The Valdosta Daily Times
Less than a week after claiming the GISA Class AA state championship with the school’s first-ever undefeated record, the postseason honors started to roll in for the Valwood Valiants.
Valwood head coach Ashley Henderson was named the Region 3-AA and GISA Class AA Coach of the Year, leading the Valiants to a 14-0 record and winning by an average of 32.3 points per game in his first season at the helm.
Nine Valiants were named to the All-Region 3-AA team, while two were named Honorable Mention. From there, six Valiants were named to the Class AA All-State team and five were named to the South Team for the annual GISA All-Star Game, which will be played Saturday in Macon.
Seniors Allan Taylor, Aulden Bynum, Griffin Clyatt, Khary Paige, Rashad Mathis and junior Char Merine were all named to the All-State team, along with being named All-Region. They were joined on the All-Region team by linemen Austin Wilkes, Jackson Pegg and back Marik Merine.
Defensive back Gerrick Williams, who led the Valiants in interceptions this season with five, and lineman Spencer McQuaig were named to the Honorable Mention list.
Mathis, Williams, Clyatt, Wilkes and Taylor will represent Valwood in the All-Star Game this weekend, along with Henderson. Paige was selected to the game but will not play due to ACT testing Saturday morning.
The Valwood offense averaged 404.9 yards per game, including 261.14 yards rushing. Paige finished the 2012 season with a team-high 1,684 yards rushing and 26 touchdowns on the ground. He also caught 15 passes for 290 yards with three touchdowns.
Mathis led the team in receptions with 47 for 827 yards with nine touchdowns, while Char Merine, who will play in the Rising Senior Bowl in Atlanta Dec. 31, hauled in 30 passes for 540 yards with eight touchdowns this season.
Paige also led Valwood in tackles this season with 73 1/2, including three sacks and six tackles for loss, while forcing two fumbles and an interception. Allan Taylor was second on the team in tackles with 58 1/2, which included three sacks.
Marik Merine was the only other Valwood player to finish the season with more than 40 tackles, ending the year with 42 1/2, including three sacks. He also had two interceptions.