Best player in school history: Region 4-A teams
Retired Lincoln County coach Larry Campbell, who knows a little about Class A football, always said Mack Strong was the best player his Red Devils ever faced. Strong rushed for 4,414 yards and scored 86 touchdowns in his career at Brookstone (1985-88) that preceded a 14-year NFL career.
Was Strong the best player in the history of the current Region 4-A schools? He might have the most complete resume.
Or would it be Charles Johnson, who led Hawkinsville to a 2003 state title as a Super 11 pick and Class A defensive player of the year? That 15-0 Hawkinsville team allowed only 7.4 points per game.
A similar player to Johnson is Dooly County alumnus Montravius Adams, who like Johnson was an All-SEC defensive lineman taken in the third round of the NFL Draft. Adams is a rookie with the Packers, Johnson an 11-year veteran with the Panthers.
The old-timers might remember the original NFL star from this group of schools. That would be Manchester’s Bill Mathis, who played 10 years in the NFL and won Super Bowl III with the Jets.
The rest might be called high school legends, at least for now.
Former Macon County star and current Georgia LB Roquan Smith is on the NFL path. He was a two-time Class AA defensive player of the year who edged out former teammate K’hari Lane, who set a state record with 56 TD passes in a season last year.
Taylor County’s Lyn-J Dixon is the first active player honored in this series. He has rushed for 4,666 yards and scored 78 touchdowns with potentially 13 games to go. He is committed to Tennessee.
The rest include Lorenzo Smothers, who led Marion County to its first state title (2013), had 2,572 yards rushing, 1,766 receiving and 2,362 returning, and scored 80 touchdowns; Matt Dunham, who set the state record for touchdowns in a career with 111; Darryl Ogletree, who rushed for 2,648 yards for Greenville’s 1980 Class A championship team; and Tra Minter, who had 5,675 yards rushing and 67 touchdowns for a school that lacked the supporting cast to win a playoff game.
*Brookstone: Mack Strong
*Central (Talbotton): Derrick Byrd
*Crawford County: Adrian Martin
*Dooly County: Montravius Adams
*Greenville: Darryl Ogletree
*Hawkinsville: Charles Johnson
*Macon County: Roquan Smith
*Manchester: Bill Mathis
*Marion County: Lorenzo Smothers
*Pacelli: Matt Dunham
*Schley County: Tra Minter
*Taylor County: Lyn-J Dixon
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