Bluefield’s Mookie Collier, FS’s Dante Stills captain Class AA All-State first teams
FAIRMONT — As each led their team to the Class AA state championship game, both Bluefield’s Mookie Collier and Fairmont Senior’s Dante Stills played a vital role for their respective teams, with each doing whatever was asked of them.
For Collier, whether he was tasked with putting points on the point via his breakaway running ability or ball-hawking in the secondary, he was up to the challenge.
“I’ll do whatever I can do for the team to help them win it,” Collier, who had 2,234 rushing yards and 33 total touchdowns on the season said. “If I have to get it 50-something times, if it’s to help the team win, I’ll do it.”
Stills, a havoc-wreaking defensive end who will play in the Under Armour All-America game before taking his talents to West Virginia University next season, was tasked with blowing up plays in the backfield and keeping the opposing team on its heels.
“I just try and play my game and do my job,” Stills, who had 84 tackles, 31.5 tackles for loss and 11 sacks this season, said. “(My job) is just to ball out. … Just play good, (get) leverage and keep contain.”
Both Collier and Stills did their jobs – very well – in 2017, and each has been awarded Class AA first-team All-State captaincy as selected by the West Virginia Sports Writers Association, with Collier serving as offensive captain and Stills as defensive captain.
Joining Collier as Class AA first-team offensive honorees are a group of standout athletes who all played vital roles for their teams.
Across the offensive line, first-team selections include Mingo Central’s Dalton Fields, Fairmont Senior’s Zach Frazier, Bluefield’s Nathan Pettus, Winfield’s Grant Dickson and Berkeley Springs’ Mason Sipes.
At QB, Jeremy Dillon received first-team honors after posting 2,887 passing yards and 41 touchdowns to go along with 1,346 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns while leading the Miners to the Class AA semifinals.
Collier, Bridgeport’s Jake Bowen (1,894 rush yards and 26 TDs) and Robert C. Byrd’s Ghovan Davidson (1,730 rush yards, 22 touchdowns) received first-team honors at running back while all taking their teams to the postseason.
Mingo Central’s Drew Hatfield (67 receptions, 1,058 yards and 12 touchdowns) and Braxton County’s Tayton Stout (42 catches, 850 yards and 10 touchdowns) were named first-team at receiver.
Winfield’s Andrew Huff (1,917 passing yards and 29 TDs and 877 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns), Chapmanville’s Dylan Smith (1,771 rush yards with 30 TDs, 26 catches for 291 yards and TDs and 257 kick return yards and a TD) and Liberty (Harrison)’s Dalton Westfall (1,678 rush yards and 25 TDs) were all named first-team All-State utility players.
After kicking nine field goals – the best mark in the Big 10 Conference – and 28 extra points, Elkins’ George Triplett was named first-team All-State kicker.
Joining Stills on the Class AA first-team defensive line are Weir’s Tyler Komorowski (52 tackles, five forced fumbles, five sacks and 19 tackles for loss) and Clay County’s Ryan Burdette (113 tackles, 17 TFL and 7.5 sacks).
First-team linebackers from Class AA include Big 10 Conference Defensive Player of the Year Hunter Mason from Phillip Barbour (97 tackles, 12 TFL, four FF and four FR), Mike Bartram from Wayne (110 tackles, 6.5 TFL), Bluefield’s Truck Edwards (121 tackles, four FF, four FR and two interception returns for touchdowns) and James Monroe’s Grant Mohler (101 tackles).
Another Mohler represents James Monroe in the defensive backfield as Monroe Mohler’s seven interceptions earned him first-team honors. He is joined by Bridgeport’s John Merica (50 tackles, two INT and seven pass breakups), Clay County’s Isaac Workman (50 tackles, eight INTs and four INT returns for TD) and Keyser’s Brady Ours (62 tackles, two TFL, four INT and six pass breakups).
The defensive utility spot is occupied by four players – Bryson Gilbert, Cason Payne, Broderick Lantz and Reed Reitter — who each did it all for their teams on both sides of the ball.
Fairmont Senior’s Gilbert, the Big 10 Offensive Player of the Year, served as the Polar Bears’ leading rusher with 1,320 yards to go along with 415 receiving yards and 28 total touchdowns, all while recording 46 tackles, four interceptions (two of which were returned for touchdowns) and punting 20 times for an average of 32.7 yards per punt.
Point Pleasant’s Payne recorded 51 tackles, two interceptions and two sacks, all while passing for 2,102 yards and 23 touchdowns to go with 925 rushing yards and 17 TDs.
Liberty (Harrison) senior Lantz not only was a play maker on defense for the Mountaineers, who reached the Class AA quarterfinals, but was a key contributor offensively with 1,753 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns.
At Weir, Reitter, who earned a first-team spot at utility/punter did it all, recording 84 tackles, three forced fumbles, a fumble recovery brought back for a TD, eight pass breakups and an interception on defense. On special teams he hit 7-7 field goals and averaged 38.6 yards per punt, while also returning a punt for a score himself.
After leading his team to the state championship game, Fairmont Senior quarterback Connor Neal was named second-team offensive captain while Sissonville’s Hunter Thomas was named second-team defensive captain.
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