County’s top 20 athletes named to all-sport team – Shelby County Reporter


By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Editor-in-chief

Nothing better than seeing student-athletes doing what they love to do during the 2020-2021 school year after a few trying months to finish the previous year.

Across Shelby County, we saw several individual team and state champions as the athletes had a rejuvenated excitement of going all out to be the best.

It paid off, as the county ended the season home to some of the state’s top players, including four Gatorade Player of the Year winners. Below, we honor the top 20 athletes of the year on the third annual all sports team, which is divided into 10 first team and 10 second team athletes.

First team

JT Pennington, Star of Both Sports, Shelby County: This year’s Male Athlete of the Year, Pennington was the only county athlete to make a County First Team All-Star in two different sports. He was arguably the best offensive lineman in the county this year for the Shelby County football team with 105 pancake blocks and also added 13 quarterback runs, 11 tackles for loss and three defensive sacks. He went on to help the baseball team reach the playoff quarter-finals with a batting average of 0.465, the county’s highest, and tied for the county lead with four homers. On top of those numbers, he was second in the county with 38 RBIs and 16 doubles.

Annabelle Widra, softball, Spain Park: This year’s female athlete of the year, Widra was as athletic as she gets. A six-year incumbent with the Jaguars, she is 20-5 with a 1.20 ERA in the circle this season. Widra totaled 236 strikeouts and allowed just 30 runs on 63 hits. She was also dominant at batting, batting .490 with 49 hits. Her 15 home runs tied for the top of the county, as she also stole 32 goals, walked 30 times and scored 51 points. Widra spent time competing in the 60-meter sprint for the track team during the indoor season and won an event with a time of 8.22 seconds and finished ninth in the state competition with a time of 8.09 seconds.

Jeremiah Alexander, football, Thompson: This year’s County Football Player of the Year, Alexander is one of the state’s top athletes heading into the 2021-2022 school year. His junior season featured a remarkable 29 tackles for losses and eight sacks. He also collected three fumbles and totaled 106 tackles. He is now one of the top 15 football rookies in the country.

Jenna Williams, softball, Thompson: Williams was named this year’s Shelby County hitter of the year after hitting 0.536 at bat with 75 hits, a county-high. She was also second in the county with 55 RBIs and tied for fourth with 14 doubles.

Jackson Nabors, football, Indian Springs: Nabors presented the most breathtaking statistic of the season when he scored 52 goals and totaled 23 assists for state champion Indian Springs. He was named this year’s player of the year in the sport and won the Final Four MVP after scoring on the two goals in the state championship victory and assisting on both goals in the semi-finals.

Haley Duca, football, Chelsea: Duca became the first player in school history to win the Gatorade Player of the Year award at Chelsea after finishing second in the county with 38 goals and becoming the first in school history at reach 100 career goals. She also set a new record with six goals in one game and added 19 assists to her stat line for 52 in her career.

Conner Harrell, football, Thompson: This year’s Gatorade Player of the Year for football in the state, Harrell had over 3,405 yards with 40 touchdowns and just three interceptions. That, with 315 rushing yards and five rushing touchdowns, helped Thompson win a second straight state championship, despite being Harrell’s first year at the helm.

Cady McPhail, runner, Chelsea: McPhail burst onto the scene as one of the state’s top runners this season, finishing first in 19 of her 29 different events between cross country, 1-mile, 3,200-meter run , the 1,600-meter race and the 800-meter course. During the indoor season, she swept all three track events with state championships, while she won two of three during the outdoor season.

Laci Gogan, basketball, Pelham: Women’s basketball player of the year, Gogan scored 19.2 points per game while adding 3.1 assists and 2.8 rebounds. Just a second year, she was clearly the best player in the county this season with six more points per game than the closest player. She helped lead Pelham to Sweet 16 for the first time in school history and added 54 steals and 44 3 points to her stat line.

Evan Smith, Dual Sports Star, Oak Mountain: Perhaps the county’s top athlete at the start of his senior season, Smith has made some breathtaking plays on the soccer field and the basketball court this season. As a quarterback, he actually led the county on rushing with 1,719 yards and 23 touchdowns. He also added 620 passing yards and six touchdowns in the air with a 44-yard touchdown reception as well. On hardwood, he helped lead the Eagles to their first State Championship in school history behind 8.2 points, four assists and 3.2 rebounds per game as a true playmaker. who made devious plays to reach the basket or find the open man.

Second team

Cam Crawford, basketball player, Spain Park: County basketball player of the year, Crawford was fourth with 15.7 points per game. He added 5.8 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game with 52 steals. He was the best player and the greatest leader of the Spain Park Final Four team this season.

Noah Young, Two-Sports Star, Oak Mountain: Young has averaged 12.3 points per game on hardwood this season, along with 5.4 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game. His role was essential in leading the Eagles to their first state championship in school history. He also added 29 receptions for 370 yards and four touchdowns as the team’s best receiver on the football field, advancing to the quarterfinals of the Class 7A playoffs.

Tyler Waugh, star of both sports, Briarwood: A baseball star for several years, Waugh finished strong on the football field during his senior season. He has 90 solo tackles, 75 assisted tackles, 7.5 loss tackles, 1.5 sacks and three defensive interceptions. He also turned around to play offensively when the Lions needed key yards and totaled 13 touchdowns and 257 rushing yards.

Connor Ball, baseball, Chelsea: Baseball pitcher of the year Ball led the county with 128 strikeouts this season and held a 1.90 ERA. Those numbers helped Chelsea reach the semifinals of the playoffs, as they finished the season 6-4 on aggregate with hard-to-get running support in many games.

Audrey Rothman, volleyball, Spain Park: During his junior season, Rothman led the county with 512 kills and 46 blocks to help the Jaguars reach the state championship. She also totaled 244 assists, 172 digs and 64 aces to earn this year’s Volleyball Player of the Year award.

Kierson McDonald, soccer, Oak Mountain: This year’s top defenseman for the Eagles, McDonald was also a force at the other end of the field for the Oak Mountain State Championship team. She totaled 14 goals and 19 assists for the Eagles and scored four goals in the Final Four, including a hat trick in the state championship and the only goal in the 1-0 semi-final win over Vestavia. Hills in the semifinals.

Michael Jones, star of both sports, Montevallo: Still one of the county’s most underrated athletes, Jones has been the second-leading hardwood scorer this season with 20 points per game. He also totaled four rebounds and four assists per game while leading the county with 63 steals. On top of that, he served as a catcher for the football team, helping the Bulldogs advance to the second round of the playoffs.

Keon Buck, runner, Spain Park: In 17 of the 22 events he has contested between the 60m, 100m and 200m this season, Buck has managed to take first place. He won the 100-meter and 200-meter state championships and finished second in the 60-meter state championship. Buck has never finished lower than third in these events.

Norah Roller, football, Indian Springs: Roller has scored the most goals this season in soccer across the country with 55 in the net. She had 10 hat tricks, scored eight goals in three different games and totaled 12 assists.

JB Mitchell, football, Thompson: This year’s football team’s top receiver, Mitchell either made athletic catches or simply sprinted through defenders to grab the ball deep. He totaled 1,163 to lead the county and registered 12 touchdowns despite a weapons offense.


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