INDIAN TRAIL – Sun Valley quarterback Sam Howell can add another accomplishment to his ever-growing list of accolades.
He was recently named the 2018 North Carolina Gatorade Football Player of the Year.
Howell becomes the first Sun Valley athlete to win the award in any sport after leading the Spartans to a 10-3 record and to the second round of the playoffs this season.
During his senior season, Howell completed 179-of-299 passes for 3,240 yards and 36 touchdowns against just eight interceptions. A true dual-threat, Howell also led Sun Valley with 175 carries for 1,392 yards (8.0 yards per rush) and 17 touchdowns and ran for more than 100 yards in six games this season.
A three-time all-state selection, Howell has twice been selected Southern Carolina Conference Player of the Year and before this season was chosen to play in the 2019 U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
“Sam Howell is the real deal,” Porter Ridge coach Michael Hertz said. “He’s as good as any high school quarterback I’ve seen, and I’ve been coaching for 20-plus years. He’s incredibly accurate and he can make all the throws. And the thing that makes him so difficult to defend is that he is a truck running the ball.”
The award recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field.
In addition to maintaining a 4.09 GPA in the classroom, Howell volunteers at a local homeless shelter, various youth sports programs and for an elementary school reading initiative.
With the N.C. Gatorade award, Howell will be eligible for a $1,000 grant to a local or national youth sports charity and will be in the mix for the National Player of the Year , which will be announced later this winter.
Howell, who was also an all-state baseball player last spring, finishes his career with some gaudy numbers that rank among the state’s all-time greats.
According to the NCHSAA football record book, Howell is first in total career yardage with 16,815, edging East Lincoln’s Chazz Surratt by just over 200 yards. He’s also second in career passing yardage (13,355), third in touchdown responsibility (213) and fourth in most touchdown passes (144). Howell is also third in state history in career pass attempts (1,343) and ran for 3,621 while averaging 6.5 yards per rush during his career.