The Daily Leader All-Area Defense Team lineup

Published 2:57 pm Saturday, December 31, 2022

Brandon Burt, Loyd Star

A junior defensive end, Burt gave great effort on every play and as a result, led Loyd Star in tackles in 2022. Burt was in on a total of 89 tackles for coach Brian Ford and the 7-4 Hornets in 2022. The 5-foot-10, 160-pound Burt gets his dirty work done by using his speed on the edge to run around blockers. Had three sacks and broke up four passes. An All-Region selection, Burt also played tight end on offense.

Troy Byther Jr., Wesson

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A senior defensive lineman, Byther is an old school nose tackle that made things miserable for opposing offensive lines during Wesson’s run to the third round of the MHSAA 3A playoffs. Made 52 tackles, including 12 that went for a loss for the Cobras (7-6). Byther stays low to the ground and then explodes up past slower offensive linemen. On the season, Byther was in on two sacks and also recovered two fumbles for Wesson.

Johnathan Davis, Lawrence County

A senior defensive tackle, Davis has the size that forced the opponents of Lawrence County to send double teams his way. The 6-foot-5, 250-pound Davis was a difference maker in the middle of the LC Cougar (7-3) defensive line for coach Jesse Anderson. A Bernard Blackwell All-Star Game participant, Davis made 19 total tackles and piled up an impressive 7.5 sacks on the season.

Conner Johnson, Brookhaven Academy

A senior defensive tackle, Johnson gave the Brookhaven Academy defensive unit an edge with his motor and physicality. A transfer from Lawrence County, the 6-foot-, 235-pound Johnson helped control one side of the line and was named to All-District and picked as an MAIS All-Star after helping coach Anthony Hart and the Cougars (8-3) win their district for a second straight year.

Cody Munn, Wesson

A senior defensive end, Munn has long been a physical presence on the end of the line for Wesson and in 2022 he again created havoc in opposing backfields. The 6-foot-3, 230-pound Munn played his position with a frantic energy that his teammates could feed on. In his final season as a Cobra, Munn made 59 total tackles, including 11.5 for a loss. He was responsible for a team best 4.5 sacks for coach Jeremy Loy.

Jackson Porter, Brookhaven Academy

A junior defensive lineman, Porter was again a disruptive force for the Brookhaven Academy defense along the front-line. At 6-foot-5, 240-pounds, Porter lines up most nights against smaller players tasked with stopping him. His role on the offensive line is equally important for the Cougars (8-3) and coach Anthony Hart. A repeat Daily Leader All-Area selection, Porter was also picked for the first ever MAIS underclassman football all-star game.

Braden Hamm, West Lincoln

A freshman linebacker, Hamm is one of the underclassmen that West Lincoln will count on to be leaders within the program for the next few years. In 2022, he made 10 tackles for a loss and was tied for the team lead with 62 total tackles. The 5-foot-6, 180-pound Hamm also recovered a fumble and caused two fumbles, while leading the Bears offensively with 359 yards rushing and three touchdowns as a running back.

Jimmy Johns Jr., Brookhaven High 

A junior linebacker, Johns Jr. is a player that flies to the football with a mix of speed and aggression. The 6-foot-1, 190-pound Johns made 112 tackles for the Panthers (1-8) this season. In that total, Johns had four tackles for a loss and one sack. In his second full season as a starter at the position, Johns also blocked one punt, picked off two passes and recovered three fumbles for coach Tucker Peavey.

Ken May, Bogue Chitto

A junior linebacker, May recovered from a major knee injury suffered as a sophomore to become one of the leading ball-hawks for the Bogue Chitto defense this season. May made 87 tackles for coach Gareth Sartin and the Bobcats (7-4). He was in on eight tackles for a loss while grabbing one interception, forcing a fumble and recovering three fumbles. The 6-foot, 170-pound May will be counted on even more next season as BC graduates a senior class heavy in starters.

Lucas McCree, Wesson

A senior linebacker, Mcree played like the beating heart of the Cobra defense as he found the ball with violent intentions on play after play in 2022. Led the Wesson (7-6) defense with 139 total tackles, including five for a loss. An All-Region selection and repeat DL All-Area pick, McRee recovered one fumble and forced two fumbles for coach Jeremy Loy and his staff as Wesson made the third round of the MSHAA 3A playoffs.

JaBra McGee, Lawrence County

A sophomore linebacker, McGee easily slid into an important position on the Lawrence County defense and led the Cougars in tackles in 2022. Made a team best 63 tackles, including three tackles for a loss. The 5-foot-7, 180-pound McGee was in on 1.5 sacks for coach Jesse Anderson and the Cougars (7-3) and was also second on the team with two interceptions this season.

Malachi Williams, Brookhaven High

A senior linebacker, Williams was one of the best defenders in the area and has several junior college programs chasing him now that his time at Brookhaven High is done. The physical, instinctive Williams led the Panthers (1-8) with 121 total tackles in 2022. The 6-foot-1, 190-pound Williams made 10 tackles for a loss, picked off one pass, forced a fumble and recovered a fumble this season for coach Tucker Peavey. An All-Region selection, Williams is a repeat pick for the DL All-Area team

Deacon Wallace, Bogue Chitto

A senior linebacker, Wallace played the game with an immeasurable amount of heart and hustle to be one of the leading tacklers for Bogue Chitto this season. Wallace finished with 73 stops and was in on a whopping 20 tackles for a loss. He led the Bobcats (7-4) with seven sacks in 2022.  An All-Region 7-2A selection for coach Gareth Sartin, Wallace forced two fumbles and recovered two fumbles this season.

