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Fri. December 25, 2009 | Times Staff

A pre-holiday gathering, the Times prep writers meet every year to select the All-Suncoast football team, a semblance of the bay area’s top talent from Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco and Hernando counties. The goal is simple in theory, but not always in method: honor our coverage area’s best players while attempting to make it well-represented. The vast talent the area presents makes selections grueling. But selecting this year’s players of the year? That part was easy. Jefferson’s Quentin Williams and Plant’s James Wilder Jr. led their teams deep into the postseason, gave us plays that will forever be etched in our minds, and gave us a preview of more excitement to come. The funny part — they played on the same youth league team as fifth-graders, the East Tampa Boys & Girls Club Eagles. “It’s just crazy,” Williams said, shaking his head. “Who would have thought us playing on that field back then, we would have done these things. Those days were fun. It makes you wonder what would happen if we played together now.” Scary thought, indeed. For now, they’ll have to settle for being teammates on our dream team.

Offensive Player of the Year

QB Quentin Williams
Jefferson, Jr.
Barely pushing 6-foot-1, Williams isn’t the prototypical quarterback, but he showed all the tools to be the best scoring weapon in the bay area. And his size can’t compare to his heart or his will, which led Jefferson to the Class 3A state semifinals. Williams threw for 3,377 yards and 34 touchdowns this season. Unflappable in the pocket, ungrabbable fleeing it, he is gifted with a great arm. But the most impressive thing about Williams is how he bleeds Dragons blue. He led Jefferson to a 35-6 win over Citra North Marion on the road in the 3A region final. After running in a winning two-point conversion in the season opener against Hillsborough, he fell to the ground in tears, overwhelmed that fallen friend C.J. Mills was there to push him into the end zone. He cried again after comeback wins over Spoto and in the playoffs to Lakewood. He’s a breath of fresh air — a homegrown product who lives just across the street from Jefferson’s campus in Carver City and puts as much emotion as he does skill into playing the game.

Defensive Player of the Year

DE James Wilder Jr.
Plant, Jr.
Wilder’s postseason performance alone showed why he’ll be arguably the state’s most coveted college prospect in 2010. The son of the Bucs’ all-time leading rusher, Wilder tallied three double-digit tackle efforts, three 100-yard rushing games, seven sacks, two pass deflections and a blocked field goal in the playoffs. A physical freak of nature — his rangy 220-pound frame betrays nary an ounce of body fat — Wilder would get so wired before games he’d bypass the team dinner. Then, he’d carry defenders into the end zone (see his 15-yard touchdown at Lakeland) or bounce off them (see his 41-yarder against Manatee). His numbers for the season: 129 tackles, 19 sacks, six pass deflections, four caused fumbles and 995 rushing yards. “Wild, amazing and prime time,” defensive end David McCarthy said after watching Wilder’s state final performance (137 rushing yards, two sacks, one pass deflection). Coach Robert Weiner was even more succinct: “He’s a beast.”

Coach of the Year
Robert Weiner, Plant
This might have been Weiner’s best state title run yet. Weiner has always been a master of preparation, and this year he excelled in it. He perfectly placed players in spots where they could succeed, from making running back T.J. Glover a primary offensive weapon, to entirely rebuilding a defensive line, to rotating three quarterbacks when starter Phillip Ely was out the first month of the season. Working those chess pieces early one created a well-oiled machine come December, when the Panthers beat nationally ranked state Goliaths Lakeland and Bradenton Manatee for their third state title in four years.

Offense
First team
QB: Stevie Weatherford, Jr., Land O’Lakes
Threw for 2,052 yards, 27 touchdowns with just five interceptions
WR: Andre Davis, Jr., Jefferson
Bay area’s best deep threat caught 18 touchdowns
WR: Charles Lovett, Jr., Hillsborough
Third-year starter has 1,106 yards, second most in bay area
RB: Alton Taylor, Sr., Countryside
Set school record with 1,975 yards rushing and Pinellas record with 31 touchdowns on ground
RB: Hank McCloud, Sr., Tampa Catholic
Ran for 193 yards in Class 2B state title game.
RB: Adrian Golden, Sr., Tarpon Springs
Explosive runner had 1,522 yards and 17 touchdowns.
OL: Chaz Green, Sr., Tampa Catholic
Hillsborough County’s top O-line college prospect
OL: Tyler Moore, Jr., Countryside
The Nebraska recruit is considered one of the best offensive tackles in the country
OL: Patrick Kronk, Sr., Land O’Lakes
The 6-foot-5, 315-pounder is Gators’ anchor
OL: Alex Rodriguez, Sr., Largo
A bruiser who opened holes for the Packers’ running game
OL: Cody Waldrop, So., Armwood
Youngster emerged as best lineman on power running team.
K: Brennan Allen, Sr., Pasco
With 50-plus range on field goals, Allen was dangerous in all phases of kicking game
Util: Bernard Reedy Jr., Sr., Lakewood
All-purpose dynamo had more than 3,000 total yards and scored 36 touchdowns

