High School: 2011 Football Awards

MVPs: Southlake Carroll's Hill, Aledo's Gray

January, 4, 2012
1/04/12
12:01
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MOST VALUABLE PLAYERS

Class 5A: QB Kenny Hill, Southlake Carroll

The 6-foot-2, 210-pound junior quarterback embodied the “never quit’’ spirit of the 16-0 Class 5A Division I state champion Dragons.

2011 FOOTBALL AWARDS
Dec. 27: Coaches of the year
Dec. 28: Games of the year
Dec. 29: Newcomers of the year
Dec. 30: Best of the rest
Jan. 2: Defensive POYs
Jan. 3: Offensive POYs
Jan. 4: MVPs
Five times in the playoffs, including the 36-29 state championship victory over Fort Bend Hightower, Carroll was forced to come from behind. And whether it was with his arm or his powerful runs, Hill was leading the way.

Hill completed 63 percent of his 386 passes for 2,942 yards and 25 touchdowns. He carried the ball 281 times for 1,385 yards and 24 scores.

In the state title game in front over 42,000 at Cowboys Stadium, Hill threw for two touchdowns and rushed for two more as the Dragons rallied from a nine-point second-half deficit to win the school’s first state title since 2006.

Even more miraculous was the comeback engineered by Hill and company in the 28-24 state semifinal win over Dallas Skyline when the quarterback rushed for two touchdowns in the final 1:07.

Hill led Southlake Carroll to the fourth round of the Class 5A Division II playoffs a year ago and was named ESPNDallas.com’s Class 5A top newcomer. He is the son of former major league pitcher Ken Hill.

Class 4A: RB Johnathan Gray, Aledo

The record-setting 5-foot-11, 202-pound running back capped his high school career by helping the Bearcats win their third straight Class 4A Division II state title.

In Aledo’s 48-28 victory over Manvel in the state final, Gray gave the crowd of over 43,000 at Cowboys Stadium a treat by breaking the national high school career record for touchdowns with 205.

Aledo rebounded from a 1-2 start to win its final 13 games.

Gray, who announced his commitment to the University of Texas four months before his senior season, rushed for 3,905 yards on 346 carries, scoring 65 touchdowns. He added 567 receiving yards and five touchdowns on 28 catches.

For his high school career, Gray finished No. 3 on the career rushing list with 10,908 yards and finished second in career points with 1,232.

He was named the Gatorade National Player of the Year for the second consecutive season.

Gray was ESPNDallas.com’s Class 4A offensive player of the year last season. He is the son of former Texas Tech running back James Gray.

Offensive POYs: Timberview QB, Corsicana RB

January, 3, 2012
1/03/12
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OFFENSIVE PLAYERS OF THE YEAR

Class 5A: QB Chuck Taylor, Mansfield Timberview

The 5-9, 185-pound senior was the inspirational leader of a 12-3 Timberview team that became the first in Mansfield ISD to reach a state football semifinal.

Taylor, in his third varsity season, threw for 1,998 yards and 16 touchdowns, but it was his ball-carrying skills that set him apart. He rushed for 1,972 yards and 23 touchdowns and scored a team-leading 142 points.

2011 FOOTBALL AWARDS
Dec. 27: Coaches of the year
Dec. 28: Games of the year
Dec. 29: Newcomers of the year
Dec. 30: Best of the rest
Jan. 2: Defensive POYs
Jan. 3: Offensive POYs
Jan. 4: MVPs
The Wolves finished tied for third in the District 5-5A standings and had to deal with the mid-October loss of offensive coordinator Cody McCarty, who died from sudden heart complications. McCarty, 29, was Taylor’s position coach.

Taylor and his teammates kept the memory of their coach as a focal point in the their Class 5A Division II playoff run, taking down Colleyville Heritage, Flower Mound Marcus, Abilene and Abilene Cooper before losing to eventual state champion Spring Dekaney, 56-19, in a state semifinal.

In the 29-25 regional playoff win over Cooper in Abilene, Taylor ran 25 yards for the winning touchdown with 16 seconds remaining.

In November, the versatile Taylor signed a letter of intent to play baseball at UT-Arlington. He is an outfielder.

Class 4A: RB Cameron Washington, Corsicana

The 6-foot, 190-pound senior was a textbook example of an athlete raising his level of play when the postseason arrived.

