Ace Whitehead earned the award, but he feels Lampasas deserves the recognition.
On the heels of helping the Badgers put together the best season in school history, setting a new record for wins and tying the program’s deepest playoff run, Lampasas’ quarterback was honored.
The junior was named The Associated Press Sports Editors Class 4A Offensive Player of the Year on Tuesday, and while the accolade is humbling, admittedly, Whitehead believes it does more than simply glorify his individual play.
“Hopefully,” he said, “this will open up a lot of people’s eyes and let them know there is a lot of talent in Lampasas. It’s not all in Killeen and Copperas Cove. There is a lot of homegrown talent right here.
“Now, that we’re being successful in not just football but also other sports and academically, more people are noticing Lampasas, and it just helps the whole town.”
Whitehead’s performance this season certainly went a long way in garnering attention for Lampasas.
En route to reaching the Class 4A, Division I state semifinals, Whitehead completed 260 of 373 passes for 4,259 yards and 54 touchdowns, while throwing just six interceptions. Additionally, he carried the ball 127 times for 723 yards and 21 touchdowns for a combined average of 332.1 yards per game.
Furthermore, he accounted for all the Badgers’ kicking duties, connecting on 115 extra points and six field goals.
Whitehead is more concerned about the future, though.
“Out of all the athletes on all the teams,” he said, “for me to be chosen for such a prestigious award is a blessing, and I’m really thankful.
“But this is just going to motivate me moving forward.”
Along with Whitehead, Lampasas guard John Long was one of five offensive linemen placed on the first team for his efforts in guiding the Badgers to a 13-2 overall record, including its first district championship since 2011.
With the junior anchoring the line, Lampasas averaged 51.8 points and 508.7 yards per game, and Whitehead is thankful Long will be returning next year.
“He’s up there blocking for me every play,” Whitehead said, “and he’s been great all season. He has worked hard, and it’s really awesome to see all his work pay off in a big way.
“I’m just glad he’s on my team and not somebody else’s.”
Although the Badgers fell short of accomplishing their ultimate goal of capturing the team’s first state championship, Whitehead takes a measure of solace in the lofty award.
He is quick to point out it does not belong solely to him, though.
“This is a great recognition for both myself and the team,” Whitehead said, “but I wouldn’t have accomplished it without my teammates, and I think everybody knows that.
“I just wish this could be a team award.”