Williams, Curtis sweep All-State MVP awards; Jones, Smart, Singleton honored

The Louisiana Sports Writers Association has been selecting All-State high school football teams since 1958 and although there aren’t records to prove it, there’s ample reason to believe Many High made history Thursday.

The Tigers have had plenty of All-State selections, especially during the ultra-successful last decade. But in a first for Many, and possibly in LSWA history, one team swept the individual Most Outstanding Player awards.

Many senior running back London Williams earned Outstanding Offensive Player and junior defensive back Tackett Curtis won Outstanding Defensive Player for the second straight year.

Williams was among the state’s leading rushers with 2,646 yards and 47 touchdowns, while Curtis made

128 tackles and four interceptions to help the Tigers go 13-2 as they return to the Class 2A championship game for the third straight year.

“London was one of the best, most productive running backs in the state in any class,” said Many head coach Jess Curtis. “I can’t say enough about London and what he’s done. He didn’t walk through the door ready to go out and dominate. He worked into it. He became a great football player. He’s a guy with 4.4 speed who is also a state champion powerlifter. Those guys are rare. He got to this point through a lot of hard work.

“Tackett is such a weapon. He’s a specimen, the kind of talent that doesn’t come around very often,” said his coach. “He is such a fantastic athlete that we can use him in many ways on defense, and he’s able to run our offense at quarterback, and be an all-district return man. He’s a guy who makes a big splash in every game and does all he can to prepare and improve himself daily, year-round.”

Senior offensive lineman Korey Jones also made the All-State first team for Many. He was the top blocker on one of Louisiana’s most prolific offenses, scoring nearly 50 points per game.

“I’m real proud of him. Last year he burst on the scene, had a wonderful summer and took it to the season. This year, he took it to the next level,” said Curtis. “Jakorey’s an intelligent, hard-working, physical offensive lineman. Our running backs got a lot of attention, and rightfully so, but they would be the first to tell you the offensive line, guys like Korey, paved the way.

“He’s got some opportunities that are going to arise here, and he’ll make a decision where he’s going to play next. He’s going to play some Saturday football,” said Curtis.

Two more Tiger defensive backs, Jay Smart and Tylen Singleton, were honorable mention all-state selections. Smart is a junior and Singleton is a sophomore.

“Jay and Tylen are asked to play in a man-free system, sometimes in zero coverage. That means it’s just them, out there, with out a net. They do such an unbelievable job, they’re one of the secrets why we can be so physical and pressure-happy on defense, because we have two of the best cornerbacks in the state.

“I’ll put them up against anybody. In the quarterfinals of the playoffs, Tylen had to cover a Mississippi State commit, and then in the state final he was covering an LSU commit, and he held both of them without catches. He’s special. Jay Smart was one of the state leaders in interceptions,” said Curtis.

Class 2A champion Amite was represented on the LSWA All-State team with a trio of seniors in linebacker Javae Gilmore, punter Liam Adamson and return specialist Earl Jackson. Media members representing each region around Louisiana voted on the team, considering players who made first-team all-district.

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