Coach of the Year
In his fourth season at Madison, the co-Western Highlands Conference coach of the year led a program with no previous playoff wins in school history to the NCHSAA 2-A Western Regional championship game and a 13-2 record, bowing out to eventual state champion East Lincoln. Before this season, the school record for wins in a single season at Madison was six. Senior Deryck Hilemon was named the WHC defensive player of the year and junior Cole Cuthbertson was the WHC special teams player of the year after returning a NCHSAA-record 10 kickoffs or punts for touchdowns.
Player of the Year
Swain County, Senior
Defensive back/wide receiver
Maennle was named the Smoky Mountain Conference back of the year as well as an Associated Press and NCPreps.com all-state selection after establishing a school record for single-season receptions (68) and tying a WNC record for most touchdown catches in a season (22). He had 1,301 receiving yards. Maennle will graduate with four Swain County career records -- all-time receptions (136), receiving yards (2,589) and receiving touchdowns (37). On defense, he made a team-high nine interceptions this season. He also had 914 return yards and two touchdowns on special teams. Maennle scored a touchdown just about every way possible for the SMC champion Maroon Devils -- kick return, punt return, interception return, pass reception, pass completion, rush and fumble recovery.
ALL-WNC FIRST TEAM
Brown received All-Mountain Athletic Conference honors after passing for 2,819 yards and 27 touchdowns with eight interceptions. Brown completed 67 percent of his 337 attempts and also rushed for 521 yards and five touchdowns.
Jones earned All-Mountain Athletic Conference honors after rushing for 1,541 yards and 25 touchdowns. Jones averaged 6.0 yards per carry and 128 yards a game. He also had 23 receptions for 261 yards and two touchdowns.
Manning was named the co-Western North Carolina Athletic Conference player of the year after setting school records for single-season rushing yardage (2,364) and touchdowns (33). Manning had 11 games with 100 or more yards. He was part of the NCPreps.com 3-A all-state team.
Allen earned All-Mountain Athletic Conference honors after making an area-best 98 receptions for 1,300 yards and 15 touchdowns. He was part of the NCPreps.com 3-A all-state team.
East Henderson, Senior
Hill was named the WNC Athletic conference special teams player of the year but also had plenty of worth as the team's top receiver with 55 receptions for 960 yards and six touchdowns. Hill was committed to Western Carolina University and is expected to play on the offensive side of the ball for the Catamounts.
Swain County, Senior
Tisho received All-Smoky Mountain Athletic Conference honors after making 66 receptions for 1,441 yards and 20 touchdowns. His single-season yardage was a school record. Furthermore, Tisho set NCHSAA state-championship game records for receptions (13) and receiving yardage (261) in the 1-AA state finals. He has scholarship offers from Western Carolina University and Lenoir-Rhyne. Tisho was part of the NCPreps.com 1-A all-state team.
East Henderson, Senior
Sexton earned All-Western North Carolina Athletic Conference honors after making 35 receptions for 779 yards and a school-record 18 touchdowns.
DeLeon earned All-Mountain Athletic Conference honors. His block graded out at 88 percent with 35 pancake blocks. DeLeon was named Roberson's most valuable lineman and selected to the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas. He was part of the NCPreps.com all-classifications and 4-A all-state teams.
Franklin earned All-Mountain Athletic Conference honors and his blocking allowed the Jets to average 27.5 points per game and win their most games (five) since 2001. Franklin has committed to Campbell.
Karnezis earned All-Mountain Athletic Conference honors after helping the injury-plagued Cougars rush for 2,581 yards and pass for 1,301 more. He has committed to Liberty and was part of the NCPreps.com 3-A all-state team.
Swain County, Senior
Panther received All-Smoky Mountain Athletic Conference honors in his third year as a starter on the Maroon Devils' offensive line. He also made 100 tackles (15 for a loss) and six sacks on defense. He was part of the NCPreps.com 1-A all-state team.
Parce earned All-Western Highlands Conference honors after helping the Bearcats emerge as a team with a 2,000-yard passer (Grant Rivers) and rusher (Desean Jackson).
Suber was named the Mountain Athletic Conference offensive player of the year after leading the Rams in passing (1,502 yards) and rushing (1,232 yards). Suber scored 28 total touchdowns and was named Roberson's most valuable player. He was selected to play in the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas.
McLaughlin earned All-Mountain Athletic Conference honors after making 67 tackles (13 for a loss). He missed two games because of a knee injury in the middle of the season.
Stiles was named the Smoky Mountain Conference lineman of the year after making 108 tackles (22 for a loss) and 10 sacks. He recovered three fumbles and forced two. He was part of the NCPreps.com 1-A all-state team.
Wells earned All-Mountain Athletic Conference honors after making 115 tackles (55 solo) and a team-high 10 sacks. He also had 21 quarterback hurries.
Swain County, Senior
Wildcatt earned All-Mountain Athletic Conference honors after making 92 tackles (including a school-record 24.5 for loss). He also had 4.5 sacks. Wildcatt was a three-year starter on both sides of the ball for the Maroon Devils.
