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Wise’s top 2012 Gridiron Performers

By Clay Corbett | Published Saturday, January 12, 2013

MVP
FINO CARDONA

Fino Cardona. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Boyd – The Yellowjackets’ junior running back rushed for 1,901 yards and 27 touchdowns on his way to leading Boyd to the area round of the state playoffs. He also had 12 receptions for 187 yards. Cardona picked up first-team District 5-2A running back honors and has already accumulated 2,967 career yards and 50 touchdowns. He also scored on defense, returning an interception for a touchdown.

OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
GABE HUERTA

Gabe Huerta. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Bridgeport -Bridgeport’s senior running back guided the Bulls to their sixth straight playoff appearance while rushing for 1,288 yards and 18 touchdowns. Against Sanger he broke the school’s rushing record and finished his high school career with 4,331 yards and 54 touchdowns. He also finished second all-time in touchdowns scored. Huerta was an all-district District 9-3A running back and was a starter since midway through his freshman season.

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
CARTER JAMES

Carter James. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Northwest – The quick, physical senior linebacker earned first-team all-district honors in District 4-5A while recording 71 tackles and five sacks. James helped lead the area’s best defense to their first eight-win season as a Class 5A school and a spot in the state playoffs. Due to injury in the final regular season game, James was unable to participate in the Texans’ bi-district playoff game.

ALL-PURPOSE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
DYLAN HIGHTOWER

Dylan Hightower. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Chico – The versatile Hightower played running back, receiver and linebacker for the Dragons. Offensively, he did most of his damage at receiver, with 47 receptions for 898 yards and eight touchdowns while garnering District 7-A first-team honors. He also rushed for 714 yards and 14 touchdowns at running back. Playing linebacker, the senior had 103 tackles, nine sacks and five fumble recoveries while gaining second-team all-district linebacker honors.

OFFENSIVE NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR
JOE RANDALL

Joe Randall. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Alvord – The District 5-2A first-team running back selection became a full-time starter as a sophomore, leading the Bulldogs with 1,085 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns in only nine games. He caught five passes for 16 yards and also completed six passes for 78 yards. As an all-district defensive back, Randall made 44 tackles and had an interception.

DEFENSIVE NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR
CORY DURDON

Cory Durdon. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Decatur – The junior linebacker made a huge impact in his first season of varsity action. Durdon recorded 143 tackles, and 16 of those were for a loss. The District 9-3A second-team linebacker selection also had two sacks, two interceptions, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery returned for a touchdown.

QUARTERBACKS

HUNTER YORK, CHICO
The Dragon signal caller had a tremendous senior campaign. York dominated the area through the air, throwing for 2,631 yards and 27 touchdowns. He completed 168 of his 265 attempts while leading the state among Class A Division I quarterbacks in passing yards. York was a first-team District 7-A selection.

DRAZE LAWLISS, NORTHWEST
The versatile senior quarterback passed for 1,478 yards, 13 touchdowns and rushed for 570 yards while earning District 4-5A Offensive Player of the Year. Lawliss helped to lead the Texans to a second-place finish in District 4-5A, a spot in the postseason and an 8-3 record.

BLAKE MCDONALD, BOYD
In his only season as the Yellowjackets’ quarterback, McDonald threw for 1,488 yards and 13 touchdowns while completing 100 of his 185 passes. The senior also rushed for 554 yards and four touchdowns while garnering District 5-2A second-team honors.

RUNNING BACKS

LEVI RUST, DECATUR
In his first year of varsity experience, the junior rushed for 761 yards and made seven touchdowns while averaging 5.2 yards per carry. Rust was a District 9-3A second-team selection.

DAKOTA CHAVIS, NORTHWEST
The District 4-5A second-team selection rushed for 996 yards and 13 touchdowns. The senior was a vital part of the Texans eight-win season and playoff berth.

WIDE RECEIVERS

BLAKE ARRINGTON, BRIDGEPORT
In his third year of varsity football, Arrington had 37 receptions for 649 yards and four touchdowns. The senior led the Bulls in receptions and receiving yardage while picking up District 9-3A first-team honors.

CAIN LOWE, DECATUR
The junior receiver jumped on the scene in 2012 with 34 receptions, 542 yards and eight touchdowns. The District 9-3A first-team selection averaged 15.9 yards per catch.

DYLAN STUBBE, NORTHWEST
The senior caught 35 passes for 476 yards and three touchdowns to earn a District 4-5A first-team receiver selection.

COLE MEADOR, BOYD
In his first year of varsity football, the senior was a District 5-2A first-team receiver and defensive back. As a receiver he had 40 catches for 642 yards and three touchdowns. Defensively he recorded 56 tackles, made three sacks, had two interceptions and caused and recovered two fumbles.

HUNTER GANTT, BRIDGEPORT
The junior all-purpose player started the year at quarterback, but after an injury came back to do most of his damage from the receiver position. As a receiver and quarterback, Gantt rushed for 623 yards and six touchdowns while picking District 9-3A first-team honors. He also caught two passes for 46 yards and completed 25 passes for 386 yards.

