By Brian Hamilton, Sports Correspondent
A plethora of Pickens County football players were recently tabbed to the Alabama Sports Writers Association (ASWA) all-state football team. Pickens County led the way with four selections, while Gordo had three players selected, and two from Aliceville.
The four Pickens County players named to the ASWA all-state team were seniors Xyron Giles and Kareem Spruill, along with junior Jah-Marien Latham and sophomore K.J. Byrd. The Tornadoes advanced to the Class 1A semifinals under first-year head coach Michael Williams after advancing to the state championship game the previous two years.
Latham, an Alabama commit for the 2020 class, was an anchor for the Tornadoes on both the offensive and defensive line, but was named first-team all-state as a defensive lineman.
“He will probably tell you this, that his strong suit is stopping the run,” Williams said. “He’s got long arms and uses his leverage very well. He does things that I don’t have to coach, that just come natural. His pass rush was a work in progress all year and towards the end he got a lot better. He learned how to fight the double teams and the triple teams and that will help him at the next level.”
Linebacker K.J. Byrd was named to second-team all-state as a sophomore and also played some running back for Pickens County. Williams said Byrd really made a lot of progress this season and looks forward to being able to coach him two more years.
“K.J. Byrd, we knew what kind of player he was, but I think he finally stamped his name up there with the other top linebackers in the state,” Williams said. “He led us in tackles with close to 120 and he’s one of those guys that just love the game of football. I was proud of his progress throughout the year and I can’t wait to see him next year to see how he does things to make himself an even better player.”
See complete story in the Pickens County Herald.