Rabun, Dawson & Commerce all have multiple All-State players
All-State teams for classes 1A up to 3A have been announced, and as expected, three of the top programs in our area had multiple players named to the all-state teams.
Levi Pate – OL
Pate, a senior offensive lineman for the Commerce Tigers, paved the way for 3,738 rushing yards in 2018, and protected the quarterback very well. Although he’s all-state for his work on that side of the ball, it’s worth noting that he also recorded 58 tackles and a sack on defense.
Caleb Mason – DB
Mason, also a Commerce senior, had an enormous impact for the Tigers. He recorded 59 tackles from the DB position, had two fumble recoveries, and had four interceptions (one of which went for a TD). While all-state as a DB, he also was one of the go-to offensive weapons, tallying 632 yards and 11 TD on the ground, averaging 9.3 yards per tote. He also had a 65-yd TD catch this season.
Gunner Stockton – QB
Stockton, the BLITZ Player of the Year, becomes a rare all-state selection as just a freshman at the QB position. Stockton threw for 2,917 yards, leading all 2A QBs. His 65% completion was the highest of any quarterback with over 150 attempts, while he also threw for an efficient 34 touchdowns to just 6 interceptions. Stockton also had 709 rushing yards, totaling 51 TD.
Braxton Hicks – WR
Hicks put together a phenomenal junior campaign, becoming the leading receiver for Stockton to throw to, especially with fellow all-state teammate Austin Jones out for a few weeks during the season. Hicks hauled in 55 passes for 1,042 yards and 14 TD, including many acrobatic grabs that has been evidence of his worthiness of the D-I attention he continues to garner.
Shawn Lovell – OL
Lovell remains one of the greatest hidden gems in the state. He’s starting to turn more heads as he should have been doing at least a year ago. The center rarely ever snapped a bad ball, and helped protect the pass and run game to program records the last two years. He is one of Rabun County’s toughest athletes ever in the weight room.
Austin Jones – DB
Jones has been an all-state selection numerous times now. He’s one of the all-around best players in the state. He was named Region 8-AA Player of the Year, and it’s hard to pinpoint where he’s most valuable. He does it all – receiving (even dangerous when getting the ball in the backfield), on defense, and even in the punt return game. This year, despite missing three games, Jones had 918 receiving yards on 47 receptions, including 11 TD. He added 248 punt return yards, 227 kick return yards, and 39 rush yards for a grand total of 1,432 all-purpose yards. On defense, the ball hawk had an interception, six deflections, two forced fumbles, 105 tackles, and seven tackles for loss. He will be severely missed as he trades his Wildcat red for Furman purple next year.
Zac Baloga – DL
Baloga has long been a force for the Dawson County Tigers, wreaking havoc on opposing offensive lines and quarterbacks. He tallied 56 tackles from the D-line this season, including an eye-popping 21 tackles for loss and 10 sacks and a fumble recovery. The senior will leave a gaping hole in the defense next year.
Logan Barnes – DB
Barnes, a senior, earns all-state recognition after a 2018 that saw him notch a team-high 115 tackles (1 for loss), snatch three interceptions, and record a forced fumble. Barnes was seemingly glued to opposing receivers and rarely had a bad angle when pursuing a tackle. Barnes is heading to Wofford in 2019!