to a 10-0 regular season mark, the District 9-A championship, a No. 2 state ranking and a first-round bye in the TSSAA Class 1A playoffs, Moore County head coach Scott Smith is the 2012 LPAAFT Coach of the Year.
Smith edged out Tullahoma’s John Olive for the honor. In what was thought to be a rebuilding year for Tullahoma, Olive led the inexperienced Wildcats to a 7-5 record and the second round of the Class 5A playoffs, despite having a senior quarterback who had never played the position and a seemingly endless rotation of players on the offensive line.
Moore County was well represented on this year’s all-area team, occupying more positions than Lincoln County, Coffee County, Shelbyville, Franklin County and Huntland.
While Evans was the player of the year, he was also honored as the first-team quarterback. His brother, Jack Evans, along with Chance Tharp, were named first-team offensive linemen.
Dillon Davis made the list as a first-team wide receiver and Aiden Simpson was a first-team tight end.
On the defensive side of the ball, lineman Austin Bingham made the first team, as did defensive back Matt Taggett. Moore County’s Austin Henshaw made the list as a second-team defensive lineman as well.
For the entire 2012 Lakeway Publishers All-Area Football Team, see pages seven and eight.
Player of the Year
J.P. Evans took the reins of a young Moore County team and never turned them loose. A leader on and off the field, Evans was a TSSAA Class A Back of Year nominee. He played both sides of the ball — quarterback and linebacker — for the Raiders, rarely coming off the field. Evans expected as much from his teammates as he did himself.
He ran for 1,164 yards and he threw for 926 yards. By season’s end he had 23 total touchdowns. He converted 20 two-point conversions also.
“I just think he was the glue that held our team together,” said Moore County head coach Scott Smith. “He was not only a person that led from a verbal standpoint, but he expected such excellence from himself that it really made our team work harder together. He had a great work ethic.”
As an outside linebacker for Moore County, Evans had 49 solo tackles and 22 assists. Eleven of those tackles were behind the line of scrimmage. He also broke up five passes and returned an interception for a touchdown.
Evans, who also handled kicking duties for the Raiders, was named the District 9-A MVP as well.
Coach of the Year
For the second season in a row, Moore County’s Scott Smith is the LPAAFT Coach of the Year. Midway through the 2012 season, Smith was surprised that his Raiders still had an unblemished record. Wins over defending state champion Wayne County and defending 9-A champion Eagleville highlighted the early portion of the schedule and gave the Raiders plenty of momentum heading down the stretch.
After finishing 10-0 in regular season, Moore County earned a No. 1 seed and a first-round bye in the playoffs. Smith credited his coaching staff and strong senior leadership for the Raiders’ success.
“I think the biggest thing is that I have great assistant coaches and I have super, hardworking players,” said Smith. “At the start of this year, we were young, with only seven seniors and only two or three who had played a lot before.
“That group of seniors kind of molded together and it all came together in the perfect storm. I’ve never had a harder working team than what this year was. I think sometimes we made up for what we didn’t have in talent with hard work.
“That made it easier to coach.”
By ROBERT HOLMAN, Editor