By Tony Tsoukalas / Sports Writer
The Meridian Star
Newton County Academy head football coach Robert Roberts knows the 2012 Cougars were a special bunch. Friday, three members of the NCA football team will have the opportunity to represent their talent to the rest of the state, as the senior-trio of Alex Harrison, Regan Reiss and Zack Meeks have been selected to play for the South team in the MAIS All-Star game.
“It's a big deal to get three in there,” Roberts said. “I looked at it last year, and most of the big schools had three players selected. It's pretty good when a small school like us gets three people in.”
Harrison played linebacker and defensive end for the Cougars and will play defensive end for the South team on Friday. Harrison was a standout on defense this season, tallying over 80 tackles and scoring on five defensive touchdowns.
“Alex Harrison is a really fast kid,” Roberts said. “He came to us from Newton County last year, and he stepped in and did a real good job this season.”
Reiss was a two-way star for NCA, putting up big numbers on the ground as well as on defense. The fullback/linebacker rushed for 900 yards and 13 touchdowns this season. However, he is better know for his defensive skills, leading the Cougars in tackles en route to being named the MAIS Division 4-A Defensive MVP. Reiss will play linebacker for the South team.
“Reiss, he can just play,” Roberts said. “He's really tough. He will play somewhere at the next level. He's a real smart kid too, I think he had a 4.0 this year as well.”
Meeks was the Cougars main offensive threat this season, rushing for over 1000 yards to lead the team. The talented senior was awarded Offensive MVP for Division 4-A.
“Zack Meeks is somebody who has always been here at the Academy,” Roberts said. “He's always been a real fast player. He's small, but he is a real quick running back.”
East Central Community College has talked with all three athletes about the possibility of playing at the next level, and Roberts said he is certain all three have the ability to play in college.
Many wondered how the Cougars would respond this season after losing standout running back Dillon Williams.
Roberts said he is proud of how this group of seniors came together to help fill the void left by Williams and carry the Cougars all the way to the MAIS 1A semi-final game.
“The group we had this year, they were like brothers,” Roberts said. “They all played together as a team. These three players were the leaders of the team, and they really put the team on their back. It's good to have three players at one time as good as they were.”