DCTF's Greg Tepper sniffs out the snubs on the TWSA All-State teams.
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As someone who helps to select postseason accolades in Texas high school football, let me tell you from first-hand experience: it’s hard. Really, really hard.
When you look through the Winter Edition of Dave Campbell’s Texas Football – at our All-Texas High School Team (honoring the best at each position across all classifications), at our class MVPs (picking the best player in each class), at our region MVPs (picking the best player in each region of each class) and our district MVPs (you get the picture) – it might look like fun. And to a certain extent, it is: you don’t get into the high school football game without wanting to celebrate great performers.
But that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Picking awards means there’s pressure on you to pick the right players, the most deserving winners. And that pressure is not unsubstantial.
That’s why I have a hard time being critical of others when they pick high school football awards. I know how difficult it is, how “snubs” can happen. But, alas, they do happen. And that’s what we’re here to talk about today.
On Saturday, the Texas Sports Writers Association put out its annual All-State teams for Classes 5A, 4A, 3A, 2A and 1A. It’s the 62nd edition of the TSWA’s all-state teams, and with all due respect to other outlets, I think they’re one of the best. One of the reasons: they take into account the entire season, including the playoffs, which many other organizations do not. That’s why it comes out so long after the season, but it’s also why they’re one of the best.
I want to be perfectly clear before we move on: I think the TSWA did a largely excellent job with this year’s All-State teams. I’m not just saying that to butter them up before I criticize them; it’s the absolute truth. Don’t let my criticisms overshadow what is a very good job by the TSWA.
But even the best can’t get everybody on the All-State team, and sure enough, there is a fair share of snubs this year.
To me, there are three kinds of “snubs.” There are the true snubs – players who aren’t on any of the three All-State teams in their classifications. There are the “deserved better” snubs – players who maybe should’ve been on the first team instead of the second team. And there are the “wish we had room for them” snubs – players who are good and certainly All-State worthy, but there just simply aren’t enough spots for them.
In other words: there are the omissions, the nitpicks and the casualties of the numbers.
And one more note, just to clarify: I truly believe that every one of the players selected is deserving of an All-State bid. This isn’t to knock down any players; simply to say that others deserved a little better.
Let’s roll through each of the five Texas Sports Writers Association All-State teams, and check out who I think fall into those three categories in each.
Houston Lamar DB Cedric Lancaster: The most dynamic player in the Houston Lamar secondary, Lancaster helped lead the Redskins to the 5A Division I title game for a team that was defense-first. He earned a spot on our All-Texas High School team – second team defensive back – and I think he deserves a spot somewhere on the 5A All-State team.
Lake Highlands OL Kent Perkins: I think Perkins was the best offensive lineman in the state this season, but he only notched a second-team 5A All-State spot. He’s got to be on the first time, in my opinion.
Coppell DE Soloman Thomas: A dominating force for the Cowboys – and a top recruit in 2014 – Thomas only made the second-team 5A All-State team, yet I think he’s deserving of a first-team spot.
Wish There Was Room For…
Abilene QB Evin Abbe, Arlington Bowie QB Tony James, Clear Spring QB Zach Cripps, Colleyville Heritage QB Cody Thomas, Cy Ranch RB Keith Ford, Del Rio RB Gudelio Garza, EP Franklin WR Marcos Hernandez, Harlingen LB Nathan Prado, Hendrickson RB Samaje Perine, Hewitt Midway QB Kramer Robertson, La Porte RB Keith Whitely, Lake Travis QB Baker Mayfield, Lufkin QB Tyler Stubblefield, Manvel WR Carlos Thompson, McAllen Rowe QB Javi Obregon, Mesquite QB Alex Cooper, Mission Sharyland QB Tres Barrera, Sachse QB Kent Myers and Smithson Valley RB Lawrence Mattison.
Red Oak TE Jeremiah Gaines: It was a big year for tight ends in Texas, and you could make an argument that Red Oak’s big target Gaines was one of the very best. His numbers aren’t overwhelming – 30 catches for 641 and 7 touchdowns – but his blocking and presence on the field absolutely warrants a spot somewhere in the All-State team.
Cedar Park WR Ethan Fry: Perhaps the most dangerous player on the state champion Cedar Park Timberwolves, Fry was the biggest receiving threat (42 catches, 710 yards, 9 TDs), a running threat (428 yards and a touchdown) and even a passing threat. He should be an All-Stater.
Corpus Christi Flour Bluff QB Kolton Mims: Listen, I know the quarterback position is always the toughest to leave players out, but I think there’s a real argument that Flour Bluff’s Mims was one of 4A’s three best signal-callers. 2,194 yards and 30 TDs passing, 1,339 yards and 13 TDs passing…I know it’s tough, but I’d find a spot for him.
