Pebblebrook junior defensive end Trey Pinkney was voted the Class AAAAAAA Defensive Player of the Year by the Georgia Sports Writers Association, becoming the fourth local player in as many years to claim such an honor in the highest classification.

McEachern’s Julian Rochester won it in 2014 and ’15, and North Cobb’s Chandler Wooten claimed the honor in 2016.

Pinkney’s award also marks the eighth straight season a Cobb player has earned a classification defensive award.

The 6-foot-1, 220-pound Pinkney, who finished the 2017 season with 108 tackles and 33½ tackles for loss, including 21½ sacks, also became the first Pebblebrook player to earn a state award since 2000, when running back Brent Thomas was named the Class AAAA Player of the Year.

“It’s a great honor to have someone like him to get that,” Pebblebrook coach Kevin Saunders said. “It brings a lot of prestige to our football program, things like that. It’s something that’s good for our kids and our program.”

Pinkney said an increased training regimen following a mediocre sophomore year helped his cause this season. He put an extra hour into the weight room after practice and worked with linebackers coach Calvin West on his speed and agility.

The extra conditioning time ended up paying off.

Pinkney played a significant role in helping Pebblebrook make back-to-back playoff appearances and secure its first home playoff game since 2006.

He helped the Falcons grind out a 35-28 win over Region 2AAAAAAA rival East Coweta late in the season that secured their second straight playoff berth and put them in a tie for second in the region.

Pinkney and his defense stepped up the following week against Newnan, recording three sacks on the Cougars’ final drive of the game to secure a 27-14 win and a home playoff berth.

“He plays so hard. He doesn’t take many plays off,” Saunders said. “He practices hard, and I think he has a lot more to offer. He hasn’t gotten close to the player that he can be. On the next level, I’m not sure if he is going to be a linebacker of defensive end, but he should play at the next level.”

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