As expected after winning the district Ballinger had a district leading 16 all-district awardees. Ballinger also took 4 of the 7 superlative awards. Starting things off is the district MVP Adam Winn. Adam may have had a smaller stat total this season than last year, but that is mostly because teams had to gameplan around him. Adam’s presence on the defensive line dictated what teams could do and opened things up for others along the line. Despite having a lower total tackles this year you need to only look at tackles for loss to see how much of an impact Adam made, going from 10TFL in 2019 to 17TFL in 2020. On offense Adam was an integral piece to an offense that had over three thousand yards of offense and averaged 30 points per game.
Before the season started the district Defensive MVP wouldn’t have been guessed by possibly anyone. Nakia Villarreal spent 2019 on Junior Varsity as a running back and linebacker. This year upon moving to Varsity he was moved to the offensive and defensive lines. What Coach Greg Vaughn was able to mold Nakia into was a sight to behold. Despite not playing defensive line before Nakia was able to use his natural athleticism to lead the Bearcats in tackles with 77 and tackles for loss with 19. Nakia will be a senior next year and it will be amazing to see what he is able to accomplish next year with a full offseason to prepare for his newfound position.
At the beginning of the season Carter Arrott was expected to be the Bearcats backup quarterback along with a defensive starter. An unfortunate injury in the opener against Jim Ned thrust Carter into the starting role and the spotlight with it. Carter responded with a come from behind victory against the Jim Ned Indians and led Ballinger to their first outright district title since 2008 and an 11-2 record. Not only did CArter lead the team with over one thousand passing yards he was the second leading rusher with 453 rushing yards.
The Ballinger coaching staff was named the coaching staff of the year and it would be hard to argue that point. The offensive coaching staff, despite losing two integral pieces early in the year, was able to keep rolling hardly missing a step from the year before. The move of Garrett Dixon to running back from wide receiver proved to be a brilliant move. Nakia Villarreal being moved to the defensive line. Tyler Vaughn, after injuring his throwing shoulder, being moved to the FB/TE position. Every move made by the Ballinger coaching staff paid immediate dividends and they were able to put together one of the better seasons in Bearcat history.
District first team offense had five Bearcats named. First is the aforementioned Garrett Dixon who, in his first and only year at running back, was able to rush for 825 yards on just 121 carries and led Ballinger with 14 touchdowns. Putting that in perspective is that Ballinger’s lead running back the past three seasons, Cooper Bean, had his best totals of 737 rushing yards in 2019 and 10 touchdowns in 2018. Next up is Tyler Vaughn from the FB/TE position. It is extremely hard to say what is more impressive. That Vaughn had never really played or practiced at this position before being injured and the coaching staff determining this was the best spot for him, or that he didn’t even start playing it until district play and still was impressive enough to be named to the first team all-district. Not only was Tyler’s blocking ability so important to the running game, but he was the second leading receiver for Ballinger despite only playing in roughly half of the season. Weston Rollwitz was the Bearcats leading receiver and helped Arrott to make the transition to full-fledged starting quarterback easier. Weston’s speed was able to stretch the field and teams had to consistently gameplan for him on defense. Offensive lineman Eric Toliver and center Colton Belk were also named. Eric was able to use his size and length to keep defenders at bay all year long. Colton being named to the All-district team yet again is even more impressive due to the fact that he was often the smallest lineman on both sides of the ball. When you hear the term country strong, they’re talking about Colton. A farm and ranch boy that has spent his entire life wrestling goats put his skill to great use wrestling defensive linemen all season long.
The second team offense had three more Bearcats named as receivers Gavin Martinez and JoeMarcus Guerrero had their names selected. It is shocking to see three receivers named to an all-district team from a primarily run-based offense, but the Bearcat receivers were just as important in this is other fazes of the game. JoeMarcus was possibly the Bearcats best blocking wide receiver that helped to make those outside running plays happen and Gavin was dynamic in the return game all year long. Aiden Busenlehner was the 4th offensive lineman of Ballinger named to the All-district team and not much more can be said for what he was able to do. Aiden was 5’8″ playing tackle regularly against defenders over six-feet tall and never once did he look like he was out of place. All he did was put his hand down and grind.
Defensively for Ballinger Gavin Martinez and Tyler Vaughn were selected as defensive backs to the first team. Tyler, again despite missing a good portion of the year, led Ballinger in interceptions with 5. Constantly finding himself in the right spot at the right moment Tyler made plays all year long in big moments. Gavin was the definition of a shut-down corner for Ballinger. He regularly drew the assignment of the other teams best outside receiver and more often than not he shut them down. He might not have had many interceptions or a ton of tackles, but when you watched an opponents passing game it was easy to see who they tried to avoid. Aiden Busenlehner was selected at inside linebacker and he plugged the middle of the defense as well as anyone while his running mate in Garrett Dixon played sideline to sideline, chasing down running backs and making plays in the screen game. Bryce Foster at the defensive tackle position was one of the most impressive defensive linemen for Ballinger all year and playing on a line with Adam Winn and Nakia Villarreal that is saying something. Bryce has one speed and it’s 100 miles an hour from the moment the ball moved. Foster was able to use his impressive size and speed combination to regularly blow things up behind the line and force the opposing offense to improvise.
The second team defense had Weston Rollwitz named at defensive back. Rollqitz used his impressive reaction speed to consistently make plays, not only in the passing game, but in the run game as well. This shows best in his stats where he led Ballinger with six passes defensed and was third in tackles with 67. Beau Perkins and Markus Castleberry were two juniors that were named despite an impressively large Senior class for Ballinger. These two look to combine with Nakia and a strong underclass group moving up to keep Ballinger rolling into the next season. At linebacker Beau had 20 tacklesin part-time duty, but next season he will move into a full time roll with Ballinger losing five linebackers to graduation. Beau will be the leader of the linebacker corps next year and they look to be in good hands. Markus Castleberry will be teamed up with Nakia on the defensive line next season and judging by their performance this year the Ballinger defense should continue to be very stout. Markus has the size and ability to become a defensive player of the year in his Senior year.
Congratulations to all the Bearcat players named to the All-District team and congratulations Ballinger on an outstanding season!