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Getz named AA player of the year
Buford RB rushed for 1,359 yards for state champions

There was arguably no high school football player more valuable to his team during the state playoffs than Cody Getz was to Buford.

And Georgia's sports writers apparently took notice, especially after the senior running back's final game. Getz posted career highs of 233 yards and four touchdowns as the Wolves claimed their second straight Class AA state championship with a 45-21 win over Calhoun on Dec. 11 at the Georgia Dome.

Yet, as strong as his postseason was, it was Getz's overall season that made him the choice to head up the Georgia Sports Writers Association's Class AA All-State team by being named the classification's Offensive Player of the Year.

The 5-foot-7, 157-pound senior nearly tripled his offensive output from last year, finishing with 1,359 yards and 27 touchdowns on 149 carries, which were especially impressive numbers considering he shared time at tailback of Buford's (15-0) offense with junior Storm Johnson.

And it was during the playoffs - when he nearly doubled his regular-season output in half as many games, running for 644 yards and 11 TDs in five contests - that Getz was at his best.

"He really got hot during the playoffs," Wolves coach Jess Simpson said. "Sharing time out isn't easy as a coach when you've got two really good running backs. The main thing was we'd gotten to the playoffs before and had a running back get hurt. One of our goals this year was getting these guys through the season with both of them healthy so they could help us in the playoffs."

Getz certainly did his part, especially during the postseason.

But, he also credits the presence of Johnson, who finished the season with 1,246 yards and 20 TDs, as being a big factor to help him do so, not to mention a strong, experienced offensive line.

"I was surrounded by other guys who can make plays," Getz said. "Coach Simpson and the other coaches were all telling me before the season I had to step up my game, and I wanted to take on (that) role.

"We knew Storm and I were better together than by ourselves. (Opponents) had to stop both of us to beat us, and no one could do that. Plus, we have the best offensive line in the state - everyone from the fullbacks to the tight ends - and we have the best blocking receivers."

As it turns out, Getz wasn't the only Buford player honored by the AP as several of his teammates - including Johnson and two of the aforementioned linemen - were among six other Wolves named to the Class AA all-state team.

Linemen Trevor Warbington, Kolton Houston and Dallas Lee, linebacker Landon Anderson and kicker Daniel Villafuerte each were named to the first team, while Johnson was an honorable mention selection.

Buford wasn't the only Gwinnett County team with multiple representatives in its classification's all-state team.

Fellow state champion Wesleyan had four players honored, as well as coach Franklin Pridgen, who was the AP's choice for Class A state Coach of the Year.

"The best thing about this squad is the whole was greater than the sum of our parts," Pridgen said late last week when named as the Daily Post's Coach of the Year. "I don't know that we have a ton of unbelievable athletes, but we've got lots of good football players. Together, we were the best team I've ever been a part of."

Joining Pridgen as Class A honorees were running back Kyle Karempelis, offensive lineman Josh Parrish and linebacker Bobby Fulton on the first team and quarterback Conor Welton as an honorable mention selection.

In addition, 12 individuals representing six different Gwinnett schools were named to the Class AAAAA all-state team, including three players each from state semifinalist Grayson (Joseph Champaign, Jacob Mwinami and Ean Pemberton) and Norcross (Wesley Hollingshed, Steven Smith and Connor Hawk).

State runner-up Peachtree Ridge had two all-state representatives - Kevin Minter and Mitchell Williford - as did North Gwinnett (Mikey Tamburo and Tyler Jarry) and Brookwood (Kellen Williams and Wade Brogdon) and Parkview had Daily Post Offensive Player of the Year Brandon Jacobs named to the team.

Greater Atlanta Christian also had multiple representatives to join Buford's contingent in AA, with Blake Southerland, Matt Cape and Colton Chapple being honored.