Prep Insider Blog

16 Observer-area players named AP All-State, including offensive, defensive POYs

Vance Cougar linebacker Power Echols (1) tackles Myers Park wide receiver Andre Francois (left).
Vance Cougar linebacker Power Echols (1) tackles Myers Park wide receiver Andre Francois (left). Special to the Observer

Vance High sophomore linebacker Power Echols talks about being a highly rated recruit and the recruitment process.

The 2018 N.C. Associated Press all-state football team has a definite Charlotte flavor.

Two Charlotte Observer-area stars were named offensive and defensive players of the year. In all, 16 Observer-area players made the team.

Indian Trail Sun Valley quarterback Sam Howell and Vance linebacker Power Echols were named the state’s top offensive and defensive players of the year. Howell, a senior, has signed to North Carolina. Echols is a sophomore.

Howell and Echols were also named the All-Observer players of the year on Christmas Day.

East Forsyth’s Todd Willert is AP Coach of the Year after an unbeaten run to the Class 4A state championship.

Sun Valley High quarterback Sam Howell talks about being a highly regarded recruit, having high-profile programs, such as Florida State, North Carolina, and Miami recruit him, and what kind of legacy he hopes to leave for Sun Valley High athletes.

Echols led the 32-player AP all-state team, appearing on 15 of 17 ballots from statewide sports writers in results released Friday. The sophomore was among three all-state picks for Vance, joining Andre White at tight end and defensive back Xavier Marshall for the state 4AA finalist.

This season, Echols became the first sophomore to win I-MECK 4A Player of the Year. The league is generally considered the state’s best. Echols had 160 tackles, 19 for loss and nine quarterback sacks. He has more than 15 Division I offers.

Clayton and Hough were the only other schools with multiple all-state picks. Clayton had defensive lineman Savion Jackson and defensive back William “J.R.” Walker. Hough had defensive back Tyus Fields and punter Conner Maynard.

Howell, a senior who committed to Florida State before signing with North Carolina, earned 13 votes along with Mount Airy receiver Donavon Greene and Elizabeth City Northeastern defensive lineman Traveon Freshwater — an East Carolina signee who made the team for a third straight season.

Howell threw for 3,241 yards and 36 touchdowns this season and he ran for 1,392 yards and 17 scores. Signed to North Carolina, Howell is the state’s all-time leader in career yards with more than 17,000.

QB Sam Howell of Sun Valley High School signed with UNC Wednesday on National Signing Day. The top 100 national recruit chose the Tar Heels over Florida State.

Walker, Fields, Greenville Conley receiver CJ Johnson and Belmont South Point offensive lineman Larry Dowdy were all-state picks for the second straight year.

The 2018 Associated Press all-state high school football team for North Carolina, as selected by a panel of 17 sports writers at newspapers across the state. Players at all positions are listed alphabetically with name, school and class.


Quarterback — Sam Howell, Indian Trail Sun Valley, Sr.

Running back — Elijah Burris, Mount Holly Mountain Island Charter, Jr.; Zonovan Knight, Southern Nash, Sr.

Wide receivers — Elijah Bowick, Charlotte Myers Park, Sr.; Donavon Greene, Mount Airy, Sr.; CJ Johnson, Greenville Conley, Sr.

Tight end — Kam Walker, Canton Pisgah, Sr.; Andre White, Charlotte Vance, Sr. (tie).

Offensive linemen — Anthony Carter, Matthews Butler, Jr.; Larry Dowdy, Belmont South Point, Sr.; CJ Elmonus, Asheville Reynolds, Sr.; Triston Miller, Charlotte Country Day, Sr.; Parker Moorer, Charlotte Mallard Creek, Sr.

Athlete — Travion Canada, Reidsville, Sr.


Defensive linemen — Traveon Freshwater, Elizabeth City Northeastern, Sr.; Derek Green, Southwest Onslow, Sr.; Savion Jackson, Clayton, Sr.; Payton Page, Greensboro Dudley, Soph.

Linebackers — Power Echols, Charlotte Vance, Soph.; Jaylon Scott, Shelby, Sr.; Drake Thomas, Wake Forest Heritage, Sr.

Defensive backs —Tyus Fields, Cornelius Hough, Sr.; Jakobe Harris, Southwest Guilford, Sr.; Xavier Marshall, Charlotte Vance, Sr.; Khalid Martin, East Forsyth, Sr.; Jaheim Mullen, Gastonia Huss, Sr.; William (J.R.) Walker, Clayton, Sr.; Lannden Zanders, Shelby Crest, Sr. (Fields, Marshall, Mullen and Walker tie).

Special teams

Kicker — Joshua Karty, Western Alamance, Jr.

Punter — Conner Maynard, Cornelius Hough, Sr.

Returner — Emery Simmons, Hope Mills South View, Sr.; Skylin Thomas, Lenoir Hibriten, Sr. (tie).

Voting panel:

Paul Durham, Wilson Times; Samuel Evers, Rocky Mount Telegram; Jake Keator, The Daily Reflector of Greenville; David Kehrli, The Times-News of Burlington; Mike London, Salisbury Post; Brian Meadows, Statesville Record & Landmark; Chris Miller, The Daily News of Jacksonville; Jonas Pope IV, The Herald-Sun of Durham/The News & Observer of Raleigh; Paul Schenkel, The News Herald of Morganton; Jaclyn Shambaugh, The Fayetteville Observer; Malcolm Shields, The Daily Advance of Elizabeth City; Joe Sirera, The News & Record of Greensboro; Jay Spivey, Winston-Salem Journal; David Thompson, The Citizen-Times of Asheville; Richard Walker, Gaston Gazette/Shelby Star; Langston Wertz Jr., The Charlotte Observer; Alan Wooten, The Bladen Journal of Elizabethtown.