Johnson Repeats as USA South Defensive Player of the Year

courtesy of Coach Matt Keith
courtesy of Coach Matt Keith

The USA South Athletic Conference has announced its 2019 All-Conference awards for football. Huntingdon's Otis Porter was named Offensive Player of the Year while his coach, Mike Turk, earned Coach of the Year honors. The LaGrange duo of Terron Dixon and Randy Fillingame were named Offensive Rookie of the Year and Defensive Rookie of the Year, respectively. N.C. Wesleyan's Antonio Johnson collected Defensive Player of the Year accolades to wrap-up the individual awards. Finally, the USA South also recognized an All-Sportsmanship Team, consisting of one member from each competing school.

All honors are determined by votes from the football coach at each institution. NCWC had 7 athletes named to the first team while two more were named to the second team. Senior DB Leo Guzman was also named to the Conference All-Sportsmanship team as well.

Johnson, a Beaufort, North Carolina senior middle linebacker, becomes the fourth player in USA South football history to earn defensive player of the year honors in consecutive seasons. He finished the year with a League-best 117 total tackles, 76 of which were of the solo variety which also led the Conference. Johnson collected 12.5 tackles for loss, including 4.5 sacks, while also adding three forced fumbles, three interceptions, one fumble recovery, one pass breakup and one blocked kick. Against USA South competition, Johnson led the Conference in total tackles (78), solo tackles (51) and tackles for loss (10.5). 

For his efforts, Johnson was named a First Team All-Conference linebacker for the third consecutive year. Finally, Antonio collected USA South Defensive Player of the Week accolades four times this fall. Johnson is also 2nd all-time in school history in tackles with 269 and tied for first in any season in school history with 5 forced fumbles.

Also making the first team were sophomore WR Tyler Roberts for his 29-catch, 737-yard season along with a team-best 9 touchdowns, while his wideout mate, fellow sophomore Jai Irvin was named to the second team for his 593-yard season on 29 catches and 4 TDs. Each receiver averaged over 20 yards/catch. Fellow pass-catcher, senior Tight End Ben Dorfman was also named to the first team as he totaled 246 yards and 3 scores on 28 receptions this season.

Senior Offensive lineman Breon Foust and Wyatt French were named to the first and second team respectively as well while senior D-Lineman, Jeff Person and R.J. Smalls were also named to the All-Conference first team for their stellar seasons.

Smalls led the team in sacks with 7 for 40 yards lost along with his 36 tackles, 12 Tackles-for-loss, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. Person then registered 39 tackles with 4 sacks, and 11.5 TFL. Junior DB Eddie Graham also had a terrific season as he was rewarded with a first team all-conference selection as well. He was third on the team with 52 tackles, 4.5 TFL with 4 interceptions totaling 88 yards with one touchdown and 11 pass breakups. Graham also served as the place kicker this season and made 7 of 8 attempts along with 32 extra points for a total of 53 points.

All 10 of these players helped the Bishops and head coach Jeff Filkovski go 6-4 this season (6-3 vs. D3 competition) and 5-2 in the conference finishing in a tie for 2nd place in the USA South. The 6 wins were also the most since the 2010 team won seven.

The 2019 USA South Football All-Conference Team:

  First Team Second Team
Running Back Jacob Bunch, Maryville
Eric Thomas, Huntingdon
Terron Dixon, LaGrange
Vontre Howard, Methodist
Quarterback Jacob Wright, Averett Michael Lambert, Huntingdon
Wide Receiver Jarrod Mosby, Averett 
Otis Porter, Huntingdon
Tyler Roberts, N.C. Wesleyan
Jai Irvin, N.C. Wesleyan
Xzavier McNeil, Methodist
Chase Nixon, Averett
Tight End/H-Back/Fullback Ben Dorfman, N.C. Wesleyan Terry Stewart, Maryville
Offensive Line Breon Foust, N.C. Wesleyan
Michael Head, Averett
Darrell Hixon, Huntingdon
Kyle Larson, Maryville
A.C. Woolard, Averett
Reed Crosby, Huntingdon
Wyatt French, N.C. Wesleyan
Kodee Kuncho, Huntingdon
Davien Montgomery, Maryville
Justin Parker, Brevard
Defensive Line Trenton Cumby, Maryville
Joseph Ledbetter, Averett
Jeff Person, N.C. Wesleyan
R.J. Smalls, N.C. Wesleyan
DeAnte' Griffith, Huntingdon
JaCorey Jackson, Maryville
Joe Thomas, LaGrange
Louis Williams III, Brevard
Linebacker Mal Caldwell, Huntingdon
Antonio Johnson, N.C. Wesleyan
Conner Showalter, Averett
Steffon Canady, Brevard
Bo Hering, Maryville
Jamal Ware, Maryville
Defensive Back Dante Anderson, Brevard
Eddie Graham, N.C. Wesleyan
Peyton Haynes, LaGrange
Hunter Hinson, Averett
Terrell England, Averett
Nate Jones, Methodist
Octavius Ross, Averett
Devonte White, Methodist
Return Specialist Joshua Tapscott, Averett Kobe Praylow, Methodist
Place Kicker Ian Hubbs, Maryville Cole Starr, Huntingdon
Punter Cole Westberry, Averett Bobby Haggerty, Methodist


All-Sportsmanship Team
Chase Nixon, Averett
Brandon Whitfield, Brevard
Mykel Williams, Greensboro
Red Hinton, Huntingdon
Akeem Peterson, LaGrange
Kyle Riddle, Maryville
Greg Sampson, Methodist
Leo Guzman, N.C. Wesleyan