Cotton Westbrook, Wesson

A sophomore linebacker, Westbrook looks to be the next in a long line of tough tacklers for the Wesson defense. Finished second on the team with 95 tackles for the Cobras (7-6) this season. Westbrook was in on 10 tackles for a loss while also grabbing an interception and recovering two fumbles for coach Jeremy Loy and his defensive staff in 2022.

Garret Carwyle, Loyd Star

A senior defensive back, Carwyle produced a mix of big hits and solid tackles for the Loyd Star defense during his final season playing for the Hornets. Carwyle made 52 total tackles, including two for a loss. He also picked off one pass and forced a fumble for coach Brian Ford and the Hornets (7-4) as Loyd Star went a combined 16-6 over the last two seasons with Carwyle as a full-time starter on defense.

Carlos Eley, Lawrence County

A senior safety, Eley made an immediate impact as a transfer on the back side of the Lawrence County defense. The 6-foot-2, 185-pound Eley came to LC after previously playing at Hillcrest Christian and ended the season with 38 tackles, including two tackles for a loss. Eley also led the Cougar (7-3) defense with three interceptions while also breaking up four more passes, recovering a fumble and causing a fumble too for coach Jesse Anderson.

Wyatt Garrett, Wesson

A sophomore defensive back, Garrett works as a communicator in the back end of the Wesson defense as the Cobras faced some of the best 3A competition in the state in Region 6-3A. Working as a safety, Garrett was in on 76 tackles in his first year playing at Wesson (7-6) after transferring from Enterprise. A repeat DL All-Area selection, Garrett also picked off one pass for coach Jeremy Loy.

Nick Harris, Enterprise

A sophomore safety, Harris stepped into an increased role for the Enterprise defense this season and became the leading tackler for the Yellow Jackets in 2022. Harris was in on a total of 66 stops and was part of four tackles for a loss. Harris also snatched one interception for coach Trey Woodard and the Yellow Jackets (1-9) this season.

Jax Leggett, Bogue Chitto

A junior defensive back, Leggett showed a willingness to sell out as a tackler and pursuer on the edge of the Bogue Chitto defensive alignment. Stepped in as a full-time starter and finished with 52 tackles, five tackles for a loss, two sacks, three forces fumbles, three recovered fumbles and one interception for the Bobcats (7-4) as Bogue Chitto finished as runners-up in Region 7-2A for coach Gareth Sartin.

Caleb Smith, Loyd Star

A junior defensive back, Smith again showed an ability to read what the offense is trying to do by leading the Hornets in interceptions for a second straight season. Finished with 36 tackles for coach Briand Ford and the Hornets (7-4). Returned three interceptions for a combined 140 yards. Smith also broke up two passes, recovered two fumbles and caused one fumble to earn All-Region honors. He’s a repeat DL All-Area selection.

Cameron Williams, Bogue Chitto

A senior defensive back, Williams will be a hard one to replace for the Bogue Chitto coaching staff as he’s been consistently strong at his position since first starting as a freshman. Finished with 56 tackles, including six stops for a loss. Williams picked off three passes for coach Gareth Sartin and the Bobcats (7-4). He returned those interceptions for a combined total of 100 yards and one touchdown while also breaking up four other passes. An All-Region selection, Williams is a repeat pick for the DL All-Area team.

Josh Thornhill, West Lincoln

A senior punter, Thornhill had to do a little bit of everything for West Lincoln in 2022, but he shined the brightest when booting the ball as a punter. Thornhill punted 30 times for the Bears (0-10) and averaged 37.5 yards per punt. His long punt of the season went for 50-yards, and he also had eight total punts that were downed inside the opponent’s 20-yard line for WL coach Brad Bland.

2022 All-Area Honorable Mentions

Korbin Ashmore, Wesson

Easton Boyte, Brookhaven Academy

Kaleb Chase, Wesson

Isaiah Collins, Bogue Chitto

Conner Cunningham, Loyd Star

Travis Delaughter, Enterprise

Zamarion Diggs, Brookhaven High

Amareon Dunnigan, Brookhaven High

Taurice Ellis, Lawrence County

Tyrell Fairman, West Lincoln

Jamie Fulgham, Enterprise

Gaylon Gayten, Brookhaven High

Hunter Goebel, Bogue Chitto

Landon Graves, Brookhaven Academy

Ethan Greer, Loyd Star

Justin Hailey, Wesson

Marshall Hart, Bogue Chitto

Shomari Jenkins, Bogue Chitto

Jaden Lea, Brookhaven Academy

Trevor McCree, Wesson

Michael Magee, Enterprise

Hunter Meredith, Wesson

Nathan Mills, Loyd Star

Anthony Owens, Lawrence County

Markavion Owens, Lawrence County

Bryson Porter, Brookhaven High

AJ Raiford, Enterprise

Jacob Sanford, Brookhaven Academy

Caden Seay, West Lincoln

Tyler Shann, Brookhaven Academy

Baylor Sills, West Lincoln

Cortez Smith, Loyd Star

Hayes Smith, Loyd Star

Chance Stewart, West Lincoln

Kallion Stewart, West Lincoln

Kenyon Vanison, Lawrence County

Jazerrrius Walker, Lawrence County

Durrell Washington Jr., Brookhaven High

Wes Williams, Enterprise

Brayden Wright, Bogue Chitto