All-East Cooper football team loaded with local talent
Wednesday, December 2, 2015
Another East Cooper high school football season has passed, once again providing our local teams, players and fans memories to last a lifetime.
This season gave us final-second wins and heartbreaking losses. Record-setting performances balanced with season-long battles through adversity.
We saw winless teams rise to win region championships. Well-known upperclassmen cemented their legacies while promising underclassmen burst on the scene ready to lead the next generation.
This year's All-East Cooper football team features 23 of the area's best from Wando, Bishop England, Palmetto Christian, Coastal Christian, First Baptist and Academic Magnet.
Statistics weighed heavily on the decision but leadership, consistency and impact on team success also factored into the selections.
Leading the pack is Wando junior receiver OrTre Smith. Already one of the state's top college prospects, Smith lived up to his billing with one of the best junior seasons in Lowcountry history. Smith set school single-season and career records in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns, while facing double coverage most of the season. Smith's 84 catches this season broke the Warriors' previous mark by 24. His 1,319 receiving yards were 425 more than the previous record and his 16 touchdown catches surpassed the team record by five.
Smith is joined by Wando teammates Bailey Hart and Kevin Brown. Hart passed for 2,605 yards and 20 touchdowns, completing 56 percent of his pass attempts. The senior quarterback rushed for another 200 yards and five touchdowns. Brown, a 2015 Shrine Bowl selection, rushed for 1,356 yards and 18 touchdowns, averaging 8.9 yards per carry, and caught 28 passes for 316 yards and two scores.
Academic Magnet senior Nate Schlosser rushed for 1,407 yards, averaging 6.5 per carry with 26 touchdowns. Palmetto Christian senior Kevin Iriart totaled 637 yards and six touchdowns fighting through a rebuilding year with the Eagles. Bishop England senior fullback John DeStefano rushed for 863 yards, averaging 6.4 per carry, and 11 touchdowns and averaged 16 yards per catch with three more scores.
Upfront, Wando junior offensive linemen Miles Condon and Fisher Peyton join Bishops senior center Blake Jeresaty, a Wofford commit and North-South all-star, and First Baptist senior center, Joe Sweatt, a 2015 SCISA North-South selection. Condon logged 10 knockdowns with two pancakes while Peyton had six knockdowns and three pancakes.
Coastal Christian senior Rodney Prioleau's extreme versatility made him an easy selection for the athlete slot on this year's list. Prioleau rushed for 772 yards, averaging 6.3 per carry, and 11 touchdowns, along with 294 yards receiving and four more scores. He averaged 36 yards per kick return with three returned for touchdowns and took his only punt return of the season back for a score.
Leading the defense is Wando middle linebacker Colt Feinberg. The senior posted a team-high 102.5 total tackles, five for a loss, with two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, nine quarterback hurries and 13 ball disruptions. Joining Fineberg at linebacker are Schlosser, Bishop England senior Danny Kiernan, voted 2015 East Cooper Player of the Year, and junior Eric Vettel. Kiernan posted 43 tackles, a team-high nine for a loss, three sacks, one forced fumble and one interception. Vettel made 65 tackles, 38 solo, with six for a loss and one interception. Schlosser led Magnet with 96 tackles, three interceptions, a fumbled recovery and a forced fumble.
Wando junior Stephen McDaniel and senior Johnny Ray anchor the defensive line, along with DeStefano. McDaniel made 40 solo tackles, 10 for a loss, with two sacks and two forced fumbles, while Ray tallied nine tackles for a loss with a team-high four sacks and two fumble recoveries. DeStefano led the Bishops with seven sacks, 10 tackles for a loss.
Defending the secondary are Wando senior Stephen Barrera, Coastal senior Daniel Ulmer and Bishops juniors Jack Grooms and Andrew Pizzo. Barrera made 73 solo tackles, one for a loss, two fumble recoveries, two forced fumbles and one interception. Ulmer made 82 tackles, six interceptions, six fumble recoveries, returning one fumble and one interception for touchdowns. Grooms led Bishop England with 82 total tackles, two for a loss with one forced fumble and a fumble recovery, while Pizzo finished second with 74 tackles, an interception and fumble recovery.
On special teams, Bishops junior kicker Andrew Mikulski made three of four attempts this year with a long of 41 yards. He averaged 41 yards per kickoff this season with seven touchbacks.
2015 All-East Cooper football
Bailey Hart, QB, Wando
Kevin Brown, RB, Wando
Nate Schlosser, RB, AM
John DeStefano, FB, BE
OrTre Smith, WR, Wando
Kevin Iriart, WR, PCA
Joe Sweatt, OL, FB
Blake Jeresaty, OL, BE
Miles Condon, OL, Wando
Fisher Peyton, OL, Wando
Rodney Prioleau, ATH, CC
Andrew Mikulski, K, BE
Stephen McDaniel, DL, Wando
Johnny Ray, DL, Wando
John DeStefano, DL, BE
Colt Feinberg, LB, Wando
Danny Kiernan, LB, BE
Eric Vettel, LB, BE
Nate Schlosser, LB, AM
Daniel Ulmer, DB, CC
Jack Grooms, DB, BE
Andrew Pizzo, DB, BE
Stephen Barrera, DB, Wando