E.A. Sports Today

Mr. Football

Austin’s Martin named 2017 Mr. Football, Piedmont’s Myers Class 3A Back of the Year

Piedmont quarterback Cardavion Myers (R) stands with coach Steve Smith after being named Class 3A Back of the Year. (Photo by Shannon Fagan)

By East Alabama Sports Today

MONTGOMERY – Piedmont’s Cardavion Myers, who took a move from the secondary to first-year starting quarterback and flourished, was named Class 3A Back of the Year during Tuesday’s Mr. Football awards banquet.

Myers was joined by two other Calhoun County players among the finalists for their respective awards.

Piedmont teammate Logan Beadles was a finalist for Class 3A Lineman of the Year and Oxford’s Clay Webb was a finalist for Class 6A Lineman of the Year.

Cherokee County’s tackle machine Riley Russell was named Class 4A Lineman of the Year.

Austin’s Asa Martin was the 36th recipient of the state’s Mr. Football Award.

Myers kept the 3A Back of the Year award in Piedmont after succeeding Taylor Hayes as the Bulldogs’ quarterback. Hayes won the award the previous two years.

Myers, also a standout defensive back who has signed with Western Kentucky, threw for 1,148 yards and 17 touchdowns and ran for 1,973 yards and 27 scores in leading the Bulldogs to a 12-2 record and the Class 3A state semifinals.

Myers knew early on he had to be “the next man up.” He took the challenge Smith presented him and never looked back.

“Taylor Hayes won 3A Back of the Year last year, and just to follow behind him, to take the role and lead the team to victory was a blessing,” Myers said. “I couldn’t have done this without my coaches and teammates. They push me hard every single day. Just to have them (as teammates) is an honor.

“Since my freshman year, they’ve believed in me. They’ve really stood behind my back and just keep pushing me. They knew how good I could become. It paid off my senior year by having them in my life.”

Beadles and Russell both were finalists for the second straight year, two of only six players to be selected finalists in back-to-back years.

Russell finished second to St. James linebacker Sterling Jones in 2016 after posting 144 total tackles, including 15 for lost yards with 11 sacks, five forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and two interceptions.

But this past season he left little doubt of his dominance. He led the Warriors defense with a whopping 260 total tackles, including 17 for lost yardage, seven sacks, three forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.

Beadles, who will be playing at Liberty University next fall, posted 97 total tackles, including 27 for lost yardage with 11 sacks, two caused fumbles, one fumble recovery and a blocked kick.

Smith said both of his players here have been about their team’s success first and not personal achievements. He said they both fall in line with the likes of such former Bulldogs players Gavin Kirkus, Chase Bobbitt and Hayes — players who made moves in the latter part of their careers from a position where they had achieved a lot of success.

“Cardavion Myers is a kid who’s been a two-time all-state selection at defensive back,” Smith said. “This is a guy going into the summer before his senior year has 20-plus Division I offers to play defensive back. Most of all those are the mid-majors — the UABs, Western Kentucky, Southern Miss, people like that. It would have been very common for somebody in his position to say ‘Coach, I need to stay at DB because if I have a good senior year I might get SEC offers.’

“Unfortunately that’s the way a lot of young people think about things today. Cardavion Myers never once said anything to the effect it was going to hurt his personal recruitment. His answer, when I went to him about wanting to make a move, was ‘Coach, you tell me what I need to do to give our team the best chance to succeed. I’m all in.’ That is not an attitude that is prevalent in a lot of young people today.”

Mr. Football Martin, a 6-foot-1, 205-pound senior running back now attending Auburn, rushed for 2,228 yards this season on 198 carries with 33 touchdowns, while adding two more scores and 399 yards on 20 receptions. He also was the Class 6A Back of the Year.

He collected 170 points and 10 first-place votes in Mr. Football ballots cast by the Alabama Sports Writers Association’s prep committee. Pinson Valley junior quarterback Bo Nix was second with 144 points and Thompson quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa, selected Class 7A Back of the Year, was third with 143.

Webb and Myers were 10th and 11th, respectively, in the Mr. Football voting. Webb received 29 points and Myers got 27.

Shannon Fagan, sports editor of the Cherokee Herald, reported on this story.

Here are the 2017 Back and Linemen of the Year:

Back of the Year: Taulia Tagovailoa, Thompson, quarterback
Lineman of the Year: Pierce Quick, Hewitt-Trussville, offensive lineman

Back of the Year: Asa Martin, Austin, running back
Lineman of the Year: Marcus Jenkins, Park Crossing, defensive lineman

Back of the Year: La’Damian Webb, Beauregard, running back
Lineman of the Year: Malik Langham, Lee-Huntsville, defensive lineman

Back of the Year: Symon Smith, UMS-Wright, running back
Lineman of the Year: Riley Russell, Cherokee County, linebacker

Back of the Year: Cardavion Myers, Piedmont, quarterback/defensive back

Lineman of the Year: Andres Fox, Mobile Christian, defensive lineman

Back of the Year: Jermaine Brown, St. Luke’s Episcopal, running back/quarterback
Lineman of the Year: Baraskious Dowdell, Lanett, defensive lineman

Back of the Year: Shamar Lewis, Sweet Water, running back
Lineman of the Year: Devin March, Houston County, defensive lineman

Back of the Year: Griffin McKenzie, Monroe Academy, quarterback
Lineman of the Year: Trace Ott, Autauga Academy, offensive lineman

Cherokee County linebacker Riley Russell is flanked by head coach Tripp Curry (R) and assistant coach Justin Taylor after being named Class 4A Lineman of the Year. (Photo by Shannon Fagan)

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