(Disclaimer: These picks were made before the final games were played, so if they turn out to be obviously wrong, that's my excuse.)
Offensive Player of the YearA pretty tough choice, since there are several worthy candidates, but none that particularly stood out. Phoebus quarterback Tajh Boyd made it easy last year, just as Hampton's Tyrod Taylor did the year before.
Is it Crabbers tailback Tron Martinez, who has 1,477 yards and 27 touchdowns despite not touching the ball Thursday? Or the Phantoms' Shawne Alston, who, despite hardly playing in the fourth quarter all season, is next with 1,167 yards and 19 TDs? Or Bethel's Jontel Evans, who has become an all-purpose threat?
Hard call, but our winner is Martinez. He's averaging 164 yards per game and 7 per carry despite every opponent stacking the box knowing full well he'll get the ball 25-30 times a game. (He gets bonus points for also playing every down on defense at linebacker.)
Defensive Player of the YearPhoebus lineman Dominik Davenport has to be the choice. He's a 270-pound "football machine," as coach Bill Dee likes to call him, who dictates and changes game plans. He's strong enough to plug the run and fast enough to get out to the edge. And he's relentless.
There's no overall player of the year. If there were, Davenport would get our vote for that as well. He's not only the district's best blocker, he's scored eight touchdowns as the Phantoms' short-yardage fullback.
Coach of the YearYou could make a case for Dee, who, with a win over Denbigh Saturday, would go undefeated in the PD for the second consecutive year. Or Hampton's Mike Smith, who, with a roster made up largely of young and small players, is back in the playoffs.
But our pick goes to Denbigh's Marcellus Harris III. Remember, he didn't get the job until July 9, 22 days before the first day of practice and seven weeks before the season opener. Some (OK, me) figured the Patriots would be lucky to win one game. But after starting 0-2, they've won four of seven going into Saturday's finale.
Now, here are some bonus categories ...
Game of the YearBethel 38, Woodside 35. It was a comeback for the ages, a finish for the ages … and, as you no doubt remember, a controversial call for the ages.
A roughing-the-holder flag on a blocked field-goal try set up Kenny Steelman for a 22-yard field goal on the final play. The game film indicates the player called for roughing also got a piece of the ball. But the officials ruled he did not, thus the flag.
Ultimately, the finish overshadowed an incredible rally by the Wolverines, who trailed 35-7 late in the second quarter.
Performance of the YearTron Martinez vs. Denbigh. All he did that night was rush for 279 yards, the highest total by a PD back since 2004, and score five touchdowns. Incredibly, he came back the next week with 245 yards and five TDs against Woodside.
Special mention to Evans, who had 232 all-purpose yards and three touchdowns in a win over Warwick.
Best Player on a Winless TeamRay Harris, Gloucester. He's one of the best athletes the district has seen in years, but he's been a part of only two wins in three seasons.
With 61 yards rushing and 8 more passing against Heritage on Saturday, he would become the first player in PD history (we think) to break 1,000 in both categories in a single season.
Dave Johnson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 247-4649. For more from Johnson, read his blog at HRVarsity.com/insidethepd.