This past fall the Hawthorne football team made another run all the way to the Class 1A state championship game.
And one of its quarterbacks headlines the small school offense for the 2021 Mainstreet Daily News All Area Football Team.
Tyler Jefferson, a 3-star quarterback, earned first team All Area honors after helping lead the Hornets to a 10-1 record and a Class 1A state runner-up finish.
“To me it means a lot to be selected for the All Area first team,” said Jefferson, who was also inducted into the National Honor Society. “Being at a small 1A school and having the chance to be recognized on the first team is truly a blessing, and I would not be able to receive this honor if not for my amazing teammates and coaches. While this is an individual award, it is also a team award.”
Jefferson averaged 6.7 yards per carry and rushed for 16 touchdowns. The dual-threat quarterback also threw six touchdown passes.
“Tyler is a very unselfish player that always puts the team first,” said Hawthorne coach Cornelius Ingram. “He could have easily come into the program and scoffed at the idea of sharing the quarterback position with others, as he has multiple Division 1 offers. Instead, Tyler built a bond with every quarterback within our program, in addition to the team as well.”
Jefferson has offers from Florida State, Georgia State and Troy.
“He has constantly shown to be a hard worker, willing to adapt, and is a leader that raises the bar and exceptions within our program,” Ingram added. “Tyler is a very physical runner, rarely brought down by the first defender, and has a cannon for an arm. He is only scratching the surface of his enormous potential.”
Backfield mate Brian James also made the first team. James rushed for 1,171 yards in 10 games for an average of 7.6 yards per carry. He also rushed for 13 scores.
Joining James as first team running back is Rayvon Durant, a junior from Union County. Despite missing three games, Durant still led the area in rushing with 1,344 yards. He averaged a whopping 12 yards per carry and rushed for 15 touchdowns.
“He is a hard-working kid that always puts in the extra work and it’s starting to pay off for him,” said Union County coach Andrew Thomas, whose Tigers (12-1) lost to Chiefland in the Class 1A Region Final. “Tough physical back with break-away ability.”
Tigers’ offensive linemen Alex Dure also made the first team after anchoring an offensive line that helped Union County rush for 4,093 yards.
“He’s been the leader on the offensive line for us the past two years, and he helped pave way for the leading rushing team in the state,” Thomas said. “Very smart lineman that understands technique and has blossomed into a kid we try to run behind.”
Hawthorne had a massive offensive line and landed three of them on the first team. Senior Kylyn Bryant (6-foot-6, 350) is the biggest of the bunch, and he is joined by juniors Mozell Williams (6-5, 340) and Stanley Cooks (6-2, 285).
The top two wideouts in the area are Perrion Sylvester from Newberry and Jaren Hamilton from P.K. Yonge.
Sylvester made the first team after hauling in 36 catches for 678 yards and eight touchdowns in 11 games. The senior averaged 18.8 yards per catch
“Perrion is a very quiet, humble, and hard-working young man,” said Newberry coach Ed Johnson. “He made the most of his opportunities this season for us. He’s explosive, fast, and has some of the best ball skills I’ve ever seen for a high school athlete.”
Hamilton had 30 catches for 671 yards in 11 games. The junior scored 10 touchdowns and averaged 22.4 yards per catch.
“Jaren Hamilton is a coach’s dream,” said P.K. Yonge coach Kevin Doelling, who guided the Blue Wave to an 8-4 record and a Class 3A state playoff berth in his first season. “Not often is your most talented athlete one of the hardest workers, but Jaren is just that.”
He holds offers from Florida, Boston College, Maryland, Purdue, Tennessee, and Jackson State, among others.
“With his dedication to his strength and conditioning and the ability to soak up knowledge from our receivers coach Chris Doering, he’s developed into not only the best receiver in the area,” Doelling said. “But I expect him to be one of the best in the country in the very near future.”
His teammate, Alex Barnett, made the first team as a punter (33.1 average with seven punts inside the 20).
