Local Teams Score Big On 2023 All-State Football Teams
MADISON- The heartbreaking loss in the Class 3A State Championship Game by the Madison Academy Mustangs has given way to bright accolades for members of the state runner-up squad with the release of the 2023 Alabama Sports Writers Association’s All-State Football Teams. The Mustangs have four players on the Class 3A First-Team selections.
“I was surprised and wasn’t expecting to receive this honor as I found out on-line through a post someone submitted,” said Ken Cherry, senior running back who made his second consecutive placement on the All-State selection and is also one of three finalists for the ASWA Class 3A Back of the Year award. “Since we loss in the semi-finals a season ago, I was dedicated in getting stronger and faster to make me a better player. All my teammates made the goal to be a better team, which I think we did, but came up just short of winning the state title this past season.”
For Cherry, he had a season to remember as he finished with 2,836 yards rushing on 206 carries with 44 touchdowns. He also had 20 pass receptions for 379 yards and four scores for Madison Academy (14-1), which lost to No. 1 ranked Mobile Christian (15-0) 55-28. He will graduate in May with a 3.5 grade point average and is expected to sign sometime in January with Samford where he will study business.
The remainder of the Class 3A First-Team All-State selections for the Mustangs included WR Jackson Reece, Sr., 6-0/185, OL Reese Baker, Sr., 6-4/280 and LB A.J. Rice, Jr., 6-2/234. For Baker, the super talented lineman has an assemblage of colleges looking at his football talent and was placed on the list of three players for the honor of Class 3A Lineman of the Year. The Players of the Year awards will be named at the annual ASWA Banquet in Montgomery on Jan. 16.
“I’m extremely blessed and thankful to receive First-Team All-State honors. Thank you to all of my coaches and teammates that have helped me tremendously. I’m proud of my teammates that made it, too,” said Reece, who had 2,213 all-purpose yards including 90 catches for 1,487 yards and 14 touchdowns, plus two kick returns for scores.
The junior Rice was a menace on defense for the Mustangs who gave up just 16 points per game. He had 127 tackles including 59 solos, nine tackles for loss and scored two touchdowns.
In Class 7A, both Bob Jones and James Clemens were represented on both First-Team and Second-Team selections.
First-Team members include RB Tyren Washington, Bob Jones, Sr., 5-10/225 and DL Jaylen Brown, James Clemens, Sr., 6-6/240. Second-Team selections were OL Tafari Alcime, Bob Jones, Sr., 6-2/250 and Athlete Ty Doughty, James Clemens, Jr., 5-9/165.
For Washington, who is still looking at his options for choice of college, he ran for 1,304 yards and 16 touchdowns on 238 carries for the Patriots, which completed the season at 5-6 with a first-round playoff loss. “I was excited when I found out about my All-State selection and I quickly told my family,” said Washington. “I was surprised at first, but deep down inside know I deserve the selection.”
Washington has a 3.1 grade point average and is known as a big bruiser when he runs the ball and is a noted great blocker with great instinct. “I did well this past season and played four positions during the season. I also played quarterback, linebacker and punter. As a running back, I feel I’m tough and runs hard. I believe I showed my toughness as I dislocated my middle finger of my left hand and played with a club covering for at least two games during the season.”
Joining Washington on the First-Team list was Brown who has signed with Missouri. The lean, mean defensive lineman posted 66 tackles on the season for James Clemens (7-4) with nine of those tackles for a loss along with seven quarterback sacks. Brown did not play varsity for the Jets until his junior season. Since his arrival on the squad, he his known as a player who gets off the line quickly, has power with superb quickness and good feet. He has posted a 4.8 in the 40 and has a tremendous 82-inch wingspan.
Alcime helped lead the Patriots to its 5-6 overall record and a third-place finish in Region 4. The Patriots’ offense scored at a rate of 27 points per game and were not shutout.
Doughty was a one-man wrecking crew for the Jets. He had 1,337 all-purpose yards. He ran for 231 yards and three touchdowns, had 56 receptions for 739 yards and six touchdowns and returned three punts for scores during the season.