Second team
QB: C.J. Bennett, Sr., Alonso
WR: James Tello,  Sr., Hudson
WR: Chris Nahat, Sr., Sickles
RB: Alvin Delaine, Jr., Hernando
RB: Cary White, Jr., Sickles
RB: Tevin Drake, Sr., Nature Coast
OL: Jamall Carter, Jr., Pasco
OL: Austin Jenquine, Sr., Largo
OL: Joe Crews, Sr., Mitchell
OL: Andre Mondor, Sr., Plant
OL: Garrett Wolfe, Sr., Jefferson
K: Tyler Feely, Sr., Jesuit
Util: Christian Green, Sr., Tampa Catholic

Defense
First team
DL: David McCarthy, Sr., Plant
170-pounder had 16 sacks in first year as starter
DL: Brodrick Lee, Jr., Tarpon Springs
Pinellas’ most dominant interior rusher had 127 tackles, seven sacks
DL: Theodore “Man-Man” Jackson, Sr., Armwood
76 tackles, nine sacks despite slew of double teams
DL: Spencer Michelson, Jr., Land O’Lakes
Led the Gators with 10 sacks and 78 tackles
LB: Jeremiah George, Sr., Clearwater
Pinellas County’s defensive player of the year had more than 150 tackles
LB: Mike Mirabella, Sr., Plant
Capped splendid prep career with a 136-tackle senior season
LB: Jermaine McKinney, Jr., Armwood
“Juice” had 119 tackles, 13 sacks for 12-2 team
LB: Fred Overstreet, Sr., Jefferson
Syracuse, Purdue offers for leader of underrated Dragons’ D
DB: Jamie Byrd, Jr., Pasco
Led the Pirates with 129 tackles and six sacks
DB: Jamarious Boatwright, Sr., Largo
Led Pinellas County in interceptions with eight
DB: Javonte Martin, Sr., Plant
“Lockdown” small in stature (5-foot-7) but big on plays
DB: Terrence Mitchell, Sr., Hillsborough
Bay area’s top defensive recruit
P: William Griswold,  Sr., Countryside
A strong kicker who also could boom punts, including one for 54 yards
KR: Frankie Williams, Jr., Robinson
Three-way star returned no fewer than six kicks for scores
Util: Scott O’Donoghue, Sr., Sickles
Two-way star had 137 tackles and started at quarterback in playoffs

Second team
DL: Gary Myrick, Jr., Land O’Lakes
DL: Dominic James, Sr., St. Petersburg
DL: Tim Jackson, Sr., Gibbs
DL: Ian Hopkins, Sr., Sickles
LB: Greg Hickman, Sr., TBT
LB: Kostas Vavlas, Sr., Tarpon Springs
LB: Ruben Garcia, Sr., Durant
LB: Dylan Lamb, Sr., Mitchell
DB: Jeremi Wilkes, Sr., Tampa Cath.
DB: Dondre Davis, Sr., St. Petersburg
DB: Nick Addison, Jr., Spoto
DB: Brenton Nuby, Jr., Nature Coast
P: Luis Rodriguez, Sr., Leto
KR: Allen Sampson, Sr., Plant
Util: Rodney Williams, Spoto

Honorable mention
Alonso: Anthony Chickillo; Countryside: Todd Shorter, Tyler Walker; East Lake: Chad Hill, Collin Cole; Gibbs: Josh Rembert, Jarvis West; Gulf: Madison Burr, Darryl Cooper, Austin Jackson; Land O’Lakes: Andrew Moore, Alex Robinson; Lakewood: Xavius Boyd, Jermiel Douse; Largo: Mike Douglas, Myrick Gwyn; Mitchell: Cody Folsom, Ricky Trinidad; Nature Coast: Isaac Bailey, Justin Beetz, John Carbone, Corey Emerson; Osceola: Edwin McKinney; Pasco: Janarion Grant, Mark Landry, Chase Sellers; Palm Harbor University: Mark Hansson, Patrick McDonald; Plant City: Jordan Prestwood; St. Petersburg: Jamone Myrick, Ben Sams; St. Petersburg Catholic: Julian Smith; Tampa Bay Tech: Maurice Hagens; Tarpon Springs: Danny Chaisson, Clay Paino; Wesley Chapel: R.J. Nixon

Eduardo A. Encina and Joey Knight, Times staff writers

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