Gilliam leads 8 CHS honorees

Published 11:48 am Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The Cumberland High School varsity football team had a tough year, going 1-9, but its recent haul of All-Conference 42 accolades highlighted that positive things were happening this season for the Dukes.

The team was represented by 12 all-conference selections, including three on the first team.

Senior Jaylen Gilliam was selected to the first team as both a defensive end and offensive lineman, while senior Brandon Leabough made the cut as a defensive back.

Email newsletter signup

“I’m very pleased,” Cumberland Head Coach Edgar Knapp said of all the honors. “Everybody looks at (win-loss) records, and obviously, that’s the top thing you’re aiming for, and as I said all year, we’ve got a number of good football players. We just don’t have a lot of depth.”

He said seeing those players recognized was really rewarding.

“It’s good for the kids,” Knapp said. “It is an overall plus for our program to have a lot of kids represented on the all-conference team, and they all earned it. It wasn’t a gift for anybody, so it’s nice to be recognized by the other teams who see your play and see the good things that you do.”

The Dukes making the second team included sophomore Kahare Sutton, selected as both a kick returner and an all-purpose defender, senior linebacker Kaleb Boyles, senior running backs Jamie Trent and De’Suan Jennings, senior wide receiver James Booker and junior defensive back Keyshawn Diming.

Receiving honorable mentions were Boyles, as an offensive lineman, and Sutton, as an all-purpose offensive player.

Gilliam made the all-conference first team last year as an offensive lineman, but this was his first time making it as a defender. In nine games, he registered 53 total tackles, including eight tackles for losses, and six sacks. He forced a safety, had three quarterback hurries and one pass defended.

These numbers were compiled despite his playing the final two games after having dislocated his ring finger.

TITUS MOHLER | HERALD Cumberland High School senior Brandon Leabough made the all-conference first team as a defensive back.

Cumberland High School senior Brandon Leabough made the all-conference first team as a defensive back.

On offense, he helped facilitate the Dukes run game, which piled up 1,980 yards for the season.

Leabough, who also played quarterback for Cumberland, starred at the free safety position, where he accumulated 57 total tackles, including two for a loss, and two interceptions.

Knapp said he was excited to see Sutton get so much recognition as an underclassman for his vital contributions on both sides of the ball.

The coach also highlighted Trent, who he said would have made the first team had he been healthy enough to play all 10 games. In seven contests, he racked up 700 yards rushing.