Three Cathedral players earn Class 1A All-State honors
NATCHEZ — The accolades keep rolling in for Cathedral players who helped the Green Wave enjoy their best football season in well over a decade.
Less than a week after nine players were named to the All-Region 4-1A first team and five more were selected to the second team and honorable mention, three players received an even greater honor.
Quarterback Caleb Upton, tight end Tyler Flemming and wide receiver Daniel Huffines were selected to the Class 1A All-State second team.
“We’re very proud of those guys,” Cathedral head coach Ron Rushing said. “Out of 36 teams in Class 1A, they only picked 22 or 24 players for the first and second teams on offense. For them to make it is a huge accomplishment.”
Upton threw for 2,498 yards, 22 touchdowns and just eight interceptions in his first year as the starting quarterback.
The junior also threw for a school-record 471 yards in a 48-34 victory over Loyd Star in the second week of the season, which was the highest recorded yardage total in the nation that week.
Upton was recently named the offensive MVP of Region 4-1A.
“Caleb got the ball to everybody,” Rushing said. “He was great at reading the secondary, finding the open receiver and getting the ball to them quick.”
Huffines was Upton’s top target this season, catching 48 passes for 836 yards and four touchdowns. He was also dangerous running the football and returning kicks and punts.
“We did a little bit of everything with Daniel,” Rushing said. “We would get him in motion and throw it to him about everywhere on the field. He’s one of those guys where the defense has to know where he’s at on the field at all times.”
Flemming was also a top target of Upton out of the tight end position.
The junior caught 24 passes for 354 yards and four touchdowns on the season.
“Tyler was huge this year over the middle,” Rushing said. “He caught a lot of balls from the tight end position. He has great hands and a lot of his yards were after the catch. He’d catch the ball five or six yards downfield and take off.”
The three helped Cathedral to a 10-3 record and its first region championship and playoff victory since 1997.
And Rushing said the player’s honors were a big reflection on the team as a whole.
“It really is an honor for the whole team,” Rushing said. “It goes back to the offensive line and the job they did blocking. Instead of just three individual awards, I think it’s a big team honor too.”
The best bit of news for Cathedral fans is that all three of the players are juniors and will return next season.
“The standards are a little bit higher now,” Rushing said. “That’s good, we want high expectations. We’ve also got Carl Hammitte, J.D. Ealey and other guys coming back as well. They had great numbers too, and could have easily made the (all-state) team as well.”