Chicken Express and Dave Campbell’s Texas Football are partnering to honor the heroes in your community. Male and female student-athletes that lead by example on the field of play and in the classroom can be honored as Chicken Express Community Heroes and receive scholarship money to continue their education beyond high school.
Kaia Williams, Ponder
Following in the footsteps of her older sister, Kaia Williams grew up an avid soccer player. But because Ponder didn’t offer the sport at the high school level, Williams eventually decided to focus on basketball instead of pursuing soccer any further.
It’s safe to say that decision paid off both for Williams and the Lady Lions after she put the finishing touches on a decorated career this season. Williams was the District 10-3A Newcomer of the Year in 2016, a first-team all-district selection in 2017 and a TGCA All-State pick in both 2018 and 2019.
Williams also qualified for regionals in cross country in 2015 and was a state qualifier as a senior in the fall of 2018.
“In a small town like Ponder, you go to school with the same people from elementary school on,” Williams said. “By the time you are in high school, your friends and teammates are like family. The support and unconditional love I received is what allowed me to be so successful on and off the field.”
Williams was also involved in student council, FCA and the Spanish club, and spent her summer months working as a lifeguard. She volunteered at her church’s Vacation Bible School and also assisted with Mission Denton.
Williams will attend East Texas Baptist University in the fall to play basketball while also studying Chemistry, and she hopes to eventually earn a Masters’ in Forensic Science before traveling the world and working on mission trips.
“Being able to serve others is a very rewarding experience for me,” Williams said. “I enjoy the people you get to meet, and the time spent getting to know them. I hope my community remembers me as someone who always worked hard for what they wanted and had a serving heart.”
Tucker Bridwell, Pampa
Pampa has developed a number of highly-successful quarterbacks over the last few years under coach Greg Poynor, and Tucker Bridwell kept that tradition going in his first full year as a starter last season.
Bridwell threw for 3,249 yards and 26 touchdowns to earn first-team all-district honors for the Harvesters. In addition to excelling at quarterback, Bridwell plays basketball and runs track at Pampa.
“I’ve played football and basketball for as long as I can remember and started running track in fifth grade,” Bridwell said. “I still play all three sports, but football is definitely my favorite. I just love the game, the competitiveness, the team work, the atmosphere on Friday nights and the feeling of winning.”
Bridwell began traveling with the varsity football team as a ball boy in 7thand 8thgrade and bided his time as a freshman and sophomore before taking over under center last year. Pampa went 4-7 and fell in the first round of the playoffs, but with Bridwell back, the Harvesters have a good chance to get back to their winning ways in the postseason.
Off the field, Bridwell volunteers his time with the booster club and his local youth group. He said he enjoys helping out in the community because of the lasting impact it can leave.
“It brings the community together and shows people they can count on the athletes to be there for them,” Bridwell said.
Bridwell hopes to play football at the college level while studying to become a coach.
“A lot of people think I’m an outgoing person, but really I’m shy in school and in public,” Bridwell said. “When I hit the football field, it’s like something changes in me and I turn into an outgoing and fun kind of person.”