Forrest dominates All Region 4AA Team

Wednesday, December 16, 2015
Back row from left is coach Eli Stephenson, head coach Matt Kriesky (Head Coach and Staff of the Year), Jake Elkins, Jesse Pruitt, Slayton Wild (Defensive Player of the Year), David Andrews, Neyland Darnell, Billy Clanton and coach Lance Horton. Front row from left is, coach Brent Johns, Boone Sweeney (Lineman of the Year), Payton Sisk, Tristan Sawyer and coach Kyle Stacey. Photo submitted

The Forrest Rockets dominated the Region 4AA football awards banquet, landing nine players on the All-Region Team, plus Head Coach and Staff of the Year and Jackie Abernathy won Director of Schools Award.

"It was an honor to have nine players make the All-Region Team and each one of them deserves it," said Forrest head coach Matt Kriesky, who along with Kyle Stacey, Brent Johns, Lance Horton and Eli Stephenson made up the coaching staff that guided the Rockets (10-2) to an undefeated league record, Region 4AA title and a second-round playoff berth.

Many honors

"We have a really good staff that works extremely hard and I'm fortunate to have each one of them at Forrest," added Kriesky. "These guys deserve the recognition because of all the hard work they have put in over the years."

2015-2016 Tennessee Titans Mr. Football Boone Sweeney won the Lineman of the Year Award and Junior Slayton Wild picked up Defensive Player of the Years honors at the region event.

Seniors David Andrews (QB/DB), Neyland Darnell (OL/DL), Jesse Pruitt (LB/TE), Jake Elkins (LB/RB), Payton Sisk (DB/WR) and Tristan Sawyer (OL) all made the first team with junior Billy Clanton (LB/TE) joining his teammates.

"Each one of them were very deserving and we will miss each one of the seniors," said Kriesky. "They have bought in and did everything we have asked them to do since we've been here. It showed by the results from this year and the underclassmen need to continue to get better and build off of this season."


Sweeney continued his post-season accolade run as the senior excelled on both sides of the line of scrimmage for the Rockets, including 52 tackles, 7.5 sacks and two fumble recoveries for the Forrest defense that allowed 13.0 points per game in Region 4AA play.

Sweeney also blocked for an offense that scored 330 points in region play, coming out to a whopping 47.1 points per game.

"Sweeney was very deserving of his award and all of the recognition he has received this year," said Kriesky. "He has been a great leader for us on and off the field, we will miss him next year."


Wild also had an outstanding season in all three phases of the game, leading the team with a 26.7 yards per kick return average, including one touchdown.

On defense, Wild had 34 tackles, 2.5 sacks and returned a fumble for a TD, while the running back and tight end rushed for 768 yards and seven TD and had six pass receptions and a score.

"It is always good when an underclassman receives an award like that at the region banquet," said Kriesky. "We are very fortunate to have him returning next year and he needs to have a big offseason in the weight room."


Andrews, a first-year starter at quarterback, threw for 470 yards and six touchdowns and rushed for 166 and three TD.

Andrews also made 32 tackles and had five interceptions on defense, while averaging 19.8 yards on three kickoff returns.

Others saluted

Darnell and Sawyer both saw extensive action on the offensive line that blocked for 3,966 yards and 50 TD on the ground and passed blocked 676 yards and eight scores.

Darnell had 13 tackles and recovered a fumble on defense.

Elkins had a huge senior campaign, rushing for 667 yards and 10 touchdowns, catching one pass for 13 yards and tossing one TD.

The linebacker had 31 tackles, one sack and a fumble recovery for the Forrest defensive unit.

Pruitt was a bruising runner and a tight end, rushing for 91 yards and three scores and catching two passes with one TD.

Pruitt was a monster on defense, coming up with 74 tackles, a sack and two passes deflected.

Sisk also played both ways, catching seven passes for 169 yards and seven TD, while making 41 tackles, picking off four passes and coming up with a fumble recovery.

Looking ahead

Kriesky believes the squad has laid the groundwork for future success, saying, "These guys have to get into the weight room and get bigger, stronger and faster. We will have a target on our back next year and each team in the region will give us their best shot to beat us. We have to not have a letdown and strive to get better each day. We cannot be satisfied from the accomplishments of this year. This is in the past, it's time to move on and build towards 2016."