Wilkes Central’s JoRaye Morrison capped a record-breaking football career by being named the Mountain Valley 1A/2A Athletic Conference’s 2021 offensive player of the year for the second straight season on Tuesday.
In seven games this season, the senior running back rushed for 1,562 yards and 20 touchdowns. He led the Eagles to a 5-2 record and third-place finish in the MVAC.
“JoRaye has been a joy to coach and I'm excited to see him play at the next level,” said Central Coach Ron Turner, who added that Morrison has recently been visiting schools that have extended scholarship offers.
“Being selected to play in the 2021 East-West All-Star Game is a great honor and an awesome way for him to finish his high school career,” on July 21 in Greensboro, Turner added.
Morrison was also recognized as MVAC OPOY in 2019 after rambling for 2,409 yards and 24 touchdowns.
He rushed for 6,188 yards and 71 touchdowns in his decorated four-year varsity career. Both are school records and his rushing total is believed to be the second-most all-time among Wilkes County players. North Wilkes’ Jarrett Grimes accumulated 6,315 yards between 2014 and 2017.
“JoRaye has been a great player for us for four years,” said Turner. “But even more important than that, he has been a great representative for Wilkes Central football and for his family. He's an excellent student and a great role model for the young kids in our community.”
The 71 ground scores by Morrison are believed to be the county’s all-time best mark. Grimes rushed for 66 touchdowns during his prep career.
The state’s all-time leading rusher, according to MaxPreps, is West Rowan’s Kevin Parks Jr., who compiled 10,895 yards from 2006-09, a mark that ranks fifth nationally.
The league’s co-defensive players of the year were Ashe County’s Ryan Blevins and Elkin’s Boone Beaver. Coach of the year was Brian Hampton of Ashe County, the league champion at 7-0.
Joining Morrison on the MVAC’s all-conference offensive list were East Wilkes sophomore running back Briggs Gentry, North Wilkes senior running back Ben Winters, Wilkes Central senior lineman Jonah Brooks, Central junior receiver Terry Hayes and West Wilkes senior tight end Garrett Patrick.
Named to the defensive all-league team were Wilkes Central senior Ahmad Carlton, North Wilkes senior linebacker Cody Shumate, North senior lineman Caleb Souther, East Wilkes senior lineman Damion Spiva, Central senior back Corbin Call and East senior back Bryson Sidden.
Honorable mentions on offensive were Wilkes Central senior lineman Brian Hartley, Central junior lineman Matt Bell, Central sophomore lineman Kamen Smith and North senior receiver Caleb Souther.
Defensive honorable mentions were East Wilkes senior linebacker Chandlar Luffman, West Wilkes senior linebacker Garrett Patrick, Wilkes Central sophomore linebacker Isaiah Buckhannon, West senior linebacker Dylan Ball, Central senior linebacker Andre Wilson, North Wilkes sophomore lineman Calvin Transeau, Central junior lineman Matt Bell, Central sophomore lineman Kamen Smith, West senior back Braxton Church, Central junior back Carlos Reyes-Martin, Central junior back Terry Hayes and East junior back Kole Lambert.
North Wilkes junior Will Harrold was named honorable mention punter and West Wilkes sophomore Walker Brondos made honorable mention kicker.