By Cam Huffman
College football handed out many of its awards Thursday night, and the big one will be announced Saturday in New York.
The Register-Herald has also caught the awards fever, and over the course of the next week will be handing out its own awards to honor the top performances of the 2012 high school football season.
Today we unveil the five finalists for the Register-Herald Offensive Player of the Year. Our sports staff will vote for a winner out of the five finalists, and the award winner will be announced in the Dec. 14 Register-Herald.
In the meantime, give us your input. Visit The Register-Herald (Official) on Facebook and leave a comment on the story link to let us know which player you believe should receive the honors.
Malik Boatwright (Greenbrier West) — The Cavaliers went deeper into the playoffs than any other area team, and Boatwright was a big reason for that success. Playing mostly quarterback, but moving around when needed, the 5-foot-8 junior rushed for 1,650 yards and 18 touchdowns while throwing for 416 yards and four touchdowns. He tossed only one interception.
Against eventual Class A champion Wahama, Boatwright threw for 72 yards and rushed for 51 before having to exit with an injury.
Ramon Edwards (Woodrow Wilson) — If it could be done on the football field at Woodrow Wilson, Ramon Edwards did it. Not only did he catch 24 passes for 220 yards and three touchdowns to become the school’s all-time leading receiver, he also provided a threat in the running game, rushing for 756 yards on 56 carries. That’s an average of 13.5 yards per carry.
As a return man, the 5-foot-8 senior averaged 25.3 yards on 22 kickoff returns.
Jake Grimmett (Midland Trail) — Helping his team turn a 2-8 finish in 2011 into a 6-4 campaign that nearly got the Patriots into the playoffs, Grimmett was nearly impossible to stop, even though opponents knew he was getting the football as much as possible.
The 5-foot-11 senior provided most of the Trail offense, rushing for 1,245 yards and 15 touchdowns, throwing for 536 yards and eight touchdowns and scoring 106 total points.
Jalen Jones (Oak Hill) — Jones was for Eddie Souk’s Oak Hill club what Tavon Austin was for West Virginia. The 5-foot-6 junior did a little bit of everything.
It started on the ground, where he was one of the state’s top rushers, totaling 2,046 yards and 25 touchdowns on the ground, but it didn’t stop there. Jones was also the Red Devil kicker, and he kicked 25 extra points. When he wasn’t kicking extra points, he was returning 2-point conversions. He had two of those on the year.
Then there was the return game, where Jones returned 10 punts for 317 yards and a pair of touchdowns and six kickoffs for 159 yards.
He ended the year with 197 points scored, leading the state in that category.
Making the jump up to Class AAA, Jones led his team to the playoffs and rushed for more than 100 yards against eventual state runner-up Cabell Midland.
Jake Parker (Meadow Bridge) — Parker made plenty of statisticians and newspaper reporters check their math with some eye-popping numbers.
The 6-foot junior, who still has another year to add to his career totals, ended the season with 2,211 yards and 28 touchdowns, racking up 174 total points. He helped the Wildcats to an 8-2 regular season and a spot in the Class A playoffs.
Meadow Bridge saw its season end with a loss to Greenbrier West, but Parker still showed off his ability, rushing for 194 yards and a touchdown, even with the playoff pressure on his shoulders.