Christmas week brings All-County football team

Published 8:33 pm Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Christmas is upon us, which means it’s once again time to put the final bow on the high school football season by selecting The Vicksburg Post’s All-County team.

As is tradition, the selections will be unveiled in three phases over the holiday weekend — offense on Sunday, Dec. 23, defense on Tuesday, Dec. 25, and the Coach of the Year on Wednesday, Dec. 26.

The all-county team always provides a snapshot of the season that was in Warren County, and is often a challenge to assemble. When judging players from four schools of widely varying sizes and levels of competition, how do you judge their achievements against each other?

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

How do you pick a coach of the year when only one team finished with a winning record? When there are a couple of defenses that allowed 30 points a game, are there really enough quality players to fill up a dozen spots? How do you split hairs on an Offensive Player of the Year selection when two running backs tied for the rushing title, a third had more total yards and touchdowns than either of them, and a quarterback had some of the highest single-season totals in history?

The answers are, of course, a lot of internal debate and a willingness to live with the decisions no matter how many angry emails flood my inbox.

Our choices for the two players of the year this season — Warren Central safety Lamar Gray on defense and Vicksburg running back Tacarie Stewart on offense — excelled in very similar ways.

Gray and Stewart both exhibited a selfless attitude and got the job done. They played well in all phases of the game and helped their teams in unconventional ways. Gray led the Vikings to a key win by playing running back and special teams, while Stewart filled in at quarterback and played a number of games at linebacker.

There were contenders for both awards with better stats, but none that contributed to their teams in the number of ways that those two did.

The Coach of the Year, meanwhile, is St. Aloysius’ Michael Fields. That award is a tribute to his staff and players as well, but it was Fields who never wavered in his belief that the Flashes could turn things around after an 0-4 start. They won four of their last five to reach the playoffs.

You’ll have to wait for the rest of the selections and the full stories on the winners. We have to leave some element of surprise. But congratulations to Gray, Stewart and Fields. They all earned their honors by doing things the right way.

Ernest Bowker is the sports editor of The Vicksburg Post. He can be reached at

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 reporters in the paper's 140-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.

email author More by Ernest