Warner headlines 22 all-conference Falcon honors

Published 10:01 am Monday, December 23, 2019

Fuqua School’s varsity football team earned the 2019 All-Battlefield Conference recognition worthy of the Falcons’ status as conference champions, drawing 22 selections, including 11 on the first team, with Fuqua senior Elijah Warner being named the conference Co-Player of the Year.

The Falcons went 9-2 during the 2019 season, including going 5-0 in the conference during the regular season.

Making the all-conference first team for Fuqua were junior running back Jackson Allen; senior Matt Osborn, as both a wide receiver and defensive back; senior Jaylen Hempfield, as both a wide receiver and kickoff returner; senior offensive lineman Hunter Gibson; Warner, as both a punter returner and defensive back; senior defensive lineman Colby Barton, senior defensive lineman Jarrod Cooper and junior linebacker Sean Bradley.

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Falcons making the second team included Warner, as a quarterback; Bradley, as a running back; senior Drew Osborn, as both a wide receiver and punter; junior Luke Gee, as an offensive utility player; Barton, as an offensive lineman; Cooper, as an offensive lineman; senior Josh Tharpe, as both an offensive and defensive lineman; junior linebacker Ryan Ledger; and Allen, as a linebacker.

Reflecting on his team’s haul of accolades after winning the conference regular season title, Fuqua Head Coach Ben Manis said, “That’s kind of what you expect. Again, if you’re Bill Belichick and you’re not coaching very good guys, you can’t win but so much, so again, props to them. The kids are the ones on the field making it happen — great group of kids and a shame to see some of them go.”

Graduation will claim a key group of players led by Warner.

Warner noted that earning the Player of the Year honor “meant a lot to me, and it’s been one of my goals for my four years of high school, but I couldn’t have done it by myself. We had a great group of boys this year. They really made my last football season special.”

As a quarterback, he finished the year going 78-for-138 passing for 1,176 yards and 18 touchdowns. He also ran 121 times for 816 yards and 16 touchdowns. On defense, he recorded 84 total tackles.

Of Warner, Manis said, “He played really well this season, really grew both as a leader and as a  player. … The fact that he shared the conference Player of the Year award with the kid that ended up winning the state championship really shows the respect the other coaches had for him.”

As the coach noted, Warner shared the Player of the Year honor with St. Michael the Archangel Catholic High School senior quarterback Jalen Smith, who ultimately led the Warriors (10-1) to the 2019 Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association Division III state championship.

Other season stats for Fuqua first-team selection are as follows: Allen ran for 750 yards and 10 touchdowns and had 223 yards receiving and one touchdown catch; Matt Osborn had 26 catches for 704 yards and 10 touchdowns and recorded 32 total tackles and seven interceptions on defense; Hempfield finished with 22 receptions for 275 yards and four scores, and he also had 12 rushes for 147 yards and three touchdowns; Barton registered 28 total tackles; Cooper had 38 total tackles; and Bradley record 78 total tackles.