Making All-County picks tougher than usual in 2016

Published 9:42 am Thursday, December 22, 2016

It’s a magical time of year, when pumpkin spice rules the land, Santa Claus and his reindeer rule the skies, and presents appear in stockings and under trees just before credit card bills appear in mailboxes.

That means, of course, it’s also time to put together our annual All-County football team. Much like the Christmas season, it’s a celebration that comes with a bit of anxiety.

Some years are easy. The choices are obvious and the team slides right into place. Other years, like this one, are pure agony. Deciding on our players of the year was like deciding whether you prefer a Ferrari or a Lamborghini.

How do you choose between a quarterback who threw for 3,000 yards (Vicksburg’s Joe Johnson) and one that only threw for 1,500 but ran for 1,000 more (Warren Central’s Jesse Wilson)?

How do you measure the value to their team of someone like WC’s Demarcus Jones, who led them in rushing and played both offense and defense, and Vicksburg wide receiver Raheam Moore who set a county record for touchdown receptions and undoubtedly drew double- and triple-coverage that allowed his teammates to thrive?

On defense, is it the stud linebacker (Vicksburg’s Nick Anderson) or the shutdown corner (WC’s Shakee Shaw)? Or even someone like Jones, whose defensive stats weren’t eye-popping but who by all accounts is one of the state’s top defensive backs?

We have four, maybe even five or six, players who would be no-brainer choices as player of the year in most seasons. This year, we have to split hairs to pick one with the full knowledge that a case could be made for the others and that someone will be upset.

So was it the right call? I suppose we’ll find out when the angry emails and Facebook posts come flooding in. Just know that it did come with a lot of deliberation and thought. I don’t like getting hate mail without it.

Who did we pick, you ask? You’ll just have to wait until this weekend to find out. Our Defensive Player of the Year and the All-County defense will be unveiled in Saturday’s edition. The Offensive Player of the Year and All-County offense is in Sunday’s paper, and the Coach of the Year on Monday.

It’s a special time of year, all right. I just hope everyone likes what we’ve gotten them.

Ernest Bowker is a sports writer for The Vicksburg Post. He can be reached at ernest.bowker@vicksburgpost.com

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured sports reporters in the paper's 137-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

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