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Allen, Story named Back/Linemen of the year finalists

Every year since 2016, the Alabama Sports Writers Association has selected at least one local player as a back or lineman of the year finalist.

That streak continues as Chambers Academy senior quarterback Payton Allen and Lanett junior defensive end Caden Story were named ASWA finalists.

Allen is one of three finalists to win AISA Back of the Year. Landon Sims from Escambia Academy and Mayes White from Pike Liberal Arts are the other two finalists.

Allen finished with 3,209 passing yards and 1,179 rushing yards and 43 total touchdowns this season. He was also named MVP of the AISA All-Star Game.

“We’re elated that Payton was named,” Chambers Academy head coach Jason Allen said. “He had a lot of great teammates around him, and I think Payton would be the first to say that. I think it’s a testament to the team around him, but he had a fantastic season.”

Sims threw for 1,536 yards and 12 touchdowns on just 125 attempts. He also ran for 1,050 yards and 14 touchdowns this year.

White threw for 2,471 yards and 28 touchdowns, both of which were second in the AISA, and ran for 1,357 yards and 14 touchdowns. His yards led all AISA quarterbacks and his touchdowns were tied for first by a quarterback.

All three were named ASWA First-Team athletes.

Story is one of the three finalists for the 2A Lineman of the Year Award.

Story finished with 58 tackles, 18 tackles for a loss and 15 sacks as a defensive end. He also had 26 QB pressures.

“It just speaks volumes for the kids themselves, for them to make a commitment to excel at the highest level of football,” Lanett head coach Clifford Story said. “I also take my hat off to my coaches, who coach those guys week in and week out and prepare them for game situations on Fridays. It just means a lot, especially for the kid.”

Abbeville linebacker Rico Dozier and Spring Garden linebacker Luke Welsh are the other two Linemen of the Year finalists. Both finished as ASWA First-Team linebackers, while Story was a First-Team defensive end.

Dozier finished his senior year with 136 tackles, which was second in 2A, and 36 tackles for a loss, which led 2A. He also ran for more than 1,000 yards this season scoring 18 touchdowns.

Welsh finished with 117 total tackles as a senior, which was seventh in 2A. Of those 117 tackles, 98 were solos, which led 2A. He added 13 tackles for a loss.

Baraskious Dowdell was the last Panther to win Lineman of the Year when he helped the Panthers win their first state championship in school history. The last Rebel to win Back of the Year was Malik Lyons, who won it in January of 2017 (2016 season).

Both Allen and Story will have a chance to win the illustrious Mr. Football Award if they are selected as Back/Lineman of the Year in their class.

Lanett’s Kristian Story is the only player from Chambers County to win the Mr. Football Award, claiming it in January. He was also the first player in 1A to win the award. An AISA player has never won Mr. Football.