Mayton leads All-County defense

North Davidson defensive lineman Andrew Mayton (left) manhandles a Porter Ridge offensive lineman during their playoff game this past season. (Photo by Donnie Roberts/The Dispatch)

Senior leadership is usually a key in any great football team.

Andrew Mayton certainly provided that for North Davidson this season.

The senior defensive lineman was a dominant force for the Black Knights and was a big reason they came within one game of playing for the 4-A state championship. For his performance, Mayton is the 2012 The Dispatch All-Davidson County Defensive Player of the Year.

While the Black Knights’ entire defense was stellar, Mayton stood slightly above the crowd. He was named the Central Piedmont Conference’s Defensive Player of the Year and has been offered a scholarship to Wingate.

Looking back on the remarkable run the Knights had, Mayton still relishes what he was such a huge part of. “It was really, really special,” he said. “Not many people go 14-0, or a couple of plays away from playing in a state championship.

“It’s something I’ll definitely remember the rest of my life.”

His opponents will have a hard time forgetting him as well. Mayton registered 103 tackles on the season with 22.5 sacks and three forced fumbles. North coach Mark Holcomb wanted his defense to stuff the run and force opponents to pass. Mayton, along with Shy Tuttle and company up front, accomplished that and created opportunities for the defensive players behind them. That also led to some big seasons for other members of the defense.

And when opponents were preparing for the Knights, they always feared that defense, even though North’s quick-strike, no-huddle offense routinely put up 40 points. “We had a heckuva offense this year,” Mayton said. “And we helped them out a lot. They can run their offense the way they want to when other people don’t score.”

Here is a look at the rest of the All-County defense:

Shy Tuttle, North Davidson, defensive line: Although he’s just a sophomore, Tuttle already has offers on the table from Wake Forest, Clemson and North Carolina. More will surely pile in if he repeats his 2012 campaign, in which he had 98 tackles, 17 sacks, three forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.

Tommy McGhee, Lexington, defensive line: Jackets coach Kwayu Graham likes players who are willing to work hard and fight in the trenches, and McGhee was a perfect fit. Although Lexington struggled to win this season, McGhee turned in an outstanding performance, including nine tackles for loss, five forced fumbles and four sacks.

Derrick Davis, Central Davidson, defensive line: Davis had to face the Spartans’ super-potent, super-physical offense every day in practice, so it’s no surprise he was a monster for the Spartans. Central found itself in plenty of close games against tough competition, and Davis was a big reason why.

Austin Stilley, Ledford, linebacker: Stilley is just a junior, but coach Chris Adams said recently he’d love to have 22 players just like him on the field for the Panthers. A tough defender with a nose for the ball, Stilley finished the season with 87 tackles, 32 assists, three sacks, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries, and he blocked two kicks.

Nathan Campbell, East Davidson, linebacker: Campbell seemed to be everywhere for the Eagles on defense. He had over 100 tackles, two interceptions, five pass deflections and two fumble recoveries.

Dezmond Wilson, Thomasville, linebacker: Being the best linebacker on the field in a Thomasville uniform is an honor generally bestowed upon Allen Brown’s best all-around player. The Bulldogs could certainly make a case for Wilson, who was big enough to stuff the run but fast enough to help provide pass coverage.

Hunter Hoots, North Davidson, linebacker: A true fan favorite in Welcome, he gave the home crowd plenty of opportunities to yell “Hooooots” on Friday nights. He finished with 132 solo tackles, 7.5 sacks, one interception and blocked three kicks. Oh, and how about seven fumble recoveries, four of which he took for touchdowns? No wonder the Black Knights faithful loved him.

Tevin Tuttle, North Davidson, defensive back: An unbelievable all-around athlete, Tuttle virtually shut down half the field for the opponents’ passing game. He finished with 45 tackles, seven interceptions and two fumble recoveries. He was an all-CPC and all-county selection the past three years.

Levi Bruff, Central Davidson, defensive back: Bruff was an absolute ball hawk on the back end of the Spartans’ defense. When opponents tried to pass, he always seemed to be at the right place, finishing with five interceptions and one fumble recovery, which he returned 33 yards for a touchdown in Central’s 47-46 state playoff win over Forest Hills.

Austin Teague, West Davidson, defensive back: Teague really forced opposing offenses to look the other way in the passing game. He finished with a pair of interceptions and forced two fumbles.

Payton Boles, North Davidson, defensive back: With Mayton, Hoots and the Tuttles creating havoc everywhere else on the field, opponents couldn’t take advantage of Boles, either. He had 68 tackles and four interceptions, including one he returned for a touchdown.

Justin Smith, West Davidson, athlete: West coach Dale Barnes felt like Teague and Smith could have held their own for any team in the county. Smith did a little of everything for the Dragons, and on defense he defended 25 passes, intercepting one and deflecting one. He also forced one fumble.

Honorable mention: Chris Cheek, North Davidson; Mason Hicks, North Davidson; Danford Carpenter, Lexington; Brad Hutchins, East Davidson; Josh Craven, East Davidson; Will Ramsey, Central Davidson; Tyler Hall, Ledford; Gabe Pesqueria, Thomasville.

Jason Queen can be reached at 249-3981, ext. 220 or