It took no time at all for Cullman County’s football minds to decide this year’s top standout.
And with the huge numbers Eli Frost put up, it’s easy to see why there wasn’t much of a discussion.
The Fairview running back amassed 2,484 yards and 39 touchdowns during a terrific junior season in which he averaged 10.6 yards per carry and 248.4 yards per matchup, eclipsed 300 yards on five different occasions and registered at least four touchdowns in eight of his team’s 11 games.
Frost did all that — along with recording 24.5 tackles (7.5 for loss) and 2.5 sacks — despite missing two full contests due to an elbow injury suffered early in a Week 9 clash against Russellville.
If that wasn’t enough, he also set new single-season school records for rushing yards and touchdowns — previously provided by Matt Black in the 1994 season — en route to surpassing West Point’s Kobe Smith (2,222 yards in 2015) as Cullman County’s single-season rushing leader.
There’s no doubt: Frost is the deserving Overall MVP of this year’s All-County Football Team.
Good Hope’s Colten Whatley (Offensive MVP), Hanceville’s LJ Smith (Defensive MVP), Fairview’s Carson Jennings (Lineman of the Year) and Good Hope’s Alan Scott (Coach of the Year) took home the other top accolades.
Fairview paved the way with eight first-team selections, including Zane Roberts (OL), Bradley Smith (OL), Kolt Redding (K), Jayden Pineda (DL), Cale Foster (LB), Eric Gonzalez (LB), Jameson Goble (DB) and Cade Yeager (DB).
West Point was next in line with six players — Parker Marks (WR), Aiden Dujoud (OL), Hunter Hensley (ATH), Sylar Philyaw (DL), JD Cochran (LB) and Brody Freeman (DB).
Tucker Malin (WR), Kaleb Jones (H/TE), Guillermo Alday (OL), Russ Wooten (DL) and Taz Bartlett (DB) made the cut for Good Hope, while Brosnan Ward (RB), Eli Akin (OL), Zach Campbell (ATH), Connor Pitts (LB) and Marquies Leeth (DB) were Hanceville’s honorees.
Cold Springs (Hank Harrison — RB; Cody Jewell — OL; Victor Laurentius — DL), Holly Pond (Sawyer Olinger — QB; Kollin Brown — WR; Christian Couch — H/TE) and Vinemont (Alex Salazar — OL; Tai Shurtleff — OL; Ayden Thomason — DL) rounded out the first team with three picks apiece.
The All-County Team is handpicked by Cullman County’s seven football coaches.
All-State will be announced by the Alabama Sports Writers Association (ASWA) later this month.
All-Area, which is chosen by The Times and includes Addison/Cullman, will be unveiled in January.
See below for this year’s full All-County Team, including second-teamers and honorable mentions.
Name: Eli Frost
Highlights: Had 235 carries for 2,484 yards and 39 touchdowns. Had four catches for 32 yards. Had 156 return yards. Had 24.5 tackles (7.5 for loss) and 2.5 sacks.
Coach Speak: “I’m super proud of Eli as well as the group of guys around him. It takes everybody to make it work, and he’d be the first one to tell you that. I couldn’t ask for anything more from Eli. He has brought an unbelievable work ethic every day. Sometimes, you don’t always get that with a young man who has that much talent and who’s had that much success. He helps other guys be better around him, and he also sees the bigger picture. It’s not always about numbers. It’s also about representing your school at a high level, and I think he does a great job with that.” — Fairview’s George Redding
Name: Colten Whatley
School: Good Hope
Highlights: Had 1,292 passing yards, 17 touchdowns and four interceptions. Averaged 12.4 yards per completion. Had two 2-point conversions. Had 425 rushing yards and a touchdown.
Coach Speak: “My hat goes off to Colten. He came into a tough situation because we’ve had good quarterback play at Good Hope the last several years. I know he doesn’t put any pressure like that on himself, but I think from a community standpoint everybody has questions like, ‘Hey, what’s going to happen?’ At the first of the year, we weren’t really sure, either. We knew what he could do from a junior varsity standpoint, but I’m extremely proud of the way he handled everything and the way he continued to improve each and every game. He had a fantastic second half of the season.” — Good Hope’s Alan Scott
Name: LJ Smith
Highlights: Had 57 solo tackles, 51 assisted tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, two sacks and a forced fumble.