In playoff wins over Manor, Sulphur Springs, Frisco Centennial and Kilgore, Washington carried 121 times for 1,085 yards and 16 touchdowns.

Corsicana (13-2) was eliminated from the playoffs in a state semifinal by eventual Class 4A Division II state champion Aledo.

Washington was a Tigers’ workhorse, carrying 352 times for 3,136 yards and 46 touchdowns. Along the way, Washington broke the school’s single-season rushing record. He averaged 8.9 yards per carry and scored 46 touchdowns, finishing the season with 286 points.

Washington crossed the 200-yard rushing barrier in 11 games with a high game of 320 yards in a 47-33 area-round playoff win over Sulphur Springs.

He scored at least one touchdown in all 15 of his team’s games and notched five touchdowns in a game twice, in the final regular-season game against Forney and in the bi-district win over Manor.

Washington was named to the Associated Press’ Class 4A all-state first team.
DEFENSIVE PLAYERS OF THE YEAR

Class 5A: Devonte Fields, Arlington Martin, DE

Devonte Fields helped Arlington Martin do the unthinkable -- shut down Euless Trinity's running game.

2011 FOOTBALL AWARDS
Dec. 27: Coaches of the year
Dec. 28: Games of the year
Dec. 29: Newcomers of the year
Dec. 30: Best of the rest
Jan. 2: Defensive POYs
Jan. 3: Offensive POYs
Jan. 4: MVPs
Fields and Martin held Trinity to just 135 rushing yards en route to a 19-7 win over a Trinity team that had long tortured the Warriors in the playoffs.

But that was just one of the standout performances from Fields. The TCU commit had 55 tackles -- 27 for a loss -- and nine sacks in a year that ended with him being named to the Associated Press all-state team.

Fields' play turned Martin into one of the better defenses in the area. Aside from finally getting past Trinity in the playoffs, Martin's defense led the Warriors all the way to the region finals, where they lost to eventual state champion Southlake Carroll.


Class 4A: Mario Edwards, Denton Ryan, DE

Injuries hampered Edwards throughout the season, but it didn't stop him from turning in another banner year and being named ESPN Dallas' defensive player of the year for the second consecutive season.

Even on a Ryan defense loaded with FBS-caliber players, Edwards stood out. He had 56 tackles -- 28 for a loss -- and 10 sacks en route to being named to the Associated Press all-state team.

With Edwards leading the way, Ryan gave up just 16.8 points per game. That number could have been even lower and is slightly misleading because the Raiders often played backups late in blowouts, allowing opponents to add to their totals.

Edwards gave an oral commitment to Florida State in the summer but has since backed off from it, expressing interest in Oklahoma and Texas, among others.
The little stories that arose during the 2011 high school football season are what made it so memorable. Here are some of the ESPNDallas.com high school team's picks for "Best of the Rest" awards commemorating those stories.

Best 2-way player: Sabian Holmes. Holmes was Southlake Carroll quarterback Kenny Hill's No. 1 option in the Dragon's pass game throughout the season and tallied 138 yards on 11 catches and a touchdown in the 5A Division I state championship. He also was a reliable defensive back and made a touchdown-saving, diving swat late in the title game that became one of the key plays that allowed Carroll to win its eighth state football championship.

Best individual performance: Robbie Rhodes. The Fort Worth Southwest receiver tied a national record and set a state record when he scored eight touchdowns in a 66-21 win over Fort Worth Arlington Heights. He had 10 catches for a state-record 390 yards.

2011 FOOTBALL AWARDS
Dec. 27: Coaches of the year
Dec. 28: Games of the year
Dec. 29: Newcomers of the year
Dec. 30: Best of the rest
Jan. 2: Defensive POYs
Jan. 3: Offensive POYs
Jan. 4: MVPs
Honorable mention: Wesley Harris. The Southwest quarterback also broke the state record for touchdown passes with nine in the same game.

Best matchup on paper: Johnathan Gray vs. Cameron Washington. Two 3,000-yard rushers met for the first time in the playoffs when Gray and Aledo faced off against Washington and Corsicana in the 4A Division II state semifinal. The game turned out to be not nearly as great as it was billed because of the effort of Aledo’s defense to hold Washington to just 91 yards. Gray tallied 218 yards and claimed his 204th career touchdown, tying the national record.

