Wildcats football

The Sweetwater football team runs onto the field prior to its game against Meigs County on Aug. 24.

After a season that featured a winning record and playoff berth, multiple Sweetwater football players were awarded All-Region honors.

A total of eight Wildcats cracked the All-Region 3-3A list, while two notched special awards.

Junior Bryce Johnson was honored as the region’s Linebacker of the Year, and freshman offensive lineman Jovan Johnkins was named Newcomer of the Year.

Johnson was an absolute force for Sweetwater’s defense, totaling 116 tackles, including eight tackles for a loss and four sacks, and one interception. Johnkins started on both the offensive and defensive line for the Wildcats in his first season, grading out as Sweetwater’s best offensive lineman and recording 43 tackles, six sacks and a fumble recovery defensively. He was also named the 2019 All-County Rookie of the Year.

Junior quarterback Austin Long, senior running back/linebacker Drew Hicks, senior running back/linebacker Thomas Billingsley, junior wide receiver/defensive back Kaleb Johnkins, junior tight end/defensive end Simon Blomstrom and senior wide receiver/linebacker/defensive back Blake Jenkins were named to the All-Region team. Long headlined a standout offense in head coach Mike Martin’s first season, throwing for 1,272 yards, 11 touchdowns and just four interceptions. Hicks provided showcased running on offense and stout defensive play in his final season.

Billingsley provided key reps at tailback while also helping fortify the Wildcats’ defense, and Kaleb Johnkins acted as Long’s go-to receiver.

Blomstrom was a force in the passing game and on the defensive front, while Jenkins was a strong receiver who could also tackle and cover well defensively.

In Martin’s first season at the helm, the Wildcats improved five wins from their 2-8 record the prior year, and made the playoffs for the first time since 2017. Sweetwater was eliminated in the first round by Smith County, 28-27.

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