Culliver, Gibbs win individual awards, Byrne named Coach of the Year
By CHRIS HOBBS
Maiden High’s 13-win football season is capped by leading selections for the All-Catawba Valley 2A Athletic team, including two stars and the head coach winning key awards.
In voting by the league’s eight head coaches, the Blue Devils led with nine picks that include junior Ben Gibbs as Offensive Player of the Year and junior Chris Culliver as Specialist of the Year.
Maiden’s Will Byrne, 55-15 in six years as head coach at his alma mater, was voted Coach of the Year.
Senior Bernard Wingate of Lincolnton was tabbed Defensive Player of the Year.
Maiden went unbeaten in the CVAC 2A this season and finished 13-1, falling 36-35 at East Surry last Friday night in the fourth round of the state 2A playoffs.
Gibbs (5-foot-9, 160 pounds) ran for unofficial totals of 238 carries for 1,814 yards and 15 rushing TDs. He also had 11 catches for 207 yards and two TDs, went 2-for-2 passing for 35 yards and scored on a blocked punt return in the end zone.
Gibbs ran for more than 100 yards in 11 games, including the Blue Devils’ last eight, and his biggest game was 29 rushes for 215 yards against Newton-Conover.
Culliver (6-3, 180) had 21 receiving TDs, ran for three scores and added a punt return and kickoff return for scores. He unofficially ran 10 times for 112 yards and had 60 catches for 1,167 yards, highlighted by 11 catches for 205 yards and four TDs in a third-round playoff victory over Salisbury. He had six games with 100 or more receiving yards and caught at least one pass in 12 games.
Wingate, a 6-0, 220-pound senior, had 102 solo tackles, 26 hits for lost yardage and seven sacks for Lincolnton.
There were 43 players selected for all-conference, including eight for Bunker Hill, six each for Lincolnton and West Lincoln and five at Newton-Conover.
ALL-CATAWBA VALLEY 2A ATHLETIC FOOTBALL TEAM: CVAC ALL-CONFERENCE FOOTBALL 2021