Jones tops 2008 all-area team
By By Todd Thompson, Hartselle Enquirer
Marquez Jones’ first season as the featured back in the Hartselle Tigers' offense was certainly filled with plenty of superlatives.
But Jones, the 2008 Hartselle Enquirer Player of the Year, never set his season goals on a set amount of rushing yards or a particular number of touchdowns. He wanted something bigger: redemption for a football program that had slid to a seven-loss season in 2007.
Jones and a talented team featuring more than a dozen seniors did indeed put Hartselle football back where it belonged. Few teams in the state could boast an eight-win differential this year.
Hartselle won 12 straight games – tying a school record – and won the Class 5A, Region 8 championship for the first time in seven years.
Jones had a big hand in that success.
Jones finished his high school career with 3,869 yards rushing with 58 touchdowns. He also caught four touchdown passes during his time in a Hartselle uniform.
Jones lived up to that goal and offered so much more to the Tigers, something that wasn’t overlooked by his Hartselle coaches.
Jones hopes to play college football. He and his brother, defensive back Manquez Jones, also a first-team all-area pick this season already have scholarship offers from the Air Force Academy. Godsey sees Jones’ future in college football as a slot back, a meld of his running and receiving talents.
Jones plans to play in the North-South football game after graduation, an opportunity for him to try to gain some attention from more college coaches.
But right now, he has put away the disappointment of a third-round playoff to Russellville, trading the football field for the basketball court. And still, he finds it hard to believe his high school football career is finished.
Jones was joined in the all-area backfield by Brewer’s Philip Newby and Danville’s Levi George.
Hartselle quarterback Luke Bole, who threw for 1,624 yards and 15 touchdowns this season, was a key component in the Tigers’ 12-1 season.
Bole, a starter for the Tigers since midway through his freshman season, threw 29 touchdown passes in his career at Hartselle.
Hartselle had three offensive linemen earn all-area honors - Mike Hasse, Jeremy Thomason and Russell Powell.
Other linemen included Brewer’s Spencer Region and Danville’s Corey Tyson.
Hartselle’s Andrew Howard and Braddock Wilson were joined by Danville’s Schuyler Forman at the wide receiver spots.
Priceville’s Jeremy Hale was named to the offensive side as an athlete, while teammate Justin Anderson - one of the state’s top deep kickoff threats - was chosen as a kickoff specialist.
Dylan Stephenson of Hartselle was the all-area place kicker, while Danville’s Clint McAbee was the return specialist.
Hartselle had seven players earn all-area honors defensively: linemen Carrington Bibb and Robby Reece; linebackers David Reeves and Craig Orr; and defensive backs Daryn Raley, Jackson Reeves and Manquez Jones.
The Tigers’ defense allowed just 8.1 points per game this season.
Brewer’s Dominique Burton was a first-team selection on the defensive front.
Falkville had four players chosen on the defensive side: lineman Justin Baldwin, defensive backs Jonathan McNatt and Jace Wilemon; and linebacker Shane Ellis.
The Blue Devils’ punter Trevor Mayer was also named to the all-area team.
Danville had linebackers Mario Cortez and Jordon Orr honored, while Brewer’s Dylan Whisenant was named to the team at linebacker.