Eastern High has ten named to All-Conference football squad

Eastern Alamance had a total of 15 players named All-Mid-State Conference in the sports of men's soccer and football. The Mid-State Conference champion football Eagles had a total of 10 players selected, including Conference Offensive Player of the Year Austin Bryant, as well as five players selected to the All-Mid-State Conference men's soccer squad. 

The Mid-State Conference announced its full All-Conference list for fall sports this past week with the conclusion of Eastern Alamance High’s run in the NCHSAA football state playoffs. The Eagles placed a total of 15 players on the All-Conference teams for men’s soccer and football. 

Five EAHS soccer players - Henry Hohl, Gustavo Salas, Evan Morrison, Jackson Poteat, and Sam Pettigrew, were recognized among 26 players around the league to be named All-Conference. Regular season champion Northern Guilford led the way with seven All-Conference players. 

Salas was Eastern’s leading goal scorer this past fall with 15, while Jackson and Morrison ranked third and fourth on the squad with 11 and nine goals, respectively. Morrison led the Eagles in assists, with 17, while Pettigrew and Hohl played key roles on defense. Despite a solid senior season with 12 goals for the Eagles, which ranked second on the team, Chris Guerrero was denied a selection on the All-Conference squad. 

The Mid-State Conference regular season champion Eagles football team placed ten of its varsity players among the 48-player All-Conference squad, including quarterback Austin Bryant, running back Colby May, wide receivers Darius Kane, A.J. Camuto, and Lanier Rice, defensive back Caleb Hester, running back/defensive back Elijah Burnette, defensive lineman Jordan Moore, and offensive linemen Kendell Ruffin and Luke Madden. In addition, Bryant was named the Mid-State Conference Offensive Player of the Year. 

According to MaxPreps.com, Bryant completed 154 of 272 passes (56.6 completion rate) for 3,107 yards and 47 touchdowns this season, with just six interceptions. It was an outstanding final campaign for Bryant, who is also a standout on the lacrosse field for the Eagles. 

Darius Kane enjoyed a breakout season, catching 38 passes for 1,142 yards - an excellent 30.1 yards per catch average. Kane had 16 touchdowns and averaged nearly 90 yards per contest - producing more than enough film to draw interest as a promising 2022 wide receiver recruit before he takes the field again for the Eagles next fall. Despite a collarbone injury suffered in Eastern’s second round playoff win over Jacksonville Northside, Kane should be able to return to action for the EAHS men’s basketball team later this fall.  

Seniors Rice and Camuto each proved to be reliable targets for Bryant as the trio played out their senior seasons together at EAHS. Camuto led the Eagles in receptions with 43, while compiling 709 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns. Rice tied with Kane for the second-most receptions on the squad, with 38, while piling up 616 yards and 12 touchdowns. 

Despite missing the first month of his senior season with a summer injury, running back Colby May had another highly-productive season for the Eagles, earning his All-Conference spot with 1,206 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns in just 11 games. May rushed for 100 yards or more in six of those contests. 

Burnette was May’s replacement as starter in the EAHS backfield early on in the year, and finished as the team’s second-leading rusher with 585 yards and nine touchdowns. Both May and Burnette averaged over seven yards per carry this fall. Burnette also contributed 54 tackles for the Eagles (30 solo, 24 assisted), two interceptions, and had a healthy 22.4 yard average on kickoff returns. 

Hester led the Eagles with seven interceptions, adding a team-high 13 pass deflections and 75 tackles (54 solo, 21 assisted), which ranked sixth on the squad. Moore ranked ninth on the EAHS roster with 60 tackles (34 solo, 26 assisted), adding a team-high nine sacks. Seniors Madden and Ruffin anchored an EAHS offensive line and helped the Eagles average approximately 385 yards of total offense per game. 

Interestingly enough, in a year in which Eastern Alamance’s entire team could have realistically been strong candidates for an All-Conference spot, all five of EAHS’s leading tacklers - sophomores Joey Teixeira and Will Burnette, juniors Evan Powell and Jackson Stokes, and senior River Faulkner - were left off the All-Mid-State team. 

Teixeira is reported on MaxPreps.com as having had 205 total tackles this fall (81 solo, 124 assisted), while Burnette was second on the team with 157 tackles (85 solo, 72 assisted). Powell, Faulkner, and Stokes all reached 100 or more tackles as well, with Powell recording 114 (66 solo, 48 assisted), Faulkner recording 112 (56 solo, 56 assisted), and Stokes recording 104 (50 solo, 54 assisted). These promising showings by young players defensively for the Eagles gives the program promise that the team can continue playing at a high level in the coming years. 

Furthermore, the omissions of deserving players like Teixeira, Burnette, Powell, and Stokes should only serve to motivate them in the offseason as they look to push the Eagles towards repeating as Mid-State Conference champions in 2020.