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Southerner, Pioneer All-State football players selected for poll

Sportscasters and sports writers from radio stations and newspapers across the Natural State make up the Arkansas Sports Media High School Poll –a poll that was originated by Scott McDonald, sports editor of the Batesville Daily Guard.

The voters were tasked recently with choosing a super team of football players that was made up of All-State selections from the 2018 football season.

Two student-athletes from our area were selected to be a part of this honor. From Batesville High, Said Bernal, a senior, was selected as the punter, and from Southside High, Caden Huskey, a senior, was selected for his role as a defensive back.

For the Southerners, Huskey played in all three phases of the game but his outstanding performance in the defensive secondary is what stood out to the voters from across the state. Huskey ended the 2018 season with 85 solo tackles 44 assisted for a total of 129. He also added four forced fumbles, two interceptions, and two blocked kicks. He amassed 502 yards rushing, 15 touchdowns, and 288 yards receiving on the offensive side of the ball, as well.

“Caden was a special player for us,” said Southerner Coach Kenny Simpson. “He’s the first young man for our program to be named a two-time All-State selection. His stats on the field speak for his playing ability. What I appreciate more is that he’s a better person than he is a player. He showed up every day and went to work with no complaints, ever. He was an outstanding leader for our team. He was a joy to coach he will be missed.”

Huskey helped the Southerners to their third straight postseason appearance this year.

For the Pioneers, Bernal was the driving force behind the special teams unit as the placekicker and the punter. Bernal averaged over 40 yards per punt and had several kickoffs that totaled over 55 yards per kick. He also played the tight end position on offense and brought in several catches on the season.

“Said is the best punter in 5A,” said Pioneers Head Coach Dave King. “No, I’d have to say the state. There’s no one better for us to kick the ball this season.”

The complete Arkansas Sports Media High School Football Super Team is as follows (* denotes unanimous selection):


QB — Justice Hill, senior, Little Rock Christian
RB — Gabe Huskey, junior, Harrison
RB — Latavion Scott, senior, Bryant
WR — Connor Flannigan, junior, Fayetteville
WR — John David White, senior, Pulaski Academy
TE — Hudson Henry, senior, Pulaski Academy*
OL — Stacey Wilkins, senior, Camden-Fairview*
OL — Elliott Harris, senior, Joe T. Robinson
OL — Blaise Smith, senior, Bryant
OL — Darius Thomas, senior, Jonesboro
OL — Drew Vest, senior, Searcy


DL — Zach Williams, senior, Pulaski Robinson*
DL — Marcus Miller, senior, Warren
DL — Kajuan Robinson, senior, Bryant
DL — Noah Reyes, senior, Booneville
LB — Timon Akins, senior, Marion
LB — Darin Davenport, senior, Fort Smith Southside
LB — Jariq Scales, senior, Osceola
LB — Kendall Young, senior, Bentonville West
DB — Malik Chavis, senior, Rison*
DB — Caden Huskey, senior, Southside Batesville
DB — Victor Tademy, senior, Arkadelphia


Kick-Returner — Mason Adams, senior, Morrilton
Kicker — Grant Ennis, senior, Greenwood
Punter — Said Bernal, senior, Batesville
All Purpose — Derrick Wise, senior, Fort Smith Northside
All Purpose — Chris Harris, senior, Dumas
All-Purpose — Jordan Turner, senior, Salem

Bernal Huskey comboPictured, from left: Batesville Pioneer Said Bernal, Southside Southerner Caden Huskey / Images submitted

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