After only the second losing season in 30 years, Central-Phenix City football coach Ron Nelson turned the Red Devils into a state-ranked competitor in his 12th and final season guiding the program.
For that, he has been named the Ledger-Enquirer All-Bi-City Football Coach of the Year. His team marched undefeated through much of the regular season, falling only to Auburn in the AHSAA Class 6A Region 3 decider. Auburn moved to No. 1 in the state the following week, and the Red Devils eventually fell to second-ranked Prattville in the second round of the playoffs.
Even with a stable of top college recruits next to him in the lineup, Carver running back Isaiah Crowell was hard to miss. He zigged and zagged to 22 touchdowns and 1,907 yards rushing and three receiving touchdowns on 241 yards, and is the Ledger-Enquirer All-Bi-City Offensive Player of the Year.
After Crowell’s job was done and opposing offenses had the ball, Carver defensive end Corey Crawford made as big of an impact. His dominating play, which included 87 total tackles, nine sacks and a pair of interceptions, earned him the title of All-Bi-City Defensive Player of the Year.
If GHSA Region 2-AAA cross country runners looked for a break this year, they didn’t get one. Columbus’ Charlie Sparks and Jessica Ridley continued their reigns as the area’s top runners and repeat as All-Bi-City Runners of the Year.
Sparks completed his senior season with a third-place finish at the state race and city and region titles, and never failed to finish lower than first in a Region 2-AAA meet in four years. He clocked a best time of 15:08 in 2009 and helped the Columbus boys team to a third-place finish at state.
Ridley finished 13th at state and added a city championship while helping the Blue Devils girls to a sixth-place finish at state. Her best time of 2009 was 18:49.
For coaching the dominating Columbus girls runners to city and region titles and a sixth-place state finish, Lynda Korcha is the Ledger-Enquirer All-Bi-City Girls Cross Country Coach of the Year.
Smiths Station boys coach Ron Peters led the Panthers to 10th place at the AHSAA Class 6A state meet and had a list of runner-up finishes, including at the team’s sectional meet. For doing so much with nine first-year runners, Peters is the Ledger-Enquirer All-Bi-City Boys Cross Country Coach of the Year.