Waco Midway was the one team in District 8-5A that stood out.
But special players from all eight of the district’s schools were what made 8-5A stand out to the rest of the state.
“Across the board, people don’t realize how athletic, how fast, how big some of the guys are and how well they played every week in this district,” said Harker Heights coach Mike Mullins. “There’s never a week off. And, you’re going to face so many good players across the board that every team has.”
Led by District 8-5A MVP Kramer Robertson and defensive player of the year BuBu Alvarez, district champion Waco Midway ran away with 19
first- and second-team selections on the All-District 8-5A list released Monday. The Panthers, 13-1 in their first season competing as a 5A team, had five selections on both the first-team offense and defense, two special teams first-team selections and the district’s coaching staff of the year.
But the Panthers didn’t have everything.
Temple quarterback Zach Allen was the offensive player of the year; Wildcats sophomore receiver Chad President was the offensive newcomer of the year, and Killeen sophomore linebacker Peyton Searcy was the defensive newcomer of the year to go along with an all-star team of sorts of all-district first- and second-team selections.
“I thought the selection was great by the coaches and it was tough, but we had some great players, this year, in this district,” said Killeen coach Sam Jones.
In addition to Midway’s Robertson and Temple’s Allen, Belton quarterback Peter Shelburne was also a first-team selection. Shelburne (2,190 yards, 19 TDs passing) and Allen (2,175 yards, 24 TDS, 4 INTs) were the district’s top-two leading quarterbacks. Allen is committed to Syracuse.
“When they look at valuable players, for us, he was a guy that had over 3,000 yards of offense and accounted for a bunch of touchdowns for us and didn’t play in a game and a half,” Temple coach Mike Spradlin said of Allen. “He was certainly a valuable guy for us.”
Behind them, Killeen junior running back Daniel McCants and Midway senior running back B.J. Kelly — the district’s No. 1 and No. 5 rushers, respectively, — were first-team backs. McCants ran for a Killeen High single-season record 1,796 yards and 18 touchdowns during the regular season and ran for at least 200 yards in three of the last four regular season games.
Copperas Cove’s Chans Colbert was the district’s first-team fullback, and Shoemaker senior do-it-all player Johnny Jefferson (1,580 yards, 18 TDS rushing) was the first-team utility back.
President, Copperas Cove senior Rashaun Gibson and Midway senior Hunter Jarmon were first-team receivers, and Belton senior Durham Smythe was the first-team tight end. Jarmon was the district’s leading receiver (59-939, 5 TDs), but President and Gibson may have been the best surprises for their teams. President emerged as Allen’s favorite target and had 34 catches for 788 yards and nine TDs despite missing the final 2½ games with an injury. Gibson was the district’s second-leading receiver (42-729, 10 TDs), but did it for a Cove team that has traditionally been, and still is, a run-oriented team offensively.
Smythe, a University of Texas pledge, really came on at the end of the season to record 36 receptions for 547 yards and six touchdowns.
Copperas Cove’s Justin Greene (Center) and Les Sakaria were both first-team selections on the offensive line, as were Harker Heights’ Nigel Leota, Temple’s Freddie Johnson, an SMU pledge, and the Midway pair of Devon Petty and Chaz Chase.
Smythe and Greene were both first-team deep snappers, and Gibson was a first-team returner.
With the second-leading defense in the district, Harker Heights’ Nate Leota (DT), Naashon Hughes (OLB) and Tyrel Stokes (S) led the all-district first-team defense with the Midway quintet. The Knights defensive unit was also a large reason why Heights made its first playoff trip since 2006 this season.
“With some experience over there, we knew that was going to be the side of the ball that would carry us for a while,” Mullins said.
Copperas Cove’s Billy Hatten (DT) and Darius McClinton (ILB), Killeen’s Searcy (DE) and Deric Roberson (CB) and Belton’s Joe Guthrie (DE) and Kyle Battle (S) were also on the first team.
ALL-DISTRICT 8-5A TEAM
District MVP—Kramer Robertson, Waco Midway, Sr.
Offensive Player of the Year—Zach Allen, Temple, Sr.
Defensive Player of the Year—BuBu Alvarez, Waco Midway, Sr.
Offensive Newcomer of the Year—Chad President, Temple, So.
Defensive Newcomer of the Year—Peyton Sercy, Killeen, So.
Coaching Staff of the Year—Waco Midway
Quarterback — Kramer Robertson, Waco Midway, Sr.; Zach Allen, Temple, Sr., Peter Shelburne, Belton, Sr.
Running back — Daniel McCants, Killeen, Jr.; B.J. Kelly, Waco Midway, Sr.
Wide receiver — Chad President, Temple, So.; Rayshaun Gibson, Copperas Cove, Sr.; Hunter Jarmon, Waco Midway, Sr.
Tight end — Durham Smythe, Belton, Sr.
