Cherokee wide receiver Blace Brown was voted to the Class AAAAAA second team, Creekview defensive back Connor Dulmage was named to the Class AAAAA first team and Sequoyah linebacker Peter Rohan was a Class AAAAA honorable mention.
Brown, a 6-foot, 175-pound senior, helped spark Cherokee’s turnaround from a 1-9 record in 2012. He set a school record in receptions (80) and finished the season with 1,137 receiving yards and seven touchdowns.
A three-year starter, Brown spent his first two seasons playing defensive back, but he switched to wide receiver for the 2013 season. His exploits helped Cherokee post a 5-5 record, as the Warriors just missed out on a state playoff berth.
Brown, the Cherokee Tribune Offensive Player of the Year, is Cherokee’s first all-state honoree since defensive lineman Brenan Goldi was a Class AAAAA honorable mention in 2004.
“(Moving Brown to wide receiver) was one of those moves that made the coaches look smart,” Cherokee coach Josh Shaw quipped. “Honestly, though, he was one of the best athletes on the team. We averaged nine points per game last year, so we knew we had to be more explosive on offense this year.
“Blace played slot for us and made some big plays in big games and had a great year. He put in the work during the offseason and I’m proud of his growth off the field as well. It contributed to his success and outstanding accomplishments.”
Brown said working hard with quarterback Ashley Spencer whenever possible helped make his transition to wide receiver that much easier.
“To have an impact like the way I did, and to get this much attention, has been fun,” said Brown, who has received a scholarship offer from Morehead State, on top of interest from Valdosta State and Western Carolina. “I knew I could do something to help the team, but I didn’t think I’d have this kind of year. Working with Spencer on running routes and timing really paid off.”
Dulmage, 6-foot, 190-pound senior and the Cherokee Tribune Defensive Player of the Year, is Creekview’s first all-state player since receiver Riley Davis was voted a Class AAAA second-teamer in 2011.
Dulmage led Class AAAAA with eight interceptions, four of which he returned for touchdowns. He finished the season with 98 tackles, and he also led the Grizzlies with 55 receptions for 696 yards and 12 touchdowns.
“I’ve been a part of some very good teams, and Connor would have started on any side of the ball on any of them,” said Creekview coach Terry Crowder, who went 8-3 and made the state playoffs, in part due to Dulmage’s contributions. “He made play after play. He has a great feel for the ball and some of the best hands I’ve ever seen.
“He’s a throwback player who likes to hit, and I’m very proud of him. It’s quite an achievement for him to make first-team all-state, and it’s well-deserved.”
Rohan, a 6-1, 205-pound senior, led Sequoyah with 124 tackles, including 80 solo. He had one sack, five tackles for loss, and was voted Region 7AAAAA’s defensive player of the year.
Rohan is Sequoyah’s first all-state player since defensive lineman Seth Grummer received Class AAAA honorable mention accolades in 2009.
“Peter is a great young man who has shown that all of the hard work over the years has paid off,” said Sequoyah coach James Teter, who guided the Chiefs to an 8-3 mark. “He had a great year and did some great things for our program.”
Rohan was surprised to find out he made the all-state team.
“I knew I had a lot of tackles, which was pretty good for the county, but I didn’t know it’d be good enough for state,” he said. “I think a new workout program in the offseason really helped me and the team this year. We were prepared to play all year and came together right at the start.”