Best milestone: 300 wins. Highland Park coach Randy Allen earned win No. 300 when his Scots beat Richardson J.J. Pearce 41-27 at Highlander Stadium. The win tied Allen for 10th all-time in the state with Gregory-Portland’s Ray Akins.

Best school districts: Arlington, Mansfield and Frisco ISDs had a lot of work still left to do long after the regular season ended as each sent two schools into the third round of the playoffs. Two Keller ISD schools made the playoffs in the always-tough District 7-5A. Mesquite ISD sent three teams into the playoffs and not many would have expected the Mesquite Skeeters to be the only team left alive in the 5A Division I region semifinals.

Best revenge wins: Skyline and Arlington Martin. It took five tries, but Arlington Martin finally ended Euless Trinity’s season early for once, beating the Trojans 19-7 at Trinity’s home stadium, Pennington Field. Skyline and DeSoto met for the fourth straight time in the playoffs and Skyline avenged it’s 38-0 loss to the Eagles last season with a 41-31 win in 2011.

Best under the radar star: Jake Oliver. Oliver of Jesuit had 108 catches for 1,637 yards and 23 touchdowns and was key in Jesuit’s district run after starting quarterback Jack Brezette was lost for the season with a knee injury. Oliver was a finalist for the Tom Landry award.

Guyer, Corsicana soph QBs made a splash

December, 29, 2011
12/29/11
12:02
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NEWCOMERS OF THE YEAR

Class 5A: QB Jerrod Heard, Denton Guyer

2011 FOOTBALL AWARDS
Dec. 27: Coaches of the year
Dec. 28: Games of the year
Dec. 29: Newcomers of the year
Dec. 30: Best of the rest
Jan. 2: Defensive POYs
Jan. 3: Offensive POYs
Jan. 4: MVPs
The task for the 6-foot-2, 180-pound sophomore was not an easy one. He had to replace J.W. Walsh, a quarterback that in 2010 guided Guyer to the Class 5A Division II state championship game while throwing for 3,518 yards and rushing for 1,642.

While Heard couldn’t match the numbers of Walsh, who headed off to Oklahoma State, he was able to lead Guyer two rounds deep into the playoffs. The Wildcats finished 8-4 and tied for second place in District 7-5A.

Heard completed 58.3 percent of his passes for 2,286 yards and 28 touchdowns. He added 650 rushing yards on 136 carries (4.8 yard average) for five touchdowns.

In Guyer’s double-overtime 41-35 bi-district victory over Hebron, Heard had one of his best performances of the season, throwing for 280 yards and three touchdowns and rushing for 105 yards.

The prospect of two more seasons with Heard has to be exciting for Wildcats fans.

Class 4A: QB DeVontay Bell, Corsicana

The move of the 5-foot-10, 170-pound sophomore to quarterback in Phil Castles' offense helped the Tigers reach the Class 4A Division II state semifinals.

When defenses concentrated too much on Corsicana running back Cameron Washington, Bell made them pay. He completed 113 of 215 passes for 1,411 yards and 12 touchdowns. He did even more damage as a ball-carrier, with 1,495 yards and 21 touchdowns on 211 carries.

Bell helped the Tigers to a 13-2 record, the most wins for Corsicana since the 1982 state finalist team.

In Corsicana’s 52-31 regional playoff victory over Frisco Centennial, Bell rushed for 124 yards and one touchdown and threw for 156 yards and two scores.

The experience of a 15-game season should be valuable for Bell in his remaining two seasons for the Tigers.
GAMES OF THE YEAR

Class 5A: Southlake Carroll vs. Dallas Skyline

No high school game this season was raised to the attention of the public like the 5A Division I state semifinal between Southlake Carroll and Dallas Skyline at SMU’s Ford Stadium.

Carroll trailed the arguably more talented Skyline squad the entire game but managed to work the deficit to three with just over a minute left on a 3-yard dive by quarterback Kenny Hill. The play was made possible by a pass interference call on Skyline that remains one of many points of contention to the Skyline faithful.

