Winning the 2019 Class 4A Division I State Title was one thing, the way they did it was another as the Carthage Bulldogs left little to be decided most of the way.
They outscored their foes in District 10-4A play 187-46; they outscored their regular-season foes 381-88; and they finished the 16-0 schedule with a 653-217 advantage over their opponents.
So it should be little surprise how the Dawgs dominated the All-District 10-4A team.
Carthage was represented in five of the seven special honors; eight offensive first-teamers and five unanimous picks; five second-team picks; nine first-team defensive players with five unanimous picks; five second-teamers; and nine honorable mention selections.
Carthage Head Coach Scott Surratt and his staff picked up one of the special honors, as he was named Coach of the Year.
Surratt just finished up his 13th season with the Bulldogs, claiming a seventh state title. His overall record is 164-28, while the team is 57-6 in playoff games since he arrived.
Leading the team is senior wide receiver Kelvontay Dixon, who was a unanimous pick as the best in the district.
The MVP caught 77 passes or 1,261 yards and 19 touchdowns, while rushing for 174 and two other scores.
“He’s so dynamic and versatile,” Surratt said of Dixon. “He was our guy on offense no matter where or how we got him the ball. He went against the best corner other teams had all year and still led the way. He is just a phenomenal young man.
“At his skill set he could have played safety or cornerback for us, too. He’s that good of an athlete.”
Dixon had originally committed to Arkansas, but changed his mind when the coach was fired. He is getting plenty of offers.
The Offensive MVP Award went to junior Mason Courtney, who rushed for 1,682 yards and 18 touchdowns, while catching 38 passes for 400 yards and five more scores.
“He’s strong and very well built,” Surratt said. “He brought toughness to our offense. You saw that in the State Championship. They tried to stop him with a hand tackle, and he just broke it off for a touchdown.
“He worked real hard to make himself a three-down back. Besides running it, he’s now great in catching the ball out of the backfield and in pass protection. You’re not going to find someone better than he is.”
As good as the Dawgs’ offense was, the defense may have made the difference in getting this title.
Senior linebacker Rayvon Ingram, a unanimous selection as the Defensive MVP, played a big part in that as he led the Bulldogs with 117 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, five sacks, two interceptions, with one returned for a score.
“He was a three-year starter for us and he just seemed to fit right in for us,” Surratt said. “He was a great leader, he had great feet, he had great speed and great hands. He was a great short-yardage blocker, too.”
Also honored was sophomore wide receiver Braeden Wade, who shared the Offensive Newcomer with freshman Tyson Berry of Chapel Hill.
“He had to go through a learning curve, but he was the next man up to replace Kelvontay when he sat out the Lumberton game,” Surratt said. “And he had a big game with a big catch against Midlothian Heritage and a big run, too. I’m looking forward to having him around for the next few years.”
Other unanimous picks for the Bulldogs on the first-team offense were quarterback Kai Horton, wide receiver Kel Williams, tight end Montrell Smith, lineman Ty’Kiest Crawford and kicker Brennan Phillips.
The rest of the first-teamers are Craig McNew at utility, Brandon McNeely at fullback and lineman Tee Kellum.
Unanimous picks for the Bulldogs on defense include: defensive end Quinton Owens, outside linebacker Mason Bobo, safety Cole Whitlock, cornerback De’Aundrey Bowman, and returner Anthony Wilson.
Other defensive players are: defensive linemen Desmund Hicks and Kylon Lister and defensive end Jake Tuiel.
Second team picks on offense are running back Jaden Thomas; wide receiver Craig McNew; and offensive linemen Connor Davis, Cade Johnson and Karston Williams.
Second-team picks on defense are: defensive end Quanterrius Brown; inside linebacker Jai Brager; safeties Austin Morgan and Ja’von King; and cornerback Miles Haltom.
Honorable mention selections are tight end Hunter DuBose; OL Jaydon Jacks; WR Cartrell Fulton; running back Nick Stewart; QB Anthony Wilson; DL Laderan Thorn; LB Jaden Thomas; DL Dakaylnn Pellum; and LB Kip Lewis.