2013 Herald All-Area Football First Team Defense

December 25, 2013 

Craig Bain, jr., Lakewood Ranch

Position: Cornerback.

To his credit: The 5-10, 155-pounder was able to cover some of the more elite receivers in the area and showed an ability to come up and help with the run when needed. He is an aggressive, sure tackler, which enabled him to rack up 51 tackles, and he returned an interception for a touchdown.

Marcus Balliette, sr., Braden River

Position: Linebacker.

To his credit: Known for his hard-nosed, aggressive style of play, the 5-11, 205-pound middle linebacker-receiver was the heart and soul of the Pirates' defense the past two years. This past season, he led the team with 101 tackles -- including 78 solos, which more than doubled anyone else on the roster. He tied for the team lead with 17 tackles for loss and had two interceptions, one sack, two forced fumbles and three pass breakups.

Demarcus Christmas, sr., Manatee

Position: Defensive end.

To his credit: Despite facing double teams on nearly every play, the 6-foot-4, 284-pound Florida State University commit made his presence felt on what was the best defensive line in the area;. He registered 39 tackles, including 33 solos, and led the Canes with 20 quarterback hurries. Christmas had eight tackles for losses, three sacks for minus-15 yards, two forced fumbles and one recovered fumble.

Danny Doyle, sr., Manatee

Position: Defensive end.

To his credit: A 6-1. 195-pounder, Doyle was a ferocious pass rusher who led the Canes with 13 sacks for minus-65 yards and had 12 quarterback hurries and nine tackles for loss. He totaled 48 tackles, including 38 solos, averaging 4.4 tackles per game. Doyle had one pass deflection and one forced fumble.

Kyle Forde, sr., IMG Academy

Position: Defensive end.

To his credit: The native of Toronto showcased himself as a fierce pass rusher in his only year at IMG. He led the area with 18.5 sacks and had 28 tackles for loss. The 6-0, 220-pounder totaled 78 tackles, including 54 solos, and received the IMG Academy's Big Man Award. He finished with four forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and one pass defensed.

Bryan Kirshe, sr., Out-Of--Door-Academy

Position: Punter.

To his credit: Kirshe was rated one of the top punters in the country after turning in outstanding performances at several national camps. Last season, he averaged 49.5 yards on 56 punts with an impressive 4.7-second hang time. He booted 34 punts inside the 20. At the Ray Guy National Kicking Championships, his best punts traveled 53 and 55 yards and his best hang time was 4.71 seconds.

Joey Lauro, sr., Manatee

Position: Safety.

To his credit: The 5-11, 176-pounder was second on his team with 73 tackles and 52 solos and averaged 6.1 tackles per game. He led the Hurricanes with eight pass deflections and two interceptions and had one forced fumble. In the playoffs against Fort Pierce Central, he had six tackles, including five solos, and had a season-high seven solo tackles against Venice and Fort Lauderdale University High.

Inu Matalau, sr., Palmetto

Position: Linebacker.

To his credit: The 5-foot-11, 200-pound, three-year varsity veteran had a reputation for always being around the ball, which enabled him to register a team-leading 115 tackles. He also topped the Tigers with eight forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries and was second on the team with seven sacks and nine tackles for loss.

Justin Rawlings, sr., Braden River

Position: Defensive end.

To his credit: You could never tell Rawlings had not played football until last season. The 6-3, 225-pounder dedicated himself to basketball until this year and had everybody wondering where he had been. He led the Pirates with 6½ sacks and tied for the team lead with 17 tackles for loss. Rawlings registered 42 tackles, including 31 solos, and had three forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and one pass breakup.

Andrew Smith, sr., IMG Academy

Position: Linebacker.

To his credit: The 5-10, 195-pound resident of Toronto led the Ascenders with 100 tackles, including 57 solos, to average 10.4 tackles per game in winning the IMG Academy's Defensive MVP award. He recovered two fumbles, intercepted one pass and recorded one sack. Smith had his most productive game against Naples with 20 tackles, including nine solos.

Alex Sobczak, soph., Cardinal Mooney

Position: Safety.

To his credit: Lighting in a bottle and ball hawk extraordinaire, the somewhat small but powerful sophomore picked off six passes, blocked a punt he returned for a touchdown and recovered a fumble he also took to the house. Finished with 48 tackles, including 22 solos, to average 4.8 tackles per game and registered three tackles for losses.

Obi Tarwoe, sr., Bayshore

Position: Utility.

To his credit: A jack of all trades, the 5-10, 180-pound defensive back/kick returner was a three-pronged threat. At safety, he was credited with 39 tackles, including 25 solos, and had three tackles for losses. He intercepted one pass and had five pass breakups and was credited with two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. Tarwoe returned one kickoff for a touchdown.

De'Qwon Washington, sr., Palmetto

Postiion: Safety.

To his credit: The 5-11, 170-pound safety was a seasoned veteran who provided leadership and stability in the secondary, making Palmetto one of the hardest teams to throw against. Using his quickness and athleticism, Washington topped the Tigers with two interceptions and made life difficult for opposing quarterbacks with six pass breakups while tacking on three tackles for loss.

Dyron Williams, jr., Southeast

Position: Linebacker.

To his credit: Williams was the shining light on a defense that struggled throughout the season. The 5-9, 194-pound junior led the Seminoles with 79 tackles and tied for the team lead with 39 solos and four tackles for loss. He was credited with five quarterback pressures and one forced fumble and had a team-high two sacks for minus-17 yards.

Honorable mention

Bayshore -- Tyler Bond, sr., DB; Dereck Williams, sr., LB; Elliot Walton, soph., DL.

Bradenton Christian -- Paul Smith, jr., LB; Doug Pace, sr., DL.

Braden River -- Jimiah Albritton, jr., LB; Derek Hintze, jr., DL.

Cardinal Mooney -- Sam Leonard, jr., LB; Sean Morris, jr., DB.

IMG Academy -- Shane Dixon, sr., DB; Fred Schroeder, sr., DL; Matthew Boateng, sr., DB.

Lakewood Ranch -- Wanley Desir, jr., LB; Brandon Luckett, soph., DB.

Manatee -- Darian Dailey, sr., DB; Ryan Fines, jr., DL; Antonio Henderson, jr., DB.

Palmetto -- Terry Collins, sr., DL; Luis Quinones, sr., LB; Brodderick Waters, sr., DB.

Southeast -- Greg Brevil, sr., DL; Gregg Johnson, jr., DL; Dimitri Smith, jr., DB; Dequalyn Joyner, sr., DB.

Greg Reaves, sr., Manatee

Position: Linebacker.

To his credit: The 6-3, 185-pounder made the transition from backup safety to linebacker look effortless. He led Manatee with 87 tackles and 62 solos, averaging 7.3 tackles per game. Reaves registered six tackles for losses and had six quarterback hurries, one sack, three pass deflections, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery, one interception and one blocked field goal attempt.

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