Cole Edmiston helped give every District 8-3A coach a loss on his record this season. In return, they gave him the district’s most prestigious individual honor — all-district MVP.
Gatesville’s dual-threat quarterback accounted for 4,108 of the team’s 6,422 yards and played a role in 54 of the Hornets’ 71 touchdowns as he helped guide the program to a 13-0 start to the season and its deepest playoff run since the school won a state championship in 2000.
But for all the senior did on the field, Gatesville head coach Kyle Cooper believes his most important assets do not appear in a box score.
“It’s his attitude, it’s his character, it’s his work ethic; it is all those intangibles that make Cole Edmiston what he is,” the coach said. “To just say he is a great athlete just doesn’t do him justice. He is so much more than that.”
And his combined attributes helped him consistently torch teams.
Edmiston averaged 221.2 passing yards and 94.8 rushing yards per game as the Hornets outscored opponents 383-178 during the regular season and 201-78 during district play. He finished the regular season as the district’s top scorer with 96 points, second-best passer (2,0,34 yards) and fifth-best rusher (774 yards), while helping Gatesville win each of its five district games by at least 20 points.
The Hornets also earned the all-district offensive and defensive MVP awards.
Junior running back Jake Kee was named offensive MVP after serving as Edmiston’s ideal complement, rushing for 1,297 yards and 14 touchdowns on 199 carries.
“He’s extremely explosive and has the ability to snap a play off from anywhere at any time,” Cooper said. “He’s got a little spunk about him, and he is a great competitor. Those things allow him to bust through lines, and then his speed and God-given ability allows him to take over from there.”
Senior linebacker Elijah Crosby was named defensive MVP after he led Gatesville with 190 tackles as the Hornets held district opponents to 15.6 points per game.
Like Edmiston, though, Cooper believed Crosby made the biggest impact outside of games.
“Its not what he brought on Friday nights, its what he brought on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons,” the coach said. “He made the guys around him so much better because he was going to give 100 percent intensity, but at the same time, he was going to be able to keep it light and keep it in perspective.”
In addition to the individual accolades, the Hornets produced 13 first-team and four second-team selections.
Seniors Colton Williams (TE, 20-232, TD), Tyler Jaynes (WR, 50-1,040, 15 TDs), Danny Byrd (WR, 43-487, 4 TDs) and offensive linemen Trevor Barton and Justin Burgan were each placed on the first-team offense after helping the Hornets score a district-best 201 points, giving them 34 more points than second-place Burnet.
Jaynes, who led Gatesville in receptions and receiving yards, was especially instrumental in the offense’s production.
“(His role was vital) whether you consider him as a possession guy or a deep threat,” Cooper said. “It would start with his deep threat, and his ability to go up top opened up so much underneath for some other guys like Danny Byrd and Matthew Wallace and the whole rest of the core receivers.”
Defensively, linemen Chase Meyer (64 tkl, 2 sacks) and Scott Shults (88 tkl, 5 TFL, 1 FR), defensive end Taylor Donaldson (47 tkl, 2 sacks, 3 FR), linebacker Brantley Cole (176 tkl, 4 sacks, 10 TFL) and defensive backs J.D. Nolte (92 tkl, 2 INTs, 2 FR) and Wallace (136 tkl, 1 INT, 1 FR) were all placed on the first-team list, while kicker Sebastian Corrales (11-12 FGs, 66-71 PATs) and returner Tariq Miller (20.0 avg.) were named to the first-team special teams. Kee, Shults and Miller are the only Gatesville juniors to be recognized from the senior-heavy roster.
“This helps (the juniors) from a confidence standpoint,” Cooper said. “Those guys understand that, yes, they are thought highly of by the district coaches and folks around them think they can play. I think that is important.”
Hornets receiving second-team honors were wide receiver Matthew Wallace, offensive linemen Crosby and Pedro Rodriguez and linebacker Brandon Berry.
Lampasas lands 11 on all-district teams
Lampasas did not produce the season it wanted under first-year head coach Jimmy Randolph, going 1-9 and ending the season on an eight-game losing streak, but the Badgers received recognition from the district as 11 players landed on the list.
Andy Gamez, the lone returning starter from the 2011 offensive line that helped Lampasas win its first district championship in more than 20 years, defensive end John Cole Vann (9 TFL, 3 sacks, 3 FR), linebacker Chism Carpenter (5 TFL, 2 FC) and kick returner Beau Webb (26.29 avg) were selected to the first team.
Defensively, the Badgers were the third-best team during district against the pass and Randolph points to Vann and Carpenter as prime reasons why.
“(Vann) finally made it a whole year without getting dinged or hurt, and he finally got to play an entire schedule. And he did a great job for us defensively, and people really had to account for him,” he said. “Chism’s best is yet to come. I’m very honored that he was chosen to be on the first team, and I think he can do nothing but get better for us.”
Running back Steven Jazdyk, tight end Tyler Perkins and lineman David Straley all made the second-team offense, while linemen Nick Henniger, Cody Crofoot, linebacker Cutter Estep and defensive back Chase Birck were placed on the second-team defense.
