The Moultrie News and South Atlantic Bank have teamed up once again to compile the area’s brightest high school football stars into the eighth annual East Cooper Player of the Year contest.
Each of the 10 weekly standouts voted East Cooper Player of the Week this season received automatic bids onto the Player of the Year ballot. Five at-large selections were also selected based on coaches nominations, statistics and impact on team performance.
Seven different area high schools are represented in this year’s contest. Voting for the 2019 East Cooper Player of the Year opens on Wednesday, Nov. 20 and will close on Sunday, Nov. 24.
Past East Cooper Player of the Year winners include: Maken Glover, Wando, 2018; Robert Crates, Coastal Christian, 2017; Leo Albano, Bishop England, 2016; Danny Kiernan, Bishop England, 2015; Ryan Williams, Wando, 2014; Tyler Ragsdale, Wando, 2013; and Blaine Thompson, Wando, 2012.
2019 East Cooper Player of the Year
Matt Kelly, QB, Porter-Gaud
Porter-Gaud junior quarterback Matt Kelly put together more than 2,300 yards and scored 22 touchdowns this season. Kelly threw for 1,864 yards and 15 touchdowns. He ran for another 482, averaging better than five yards per carry, with seven more scores on the ground.
Davian Brown, RB, First Baptist
First Baptist eighth-grade running back Davian Brown ran 1,131 yards for the Hurricanes this season. He averaged 6.3 yard per carry and scored 17 touchdowns.
Walker Carswell, LB, Porter-Gaud
Porter-Gaud junior defenseman Walker Carswell posted 54 total tackles through eight games, including 11 for a loss. Carswell split time between linebacker and defensive back for the Cyclones this season. He landed two sacks, recovered three fumbles and returned one for a touchdown.
Will Ramey, ATH, Philip Simmons
Philip Simmons junior athlete Will Ramey totaled 87 tackles this season with more than 400 yards of offense. Ramey racked up 52 solo tackles and two for a loss. He had three fumble recoveries, returned an interception for a touchdown, forced a fumble and blocked four field goals. On offense, Ramey reeled in a team-best 26 catches for 339 yards and four scores.
Jaden Singleton, RB, Wando
Wando senior running back Jaden Singleton put together nearly 900 yards and 11 touchdowns through 10 games this season. Singleton ran for 660, averaging 5.3 per carry, with eight scores. He also caught 26 passes for another 191 yards and three touchdowns.
Eddie Marinaro, WR, Bishop England
Bishop England receiver Eddie Marinaro scored three touchdowns in five games this season. Marinaro’s junior year was trimmed in half by injuries. He still posted more than 200 yards, scoring both on the ground and through the air.
Solly Bess, RB, Philip Simmons
Philip Simmons senior running back Solly Bess ran for 652 yards and seven scores this season. Bess led the Iron Horses in rushing, gaining 5.3 yards per carry. He ran for at least 115 yards in three different games this season.
Jarren McCoy, ATH, Bishop England
Bishop England senior athlete Jarren McCoy led the Bishops in tackles to go with more than 400 yards of offense. McCoy landed a team-best 79 tackles, four for a loss, with a forced fumbled, two fumble recoveries and an interception. He was among the team leaders in receiving too, pulling in 23 catches for 441 yards and three touchdowns.
Will Bumgarner, DB, Wando
Wando senior defensive back Will Bumgarner was a leader on both defense and special teams for the Warriors this season. Bumgarner led the team with three interceptions to go with five pass breakups and 19 solo tackles. He also blocked three kicks and logged a team-best nine tackles on special teams.
Tobias Lafayette ATH, Porter-Gaud
Porter-Gaud senior athlete Tobias Lafayette led the Cyclones in receiving and interceptions this season. Lafayette made 40 catches for 703 yards and scored 13 total touchdowns on offense. He pulled in five interceptions and made 47 tackles on defense and returned a kickoff for a touchdown.
Keegan Williams, RB, Oceanside
Oceanside senior back Keegan Williams was among the most productive backs in the state this season. Williams scored 38 touchdowns this season, more than any S.C. High School League player in MaxPreps’ online database. He ran for 1,802 yards, averaging 9.3 per carry and 168 per game. Just one other player on MaxPreps ran for more yards in the state; no one averaged more per game. He also caught 22 passes for 323 yards and returned a kick for a touchdown for the Landsharks, who’ve yet to lose a game this season.
Connor Rourk, QB, Palmetto Christian
Palmetto Christian junior quarterback Connor Rourk accounted for 40 touchdowns and nearly 3,000 yards this season. Rourk ran for 1,920 yards, averaging 12.9 per carry, with 27 touchdowns. He passed for another 921 yards and 13 scores to lead the Eagles, winners of just five games the previous two season, to eight wins this fall.
Myles Castain, DL, Oceanside
Oceanside senior lineman Myles Castain is leading a Landsharks defense that’s allowing just 13 points per game this season with five shut outs. Castain leads Oceanside with 19 tackles for a loss and 4.5 sacks. He ranks second on the team with 63 total tackles. He has three quarterback hurries and a forced fumble. Castain also plays offensive line for one of the most productive offenses in the state.
Will Daniel, QB, First Baptist
First Baptist junior quarterback Will Daniel ranked among the state leaders in passing this season. Daniel led the Lowcountry with nearly 2,800 yards and finished among the top 10 leaders in the entire state. He threw for 21 touchdowns, completing 60 percent of his attempts with a 108 quarterback rating. He also ran for 300 yards and three more scores.
Will Pickren, DB, Wando
Wando senior defensive back Will Pickren posted 46 tackles as captain of the Warriors defense this season. Forty-two of Pickren’s tackles were solo efforts. He logged two tackles for a loss, two forced fumbles, and interception and a pass breakup. He also caught two passes for 45 yards and a touchdown and scored a two-point conversion on offense.