Locals named state’s top defensive players

NORTH LITTLE ROCK — Just two days after helping Stuttgart win the 4A state football championship, Waymon Johnson garnered another statewide honor.

The senior linebacker received the 4A Defensive Player of the Year at the Farm Bureau Awards ceremony Monday evening. Johnson was selected over two other finalists, Dollarway linebacker Jeremiah Young and Prairie Grove’s Jon Halbert, for the award.

Statistics for Johnson were unavailable, but he led a Ricebirds defense that posted two shutouts and held four teams to fewer than 10 points this season. Stuttgart beat Ozark 28-7 on Saturday for the 4A championship.

Another Southeast Arkansas player, McGehee senior defensive tackle Steven King, received the 3A Defensive Player of the Year award. King, a 6-3A Conference Outstanding Lineman and all-state player, finished with eight sacks, 24 tackles for losses and 71 total tackles (33 solo).

Other Farm Bureau Awards finalists from Southeast Arkansas included Pine Bluff coach Bobbby Bolding for 7A/6A Coach of the Year (won by Daryl Patton of Fayetteville) and White Hall defensive back Joseph Stewart for 5A Defensive Player of the year (won by Aaron Wynn of Camden Fairview).