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Taylor, Kason Holder earn MVP titles, 9 named all region
C.J. Taylor

He’s a Mr. Football finalist. He’s verbally committed to play college football at Vanderbilt. And now C.J. Taylor can add region MVP to his long list of accomplishments.

Region 3-6A postseason honors were released Saturday and the recognition shows what Warren County football fans realized all season – C.J. Taylor is the most valuable player in a region stacked with stars.

With Taylor at quarterback, Warren County High School rattled off eight straight victories to start the season and finished with its first winning record in 29 years. Taylor was a do-it-all playmaker who had perhaps his best game against Blackman, a five-TD performance where he rushed for over 300 yards.

Taylor finished the year with 1,764 yards rushing and an eye-popping 23 TDs. As a passer, he threw for 492 yards and 6 TDs.

The numbers are impressive, but they don’t show Taylor’s grit. In some games he was like a football steamroller, flattening every opponent in his path. His intensity was absorbed by his teammates as the Pioneers played hard from the opening kick to the final whistle.

For his efforts, Taylor grabbed the attention of Tennessee coaches and sportswriters. He is one of three Mr. Football finalists in an award set to be presented this Tuesday at the Titans Nissan Stadium.

Kason Holder also received lofty recognition within Region 3-6A as he was named the most valuable defensive back.

Holder was a key cog in a Pioneer defense that was known for being nasty against the run. His quickness and power at the point of attack allowed him to be especially effective around the line of scrimmage.

Holder often disrupted plays in the backfield, firing in from the edge to make a tackle behind the line. He was one of the team’s emotional leaders and also a solid contributor from his wingback position on offense where he led the team with 222 receiving yards and 3 TDs. He rushed for 209 yards and 2 more TDs.

Three members of the famous Syrup Squad, otherwise known as the Pioneer offensive line, earned all-region honors. Kaden Jordan, Douglas Wells and Dayton Jernigan received all-region recognition, while fellow lineman Braden Bottoms was honorable mention.

Offensive linemen earned the nickname Syrup Squad for all the pancake blocks they delivered. A bottle of syrup made its way to the Pioneer bench and the syrup was chugged by players and coaches.

Ryland Holder earned all-region honors for his impact in the middle of the field. On offense, he was a bruising fullback who rushed for 377 yards and 4 TDs. Ryland produced one of the highlights of the entire season when he carried most of the Cookeville defense with him into the endzone during a TD run that became an online sensation.

Ryland also inflicted pain on opposing quarterbacks and running backs from his inside linebacker position. He embraced contact and leveled his share of ball carriers.

Fellow inside linebacker Braylon Grayson was also named to the all-region team. A sophomore, Grayson increasingly made his presence felt as the season progressed. He made tackles all over the field, delivering hard hits as he gave the defense real swagger.

Grayson was also a rushing and receiving threat on offense as a wingback. Moving forward, he will be one of the main players the Pioneers build around.

Bryson Elrod emerged as a defensive star when he was inserted into the lineup at end. He always seemed in the middle of the action and even recovered two fumbles in the same game.

Dante Elam earned honorable mention all-region for his contributions as a cornerback and receiver.