Cecil earned All-Mountain Athletic Conference honors after making a team-high 143 tackles (six for a loss). He was voted Roberson's most valuable defensive player.
Hilemon was named the Western Highlands Conference defensive player of the year after making 138.5 tackles (14 for a loss), 12 quarterback pressures, five sacks and two interceptions. He was also a 1,000-yard rusher on offense for the Patriots. Hilemon was part of the NCPreps.com 2-A all-state team.
John Nick Setterlind
Setterlind earned All-Mountain Athletic Conference honors after making 123.5 tackles (12 for a loss). He also made three interceptions and blocked two kicks on special teams.
Justin St. Onge
St. Onge was named the Mountain Athletic Conference defensive player of the year after making 90 tackles (nine for a loss). St. Onge missed three games because of a knee injury.
Helms earned All-Mountain Athletic Conference honors and shared the team lead in tackles (81). He had two interceptions, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.
Polk County, Senior
Philpott was named the Western Highlands Conference offensive player of the year after piling up more than 2,700 yards but also showed his defensive prowess with team-high totals for interceptions (five) and fumble recoveries (four). Philpott was named his team's MVP for the second consecutive season. He was part of the NCPreps.com 2-A all-state team.
Anderson earned All-Western North Carolina Athletic Conference honors and averaged 42.3 yards per punt. He helped the Black Bears successfully convert seven of their nine fake-punt attempts.
Moore earned All-Mountain Athletic Conference honors even after a quadriceps injury caused him to miss four games. Moore connected on 27 of 29 extra-point attempts and was 2-for-2 on field goals from 31 to 40 yards.
Cuthbertson was named the Western Highlands Conference special teams player of the year after amassing 1,962 return yards with a state-record 13 returns for touchdowns. The previous NCHSAA record for a single season was six. He also had 40 receptions for 956 yards and 12 touchdowns, made 50 tackles and four interceptions on defense.
Raymius Smith, Swain County junior
Chris Carver, Enka senior
Kelman Simpson, Erwin junior
Ryan Garrett, North Henderson senior
Caelan Rhinehardt, Reynolds junior
D.J. Wilson, Hendersonville senior
Bradley Puccio, Murphy sophomore
Caleb Chandler, Owen senior
Jacob Davis, Franklin senior
Austin Helton, Murphy senior
Kyle Malone, East Henderson senior
Josh Sansbury, Asheville senior
Charles Beale, Christ School senior
Derrick English, Madison junior
Quentin Heflin, Madison senior
Josh McDevitt, Erwin senior
Tavien Morgan, Reynolds senior
John Gowan, McDowell senior
Desean Jackson, Hendersonville senior
Jay Spellmon, East Henderson senior
Mahogany Suber, Roberson senior
Eric Davis, Christ School junior
Brice McKeon, Murphy senior
Reese Schlabach, Polk County junior
Sawyer Heery, Hendersonville junior
Colyn Petty, Swain County senior
Austin Hill, Robbinsville senior
Asheville : Bryson Bradley, Danquiries Green, Cameron Ray, David Howerton, Josh Irby, Jermaine Battle, Travis Lytle and Sam Withers.
Christ School : Christian Jewkes, Malik Johnson, Jack Bonds and Gabe deBeus.
East Henderson : Seth Owen and Walker Lanning.
Enka: Drake Wells and Tommie Holloway.
Erwin: Darius Lytle, J.T. Moore, Jake Michales, Nick Watson, Seth Carter and Tyler Sullins.
Franklin : Jeremiah Young.
Hayesville: Kyle Vardo, Dylan Williams, Caleb Nuckolls, Dayrion Williams and Winston Acosta.
Hendersonville : Landon Blythe, Grant Rivers, Keisler Steele and Raymond Reid.
Madison : Tyler Rogers, Tyler Hoffman and Josh Matthews.
McDowell: Malique O'Neil.
Murphy: Dalton Welch, Gaige Cox, James Posey, Kenton Braswell, Matt Guthrie, Matt Harper, Mustafa Mugharbil and Drew Allen.
North Henderson : Zack Gahagan.
Owen: Jager Gardner, Adam Lunsford, Tyler White, Cole Leighton, Dru Brown, Eddie Slye and Dante Brown.
Pisgah: Josh Noland and Garrett Holland.
Polk County: Anthony Carson.
Reynolds: Moliek Short, Andrew Long, Levi Ledford, Chance Towery, Cameron Burton and Mason Dadian.
Robbinsville: Spencer McCoy.
Roberson: Malik Griffin.
Robbinsville: Austin Hill
Rosman: Duran Scruggs and Blaise McCall.
Smoky Mountain: Chace Morgan.
Swain County : Payton Parker, Nathan Sellers, Garrett Lane and Sean Cipriano.
Tuscola: Levi Duffield and Alex Parrott.
West Henderson : Brandon Letchworth, Blake Whitaker, Jacob Knapp, Drew Turner and Tyler Gaither.
ABOUT THE ALL-WNC TEAMS
The Citizen-Times All-WNC teams are compiled by staff writer Andrew Pearson after nominations are requested from area coaches. Athletes who are not nominated are not eligible for the teams.