To show how much the Cass Colonels’ football team improved from one year to the next, all one has to do is look at its overall record and the number of players who were selected to the 2012 7-AAAA all-region team.
The Colonels did not win one single game during the 2011 regular season, nor did they have one single player named to the all-region team ... first team, second team or even honorable mention.
One year later, that has changed.
Cass won five games during the 2012 regular season and placed seven players on the 7-AAAA all-region team ... two on the first team, two on the second team and three honorable mentions.
“Their selections show how much the team improved this year and how well they have endured the ups and downs of the past two football seasons,” coach Rick Casko said. “All were starters last year and this year as well.”
First team selections are Brandon Etheridge, junior quarterback, and Kelin Wells, junior wide receiver. Named to the second team are Justin Reed, junior defensive end, and Chris Morton, sophomore wide receiver. Honorable mentions are Deon Hardison, senior defensive back; Joe Wood, junior offensive lineman; and Montavius Park, junior defensive end.
Etheridge set a school record for the number of yards passing in one season. He completed 145 of 240 passes for 2,418 yards and 14 touchdowns.
Also setting a school record in receiving yards and number of catches in one season was Wells. The junior wide receiver caught 52 passes for 857 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed 62 times and 181 yards and two touchdowns. The Colonels’ all-purpose player had a 12.6-yard punt return average, a 27-yard kickoff return average, threw for one touchdown and made 14 tackles on defense.
Morton caught 22 passes for 618 yards and four touchdowns, and set a school record with his 28 yards per reception.
Reed, who played both defensive end and tight end for Cass, made the region’s second team along with Morton with his 32 tackles, six tackles for losses and two quarterback sacks. He caught seven passes for 162 yards and two touchdowns while playing tight end.
Parker ended the season with 31 tackles, seven tackles for losses and three sacks. Wood finished the season with the team’s highest grading as an offensive lineman. Hardison had 27 tackles and two interceptions.
The senior also stepped in to the running back position for one game and rushed for 107 yards and two touchdowns.
“The majority of these players were still young and playing against stiff competition this season,” said the Colonels’ head football coach, whose football team went from 0-10 in 2011 to 5-5 in 2012.
“Thanks to the leadership provided by this talented group of football players we were able to play a lot of teams tough. With most everybody returning, we are already looking forward to next season.”
Of the seven players selected to either the first team, second team or who were honorable mention, Hardison is the only player Casko is losing to graduation.