“Alex is a jack of all trades,” Doelling said. “He’s, by far, the most intelligent young man I’ve met. That coupled with his work ethic and competitive edge has made him not only a fantastic football player but an amazing athlete overall as he’s committed to continue his athletic career as a soccer player at UNF.”
Union County’s Jonathan Edwards, a sophomore, received first team kicking honors scoring 73 points on 58-of-62 PATs and going 5-for-5 on field goals.
Bradford’s (Starke) Jontez Williams was named first team as an athlete after playing multiple positions for the Tornadoes, including one game he had to play quarterback.
The Iowa State signee finished with 765 all-purpose yards and 6 TDs. He helped lead Bradford to the second round of the 1A state playoffs by leading his team with 34 catches for 653 yards.
A panel of local sportswriters and coaches chose All Area offensive and defensive teams from Mainstreet’s eight-county coverage area. All 48 players and two coaches will receive commemorative plaques to recognize their accomplishments.
2021 Mainstreet Daily News All Area Football Team small school offense
QB – Tyler Jefferson (Hawthorne, Jr.)
RB (2) – Rayvon Durant (Union County, Jr.), Brian James (Hawthorne, Jr.)
WR (2) – Perrion Sylvester (Newberry, Sr.), Jaren Hamilton (P.K. Yonge, Jr.)
OL (5) – Kylyn Bryant (Hawthorne, Sr.), Alex Dure (Union County, Sr.), Mozell Williams (Hawthorne, Jr.), Stanley Cooks (Hawthorne, Jr.), Devin Mosley (Branford, Sr.)
ATH – Jontez Williams (Bradford, Sr.)
K – Jonathan Edwards (Union County, So.)
P – Alex Barnett (P.K. Yonge, Sr.)
Bell: Ben Dozier (OL/C, Sr.)
Bradford (Starke): Amari Jones (QB, Sr.), Manny Covey (ATH, Jr.), Chalil Cummings (WR, So.), Nathaniel Bowlan-Smith (OL, Sr.), Jeremiah Crum (TE, Sr.), Hayden Hughes (K, Jr.)
Branford: Kyson Johnson (QB, Sr.), Bodhi White (RB, Sr.), Nathan Hill (ATH, Sr.)
Bronson: Jesse Williams III (WR, Sr.), Joshua Chemin (OL, Jr.), Matthew Miller (OL, Jr.), Anuery Montero (ATH, Sr.)
Chiefland: Kade Meeks (OL, Jr.), Clint Thomas (ATH, Jr.), Dakota Fisher (ATH, So.)
Dixie County (Cross City): Kolton Hunt (RB, Sr.), Brendan Hall (WR, Sr.)
Fort White: Kamarion Griffin (ATH, Jr.), Jesse Thompson (OL, Sr.)
Hawthorne: Anthony Morgan (ATH, Sr.), Darian Owens (OL, Jr.), Malachi Jackson (OL, Sr.), Devin Ray (TE, Sr.)
Newberry: Keenon Johnson (RB, Fr.), Mike Moore (WR, Jr.), Lennie Boykin (OL, Sr.); Ryan Armstrong (K, Sr.)
Oak Hall School (Gainesville): Christopher Davis (OL, So.); Dylan Provencher (TE, Jr.)
P.K. Yonge (Gainesville): Aaron Small, Jr. (QB, Sr.), Kendrick Wooden (ATH, Sr.), Christopher Phillips, Jr. (OL, Sr.)
Trenton: Tyler Perry (QB, Sr.), Zach Dumas (OL, So.)
Union County (Lake Butler): A.J. Cortese (QB, Jr.), Caleb Crawford (RB, Sr.), Carson Rogers (OL, Jr.), Daylyn Diston (ATH, Jr.).
This is the first of five stories unveiling the 2021 Mainstreet Daily News All Area Football Team, sponsored by Pavlik Orthodontics. Check back tomorrow for the All Area small school defense.