Coach Speak: “First of all, LJ is a leader on and off the field — in the weight room, academically. He was all over the football. If someone ended up on the ground, he was there with them. He’s very smart, and he’s able to communicate calls to the defensive line. He plays with a lot of passion, and he’s just a great kid. We’re very fortunate to have someone like him on our team.” — Hanceville’s Ryan Brewer
LINEMAN OF THE YEAR
Name: Carson Jennings
Highlights: Anchored offensive line that paved the way for 4,023 rushing yards and 52 touchdowns on the ground. Had 36 tackles (10 for loss) and a sack.
Coach Speak: “If you could bottle up the passion and energy that Carson brings and sell it to every young man who comes through your program, you’re going to be successful. And everything about that is genuine. What you see now is what you saw every day in the program. He’s a leader on the field and off — a tremendous person.” — Fairview’s George Redding
COACH OF THE YEAR
Name: Alan Scott
School: Good Hope
Highlights: Led the Raiders to a fifth straight playoff berth in a region that included Cherokee County (Class 4A runner-up), Oneonta (Class 4A semifinalist) and Etowah (Class 4A second round).
Coach Speak: “Alan does a great job over there. His kids are ready to play. They play hard, they play tough. He also motivates them well, and I think he gets the most out of his kids. He does a really good job preparing them for whoever their opponent is.” — Hanceville’s Ryan Brewer
QB: Sawyer Olinger, Holly Pond
RB: Hank Harrison, Cold Springs
RB: Brosnan Ward, Hanceville
WR: Tucker Malin, Good Hope
WR: Kollin Brown, Holly Pond
WR: Parker Marks, West Point
H-BACK / TE: Kaleb Jones, Good Hope
H-BACK / TE: Christian Couch, Holly Pond
OL: Cody Jewell, Cold Springs
OL: Zane Roberts, Fairview
OL: Bradley Smith, Fairview
OL: Guillermo Alday, Good Hope
OL: Eli Akin, Hanceville
OL: Alex Salazar, Vinemont
OL: Tai Shurtleff, Vinemont
OL: Aiden Dujoud, West Point
ATH: Zach Campbell, Hanceville
ATH: Hunter Hensley, West Point
DL: Victor Laurentius, Cold Springs
DL: Jayden Pineda, Fairview
DL: Russ Wooten, Good Hope
DL: Ayden Thomason, Vinemont
DL: Sylar Philyaw, West Point
LB: Cale Foster, Fairview
LB: Eric Gonzalez, Fairview
LB: Connor Pitts, Hanceville
LB: JD Cochran, West Point
DB: Jameson Goble, Fairview
DB: Cade Yeager, Fairview
DB: Taz Bartlett, Good Hope
DB: Marquies Leeth, Hanceville
DB: Brody Freeman, West Point
FIRST-TEAM SPECIAL TEAMS
K: Kolt Redding, Fairview
QB: Barret York, Fairview
RB: Matt Williams, Cold Springs
RB: Diego Rodriguez, Vinemont
RB: Garit Roberson, West Point
WR: Kmal Bell, Good Hope
WR: Tyler Cone, Good Hope
WR: Eli Sims, West Point
H-BACK / TE: Josh Winfrey, Cold Springs
H-BACK / TE: Isaac Moody, Vinemont
OL: Devon Johnson, Cold Springs
OL: Eddie Maroney, Cold Springs
OL: Houston Walton, Good Hope
OL: Diego Arreguin, Holly Pond
OL: Jacob Hale, Vinemont
OL: Mikhail Dujoud, West Point
ATH: Eli Clements, Good Hope
ATH: Braxton Broad, Hanceville
DL: Justin Stewart, Cold Springs
DL: Seth Loggins, Good Hope
DL: Tyler Hughes, Hanceville
DL: Riley Wayne, West Point
LB: Jake Harper, Fairview
LB: Landon Bagwell, Good Hope
LB: Callahan Lindsey, Good Hope
LB: Bryson Phillips, West Point
DB: Dylan Smith, Cold Springs
DB: Hank Hudson, Good Hope
DB: Brady Cleek, Hanceville
DB: Diego Garcia, Holly Pond
DB: Kyler Pugh, Vinemont
SECOND-TEAM SPECIAL TEAMS
K: Omar Segundo, West Point