Wolfforth Frenship RB D’Maujeric Tucker: Tucker earned a spot on our All-Texas High School team, meaning we think he was one of the four best running backs in the state this year. He probably should’ve been a first-team All-Stater, but was only on the second team.
Amarillo Caprock WR Bustos Addison: So, Addison leads 4A in receiving (1,748 yards) and only gets a spot on the third-team All-State team? C’mon.
Wish There Was Room For…
Angleton RB Josh West, Birdville QB Justin Martin, Boerne Champion QB Kyle Poeske, Brenham ATH Darrion Johnson, Canyon Randall QB Collin Bowen, Cedar Park QB Nate Grimm, Cleburne QB Quade Coward, EP Del Valle OL Erik Ramirez, Friendswood QB JOrdan Wood, FW Southwest WR Robbie Rhodes, Gregory-Portland RB Devin Bisby, Harlandale RB Nicholas Martinez, Humble Summer Creek QB Aaron Sharp, Kerrville Tivy QB Parks McNeil, Mesquite Poteet QB Tanner Ramsey, Mission Veterans Memorial QB Santos Villarreal, Mount Pleasant QB Monty James, Nederland QB Carson Raines, Sherman WR J.T. Luper.
None that I can tell. Well done, TSWA!
Henderson WR Patrick Brown: We named Monster Brown as the best returner in the state – a member of the first team All-Texas High School team – but he’s only on the third team in Class 3A for the TSWA.
Kilgore LB A.J. Davis: This is most definitely a nitpick, but I thought AJ Davis was one of the very best linebackers in the state, and deserved better than a spot on the second-team All-State team.
Wish There Was Room For…
Abilene Wylie RB Garrett Martin, Carthage QB Blake Bogenschutz, Clint Mountain View QB Armando Anchondo, Coldspring-Oakhurst DB Jerrell Sykes, Dalhart OL/DL O'Scotty Castro, Gainesville QB Denzel Johnson, Glen Rose WR Justin Weatherley, Hidalgo QB Shea Patterson, Kingsville King QB John Houston, La Grange QB Logan Vinklarek, La Marque RB Arthur Lockett, Lorena QB Harris Coleman, Melissa RB Marcus Ellis, Orange Grove QB Ruben Lopez, Paris LB Jamal Black, Silsbee QB Patrick Reed, Van QB Garrett Smallwood, Wimberley LB Alden Mann.
Merkel QB/DB Baylor Mullins: Admittedly, this is a personal choice (they all are), but I think Mullins was deserving of a spot somewhere in the All-State team. The undersized Mullins was a dynamic passer and runner, as well as a terrific kicker for the Badgers. I think he should’ve been on the team.
Muleshoe OL Ryan Johnson: We named Johnson to our second-team All-Texas High School team, making him one of the 10 best performers on the offensive line. So how come he’s the third-team All-State center in 2A?
Lone Oak LB Ty Tolleson: Another guy we really like at DCTF, naming him to our second-team All-Texas High School team, but he only managed a third-team spot on TSWA’s 2A team.
Wish There Was Room For…
Cisco RB/DB Mason Reed, Deweyville RB Ryan Collins, Edgewood QB Jacob Sharff, George West QB/DB Brady Jones, Grandview QB Ryan Breton, Idalou DE Kaden Lackey, Muleshoe QB Caleb Wood, Poth RB Phillip Garza, Pottsboro WR Dallas Sewell, Sanford-Fritch RB/DB Colton Valle, Sonora RB Darien Lopez, Tatum LB Kiano Lucas.
Falls City QB Cameron Soto: Again, I know that the quarterback position is always the toughest, and the three QBs that the TSWA chose – Stamford’s Hagen Hutchinson, Booker’s Hunter Lile and Wellington’s Klark Ashmore – are certainly deserving. But Cameron Soto was nails for Falls City, throwing for 1,668 yards and 19 touchdowns, running for 1,470 yards and 25 touchdowns and notching 63 tackles as a defensive back. He was too good to keep off the team.
None here. Everyone who’s on the list is pretty well-placed in terms of teams.
Wish There Was Room For…
Albany QB Blake Bumguardner, Bruni QB Oliver Chapa, Chilton QB Kyondris Landrum, Gruver QB/DE Korbin Irwin, Hico LB Brandon Srewart, Hubbard RB Trey Henderson, La Villa RB Noe Castillo, Lindsay RB Blake Walker, Seymour QB Zach Barton, Shiner RB/DB Evel Jones, Springlake-Earth RB Nathan Garcia, Sundown LB Michael Serna, Weimar RB JaKyle Harris.
Greg Tepper is the associate editor of Dave Campbell's Texas Football and TexasFootball.com.