Four-way standout Fisher
Mountaineers’ 2021 MVP
Peyton Fisher’s all-around performance on the football field during the fall earned the Kings Mountain High senior the team’s most valuable player trophy at Thursday’s annual awards presentation at B.N. Barnes Auditorium.
Fisher, an All-Big South Conference performer, seldom came off the field. When he did it was early in the season when the Mountaineers had their opponents blown out and the coaches were working reserves into the game.
“We had a lot of excellent players,” Mountaineer coach Greg Lloyd said, “and Peyton stood out in everything he did. He could have been All-Conference at four different positions.”
Fisher was not just an outstanding receiver with 342 yards on 30 catches, and an outstanding punter with a 40-plus yard average, but he was an excellent defensive player with a huge number of tackles and quarterback sacks. And, no doubt, he will probably be best remembered when he took a pass interception to the house to clinch a very important victory at South Point, which head coach Greg Lloyd noted was the first KM win over South Point in Belmont in many years.
“He was a hard worker and a great leader,” Coach Lloyd said. “He had a lot of big touchdowns, big catches and big sacks.”
Prior to the trophy presentations, Lloyd recognized players that made post-season all-star teams, including:
All-Big South – Seth Neal, AJ Richardson, Jaden Ellis, Peyton Fisher, Isaiah Eskridge, Jake Lloyd, D’Andre Hoyle and Tykel Smith. All of them also made the All-Area team.
Hoyle and Smith were named All-State.
Other awards presented included:
Outstanding defensive lineman award – Seth Neal. Coach Michael Kennedy said he was privileged to have a “very young group with a lot of talent.”
Neal, who transferred in to KMHS, was a tackling machine, registering 54 solo tackles, including 18 for loss and 12 quarterback sacks.
“He was one of those every day, team-first guys,” Kennedy pointed out. “We had a lot of guys like that that played many different roles.”
Defensive back awards – D’Andre Hoyle and Jake Lloyd.
Hoyle, an outstanding two-way player, was also the team’s leading receiver with 29 catches for 659 yards. He had a team-leading six pass interceptions. “He was the spark of the team,” Kennedy noted. “He made big plays in crucial situations.”
Lloyd was another player that stood out on both offense and defense.
On defense, he led the team in tackles with 98, including three tackles for loss and an interception. He also had several blocked punts, including two for touchdowns.
“He had a knack for the ball,” Coach Kennedy said. “He was always a step ahead of the offense.”
Jeff Putnam Linebacker of the Year – Micah Ward.
“He gave his heart and soul, just like Coach Putnam did,” Coach Wilson said. “He was a hard worker and he was tough.”
Wilson pointed out that Ward had 81 tackles and two interception, “and the best thing about him is that he is a junior and will be back in the fall.”
Wilson also presented the Defensive Coaches Award to sophomore standout Zavian Smith.
“He always played his best,” Wilson said. “He can play any position. He loves to be challenged. He’s special and we expect good things from him for two more years.”
The defensive MVP award was presented to junior standout AJ Richardson, who was a monster on defense and was also called
See STANDOUT, Page 2B
From Page 1B
upon anytime the Mountaineers needed tough rushing yards on offense.
“He is very determined to be successful,” Wilson said. “He has an infectious energy and leads by example. He always plays hard and wants to make the big plays.
“Late in the year he was injured, but he was still important to us as he was always on the sidelines talking to the players and helping them give their best. He’s a player coach.”
Junior placekicker Jaden Ellis received one of the Special Teams MVP awards from assistant coach Mike Harris.
“He had two huge field goals that gave us leads in two big games,” Harris pointed out.
Jake Lloyd received the other Special Teams MVP Award.
“You could count on him every game to return punts and kickoffs,” Harris said. “He led us in special teams tackles and also blocked two punts for TDs that broke open close games.”
First-year varsity quarterback Lamont Littlejohn Jr. received the Outstanding Offensive Back Award.
Littlejohn, whose father Lamont Littlejohn Sr. also played quarterback for the Mountaineers, quarterbacked the JVs to a 4-0 record during a COVID-shortened spring season. Those four wins were over Shelby, Burns, South Point and Crest.
He stepped into the varsity QB role in the fall and improved each week to become one of the best quarterbacks in the area.
He had a 95.2 quarterback rating.
“He’s a student of the game,” Coach Lloyd pointed out. “He’s always calm and prepared to lead the team. He made some really big plays for us in the playoff games.”
Assistant Coach Diron Bell presented the Outstanding Wide Receiver Award to D’Andre Hoyle.
“We had five good receivers who were always making plays,” Bell said. “He put in his time and led our receivers in yards and touchdowns.”
Line Coach Kevin Cruise presented the Blocking Award to Isaiah Eskridge.
“It was a very tough choice because we’ve been very balanced the last couple of years,” he said. “This year our offensive line paved the way for over 2,000 rushing yards and 2,000 passing yards. Every one of our linemen had a tremendous work ethic and great attitude.
“We have several that will be playing at the next level. Isaiah has a very bright future. He has the size, the strength and the footwork.”
The first annual Brent Bagwell Offensive Coach’s Award went to Bryson Brown.
Coach Cruise called Brown “an excellent student who comes to work every day committed to be second to none.
“He made some big time catches,” Cruise noted. “He scored the first touchdown in the Franklin playoff game, and the last one to win the game.” That one, came in the final seconds after the Mountaineers drove 99 yards with just over a minute remaining that allowed the team to go three rounds in the state playoffs before being eliminated by the eventual state champion Greensboro Dudley eleven.
Making the blocks to achieve such success as the above-mentioned nail-biter were a host of good offensive linemen. And, it was fitting that the Offensive Most Valuable Player Award went to All-State lineman Tykel Smith.
“He was a dominant blocker and a great leader,” Cruise said. “He plays the game the right way – in practice and games. He has a great attitude in every situation.”
The Weightlifter of the Year Award was presented by Coach Ted Trahan to senior Jonah Patrick.
“This is a prestigious award,” Trahan noted. “He came in as a freshman and spent a lot of time becoming a good varsity player. He worked extremely hard.”
The Tough Man of the Year Award, given in memory of longtime sideline manager Donnie Mace, went to offensive lineman Micah Lubas.
Coach Cruise pointed out that in previous years Lubas had some ailments that would keep a lot of people away but he “worked hard and was one of the strongest and best linemen out there.”
The Career Achievement Award went to running back Rashaard Brooks, who broke his leg during the spring season and had to have an operation that prevented him from playing in the fall.
“When you lose your senior season it takes a mature individual to work hard to recover,” Coach Lloyd said. “He was tough inside and out. He was a fantastic running back – small but with a big heart. He played his best in big games and he will be missed.”