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Craine, Kittler, Vaughn get top Region 4-AAAAA, Div. A honors

Union Grove almost swept the Region 4-AAAAA, Div. A player of the year awards.

Wolverines running Derrick Craine was named offensive player of the year, while defensive lineman Tyler Vaughn shared the defensive player of the year award with Drew’s Ben Kittler.

Craine’s selection is hardily surprising considering the senior’s break-out season. The 5-foot-9, 205-pounder rushed for 2,105 yards and 26 touchdowns on 273 carries in leading Union Grove to its first 10-win season since 2002 and its first playoff appearance since 2009.

Vaughn also played a big part in the Wolverines’ resurgence. In addition to being Craine’s lead blocker at fullback, Vaughn was a force on defense with 73 tackles and nine sacks.

Kittler was the leader of a talented Drew linebacking corps. The senior had 56 tackles, 16 pass break-ups, 9.5 tackles for loss, three sacks, two interceptions and two fumble recoveries.

Drew led all teams with eight players selected to the first team, though the Titans finished 6-4 and missed the playoffs with a 42-0 loss to Creekside in a region play-in game.

Mundy’s Mill and Union Grove each had seven players selected, followed by Forest Park and Ola with three each and Mount Zion with one.

Mundy’s Mill’s Rodney Smith was one of three first-team running backs after rushing for 1,575 yards and 18 touchdowns on 196 carries for the Tigers.

Smith missed the team’s region play-in contest against Northgate, a 15-3 loss, after sustaining a season-ending injury the week before against Ola. Smith has since undergone surgery to repair a torn ACL and is expected to be ready for the start of next season.

4-AAAAA, Div. A All-Region

Offensive player of the year: Derrick Craine, Union Grove, Sr.

Defensive players of the year: Ben Kittler, Drew, Sr., and Tyler Vaughn, Union Grove, Sr.

First-team offense

QB - Jay Murray, Drew, Sr.

RB - Rodney Smith, Mundy's Mill, Jr.

RB - Jojo Spann, Ola, Sr.

RB - Marquis Terry, Drew, So.

OL - Matthew Ivey, Union Grove, Sr.

OL - Darius Anderson, Mundy's Mill, So.

OL - Demarko Hill, Drew, Jr.

OL - Darrion Bell, Drew, Jr.

OL - Nick Davis, Union Grove, Sr.

WR - Caleb Ham, Union Grove, Jr.

WR - Kwamie Jackson, Drew, Sr.

WR - Carlo Dowdell, Forest Park, Jr.

TE - Ebere Azubuike, Mundy's Mill, Sr.

ATH - C.J. Carr, Ola, Sr.

P - Bright Besong-Nso, Mundy's Mill, Sr.

First-team defense

DL - Rashaad Coleman, Drew, Sr.

DL - Raleek Taylor, Mundy's Mill, Sr.

DL - Grayson Fuller, Union Grove, Jr.

DL - Raequan Bond, Drew, Sr.

LB - Tyberius Aaron, Mundy's Mill, Sr.

LB - Terrell Jordan, Drew, Sr.

LB - Jimmy Carman, Ola, Sr.

LB - Brandon Williams, Forest Park, Jr.

DB - Chris Hutley, Mount Zion, Sr.

DB - Jonathan Celestin, Mundy's Mill, Jr.

DB - Chuck Valentine, Union Grove, Sr.

DB - Kyle Bailey, Forest Park, Jr.

ATH - Luke Parker, Union Grove, So.

K - Shawn Davis, Union Grove, Jr.

Second-team offense

QB - Jonathan Slade, Union Grove, Jr.

RB - Deon Dawson, Mount Zion, Sr.

RB - Lester Knauls, Drew, Jr.

RB - Dajuan Sims, Forest Park, Jr.

OL - Chris Robinson, Drew, Sr.

OL - Lane Henderson, Union Grove, Jr.

OL - Andrew Johnson, Ola, Jr.

OL - Justin Brooks, Mundy's Mill, Jr.

OL - Anthony Davis, Forest Park, Sr.

WR - Terry Gibbs, Union Grove, Sr.

WR - Maurice Cash, Drew, Jr.

WR - Eric Tate, Mundy's Mill, Jr.

ATH - Montel Buchanan, Mount Zion, Sr.

P - Maliek Seals, Drew, Sr.

Second-team defense

DL - Keanu Houston, Ola, Sr.

DL - Wesley White, Mount Zion, Sr.

DL - David Durden, Union Grove, So.

DL - Christopher Holmes, Mundy's Mill, Sr.

LB - Jallah Neal, Drew, Fr.

LB - Kentarious Ransom, Mundy's Mill, Sr.

LB - Radarius Abercrombie, Mount Zion, Sr.

LB - Austin Brown, Union Grove, Jr.

DB - Emmanuel Parks, Mount Zion, Sr.

DB - Dalton Tumlin, Union Grove, Sr.

DB - Harvey Salley, Drew, Sr.

DB - Jailyn Allen, Mundy's Mill, Jr.

ATH - Tracy Gaston, Drew, So.

K - Marco Salas, Drew, Sr.