For a team that won just one Northwestern 3A/4A Conference game, the McDowell Titans did about as well as they could have hoped in all-conference voting by the league’s football coaches.
Three Titans were named to the All-NWC team, which was released Saturday after all the conference’s remaining playoff teams bit the dust. Senior lineman Eric Miller, junior running back J.C. Olivo and junior linebacker Andrew Davis were named to the squad.
Not surprisingly, conference champions Alexander Central led the way with 15 players selected. Watauga was second with 12 choices.
Miller, a 6-foot-1, 215-pounder, emerged as one of the Titans’ most consistent linemen on both sides of the ball. Miller was sixth on the team in tackles with 40. He had one tackle for loss and one caused fumble.
Olivo, a 5-foot-8, 155-pound tailback, led the Titans in rushing, with 832 yards and four touchdowns on 166 carries. He also caught 18 passes for 200 yards and a touchdown, and returned 28 kicks for an average of 22.5 yards per return and two more TDs.
Davis, a 6-foot, 230-pound inside linebacker, led the team with 100 tackles, 69 of them solo stops. He also had two tackles for loss, two sacks, two fumble recoveries, three caused fumbles and a blocked punt.
West Caldwell running back Taye Dula was named the league’s Offensive Player of the Year after leading the conference in rushing with 2,204 yards and 22 touchdowns on 223 attempts.
Alexander Central defensive tackle Isaac Chapman and Watauga defensive end Josh Deadlee shared top defensive honors. Chapman, a 6-foot-2, 278-pound senior, had 62 tackles, 23.5 of them for losses, and 10 sacks. Headlee, a 6-foot-4, 275-pound senior, had 56 stops, seven of them for losses, and one sack.
The overall Player of the Year was Alexander Central quarterback Gunnar Anderson, who was 80-for-123 passing for 1,222 yards and 12 TDs with four interceptions, and rushed for 782 yards and 14 more scores on 112 carries.
Hickory’s Harrison Boston was Special Teams Player of the Year. Alexander Central’s Butch Carter was named Coach of the Year after leading the Cougars to a 10-2 overall record and a 6-1 NWC mark.
The all-NWC soccer team was also released last week. McDowell goalkeeper Mario Ramirez was the Titans’ only all-conference pick.