Multiple Mustangs honored

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campbell.atkins@madisonvillemeteor.com

Cornelius Merchant among multiple members of the 2017 Madisonville football team were honored with All-District awards from District 11-AAAA. Merchant was named the District’s overall MVP while Zach Poe garnered defensive MVP and the Mustang coaches earned Staff-of-the-year.

“The awards and recognition the program and our kids have received are much deserved,” said Madisonville head football coach Rusty Nail. “All of these are really team awards as the recognition comes from being part of not only a successful unit in terms of offense or defense, but a successful football team."

After an injury plagued junior season, Merchant seemed to dominate on a weekly basis and finished the season with over 1,500 yards on the ground, 28 rushing touchdowns and one through the air. He personally logged 29 of the 72 offensive touchdowns scored by the Mustangs this season.

Merchant often benefited from his tremendous offensive line as well as other weapons who could give him a break when necessary. Wide receivers Kasey Williamson, Kendell Moffett and Johnny Simpson comprised three of the position’s four first team slots. Brandon Larson was honored with the same award for the tight end position along with tackle Tommy Holiday, guards Joey McIver, Deion Crittendon and center Brad Roundtree.

Quarterback Ben Phillips and running back Aaron Nellums were named second-team all-District while Uriel Willis was first.

Madisonville’s defense was not to be outdone by their offense. In 10 regular season games, the unit recorded three shutouts. Overall, the Mustang defense took the ball away from their opponents 25 times. The District’s defensive MVP Zach Poe recorded 63 tackles, seven of which occurred behind the line of scrimmage.

Seven more Mustangs were named to the District’s first-team defense including defensive tackle Chris Scott, who wreaked havoc in opposing backfields all year. Scott accounted for nearly a third of the team’s sacks with 10 and caused a loss of 66 total yards.

Marcus Dorman, who led the team in tackles, and Nellums were both awarded with two of the four linebacker spots for the District’s first team. Defensive backs Tyrese Brown, Simpson and Moffett were also recognized. Brown led the team with four interceptions in 2017, including a pick-6 in the regular season.

Holiday was also recognized on the defensive side of the ball and was placed on the District’s second team for defensive end. Holiday was second on the team in deflected passes (4) and even recorded an interception.

One of the deadliest weapons for the Mustangs all season was, without question, kicker Mauricio Aceves. Not only could Aceves convert some tries that would keep many college kickers awake and worried for their jobs, but the junior was almost an automatic touchback at all times. Aceves accounted for 94 points on the season, including 70/72 converted extra points. Aceves was honored with first-team kicker and second-team punter. Simpson was also named to the first-team for his kick returning accolades.

In order to have a team collect so many awards in so many diverse categories, you need an effective coaching staff. In their first year all together as a group, the Madisonville coaches accomplished some amazing things with their players and certainly earned staff-of-the-year honors.

“I’m happy that the staff was also recognized for their hard work,” said Nail. “They are the backbone of this program. They are all great men and great role models for our Mustangs to look up to.”

Sports writer

Cornelius Merchant among multiple members of the 2017 Madisonville football team were honored with All-District awards from District 11-AAAA. Merchant was named the District’s overall MVP while Zach Poe garnered defensive MVP and the Mustang coaches earned Staff-of-the-year.

“The awards and recognition the program and our kids have received are much deserved,” said Madisonville head football coach Rusty Nail. “All of these are really team awards as the recognition comes from being part of not only a successful unit in terms of offense or defense, but a successful football team."

After an injury plagued junior season, Merchant seemed to dominate on a weekly basis and finished the season with over 1,500 yards on the ground, 28 rushing touchdowns and one through the air. He personally logged 29 of the 72 offensive touchdowns scored by the Mustangs this season.

Merchant often benefited from his tremendous offensive line as well as other weapons who could give him a break when necessary. Wide receivers Kasey Williamson, Kendell Moffett and Johnny Simpson comprised three of the position’s four first team slots. Brandon Larson was honored with the same award for the tight end position along with tackle Tommy Holiday, guards Joey McIver, Deion Crittendon and center Brad Roundtree.

Quarterback Ben Phillips and running back Aaron Nellums were named second-team all-District while Uriel Willis was first.

Madisonville’s defense was not to be outdone by their offense. In 10 regular season games, the unit recorded three shutouts. Overall, the Mustang defense took the ball away from their opponents 25 times. The District’s defensive MVP Zach Poe recorded 63 tackles, seven of which occurred behind the line of scrimmage.

Seven more Mustangs were named to the District’s first-team defense including defensive tackle Chris Scott, who wreaked havoc in opposing backfields all year. Scott accounted for nearly a third of the team’s sacks with 10 and caused a loss of 66 total yards.

Marcus Dorman, who led the team in tackles, and Nellums were both awarded with two of the four linebacker spots for the District’s first team. Defensive backs Tyrese Brown, Simpson and Moffett were also recognized. Brown led the team with four interceptions in 2017, including a pick-6 in the regular season.

Holiday was also recognized on the defensive side of the ball and was placed on the District’s second team for defensive end. Holiday was second on the team in deflected passes (4) and even recorded an interception.

One of the deadliest weapons for the Mustangs all season was, without question, kicker Mauricio Aceves. Not only could Aceves convert some tries that would keep many college kickers awake and worried for their jobs, but the junior was almost an automatic touchback at all times. Aceves accounted for 94 points on the season, including 70/72 converted extra points. Aceves was honored with first-team kicker and second-team punter. Simpson was also named to the first-team for his kick returning accolades.

In order to have a team collect so many awards in so many diverse categories, you need an effective coaching staff. In their first year all together as a group, the Madisonville coaches accomplished some amazing things with their players and certainly earned staff-of-the-year honors.

“I’m happy that the staff was also recognized for their hard work,” said Nail. “They are the backbone of this program. They are all great men and great role models for our Mustangs to look up to.”

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