Ryan Stuckey was surprised to be nominated. He was even more shocked to win.
But the senior and his team have been stunning people with regularity this season.
The Ellison forward helped propel the Eagles into the playoffs for the first time since 2001, scoring goals in critical matches against Harker Heights and Temple. In the process, Stuckey won the KDHpressbox.com Player of the Week award by a landslide.
“I didn’t even know what I did,” Stuckey said of hearing he was nominated. “I didn’t think those two goals were enough to get into (the running). It feels pretty good, though, because I’ve been nominated before and haven’t won it.”
Stuckey scored the opening goal in the Eagles’ 2-0 win against Harker Heights, giving the program consecutive wins over the Knights, who produced an unbeaten record of 21-0-1 during the first 11 seasons of the series.
Last Friday, Stuckey gave the Eagles a 1-0 advantage en route to a three-goal shutout of the Wildcats. The victory clinched Ellison’s first playoff berth in a dozen years.
While the milestone was reason to celebrate, Stuckey quickly turned his attention toward achieving another goal — winning a playoff match.
“The next day I started focusing on our next game,” he said. “We’ve got to focus on one team at a time.”
The preparation has paid off thus far as the Eagles defeated Copperas Cove 2-0 on Tuesday, improving their record to 15-6-1 and 9-4 in District 8-5A, heading into their regular-season finale at Killeen.
“I want to see everyone working hard (heading into the playoffs),” Stuckey said.
After accounting for 206 votes and claiming 97.6 percent of the total vote, Stuckey was overwhelmed by the amount of support he received.
“I’m honored all these fans would come out and vote every hour and take time out from their day just to vote for me,” he said.
Other nominees included Belton senior pitcher Jared Janczak was also nominated for the award after striking out 17 batters, while giving up only one hit in a 6-1 victory against Harker Heights.
Harker Heights senior sprinter Brittany Adkins, who won the 100-meter dash at the Knights Relays, while also running on the 400 and 800 relay teams for the Lady Knights, was also nominated.
Belton freshman pitcher Sidney Holman rounded out the field after recording a five-inning no-hitter in a 12-1 victory against Ellison last Friday, and delivering a one-hitter in win against Harker Heights on Tuesday.