In a district that has been run roughshod by Sonora the last two seasons there were still bright spots for multiple teams. Ballinger had a surprising number of players named to the All-district team considering their 4th place finish.
Of the superlative awards Cooper Bean won newcomer of the year preventing Sonora from taking all five, having been awarded MVP, Defensive MVP, Offensive MVP and Coach of the Year. All Bean did was lead the Bearcats in tackles on defense along with rushing yards and touchdowns on offense. Consider that he is only a sophomore and we should be seeing his name on more All-lists in the future.
Of the 1st team defense for Ballinger it begins with Jace King. Jace was game planned for by every opponent and you can bet that every offense knew where #50 was on every play. This was Jace’s 4th all-district defensive award. Edgar Nunez was also awarded with 1st team defense as a safety and was usually Ballinger’s last line of defense district where almost every team had a strong vertical passing game. When looking at 1st team offense again you have Jace King with his fourth all district offensive award. Jace was the key player for Ballinger along the line and if you wanted to know where Ballinger was going on offense you had only to find #50. Unfortunately for opposing defenses you had to go through King to get there. Jace has also been recently named as an Honorable Mention All-State selection. Cody Daily was awarded 1st team kicker. Where most of the teams in district didn’t trust their place-kickers to go for extra points, Daily had a season long of 42 yards against Alpine. Adolph Medina was awarded as 1st team Utility, speaking volumes of his great versatility. Medina rarely came off the field for the Bearcats on offense, was a regular rotation player on defense and played on all special teams units.
On the second team defense Divad Briones was selected to his second straight all district team as a defensive lineman. At linebacker Jayden Rivera and Zack Gully were selected after both missed their Sophomore seasons. Juniors, both Gully and Rivera look to be key pieces for Coach Lipsey and the Bearcats in year two.
The second team offense is led off by Edgar Nunez at quarterback. A Sophomore, Nunez feat is more impressive in that he did not take over the starting job for Ballinger until the last game against Alpine. Nunez will have two more years under center for the Bearcats. At receiver Davian Martinez was selected along with Ashton Belk at center. Both will be back for Ballinger next season. Seniors Caleb Ornalez and Divad Briones were selected as 2nd team fullback and guard while Sophomore Ethan Sanchez was selected as a 2nd team kick returner.
Of their 12 selections to the All-district team Ballinger will return nine. Of those nine, five are Sophomores. This speaks largely to the overall youth of the Bearcats this past season and shows that while it was not as successful season as one might have hoped for, the future is bright for Ballinger.