Center — Justin Greene, Copperas Cove, Sr.
Offensive line — Les Sakaria, Copperas Cove, Sr.; Nigel Leota, Harker Heights, Harker Heights, Jr.; Devon Petty, Waco Midway, Sr.; Chaz Chase, Waco Midway, Sr.; Freddie Johnson, Temple, Sr.
Utility back — Johnny Jefferson, Shoemaker, Sr.
Fullback — Chans Colbert, Copperas Cove, Sr.
Defensive tackle — BuBu Alvarez, Waco Midway, Jr.; Billy Hatten, Copperas Cove, Sr.; Nate Leota, Harker Heights, Sr.
Defensive end — Peyton Searcy, Killeen, So.; Harrison Miner, Waco Midway, Sr.; Joe Guthrie, Belton, Sr.
Inside linebacker — Darius McClinton, Copperas Cove, Sr.; Chavoun Childers, Waco Midway, Jr.
Outside linebacker — Naashon Hughes, Harker Heights, Sr.; Chrishard Buhl, Waco Midway, Sr.
Cornerback — Kyle Battle, Belton, Sr.; Deric Robertson, Killeen, Sr.
Safety — Tyrel Stokes, Harker Heights, Sr.; Keith Efferson, Waco Midway, Sr.
FIRST-TEAM SPECIAL TEAMS
Kicker — Drew Owen, Waco Midway, Sr.
Punter — Hunter Jarmon, Waco Midway, Sr.
Deep snapper — Durham Smythe, Belton, Sr.; Justin Greene, Copperas Cove, Sr.
Returner — Rashaun Gibson, Copperas Cove, Sr.
Quarterback — Garrett Gaskamp, Killeen, Jr.
Running back — Isiah Cowan, Ellison, Sr.; Gaylon Sanders, Temple, Sr.
Wide receiver — Derick Bates, Belton, Sr.; Deondrae Degrate, Waco Midway, Sr.
Tight end — Akeem Harrison, Killeen, Sr.; Jayson Clements, Waco Midway, Jr.
Center — Nik Ladner, Waco Midway, Sr.
Offensive line — Austin Farr, Belton, Sr.; Israel Hamm, Copperas Cove, Sr.; Daniel Garza, Waco Midway, Sr.; Terrance Valentine, Shoemaker, Sr.
Utility back — Keith Buhl, Temple, Sr.
Fullback — Kaimen Roberson, Ellison, Sr.
Defensive tackle — Rayshun Jones, Belton, Sr.; Darian Childers, Copperas Cove, Sr.; Cody Kipp, Harker Heights, Jr.; Josh King, Shoemaker, Sr.
Defensive end — Phillip Pati, Killeen, Sr.; Devin Edwards, Waco Midway, Sr.
Inside linebacker — Tyler Santellana, Belton, Sr.; Jonte Burton, Harker Heights, Sr.; Jonathon Massey, Shoemaker, Sr.
Outside linebacker — Karim Sarhani, Copperas Cove, Sr.; Jeffrey Banks, Killeen, Sr.
Cornerback — Justin Barnes, Waco Midway, Sr.; Jalen Crooms, Harker Heights, Sr.; Jakarius Nicholson, Killeen, Sr.
Safety — DeMarkos White, Copperas Cove, Sr.; Milik Calip, Harker Heights, Sr.; Brian Parker, Killeen, Jr.
SECOND-TEAM SPECIAL TEAMS
Kicker — Carlo Mosnia, Belton, Sr.
Punter — Keith Herbert, Harker Heights, Sr.
Deep snapper — Carlos Leal, Waco Midway, Sr.
Returner — Daniel McCants, Killeen, Jr.
*Coaches from Belton, Copperas Cove and Ellison did not provide honorable mentions as of press time.
Jacob Miller, Harker Heights; Tyler Brown, Harker Heights; Terance Goodwin, Harker Heights; Troy Smith, Harker Heights; DeVarri McCray, Killeen; Devyn Williams, Killeen; Elika Sailate, Killeen; T’Mond Johnson, Killeen; Qwoy Blunt, Shoemaker; Terrell Perry, Shoemaker; Chris Jones, Shoemaker; Matt Goulart, Shoemaker; Kaelan Nealy, Temple; Devonte Moore, Temple; Eric Arizmendi, Temple; Darius Joiner, Temple.
Damaria Moon, Harker Heights; Justin Ellis, Harker Heights; Wilson Ownens, Harker Heights; Trent Hines, Killeen, Quantavis Patterson, Killeen; Dwayne Williams, Shoemaker; Malik Clemons, Shoemaker; Jalen Keelan, Shoemaker; Tyrone Newson, Shoemaker; Dominique Thompson, Temple; Devonte McClennon, Temple; Troy Healy, Temple; Kenny Green, Temple.
Phatanasin Sandod, Killeen.