2011 FOOTBALL AWARDS
Dec. 27: Coaches of the year
Dec. 28: Games of the year
Dec. 29: Newcomers of the year
Dec. 30: Best of the rest
Jan. 2: Defensive POYs
Jan. 3: Offensive POYs
Jan. 4: MVPs
Ray Crockett then made the most controversial play of the game, recovering the onside kick in the air, directly over the 50-yard line which was the required 10 yards the kick had to travel.

Two plays later, Hill completed the comeback, running in a 35-yard rush for the game-winning touchdown, bringing the score to 28-24.

During the play, a fox ran through the heard of players storming down the field, toward the grass hill at Ford Stadium. It escaped the Carroll crowd up the hill and out the gate, but it didn’t escape the imaginations of the Dragons. Carroll fans showed up to the 5A Division I state final with stuffed foxes as a show of support and a cheerleader dressed as a fox appeared on the sideline as a sidekick to Carroll’s traditional dragon mascot.

The outcry of Skyline fans toward the officiating in the game was heard by the media, local and national, as soon as the game ended and the UIL’s voicemail boxes were filled to capacity over the weekend.

Even Dallas City Council member Dwaine Caraway issued a statement questioning the calls in the game.

Regardless of the debate, Carroll rode it’s “Sliver Fox Swag” to a 36-29 win over Fort Bend Hightower in the state finals to claim the school’s eighth football title.

Class 4A: Highland Park vs. Rockwall-Heath

Rockwall-Heath’s defense stood strong against three straight Highland Park runs up the middle from inside Rockwall-Heath five, but Highland Park running back Preston Miller would not be denied a fourth time, leading his team to a 31-30 overtime district win.

Rockwall-Heath had scored on the first possession of overtime on an 11-yard rush by Rico Henderson, but the point-after try wobbled low and left, hitting the upright and bouncing back onto the field.

Highland Park was able to work the ball down to the Rockwall-Heath 5, and until Miller’s fourth-down, second-effort push into the end zone, it appeared Heath’s defense would render the missed PAT useless.

But Miller did his job and burst into the end zone, putting the pressure on Highland Park kicker Nick Rose.

Rose overcame his nerves and split the uprights for the win, which would ultimately give Highland Park the District 10-4A title after handing Rockwall-Heath its only district loss of the season.

Timberview, Centennial coaches earn honors

December, 27, 2011
12/27/11
12:01
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COACHES OF THE YEAR

Class 5A: Mansfield Timberview's Mark Walker


Nothing can prepare a team for the death of one of its coaches. Timberview endured an unspeakable tragedy when assistant coach Cody McCarty passed away at just 29 years old.

2011 FOOTBALL AWARDS
Dec. 27: Coaches of the year
Dec. 28: Games of the year
Dec. 29: Newcomers of the year
Dec. 30: Best of the rest
Jan. 2: Defensive POYs
Jan. 3: Offensive POYs
Jan. 4: MVPs
The Wolves could have succumbed to their grief and let a promising season slip away, but head coach Mark Walker wouldn't let them.

The Wolves dedicated their year to McCarty, and Walker kept them focused on honoring their late coach.

The season, just Timberview's second at the 5A level, turned into one of the best in the school's history despite not making the postseason since 2008.

But the Wolves roared through the playoffs. They opened the postseason with upsets over Colleyville Heritage and Flower Mound Marcus, then defeated two strong west Texas teams in Abilene and Abilene Cooper before losing to eventual state champion Spring Dekaney in the state semifinals.

Class 4A: Frisco Centennial's Mark Howard

The opportunity to start a program from scratch excited Mark Howard when he became Centennial's first head coach in 2003. What he didn't know was that he'd have to start the program from scratch more than once.

Expansion in Frisco ISD split classes at Centennial throughout the 2000s, keeping the football program's numbers unstable. With expansion picking on other schools now, Howard has shown what kind of program he can build.

Howard turned Centennial into one of the best 4A defenses in the area as the Titans gave up just 11.4 points per game, which fueled an undefeated regular season in which the Titans breezed through District 9-4A.

A successful playoff run capped off what was easily the best season in school history. The Titans beat McKinney North and Dallas Conrad before falling to Corsicana in the regional semifinals.

Howard has Centennial's subvarsity programs humming, and with many key underclassmen set to return, the future looks bright for Howard and the Titans.

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