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34 nab all-region honors
Eight local players named first-team selections
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Forsyth County News

With Super Bowl XLIII part of history, the action on the football field is in the rearview at all levels.

But before closing the book on the past season, it’s time to take a look at the local varsity players who have been named to their respective all-region teams, 34 in all.

Following an 8-2 season, West Forsyth is well represented on the Region 7-AAA team, with 12 players making the cut.

Three Wolverines are first team all-region:

• Junior running back Ben Emert (1,150 yards rushing, 18 touchdowns)

• Senior offensive lineman Dane Magnussen (93 percent blocking, 21 pancakes)

• Junior linebacker Nathan Teter (109 tackles, one interception, two fumbles recovered, six forced fumbles, three sacks)

Making the 7-AAA second team are Trey Rood (junior, free safety), Chris Rubessa (junior, defensive end) and Ethan Shirley (sophomore, wingback).

Lance Baker (senior, quarterback), Andy Cameron (senior, tight end), Rusty Juneau (senior, cornerback), Andrew Razo (senior, defensive tackle), David Rooney (sophomore, kicker) and Will Rutland (senior, offensive lineman) all received honorable mentions from West.

“We were really happy about that,” Wolverines’ coach Frank Hepler said of the number of selections from West.

“It’s great for the school and our program. We’re very proud of our guys for getting that recognition ... Those kids made a huge leap of faith coming to our school [from other schools]. To come and trust us to have a good program was really neat.”

Hepler also pointed out that Magnussen was named an honorable mention on the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s all-state team.

Seven Forsyth Central Bulldogs took a bite out of the all-region team for 6-AAAA, including three first-team appointees.

Making the region’s top cut were:

• Senior cornerback Dustin Canon (44 tackles, one interception, two broken passes, two fumbles caused, one fumble recovered)

• Senior deep snapper Sean Mateer (no punts or kicks blocked)

• Junior left tackle Kasey Morrison (92 percent tackling, 14 knockdowns), David Esbeck (senior, guard) John Taylor (senior, punter) and Jason Wood (senior, linebacker) were second-team honorees for Region 6-AAAA.

Michael Gravitt (senior, linebacker) makes it in as an honorable mention from Central.

Coach Chris Bennett said the Bulldogs easily play in the toughest region in Class AAAA, with two region opponents — Marist and Tucker — ending the season playing for the state title.

“For those guys to be honored in that region is a testament to them,” Bennett said, noting that all three of Central’s first-team selections were consensus picks.

In Region 7-AAAAA, North Forsyth and South Forsyth combined to land 15 players on the team, nine Raiders and six War Eagles. North and South both had one player make the region’s first team.

First team honorees from North and South, respectively, are:

• Junior defensive back Steven Hester (57 tackles, five interceptions, three broken passes, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery)

• Junior defensive back Salem Collins (42 tackles, two sacks, one interception, five broken passes)

Making the second team from North are Johnny Hampton (sophomore, offensive lineman), Matt Hansard (junior, defensive lineman), Corey Reins (senior, kicker) and Tyler Slaton (sophomore, running back).
Jeremy Chappell (senior, linebacker), Eli Chester (senior, quarterback), Justin Roper (junior, defensive lineman) and Jordan Totten (senior, wide receiver) are all honorable mentions for the Raiders.
Sean Dauenhauer (senior, linebacker) and David Knorr (senior, wide receiver) earn second-team selections from South.

Nick Belyew (sophomore, quarterback), Brett Charron (sophomore, running back) and Curtis Parker (senior, linebacker) all made the cut as honorable mentions.

North coach Jared Zito noted that the Raiders went from having one second-team player a year ago to four on the second team this year, along with Hester on the first team.

“Steven Hester is a premier player in our region and will only get better,” Zito said.

“I am very proud of all these young men and their accomplishments both on and off the field. I think all of these players deserve the recognition as some of the best players in Region [7-AAAAA] and I am very happy their hard work and accomplishments were noticed by the other coaches in such a strong region. ... This is a tribute to their hard work and dedication over the past offseason and summer.”

South coach Wendell Early described his first-teamer Collins as always looking for the ball, whether to make a tackle, tip a pass or scoop up a fumble.

“Sometimes guys have a nose for the ball. ... He’s just around the ball all the time. Kind of a quiet youngster, just plays hard,” Early said.

Making it onto the 7-AAAAA all-region team says good things about the regard for his players, according to Early.

“To be included on a team that is the best players from possibly the best region in the state ... it’s a huge honor for our kids and for our program,” the coach said.

Sports editor Jared Putnam contributed to this article.