The Associated Press has honored a number of local football players with selection to its 2013 all-state teams, although the Frostproof Bulldogs were the only team on the Ridge to place members on the first squad.
Junior Linebacker Cecil Cherry (6-2, 225) was one of the first team picks in Class 3A. Cherry has verbally committed to the University of Tennessee. He led the Bulldogs — who lost in the first game of the Class 3A state playoffs in five overtimes against Melbourne Central Catholic — with 90.5 tackles this past fall, with one fumble recovery and one interception.
Defensive back Jarviel Hart also was a first teamer. The senior defensive back had an impressive seven interceptions.
Senior Kaleel Gaines also was a first team pick as a utility player. He was the team’s leading rusher with 667 yards, scoring nine touchdowns on the ground. He also had 19 pass catches and four touchdowns through the air.
Teammate Xavier Gaines, a sophomore quarterback, got honorable mention honors after throwing for 12 touchdowns and 1,290 yards. He also ran for 655 yards and seven touchdowns. Offensive lineman Mike McFarlane was also an honorable mention selection.
Despite making the state semifinals, Lake Wales did not have anyone make the Class 5A first team. Running back Justin Henderson was a second team pick. Henderson was Polk County’s top runner, amassing 1,676 yards, and led the county in scoring too with 29 touchdowns.
Punter Jonathan Smith was a third team pick, and offensive lineman Luke Heirs was an honorable mention selection.
Fort Meade’s Tobias Culpepper was the only Miner on the 3A squads, getting second team honors. He had 40 catches for 661 yards and eight touchdowns.
The Bartow Yellow Jackets did not have any players make the Class 7A first, second or third teams.