By Chris Goltermann
East Coweta and Newnan were prominent among standouts when this year’s All-Region 2-7A football team was released, with Indians senior running back Gerald Green leading the way locally with Player of the Year accolades.
Newnan’s seven first-team honorees, meanwhile, were second to only region champion Westlake’s high of eight. In all the Cougars landed 10 selections between the first and second teams.
In all, 15 county players earned selections for the 2018 season, which saw both local schools reach the Class 7A state playoffs.
Green gained no fewer than 80 yards over five region games, rushing for close to 1,600 in his final varsity season while averaging over six per carry. Among 16 touchdowns were five in a 45-21 victory over Wheeler that gave East Coweta an elusive win after a tough 0-6 start.
The Indians won three of their last four games, however, to reach the postseason before Green ran wild again in the first round of the Class 7A playoffs. His 270 yards and four touchdowns led an upset win at Marietta as East Coweta advanced to the second round for the first time in six years.
Green then topped off his varsity career with 227 yards and a touchdown in a 24-17 loss to Tift County in the second round.
Newnan earned a return trip to the state playoffs in a six-win campaign that featured a combination of veterans and newcomers making key contributions. On offense, sophomore quarterback Michael Maginnis made an impressive varsity debut while joined by sophomore running back Bryson Moss and senior wide receiver Woody Waters among the All-Region 2-7A First Team.
The Cougars’ defense equally made sparkling improvements en route to a 4-1 region record and produced first-team selections at defensive line in junior Eric Geter, linebacker in senior Ricky Boozer and defensive back in senior Malik Hussie.
Newnan also had a first-team representative on special teams in kicker Rad Wyrick, who was 40-for-40 on PATs.
On offense, Maginnis threw for 1,674 yards and 15 touchdowns in his first varsity season as a starter, but was equally efficient while completing 56-percent of his throws. He finished the region schedule without an interception in five region games.
Moss rushed for just under 700 yards despite missing all of September and playing sparingly in Newnan’s first two region games while nursing an ankle injury. The sophomore still rushed for a team-high nine rushing touchdowns and threw a 31-yard touchdown pass in Newnan’s playoff loss to McEachern at home.
Waters was the top producer among a deep group of receivers for the Cougars. The senior caught a career-best 46 passes for 690 yards and five touchdowns.
Defensively, Hussie led Newnan with 85 tackles from his safety position and added three interceptions, four pass breakups and a fumble recovery.
Geter posted eight sacks up front and Boozer finished with 52 tackles, two fumble recoveries and an interception at linebacker.
Along with Green, East Coweta received three All-Region First Team selections in seniors Taylor McCawley, Dantarius Chunn and offensive lineman R.J. Pettaway.
McCawley led the Indians with over 100 tackles at linebacker and Chunn finished with three interceptions and two fumble recoveries in the Indians’ secondary.
Both schools also had second-team honorees. Newnan’s included senior defensive lineman Darius Gates, senior offensive lineman Will Anderson and senior receiver Kyle McDonald.
East Coweta was represented on the second team by senior linebacker Alex Derico.
Honorable mentions for Newnan included offensive linemen Carson Knight, Tyler Vallery and Adam Rush and linebackers San Juan Warner and Jacob Thomas.
East Coweta’s honorable mentions included offensive linemen Riley Jewett, Gage Pitchford and Jeden Watson along with linebacker Deven Holmes.
The 2018 All-County Team, selected by CowetaScore and The Newnan Times-Herald, will be released on Sunday, Dec. 23.