The Sun's football players of the year


Gainesville High’s Kevin Nelson and Branford’s John Perry are The Gainesville Sun’s top football players of the year.

Lee Ferinden
Published: Saturday, January 2, 2010 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 3, 2010 at 12:26 a.m.

Class 3A-6A: Kevin Nelson

SCHOOL: Gainesville

YEAR: Senior

POSITION: LB

HEIGHT/WEIGHT: 6-foot-2, 225 pounds

COLLEGE CHOICE: Miami (Nelson needs only to graduate to be eligible as a true freshman, as he received a qualifying ACT score in December)

NOTABLE: Finished season with 141 tackles, three sacks, two interceptions (both for touchdowns), three forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries (one for a touchdown), one rushing touchdown (as a goal-line fullback); in 14-9 victory against city rival Buchholz, Nelson scored both GHS touchdowns (on an interception and a fumble recovery)

AWARD RUNNER-UP: Columbia junior DL Timmy Jernigan

3A-6A OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Jamaal Montague (Columbia Sr. WR)

3A-6A DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Timmy Jernigan (Columbia Jr. DL)

3A-6A COACH OF THE YEAR: Craig Howard (Columbia)

Credentials: In his second season with the Tigers, Howard led Columbia to an 8-3-1 record, the District 4-4A championship and the regional semifinals. By virtue of its victory against GHS, Columbia was the top team in the area this season.

Other finalist: Ryan Smith (Gainesville)

Class 1B-2A: John Perry

SCHOOL: Branford

YEAR: Senior

POSITION: RB/DB/KR/PR

HEIGHT/WEIGHT: 6-foot-2, 185 pounds

COLLEGES BEING CONSIDERED: Tennessee State, Miami (Ohio), Florida A&M, Bethune-Cookman, Tusculum, Murray State, Illinois State

NOTABLE: Finished with 186 carries for 1,852 yards (9.9 ypc) and 22 touchdowns, 15 receptions for 313 yards (20.9 avg) and two touchdowns, 27 punt returns for 590 yards (21.8 avg) and five touchdowns, 13 kickoff returns for 515 yards (39.6 avg) and four touchdowns; said his season highlight was the Bucs’ 32-20 victory against archrival Lafayette

AWARD RUNNER-UP: Williston Sr. RB/DB Deonte Welch

1B-2A OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Deonte Welch (Williston Sr. RB)

1B-2A DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Isaac Floyd (Williston Sr. SS/OLB)

1B-2A COACH OF THE YEAR: Ronny Pruitt (Hawthorne)

Credentials: Led the Hornets to a 12-1 record, the District 2-1B championship, the Region 1-1B championship and a berth in the FHSAA state semifinals. HHS was the last area team playing football this season and the only school to finish the regular season undefeated.

Other finalists: Bill Wiles (Branford), Brent Wilkerson (Dixie County), Derek Chipoletti (Williston)

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