The Duncan Banner

December 5, 2008

Area athletes well-represented on A-4 team

Seniors honored in postseason awards

Michael Pineda

Ringling rolled to an undefeated record in District A-4 and, by virtue of its record, took in the lion’s share of accolades on the All-District team. But there were plenty of leftovers for area athletes.

Velma-Alma, Waurika, Empire and Bray-Doyle all had seniors who were honored for their exploits on the football field this season. The Comets, which were the only playoff team in the area, had Sam Mathews named to the team as the cornerback of the year.

“This was his first year to start,” Velma-Alma head coach Greg Gothard said. “He’s one of those kids that really wasn’t ready to play until this year and he made the most of his senior year. He played with every ounce of his ability.”

Mathews was one of two seniors on the Comet team this season. Jacob Rankin was given honorable mention after completing a career as a three-year starter.

Waurika finished the season with a 5-5 record and had two defenders who gained special mention. Matt Wilkerson joined David Bundage of Wilson and Jimmy Benton of Healdton as linebackers of the year. Steven Chupp was named defensive lineman of the year along with Trevor Ford of Empire.

Also named first team All-District for the Eagles were quarterback Sean Hall, running back Jimmy Torrez and defensive back Nathan Howard. Zac Fletcher and Zac Latta were both named honorable mention.

“I was pretty happy with the representation that we had,” Waurika head coach Larry VanBeber said. “I was happy that our seniors could be represented that well.”

Empire, which went 3-7, had Darren Kaus named co-offensive lineman of the year along with Nathan McGregor of Maysville. Also named to the first team for Empire were running back Chance Bridges and lineman Casey Yearby. Chad Baxter and Patrick Ford were both named honorable mention.

“I was really pleased with how things turned out,” Empire head coach Keith Burton said. “When you have a year like ours where you don’t have as many wins as you would like, you don’t have as many on the team as you would like. There were a lot of good teams in our district and a lot of good players.”

Jordan Mayes of Bray-Doyle was one of the leading rushers in the district but made the team as the defensive safety of the year.

“We felt fortunate to get him in,” Bray-Doyle head coach Warren Butler said. “He had to go head-to-head with Ringling and the Elmore City back had a great year.”

Like Velma-Alma, Bray-Doyle also had only two seniors. Jesse Tilly was named honorable mention after playing football for the first time since eighth grade.

Tracey Gandy of Ringling was named the district coach of the year and Zac Smith was named the district MVP. Michael

Hudson of Ringling was named offensive player of the year and was joined by teammates Jody Barnes and Dakota Zachery, who were each named defensive players of the year, along with Victor Hallsey of Elmore City-Pernell.

Caleb Caveny of Rush Springs was named the quarterback of the year and Justin Farris of Elmore City was named running back of the year. Blake Tillery made the team as wide receiver of the year. Defensively, Steven Nicholson of Ringling was named defensive end of the year and Matthew Keenan of Ringling earned special teams player of the year.