Although his first season was rough, Randolph is excited about the program’s future, including the maturation of his core of junior all-district selections Carpenter, Jazdyk, Henniger, Estep and Birck.
“They got to taste a little bit of (success), and, now, they see what it is about,” the coach said of the group. “It will help them to work that much harder and do that one extra rep or whatever it might be to reach this level again.”
ALL-DISTRICT 8-3A TEAM
MVP — Cole Edmiston, Sr., Gatesville
Offensive MVP — Jake Kee, Jr., Gatesville
Defensive MVP — Elijah Crosby, Sr., Gatesville
Newcomer of the Year — Kody Hall, So., Burnet
Quarterback — Chris Keesee, Jr., Brownwood; Derek Kiser, Jr., Burnet.
Running Backs — Jesse Perez, Sr., Liberty Hill; Braxton Kilgo, Jr., Brownwood; Rhett Brooks, Sr., Llano; Trenton Hafley, Jr., Burnet; Cory Ferrell, Jr., Liberty Hill.
Tight End — Joseph Dudgeon, Sr., Liberty Hill; Cameron Langley, Sr., Burnet; Colton Williams, Sr., Gatesville.
Wide Receivers — Jordan Barnard, Sr., Burnet; Tyler Jaynes, Sr., Gatesville; Danny Byrd, Sr., Gatesville; Cooper Howey, Sr., Brownwood.
Offensive Linemen — Andy Gamez, Sr., Lampasas; Nathaneal Whitmeyer, Sr., Liberty Hill; Kevin Hobbs, Sr., Brownwood; James Nesom, Sr., Burnet; Trevor Barton, Sr., Gatesville; Justin Burgan, Sr., Gatesville.
Center — Cody Letterman, Sr., Burnet.
Defensive Linemen — Bryce Vickers, Sr., Brownwood; BJ Walker, Sr., Burnet; Chase Meyer, Sr., Gatesville; Scott Shults, Jr., Gatesville; Zack Perez, Sr., Liberty Hill.
Defensive Ends — Mack Monsen, Sr., Brownwood; Taylor Donaldson, Sr., Gatesville; John Cole Vann, Sr., Lampasas.
Linebackers — Henry Rivas, Jr., Brownwood; Cameron Langley, Sr., Burnet; Brantley Cole, Sr., Gatesville; Chism Carpenter, Jr., Lampasas; Jacob Dudgeon, Sr., Liberty Hill.
Defensive Backs — JD Nolte, Sr., Gatesville; Jadon Boatright, Sr., Liberty Hill; Rhett Brooks, Sr., Llano; Dylan Martin, Sr., Brownwood; Matthew Wallace, Sr., Gatesville.
FIRST-TEAM SPECIAL TEAMS
Kicker — Austin Huff, Jr., Burnet; Sebastian Corrales, Sr., Gatesville.
Punter — Cooper Howey, Sr., Brownwood.
Special Teams — Jadon Boatright, Sr., Liberty Hill; Tariq Miller, Jr., Gatesville; Beau Webb, Sr., Lampasas.
Quarterback — Layton Rabb, Jr., Llano; Brandon Wells, So., Liberty Hill.
Running Backs — Carter Tatsch, Jr., Llano; Steven Jazdyk, Jr., Lampasas; Dylan Martin, Sr., Brownwood.
Tight End — Tyler Perkins, Sr., Lampasas; Matt Center, Sr., Llano.
Wide Receivers — Matt Wallace, Sr., Gatesville; Cory Cavender, So., Burnet; Matt McCrane, Sr., Brownwood.
Offensive Linemen — Taylor Stewart; Sr., Llano; Jayen Bocknite, Jr., Brownwood; Elijah Crosby, Sr., Gatesville; Pedro Rodriguez, Sr., Gatesville; David Straley, Sr., Lampasas.
Center — Jeremy Delay, Sr., Liberty Hill.
Defensive Linemen — Austin Esposito, Sr., Burnet; Nick Henniger, Jr., Lampasas; Tristan Sabrsula, Jr., Llano; Kevin Hobbs, Sr., Brownwood; Cody Crofoot, Sr., Lampasas.
Defensive Ends — Jacob Covington, So., Liberty Hill; Jace Newman, Sr., Brownwood; Zach Morgan, Sr., Llano.
Linebackers — Dylan Lewis, Jr., Brownwood; Brandon Berry, Sr., Gatesville; Cutter Estep, Jr., Lampasas; Kyle Marshall, Sr., Liberty Hill; Matt Center, Sr., Llano.
Defensive Backs — Tyler Krause, Jr., Burnet; Chase Birck, Jr., Lampasas; Cooper Howey, Sr., Brownwood.
SECOND-TEAM SPECIAL TEAMS
Kicker — Matt McCrane, Sr., Brownwood.
Punter — Austin Huff, Jr., Burnet.
Special Teams — Mason Ladd, Jr., Llano; Cooper Howey, Sr., Brownwood.