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Longview's Lathan named top defensive player on Texas APSE Class 5A All-State Team

By Jack Stallard
Dec. 15, 2011 at 11 p.m.


Longview's DeMarkus Lathan followed up a solid sophomore season in 2010 with a spectacular junior campaign in 2011, and on Thursday he was honored as the state's top defensive player.

Lathan, a linebacker, was named Defensive Player of the Year on the 2011 Texas Associated Press Sports Editors Class 5A All-State High School Football Team, and he was joined on the elite squad by four teammates.

The team was selected by APSE members based on regular-season performances.

"I've said several times he may be the best defensive football player I've had at Longview," Lobo head coach John King said. "He has a knack for the football. He has quickness and strength. He's a great tackler. He has great instincts. ...he just has all of the intangibles. We thought he had a chance to be a great football player, and he's proving us right."

Lathan, who had 125, 10 tackles for losses and three sacks as a junior, followed that up this season (13 games) with 141 tackles, three sacks, nine tackles for losses, a forced fumble, two passes broken up, an interception, a blocked punt and a blocked kick.

"He's all business," King said of Lathan. "He's one of those kids you won't see gloating about individual awards. He's all about the team and about improving. He's one of the hardest working kids we have."

Lathan was joined on the team by second-team offensive lineman Jhermikal Partner, honorable-mention receiver Eric Hawkins, honorable-mention linebacker Jordan Burton and honorable-mention defensive back Corey Bartley.

Partner was the top blocker for a Lobo offense that saw its share of big plays from University of Arkansas verbal pledge Hawkins (41 catches, 994 yards, 10 TDs).

Burton finished the season with 106 tackles, three tackles for losses, one forced fumble, a fumble recovery, four passes broken up and an interception. Bartley had 110 tackles, five tackles for losses, three forced fumbles, a recovery, six passes broken up and two blocked punts.

Spring Dekaney tailback Trey Williams, who rushed for 2,420 yards and 30 touchdowns in the regular season, was named Offensive Player of the Year.

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