The Playmakers in the Southern Crescent

Photo by Derrick Mahone
Lovejoy defensive back Jermaine Hough has made big plays for the Wildcats on defense and special teams.

Photo by Derrick Mahone Lovejoy defensive back Jermaine Hough has made big plays for the Wildcats on defense and special teams.

D.J. Curl, ELCA: When you hear about the Chargers’ defense, names like Justin Thomason and Isaac Rochell usually pop up, and deservedly so. But when it comes to big plays, Curl has the knack for making his presence felt. He came up with an interception that got ELCA back on track last week in its region-championship victory against Holy Innocents’. He also had a two-interception game earlier this season against Manchester.

Travis Custis, Lovejoy: Most of the Wildcats’ offensive attack centers around this junior running back. He has rushed for 1,209 yards on 184 carries with 24 touchdowns.

Jermaine Hough, Lovejoy: Sometimes his talents get overshadowed by other teammates, but this senior is a bigtime playmaker in all three facets of the game. He has 52 tackles in his ability to offer run support. The senior has a team-leading 17 pass breakups. He has done just as much damage on the special teams with three blocked punts and a blocked PAT.

Terrell Jordan, Drew: While most of the talk about the Titans has centered around their offense, the defense has held its own. The linebacker has 151 tackles, four fumble recoveries and has scored a pair of defensive touchdowns.

Chris Moody, Henry County: Moody has come up huge in back-to-back weeks just when the Warhawks needed him most. He had the only touchdown in the 7-0 victory over Drew and followed that performance with 407 total yards against Eastside in a 34-24 must-win victory.

Leon Prunty, Stockbridge: He’s one of the big reasons why the Tigers are playing their first-ever home playoff game today, why they have had back-to-back playoff seasons for the first time ever. His stats have been affected by running the option, but those who pay close attention know that Prunty is a player.

Nathaniel Norwood, Lovejoy: The junior linebacker is a big reason the Wildcats have one of the top defenses in the state. He has 72.5 tackles, including an eye-popping 31 tackles for losses. Norwood has ability to get into the offensive backfield of the opponent to disrupt the play. He has 12.5 sacks and 41 quarterback hurries.

Cameron Sutton, Jonesboro: It is very rare for this talented junior to come off the field. On offense, he must be accounted for at all times as he lines up in the wideout position and occasionally at quarterback. He might be most dangerous on the special teams where he has tremendous break-away ability that has resulted in good field position for the Cardinals.

John Tatum, ELCA: He has been a force on offense all season, and with backfield mate Keyante Green ailing, has still been able to shoulder the load. He has averaged more than 10 yards a carry and more than 130 yards a game, earning notice from several colleges. He also plays at safety because ELCA likes his size (6-2, 215 pounds) and can’t afford to leave him on the sidelines.

Dalvin Tomlinson, Henry County: The wrecking ball defensive end is one of the most sought-after players in the nation because he’s a combination of brains and brawn — which makes life for the opposing quarterback a dicey proposition. He has 84 tackles in 10 games and eight sacks, disrupting the other guys’ flow. Anybody who plays Henry County knows where he is at all times.

Jadarius West, Drew: The wide receiver came into the season with offers from SEC schools Kentucky and South Carolina. He has been a big reason that the Titans are making their first playoff appearance in school history. The speedy senior has an amazing 17 touchdowns. At times, he will take the direct snap from center in the Titans’ “Wildcat” package.