Brian Briggs remembers the very first time Orlando Cross walked into his coaches' office at Holland Patent.

How could he forget?

"When Orlando walked down the hall and into our office, we all looked at each other and said, 'Wow! This kid's a monster,'" said Briggs, the Holland Patent head football coach. "When we saw him, we just knew right away that he was going to make things happen."

Boy, did he ever.

After moving into the district and transferring in from Thomas R. Proctor High School, Cross – a 6-foot-2, 315-pound center and defensive lineman – helped make great things happen for a state-ranked Holland Patent football team that went on to win its first league title since 1997 and its first Section III Championship since 1989. And Tuesday, when the New York State Sports Writers Association released its first installment of 2018 all-state football teams, Cross was one of 24 named to the Class C first team.

All-state players for Class B, Class C, Class D and 8-Man were announced – Class AA and Class A all-state teams will be released next week – and Cross was the only first-team selection from the Greater Utica/Mohawk Valley area.

"He deserves it," Briggs said. "Orlando was a huge part of our success. We knew he was a great player at Proctor, the kid worked hard, and with his size, he was just a beast in Class C. ... Coaches knew where he was lined up, and they would always say after the game, 'That number 62 is the one kid we really had to look out for.' He was just an animal, just a man amongst boys.

"He just plugged the hole – nobody could run up the middle when he was at nose guard – and he just dominated at center. He made a good offensive line a great offensive line."

That offense was powered up front by Cross, twins Brandon and Justin Nicolaichuk at guard, and juniors Andrew LaRock and Nick Fassett at tackle. Cross and the Nicolaichuk brothers were three of the 20 seniors who helped Holland Patent go 10-0 before the Golden Knights' season ended with a Central Region loss to an unbeaten Susquehanna Valley team that went on to win the Class C state championship.

Joining Cross as all-state selections were four other Holland Patent seniors, including running back Jason Haas, who made the Class C second team after rushing for a school-record 1,240 yards and 18 touchdowns. Josh Ernst, a standout as a receiver, defensive back and kicker, made the third team and QB-LB Nick Herringshaw and DB Griffin Briggs, the coach's son, were all-state honorable mentions.

Cross is the first Holland Patent player to be named first-team all-state since RB-LB Dan Fruscella in 2008.

Two Notre Dame High School seniors earned Class C honors as well – quarterback Treijen Garrett was named third-team all-state and two-way lineman Joe Howard was an honorable mention. Garrett, who made the Class B third team as a junior, threw for 1,386 yards and 16 touchdowns and rushed for 1,191 yards and 15 touchdowns.

• In Class D, Herkimer senior running back and linebacker Wyatt Renshaw, whose 1,065 rushing yards and 23 touchdowns helped lead the Magicians to the Section III final at the Carrier Dome, and Dolgeville senior running back and linebacker Jordan Ortleib made the second team.

Herkimer senior RB-DL Zach Parmon and junior RB-LB Adam Green were Class D honorable mentions along with two Frankfort-Schuyler players – senior lineman John Banas and junior RB-LB Tyler Rosati.

• In Class B, Vernon-Verona-Sherrill senior quarterback Alex Oliver made the fourth team. Two other VVS seniors – linebacker Matt Ciotti and WR-DB Travis Decker – were Class B honorable mentions.

• In 8-Man, Oriskany senior quarterback Matt Enos was one of 18 players on 8-Man football's first all-state team.