2019 DTN All-County Football Team
RANDY PARKER/THE DAILY TRIBUNE NEWS
RANDY PARKER/THE DAILY TRIBUNE NEWS
Posted Thursday, December 26, 2019
The four football teams in Bartow County finished a combined 22-22 in 2019.
As has been the case in recent years, Cartersville led the way. The Canes produced half of the county’s 20 regular-season wins. They also had the only playoff victories. However, the team bowed out in the Class 4A state quarterfinals after falling to Woodward Academy.
All four teams will return talented players next season. Although, it’s difficult to predict how it will translate into 2020 records, because reclassification and changing region alignments will alter upcoming schedules greatly.
Player of the Year: Tee Webb, Cartersville senior
It can get a bit monotonous anointing the starting quarterback for Cartersville as Bartow County Player of the Year. But one year after ceding the award to Woodland’s jack-of-all-trades Titus Jones, the honor returns to what has become a familiar place. Webb played well his junior year, leading the Canes to the Class 4A state title game and posting 2,875 yards and 35 touchdowns through the air. He had 40 more passing yards in two fewer games this year, usurping Brooks Barden for second all-time at CHS. Webb passed for 27 touchdowns, slightly below last year’s pace, but cut his interceptions from 12 to three.
Athlete of the Year: Devonte Ross, Cartersville junior
Ross had a legitimate case for POY honors, and he should be considered the way-too-early front-runner for the award next year. His ability to contribute in every facet of the game is what makes him so impressive. Offensively, Ross hauled in 53 passes for 1,077 yards and 12 touchdowns. The dozen scores and 20.3 yards per catch showcase his deep-ball ability. However, Ross was nearly as important on intermediary passes, as Webb’s preferred target in any situation. On defense, he recorded 33 tackles (17 solo), four interceptions and two forced fumbles. He even returned a kickoff for a touchdown.
Jonah Gambill, Cartersville senior — An absolute rock at right tackle for the Canes the past two seasons, Gambill will be sorely missed in 2020. A Memphis signee, Gambill will enroll early to compete this spring for playing time with the Tigers. Last year, Gambill was listed at 265 pounds. He was penciled in at 287 on the 2019 roster. His ability to not lose any of his athleticism with the added weight bodes well for his future success at the collegiate level.
Quante Jennings, Cartersville junior — Jennings missed almost half of the regular season, but whenever he was fully healthy, he proved to be a fully capable lead back. Jennings still managed to rack up 637 yards and nine touchdowns on 93 carries, an average of 6.8 yards per carry. He also had just over 100 receiving yards. In the season opener, he had one of the plays of the season, breaking off a game-changing 98-yard touchdown run to help defeat Allatoona.
Sam Phillips, Cartersville junior — Phillips had a bit of a strange junior campaign. He caught at least one pass in every game, although four times it really was just a single catch. That being said, he compiled some absolutely monster games along the way. His best came against Sandy Creek in a thrilling matchup, in which Phillips recorded 11 receptions, 178 yards and two touchdowns. For the season, he finished with 52 catches for 670 yards (12.9 avg.) and eight scores.
Matthew Surrett, Cartersville senior — One of the most underrated players — let alone offensive linemen — in North Georgia, Surrett proved to be a key cog for the Canes at center again in 2019. An all-county selection as a junior, he helped open holes for an offense that produced more than 4,500 yards this season. Despite his 6-foot-1 frame likely turning off some college coaches, Surrett has been able to pick up offers from a handful of schools, including Division-I Presbyterian.
Marquail Coaxum, Cartersville senior — One of four returning starters in the Canes secondary, Coaxum produced a good senior year, even though he missed a few games with a shoulder injury. Despite not having any interceptions, Coaxum broke up seven passes and forced one fumble, while also making 47 tackles (30 solo). His tackle numbers are particularly impressive considering he had 48 in 15 games last year. Coaxum recently committed to play for Kent State.
La’Kwayme Jupiter, Cartersville senior — As far as purely defensive players are concerned, Jupiter might be the single most impactful player in the county. Jupiter is a bully up front. Any underclassmen offensive linemen who have faced him will be more than happy to see him graduate. His stats were decent — 29 tackles (19 solo), nine tackles for loss, two sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery — but his performances went well beyond any statistic.
Jadon Martin, Cartersville senior — There’s a case to be made for Martin to be the most improved player in the county. That’s not a knock on how he performed as a junior. He began last season as a starter and still played significant snaps throughout. But this year, he took his play to another level. He finished with exactly 100 tackles. He had 56 solo stops, 10 tackles for loss and four sacks. His play of the season came on a scoop-and-score against Cherokee.
Amarai Orr, Cartersville junior — Orr might be the most uniquely gifted athlete in the county. There might not be five players in Georgia who can play at all three levels of a defense as talented as Cartersville’s. Orr could see extended time at safety in 2020, but he made his home, mostly, as a blitzing outside linebacker this season. Orr compiled 94 tackles (50 solo), nine tackles for loss, six sacks, four interceptions, two forced fumbles, a touchdown and a safety.
Evan Slocum, Cartersville junior — Slocum will be playing on Saturday’s for an FBS program someday. For now, Canes fans are thrilled to get to see him every Friday night during the fall. He’s just a truly tremendous football player. He started every game at safety, compiling 80 tackles (42 solo), with three pass breakups, two interceptions, two fumble recoveries and a forced fumble. On offense, he managed 413 yards on just 44 touches, while scoring six touchdowns.
Harrison Allen, Cartersville junior; Blake Woods, Cartersville senior.