Last but not least...the All-Area Football team.
The area saw a lot of improvement from a year ago in the win-loss column as each team recorded at least the same amount of wins from last year or more.
We had a district champion in Fleming County, their first outright district title since 2001 to go with a Bracken County team that won their first playoff game in school history with a win over Fairview. Mason County improved their win total by three for the second straight season and the Manchester and Lewis County teams also improved their win totals.
As far as individual accolades, the Offensive Player of the Year race was a tough choice between Fleming County's Josh Crump and Bracken County's Tad Fisher. Both were very deserving, but in the end, Crump got the nod.
The smooth sailing QB out of Flemingsburg put together an extremely efficient 2017 season, completing 60 percent of his passes and throwing for an area high 24 touchdowns. His scrambling ability also showed as he collected 546 rushing yards to go with nine rushing touchdowns.
Even with his leading receiver Zac Alexander going down with a knee injury in the first game of the season, Crump never skipped a beat and will go down as one of the better Panthers to ever suit up and play quarterback for the black and gold. His poise in the pocket helped pace the Panthers to the Class 3A, 5th District title, going undefeated in district play.
As for the defense, it's no doubt that Mason County's Tykeise Henry was at the center of a lot of success for the Royals defensive unit. Henry was a human bowling ball out there and any pin (player) that got in his way better look out. Henry delivered bone jarring hit after hit and provided the Royals with a boost for his knack of getting to the football.
Henry tallied 89 solo tackles this year, picked off four passes, two of them returned for touchdowns and recovered a fumble. Henry rebounded in a big way from a disappointing junior season in which he decided to leave the team. Henry definitely redeemed himself and might earn an opportunity to play at the next level with his play.
Here's the rest of The Ledger Independent's All-Area Team (NOTE: some of these players were just as deserving offensively or defensively, but wanted to keep it consistent with a player just on one side of the ball):
Josh Crump, Fleming County, QB- See above.
Chandler Dunaway, Mason County, QB- The Mason County signal caller was a big part of helping the Royals average 35 points a game. Dunaway threw for 1,323 yards and 15 touchdowns to go with 488 rushing yards and six rushing touchdowns. Dunaway set a school record with six passing touchdowns in a game against Morgan County on September 8.
Tad Fisher, Bracken County, RB - Fisher was a close second in the Offensive Player of the Year category. He totaled 1,606 yards rushing, tops in the area and 19 rushing touchdowns. He also showed he's an all-purpose back with 24 receptions for 461 yards and five touchdowns. His 25 touchdowns scored this season was good for a school record. He'll enter his senior season looking to etch his name in a lot of Polar Bear records.
Malkolm Devine, Mason County, RB- Devine found a second gear midway through the season and really made the Royals offense go. He tallied 1,147 rushing yards and scored 11 rushing touchdowns for the Royals in '17. Over his final six games of the regular season, Devine rushed for 898 yards and seven touchdowns.
Garrett Applegate, Lewis County, RB- The Lions lead running back was a horse for them in '17. His 138 carries, 820 yards and 12 rushing touchdowns paced the Lions this year in the rushing category. His 210 yard, five rushing touchdown performance against Nicholas County on September 8, was a top five running game in school history.
Nick Woolard, Manchester, RB- Woolard amassed 827 rushing yards to go with nine rushing touchdowns, he added 197 yards receiving with four touchdowns and also showed excellence on special teams with four return touchdowns.
Tay Offut, Lewis County, WR- Offut led the area in receptions with 50. He also recorded 655 receiving yards and five touchdowns.
Jaden Campbell, Fleming County, WR- Campbell resurfaced this year coming off a knee injury and made a big splash. The all-around Panthers threat totaled 668 receiving yards and 181 rush yards with five total touchdowns, three receiving, one rushing and a punt return against Russell to win the game. A play the Panthers will recollect for quite some time in Flemingsburg.
Brad Glascock, Fleming County, WR- Glascock delivered on almost a weekly basis for the Panthers this season. The crisp route-runner had 36 receptions for 638 yards to go with eight receiving touchdowns.
Leevi Dunaway, Mason County, WR- When the Royals needed a big play out wide, Dunaway was most likely providing it. He averaged 22.5 yards per catch, racking up 26 catches for 587 yards and scored nine touchdowns on the season.
Zach Roberison, Lewis County, WR- Joining with Offut for a nice 1-2 punch out wide was Roberison. The junior caught 43 passes for 450 yards to go with two touchdowns. He'll be Zach Lehn's top target next year with Offut graduating.
Dalton Kindt, Mason County, OL- Kindt was a stalwart on both lines for the Royals this season. He paved the way for the Royals to total over 200 rushing yards per game this season. If a spot needed a boost on the line this season, Kindt would fill in anywhere the Royals needed to be successful.
Frankie Collins, Bracken County, OL- Collins has been a staple along the Polar Bears offensive line for years. Collins was vital for the Polar Bears 3,192 rushing yards and helped keep Trey Brausch upright as he set a school record for 1,334 passing yards.
Kirkland Cochran, Lewis County, OL- Cochran helped open holes for Garrett Applegate's 820 rushing yards this season. He was also a four-year letterman for the Lions.
Sebastian Grannis, Fleming County, OL- Grannis was a key cog in keeping quarterback Josh Crump upright as he scrambled around to look for receivers.
Will Caudill, Mason County, OL- Caudill was another guy along the Royals line that could move around anywhere they needed him, providing a lot of versatility.
Hunter Bradford, Lewis County, DL- Bradofrd was the leading tackler along the Lions defensive front with 42 tackles and also added a fumble recovery.
Kyle Murray, Fleming County, DL - Murray was the leading tackler along the Panthers defensive front with 100 tackles. Murray also recovered a fumble.
Luke Thompson, Manchester, DL- Thompson totaled 63 tackles along the Greyhounds defensive line, 10 of them going for loss. He also got to the quarterback a bunch with nine sacks.
Austin Stubblefield, Bracken County, DL- Stubblefield was tops along a nasty Polar Bears front with 56 tackles. He also recovered a fumble, returning it 70 yards for a touchdown.
Kuper Teegarden, Bracken County, DL- Amassed 46 tackles and two fumble recoveries for a Bracken County defense that allowed the least amount of points in a season in school history.
Tykeise Henry, Mason County, LB- See above.
Jacob Calvert, Manchester, LB- The junior tallied 97 tackles this year, 10 for loss to go with two fumble recoveries.
Nick Clark, Fleming County, LB- The heart of the Panthers defense tallied 128 tackles, leading the team in the category.
Josh Hamm, Fleming County, LB- Hamm racked up 109 tackles and forced four turnovers with three fumble recoveries and an interception.
Camdyn Washington, Mason County, LB- Washington registered 62 tackles, 60 of them solo and two fumble recoveries for the Royals this season.
Mason Tucker, Bracken County, DB- Tucker led the Polar Bears in interceptions with six and also recovered two fumbles. The one-handed interception at Nicholas County to preserve a shutout is one that will not be forgotten.
Aaron Christiansen, Fleming County, DB- The Panthers defensive back was tied for the team lead in turnovers forced with four, picking off three passes and picking up a fumble.
Trey Brausch, Bracken County, DB- Much like the offense where he played QB, Brausch was often communicating to the defense where they needed to be while he was at safety. He recorded 44 tackles to go with two interceptions and a fumble recovery.
Jaylen Lofton, Mason County, DB- Lofton was more of a hybrid mix, playing some linebacker as well, but his versatile role was vital for the Royals in '17. He recorded 43 solo tackles to go with two interceptions on the year.