Pine Bluff’s Johnson beats out Bryant’s Rycraw, NLR’s Johnson for State Farm Award

Bryant's Chris Rycraw and Bryant State Farm agent Matthew Reginelli at the State Farm Awards banquet on Monday. (Photo courtesy of Nelson Chenault)

LITTLE ROCK – Pine Bluff’s Claud Johnson, who led his team to the Class 6A State championship, beat out Bryant’s Chris Rycraw and North Little Rock’s Tim Johnson for the Class 7A/6A Offensive Player of the Year at the 2009 State Farm Awards on Monday night.

State Farm honored 45 finalists and their guests at the 6th annual awards banquet, presenting glass trophies to 15 winners. Rycraw received a plaque for being finalist. It was presented to him by Bryant State Farm agent Matthew Reginelli.

The event annually honors Arkansas' top offensive player, defensive player and coach of the year for each classification. The banquet was catered by MarketPlace Grill in Little Rock.

The veteran staff at Hooten's Arkansas Football selects three finalists and winners for each category. Jonesboro High lineman Tyler Fincher was named the Arkansas Air Guard Scholar Athlete of the Year.[more]

State Farm's spokesman in Arkansas, Gary Stephenson, said, "This event at the IMAX, put together by the folks at Hooten's, is the finest, state-level high school sports recognition in the nation, of which we are aware. We compliment our friends at Hooten's Arkansas Football for the excellent presentation, and certainly are proud to recognize the best of the best in Arkansas high school football at this event."

State Farm has a strong, long-standing commitment to supporting education and community involvement and is proud to honor Arkansas' finest young athletes. More information and the State Farm Awards highlight videos are coming to


7A/6A Offensive Player of the Year

Claude Johnson, Pine Bluff

7A/6A Defense Player of the Year

Houston Pruitt, Har-Ber

7A/6A Coach of the Year

Chris Wood, Har-Ber

5A Offensive Player of the Year

Michael Dyer, Little Rock Christian

5A Defensive Player of the Year

Brishen Mathews, Monticello

5A Coach of the Year

Van Paschal, Monticello

4A Offensive Player of the Year

Brandon Smith, Lonoke

4A Defensive Player of the Year

Braylon Mitchell, Heber Springs

4A Coach of the Year

Paul Johnston, Bald Knob

3A Offensive Player of the Year

C.J. Smith, Prescott

3A Defensive Player of the Year

Thamail Morgan, Cave City

3A Coach of the Year

Tommy Gilleran, Fountain Lake

2A Offensive Player of the Year

Ricky Brown, Bearden

2A Defensive Player of the Year

Byran Jones, Junction City

2A Coach of the Year

Josh Jones, Magazine

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