VALDOSTA –– Through all the adversity the Valdosta Wildcats faced, the team found a way to rise above.
Not only did the Wildcats overcome an eligibility fiasco, they dealt with COVID-19 quarantine after the Winnersville Classic and numerous injuries to key players and still advanced to the GHSA 6A State Semifinals for the first time since 2016.
On Thursday, the ‘Cats placed 15 players on the Region 1-6A All Region Team.
Junior wide receiver Tajh Sanders earned Region 1-6A Offensive Player of the Year honors. Sanders, a four-star prospect who transferred to Valdosta from Colquitt County last offseason, emerged as Valdosta’s No. 1 pass catcher in his junior season. Sanders finished the season with 52 catches for 685 yards and six touchdowns.
Senior wide receivers Javonte Sherman and Aalah Brown earned First Team selections as well as junior quarterback Amari Jones.
After leading the team in catches, yards and touchdowns as a junior, Sherman caught 30 passes for 587 yards and tied Sanders for the lead in receiving touchdowns with six. Sherman averaged 19.6 yards per catch this past season. Brown caught 33 balls for 494 yards and also finished tied for the lead in touchdowns with six.
After taking over at quarterback one game into the season, Jones completed 61.7 percent of his passes, throwing for 1,869 yards with 19 touchdowns and seven interceptions. As a running threat, Jones rushed for 438 yards on 126 carries and scored nine touchdowns with his legs.
Offensive lineman Jacquez White was also a First Team Selection.
Headlining the Second Team is offensive lineman Mark Anthony Audain, followed by versatile threat Chris Wolfe and running back Terrell Denson.
Seeing time as a running back and receiver, Wolfe caught 18 passes for 200 yards with one touchdown while also rushing for 319 yards on 70 carries with two touchdowns.
Denson led the ‘Cats in rushing with 91 carries for 595 yards and six touchdowns on the year.
On the defensive side of the ball, Valdosta had seven players get All-Region nods.
Defensive lineman Josh Hill, linebacker Jaylin Alderman, linebacker Jacquez McGowan and defensive back Jadarian Rhym earned First Team selections, while defensive lineman Chris McClain, linebacker Ty Lewis and defensive back Maxwell Cherelus made the Second Team.
In their first season under head coach Rush Propst, the ‘Cats went 7-5 and 2-1 in Region 1-6A.