Dual-threat Kendrick collects offensive POY honors

Published 12:17 pm Friday, December 16, 2022

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By Carey Reeder | Staff Writer

Isabella High School quarterback Eli Kendrick’s dual-threat ability helped lead the Mustangs to their seventh consecutive winning season, and captured the 2022 The Clanton Advertiser Offensive Player of the Year.

Kendrick had a monster year going 102-for-162 passing, a 63% completion percentage, and throwing for 2,005 yards and 20 touchdowns. The junior quarterback threw just four interceptions this season. Kendrick contributed heavily on the ground as well accounting for 665 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns giving him 34 scores overall throughout the 2022 season.

“We are an offense who naturally likes to spread the ball around, and we felt like we could throw it more this year with his ability, and we certainly did that,” Isabella coach Tate Leonard said. “He does a great job at studying film, knowing the game, and wanting to learn more. That was really helpful for us this past year.”

Run-pass option plays were a massive part of the Mustang’s offense this season, which gave Kendrick the ability to work his magic with his arm and legs. Leonard said Kendrick does a good job at staying involved with football year-round by going to camps and working with trainers to perfect his craft.

Leonard said he was impressed with Kendrick’s ability to improve upon his mistakes made during the 2021 season such as ill-advised throws into tight coverage. In 2022, Kendrick cut down his turnovers tremendously, and did it behind one of the youngest offensive lines in Chilton County.

Only a junior, Kendrick has another opportunity to help Isabella make a run at an AHSAA Class 2A state title in 2023.

“Next year, the people around him will be older and have more experience on offense, so that should help,” Leonard said. “We feel good with what we have coming back around him (next year).”


Honorable mention: Jakavion Jackson, Maplesville High School

 Jakavion Jackson showed a lot of grit and toughness throughout his final year in the Maplesville High School backfield. The senior running back injured his right ankle a few games into the 2022 season. Maplesville coach Brad Abbott made the move near midseason to use Jackson strictly on defense to help preserve him for the Red Devils pending playoff run.

“His toughness was second to none, and the kids knew what type of injury he had and he was still out there at practice every day wanting to be in there,” Abbott said. “His natural ability to change games any time he touches the ball was also something he definitely brought to us (this past year).”

After playing a minimal season at running back, Jackson still piled up 1,323 rushing yards on 126 carries and scored 21 touchdowns. That is good enough for a 110.3 yards per game average. He also caught six passes for 111 yards and a touchdown, and returned a punt and an interception for a touchdown during the season.


Honorable mention: Zac Chapman, Isabella High School

Last year’s The Clanton Advertiser offensive player of the year Zac Chapman did not have a dip in production in 2022. The senior running back ended his Isabella football career accounting for 1,414 rushing yards and 21 touchdowns, and added 678 receiving yards and seven touchdowns through the air. He also returned a punt for a touchdown.

“He has been with me a long time, and it has been fun to watch him grow,” Leonard said. “He is a winner, a competitor, and an all-around good kid who brought a lot to our program. You could never really call a bad play when you gave him the ball because he would make something happen.”


2022 All-Advertiser Team, Offense

Quarterback: Remington Taylor, Thorsby —1,119 passing yards, 965 rushing yards, 2,118 total yards

Quarterback: Eli Kendrick, Isabella — 102-for-162, 2,005 passing yards, 20 touchdowns and four interceptions, 665 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns

Running Back: Jakavion Jackson, Maplesville — 126 carries for 1,323 rushing yards and 21 touchdowns, 24 total touchdowns and eight two-point conversions

Running Back: Zac Chapman, Isabella — 1,414 rushing yards and 21 touchdowns, 678 receiving yards and seven touchdowns

Running Back: Rashard Childers, Chilton County — 206 carries for 1,113 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns

Running Back: Jacob Morris, Verbena — 113 carries for 1,011 yards and eight touchdowns

Wide Receiver: Coden Cummings, Jemison — 409 receiving yards and five touchdowns, 280 rushing yards and five touchdowns, 490 return yards, 1,179 total yards

Wide Receiver: DreVon Lee — 910 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns, three rushing touchdowns, two punt return touchdowns

Athlete: D.J. Jackson, Verbena — 111 carries for 1,066 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns, 13 receptions for 232 yards and two touchdowns

Athlete: Johnathon Wilson — 49 carries for 451 rushing yards and nine touchdowns, 16 catches for 216 yards and a touchdown, three punt return touchdowns, one kickoff return touchdown

Athlete: Grayson McManus, Thorsby — 631 rushing yards, 645 passing yards, 1,276 total yards

Offensive Line: Johnathan McKinnon, Maplesville — Graded 85% for the year, 17 pancake blocks

Offensive Line: Herman Hinojosa, Chilton County — Graded highest lineman for CCHS this season

Offensive Line: Dustin Davis, Verbena — Played 90% of offensive snaps and blocked for almost 4,000 rushing yards this season

Offensive Line: Bryar Butler, Verbena — Played 90% of offensive snaps and blocked for almost 4,000 rushing yards this season

Center: Tristan Mitchell, Isabella — Graded 92% for the year

Kicker: Jorge Castillo, Chilton County