Successful teams tend to draw numerous awards.
That was the case for the 2020 edition of the North Oconee High School football team.
The Titans learned in December that they had several members of their squad who earned all-region awards for Region 8-AAAA.
The awards were headlined by Bubba Chandler.
North Oconee’s senior quarterback had a strong campaign in his final year with the squad. That resulted in him winning this year’s Region 8-AAAA Offensive Player of the Year award.
Chandler had a handful of highlight-filled performances this season.
He threw four touchdowns in a 41-26 win over Madison County High School. Chandler had five passing touchdowns the following week to lead North Oconee past Chestatee High School. Against East Hall High School, Chandler accounted for 159 yards passing and one passing touchdown along with 76 yards rushing and two rushing scores.
And in his final victory with the Titans, a 41-35 win at Fayette County High School in the first round of the Class AAAA state playoffs, Chandler had another dual-threat performance complete with a passing touchdown.
Other members of North Oconee High School’s offense received first team all-region honors.
Wide receivers Khalil Barnes and Eli Warrington were named to the first team offense. Each of them were heavily involved in the passing game. They were on the receiving end of most of Chandler’s touchdown throws.
Additionally, offensive lineman Donte Calloway was named to the all-region first team offense. Calloway helped lead a strong season for the Titans’ offensive line, which did an effective job of jumpstarting the offense up front all season long.
North Oconee’s defense was well-represented, too.
Defensive lineman Michael Conley was named to the first team all-region defense. So were defensive back Jack Butler and linebacker Gavin Bloom.
The offensive and defensive units were not the only ones to receive recognition from the Region 8-AAAA coaches.
North Oconee kicker Phillip Ard and punter Cody Bray were named to the special teams portion of the first team all-region list.
Finally, offensive lineman Boaz Stanley, running back Rod Finch and defensive back Brett Biga were recognized as part of the honorable mentions list.
Titans head coach Tyler Aurandt spoke to The Oconee Enterprise soon after his team’s season concluded. During the interview, Aurandt praised the hard work of his team during a season greatly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I think our kids did a tremendous job of overcoming a lot of things that were thrown at them and adjusting,” Aurandt said. “I think that was the biggest thing for this year was being able to constantly adjust. ... You almost had to start over with the way you went about things to accommodate all of the guidelines and regulations with COVID.”
Aurandt also took time to praise the senior members of his team.
This year’s senior class was in the ninth grade when Aurandt took over the program, meaning these are the first players he’s coached at the school from start to finish in their high school careers.
Of the 12 Titans who received all-region awards, six of them are seniors.
“I'm super proud of this senior group,” Aurandt said. “This is the first group that we've been able to be with for all four years. We came in with this as freshmen. To see them change our program and make it special to be a Titan and be a part of the North Oconee football program, we are super grateful for them and the commitment and the sacrifices that they made to help get us to this point.”