The Northwestern Foothills 2A Conference earlier this week announced its 2019 all-conference football team, and Draughn senior quarterback Braxton Cox is NWFAC co-player of the year.
Cox is the first-ever Wildcats player to win a league individual award and is the program’s first individual award recipient of any kind since Scott Lambert was named Catawba Valley 2A Conference coach of the year in 2011.
Cox broke the Burke County all-time record with 34 touchdown passes this season. He completed 194 of 320 pass attempts for 2,846 yards (breaking his own school record) and added 126 rushing yards and two TDs as the Wildcats finished 7-5 for a six-win improvement over 2018 and reached the state playoffs for the first time in seven years.
The repeat All-NWFAC pick also had 12 tackles, three pass breakups and two interceptions at defensive back.
The county had 20 total players named to the All-NWFAC team, and six more were honorable-mention picks.
After tying for second place in the NWFAC for its highest ever conference finish, Draughn had 10 all-conference players. The others were seniors Nick Chrisco, Khe-nai Banks, Denver Treadway, Trent Corn, Donavan King, Aaron Lambert, junior Zach Poteet and freshmen Luke Rector and Donnell Wilkins.
Chrisco (72-970-13) and Banks (47-777-10) became the first teammates in county history with 10 or more TD grabs in the same season, with Chrisco breaking the school records in catches, yards and TDs and Banks adding 494 return yards and two more scores. Chrisco added 70 tackles (two for loss), with two pass breakups and two interceptions on defense while also rushing for one TD.
Treadway added 53 catches for 873 yards and nine TDs in a second straight All-NWFAC campaign. Already the school record holder in pass breakups, Treadway blocked a program-record four kicks this fall and added 41 tackles (four for loss) with two interceptions, a forced fumble and fumble recovery.
Corn rushed 183 times for 1,047 yards and 15 TDs, the second DHS player all-time to eclipse 1,000 yards in a season. He had 60 tackles (six for loss), an interception and two forced fumbles.
King set school records for tackles for loss (16) and sacks (10) while finishing with 88 tackles, 10 QB hurries, six forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries. He also caught a TD pass and played four games on the offensive line.
Poteet’s 106 tackles were a program record; Lambert graded out at 84 percent on the O-line with nine pancake blocks; Rector graded out at 88 percent with 15 pancake blocks; and Wilkins’ 21 QB hurries were a school-record, as he also added 11 tackles for loss including six sacks and three fumble recoveries and two rushing TDs.
Wildcat seniors Robbie Gibby (61 tackles, four for loss; three interceptions, two fumble recoveries) and Andrew Wyatt (80 percent grade; six pancakes) were named honorable mention.
Patton was represented on the All-NWFAC team by seniors Weston Fleming, Bryson Ratliff, Jackson Vance, Ryan Shehan, Ben Varsamis and Ethan Pons as well as honorable-mention players Rico Barrino, a senior, and Kaleb Spann, a junior.
East Burke placed seniors Josh Moore, Cody Huffman and Hunter Bostain and junior Noah Rooks on the team, with seniors Luke Coble and Raelen Lo making honorable mention.
Barrino, Ratliff and Huffman are repeat picks, while Moore is the county’s lone three-peat All-NWFAC player.
Ratliff (103-554-6), Fleming (157-523-8) and Vance (95-427-5) led the Panthers on the ground this season, Shehan and Varsamis played both ways up front at times and Pons added 73 rushing yards while playing defense as well. Barrino scored a touchdown via a fumble recovery.
Moore led the county in rushing (256-1,467-23) for a second straight season, breaking the EBHS career marks for rushing yards (3,362) and TDs (41) and adding 164 receiving yards and a TD.
Coble had 529 receiving yards and three TDs, Bostain and Rooks (who won the team’s top lineman award) helped pave the way up front for Moore’s big season, with Huffman (65 tackles, 10 for loss) and Lo (58 tackles, 12 for loss) sharing team defensive MVP honors.
The other NWFAC individual awards went to Hibriten’s Marcus Jones (co-player of year), Daren Perry (offensive player of year), Trey Piercy (defensive player of year) and Griffin Bryson (specialist of year) and Bunker Hill’s Patrick Clark (coach of year).
The News Herald sports department can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.