Four Friendship Christian School football players were named Division II-A All-State last week by the Tennessee Sports Writers Association.
The four, quarterback A.J. Long, offensive tackle Andrew Wood, athlete Steven Hollis and kicker Blake Grosch, helped the Commanders to a record of 9-3 and a second round berth in the TSSAA post-season.
Long, who is expected to enroll at Syracuse University in time for the spring semester, was Class 2A all-state selection last season and was a DII Mr. Football Finalist this season.
In 2013, he completed 54-of-116 passing attempts (46 percent) for 1,168 yards, throwing for 15 touchdowns and just five interceptions.
Long ran 84 times for 466 yards (5.5 per carry) and 12 TDs. All told, he compiled 1,634 yards in offense, an average of 181 yards per game.
Wood, a junior, stands 6-5, 290. For the season, he graded out at 93% with 57 pancake blocks. Friendship Christian ran for 2,911 yards with Wood leading the way. He was a starter as a soph on the 2012 FCS team that went 13-1 and won the Class 2A state championship.
Hollis, a junior, ran for 1,204 yards on 144 carries (8.36 per attempt) and 12 touchdowns. He caught 23 passes for 519 yards (22.57 per reception) and seven TDs -- giving him 1,723 yards from scrimmage.
He was on on 37 tackles as a defensive back, with one interception and broke up eight passes. Hollis returned 13 kickoffs for 324 yards (24.9 per) -- one for an 89 yard touchdown -- giving him 20 touchdowns on the season.
Grosch, a senior kicker, converted on 47-of-49 PAT attempts (95 percent) and was as 2-of-3 on field goal attempts with a long kick of 30 yards.
Division II-A OFFENSE
QBs – A.J. Long (Friendship Christian School) and Dean Brown (St. George's). RBs – Cole Heotis (Evangelical Christian School), Mitchell Bodiford (University School of Jackson), Kortney Morris (First Assembly Christian School) and Robby Strachan (Webb School of Knoxville). WRs – Austin Orr (University School of Jackson) and Ridge Palmer (King's Academy). OL – Joe Irby (Franklin Road Academy), Andrew Wood (Friendship Christian), Jacob Still (St. George's), McKenzie Hill (Evangelical Christian School), Jarin Wordin (Donelson Christian Academy) and Cole Sams (Webb School of Knoxville). TE – Eric Arnold (University School of Jackson). ATHLETE - Steven Hollis (Friendship Christian School) and Jason Maduafokwa (King's Academy). K – Blake Grosch (Friendship Christian School).
Division II-A DEFENSE
DL – Andrew Campbell (Webb School of Knoxville), Gage Thompson (Webb School of Knoxville), Carter Parkey (Battle Ground Academy), Drew Slomski (King's Academy) and Keeling Hunter (Franklin Road Academy). LBs – Joseph Patterson (University School of Jackson), Brant Mitchell (Webb School of Knoxville) and Bennett Harrison (Webb School of Knoxville). DBs – William Brown (St. George's), Christian Santiago (Harding), Todd Kelly Jr. (Webb School of Knoxville), Matthew Melton ( Webb School of Knoxville) and Brock Beeler (Webb School of Knoxville). PUNTER - Andy Deatherage (King's Academy).
Division II-A Coach of the Year -- David Meske (Knox Webb)