Liberty County football player Richard LeCounte and Bradwell Institute player Luther Echols were named the 2016 Mike Reed Chevrolet/Coastal Courier Players of the Year for their respective teams.
Echols is a senior Tiger who accumulated 1,360 career rushing yards with six touchdowns. He made six receptions for 34 yards and finished with 1,394 all-purpose yards.
Echols got his varsity start as a freshman under former coach Jim Walsh, but missed most of that season with a leg injury. He was back in action his sophomore year under coach Adam Carter and spent the last two season under the guidance of head coach Greg Hill.
With Hill, Echols’ career stats took off.
“Luther led by example,” Hill said. “You never had to get on him about working. He always did what you asked and beyond, on the field or in the weight room and it was good to have that type of leadership.”
Hill said Echols was a positive role model for the team.
“He was one of the players that got in there and did his job,” Hill said. “He knew how to practice and he is a tough competitor that we are going to miss. I wish I had more time with him.”
Hill said Echols’ performances got scouts’ attention.
“We are trying to explore all the opportunities out there as far as him playing at the next level,” Hill said. “We have a couple of schools that are interested. We have to finish strong academically. He will continue to work on the physical side of things … and we’ll make sure he finishes strong academically.”
At Liberty County, LeCounte has emerged as the standout athlete, five-star prospect of the class of 2017. In December, LeCounte verbally committed to the University of Georgia and is preparing for his senior year of football next season.
So far in his career, he has completed 38-of-70 passes for 688 yards for eight touchdowns. He’s rushed for 1,358 yards on 176 carries for 12 touchdowns. He has 47 receptions for 883 yards and six touchdowns. Defensively he has 299 total tackles, including 25 for loss. LeCounte has made 11 interceptions for 304 yards and caused 11 fumbles.
“Richard is the kind of guy that he welcomes any kind of pressure that you put on him, he will handle it like he always does,” Panther coach Kirk Warner said, adding LeCounte will be a team leader next year. “If I want to put that pressure on anybody, I’d rather it be Richard because I know he will respond.”