Local players celebrated at SEKC ceremony

The SEKC Awards Banquet was recently held at Middlesboro High School with five local players walking away with individual honors. In Class A/2A, Middlesboro’s Jabari Kyle was named Offensive Player of the Year and Pineville’s Timothy Gambrel was named Defensive Player of the Year. In Class 3A/4A, Bell County’s London Stephney won SEKC Player of the Year, Hunter Bailey won Defensive Player of the Year and Jason Jones won All-Purpose Player of the Year.

Bell County was named SEKC Football Champions after their run to the state championship game.

A/2A Offensive Player of the Year

Jabari Kyle was one of Middlesboro’s standout athletes last season. A threat both on the ground and through the air, the senior receiver racked up 1,585 yards and 28 rushing touchdowns in 2019. He averaged 132 yards per game and 2.3 touchdowns per game.

When he decided to go out for a pass, Kyle hauled in a team-best 29 receptions for 442 yards and five touchdowns. While his accolade is offensive-based, the senior standout also led the team in interceptions.

Kyle’s effort helped his team to an 8-4 season and an opening round victory over Leslie County in the playoffs.

A/2A Defensive Player of the Year

In today’s time, defensive lineman racking up tackles isn’t the norm. Don’t tell Timothy Gambrel that. The senior defensive lineman was able to rack up 53 tackles for Pineville this season. The number was good enough for second on the team, tying with Richard Beverly and one spot behind linebacker Colby Frazier.

During his junior campaign, Gambrel and the defense helped Pineville earn an 8-3 record before being upset at home in the first round of the playoffs.

3A/4A Player of the Year

Dual-threat quarterback London Stephney put on a season to remember while under center. After spending his junior year transitioning to Bell County, the senior used 2019 to break out.

In the passing game, Stephney doubled his numbers from his junior season. He finished the year with 1,642 yards while compiling 19 touchdown passes. He averaged 109.5 passing yards per game while completing 64 percent of his passes.

On the ground, Stephney rushed for 1,244 yards and 17 touchdowns. He averaged 82.9 rushing yards a game and 1.1 rushing touchdowns.

Defensively, Stephney tallied 34 tackles and hauled in four interceptions, one which he returned for a touchdown.

3A/4A Defensive Player of the Year

Hunter Bailey developed a name for himself this year. Opposing teams will remember him for anchoring a top notch Bell County defense.

Bailey separated himself as a key linebacker in the SEKC after tallying 133 tackles on the year with 98 being solo tackles. He finished the season with six tackles for a loss and one sack. He also hauled in an interception and recovered a fumble on the year.

His efforts helped the defense limit opponents to an average of 12.7 points per game.

3A/4A All-Purpose Back of the Year

Jason Jones was one of the top receiver in the region last year, which is quite the statement on a team the utilizes the run as much as Bell County. The senior nearly eclipsed the century mark through the air tallying 968 receiving yards on 48 catches.

Jones led the team is receiving touchdowns with 13 and averaged 64.5 receiving yards per game.

While he did most of his damage in the offensive game, Jones also helped the Bobcats on special teams. He kicked 10 extra points on the year.

SEKC Football Champions

The Bell County Bobcats had a season to remember in 2019. One year removed from being eliminated by Corbin in the regional championship, the Bobcats went undefeated during the regular season with their closest game coming against Knox Central.

With the exception of an 80-40 victory over South Laurel, no team eclipsed three touchdowns in the regular season against Bell. The Bobcats cruised through the postseason defeating Garrard County 44-0, Rockcastle County 39-0, Fleming County 48-12 and Taylor County 46-28.

The run allowed Bell County to reach the state championship game against Belfry. In a slug-fest of a game, the Bobcats fell to the Pirates 30-20.

First Team All-Conference

Bell County

Johnathan Lankford

Tyson Thomas

Lane Hoskins

Timothy Lawson

Brandon Baker

Caleb Lefevers

Middlesboro

David Kyle

Craig Brock

Zach Tong

Ethan Barton

Pineville

Colby Frazier

Devon Morris

David Mayberry Reece Capps

Honorable Mention

Bell County

Brant Hoskins

William Dean

Josh Helton

Dawson Widener

Middlesboro

Eric Helton

Riley Gent

Cam Hughett

Tyler Kelly

Pineville

Richard Beverly

Keaton Thompson

Landon Couch

Brendan King