OFFENSIVE LINE

BRADEN BROUSSARD, PARADISE
The four-year starter was a first-team District 5-2A pick. The senior graded out as the Panther’s best lineman. On the defensive line. he recorded 34 tackles while picking up second-team all-district honors.

CARLOS GONZALES, DECATUR
The District 9-3A first-team offensive lineman blocked for an offense that averaged 400 yards per contest. The senior did not allow a sack all season, including 32 pancake blocks, and graded out at 94 percent.

SHAYLER CARLTON, DECATUR
As a senior the versatile offensive lineman was a District 9-3A second-team selection who only allowed one sack. He recorded 26 open field blocks and graded out at 91 percent.

TRAVIS STUBBLEFIELD, NORTHWEST
The three-year starter at offensive tackle was a three-time all-district selection. He helped lead an offense that averaged more than 200 rushing yards per game. The senior is also in the top 10 percent of his class.

CAMERON SCHULTE, BOYD
The first-team District 5-2A tackle was a huge part of an offense that averaged more than 350 yards and 27 points per game. The junior routinely graded out at more than 90 percent.

GENTRY FUNK, BRIDGEPORT
In his senior season, Funk was a key part of an offensive line that produced almost 2,000 yards of rushing. He was a District 9-3A first-team selection while playing center for the Bulls.

DEFENSIVE LINE

ADRIAN NELSON, BOYD
As the smallest defensive lineman in District 5-2A, Nelson led the Yellowjackets with 81 tackles and 11 sacks. The senior was an all-district selection while helping Boyd to the area round of the state playoffs.

JARRETT ROPER, PARADISE
The senior defensive end picked up first-team District 5-2A honors after recording 56 tackles, seven of those for a loss, and caused two fumbles. Roper was also a second-team running back after rushing for 515 yards and five touchdowns.

TYLER BYERS, CHICO
The first-team District 7-A pick recorded 78 tackles, six sacks, two fumble recoveries and four forced fumbles. The senior picked up those numbers in his first year of varsity action.

JOSE SALAZAR, BRIDGEPORT
The junior made 49 tackles, five sacks, a fumble recovery and caused three fumbles. He led the team in sacks and was a first-team District 9-3A selection.

KEVIN LINDSEY, DECATUR
The senior defensive lineman was in on 54 tackles, making 11 of them for a loss, two forced fumbles while recording two sacks. He earned first-team District 9-3A.

LINEBACKER

GARRETT RAGSDALE, BOYD
Despite missing four games, the junior middle linebacker had 69 tackles, made one sack and a caused fumble earning first-team District 5-2A honors.

MICHAEL PARTIN, BOYD
At linebacker, the senior played hard on both sides of the ball, recording 64 tackles, two sacks, an interception and a caused fumble. As a receiver, Partin caught 37 passes for 543 yards and five touchdowns. He garnered second-team all-district honors at both positions.

BENI BROWNE, ALVORD
The second-team all-district selection made 60 tackles (six for losses) and one pass knockdown. On special teams the senior blocked one kick.

DARION RIGGS, CHICO
In his first year of varsity football, the junior recorded 75 tackles, seven sacks, four fumble recoveries and three forced fumbles. Riggs earned second-team all-district defensive end.

DEFENSIVE BACKS

JARED DURDON, DECATUR
In only seven games the senior defensive back had 63 tackles and one sack. Durdon suffered a season-ending injury, but he still picked up second-team District 9-3A honors.

BRANDON AELING, ALVORD
The senior was a big part of the Bulldogs’ secondary with 58 tackles, one sack and a fumble recovery. He also rushed for 332 yards and three touchdowns on the offensive side of the ball.

SAM JENNINGS, NORTHWEST
The junior led District 4-5A with seven interceptions. He also recorded 36 tackles.

COLTON MCDONALD, NORTHWEST
A first-team District 4-5A selection, McDonald anchored the Texans’ secondary. He made 73 tackles, three sacks, had two fumble recoveries and one interception.

SPECIAL TEAMS

JARRETT HOLT, PARADISE
Despite not punting in the first four games, Holt had 27 punts with a 41.3-yard average on his way to a District 5-2A first-team selection.

CAYDEN IHRIG, NORTHWEST
The senior place-kicker was a perfect, 38-for-38 on point-after attempts. He also connected on seven field goals while becoming a 4-5A first-team selection.

HONORABLE MENTION

Alvord: Casen Baker, Jordan Locklear, Kane Rice, Justin Heap, Jacob Klein

Boyd: Chase Graham, Ryan Reed

Bridgeport: Trey Cook

Chico: Marshall Anderle

Decatur: Grayson Muehlstein, Max Junkert, Ethan Currin

Northwest: Jacob Jennings, Derrick Benson, Jacob Parker, Joe Gonzales, Emmanuel Moore, Duke Kicinski

Paradise: Tanner Valentine, Lucas Adams, Taylor Edwards

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