Much like their season on the field in district play the Bearcats didn’t quite dominate the All-District Team like they did a season ago, but they still had a strong showing. The Bearcats had eight players named to the first team and and six named to the second team. The Bearcats will have a lot of growing up to do as only two players of those listed will be returning next year in Juniors Martin Quiroga and Nathan McDuffee. The Bearcats were shut out from the superlative awards this season after almost sweeping them a season ago.
Carter was a do it all player for Ballinger this season and if he had not missed three district games due to injury he would have possibly been the district MVP. The fact that the Bearcats lost two of the three games he was out showed how valuable he was to the team and how difficult he was to replace on the field. To have been named 1st team Quarterback with only playing in two district games it shows how respected Carter’s ability was within the district. Despite missing three games Carter passed for 961 yards with 8 touchdowns and 8 interceptions. He also rushed for 745 yards with four 100+ yard games and ten rushing touchdowns.
Trey was a revelation for Ballinger at wide receiver this season and quietly turned in one of the best receiving seasons of the last 10 years as he finally was able to step out of the shadows from last seasons terrific class of skill players. The Bearcats went from trying to figure out how to replace Weston Rollwitz to Trey being on the verge of eclipsing the man who he previously backed up. Had it not been for an injured ankle in the playoffs it is possible it would have happened. Trey finished the season with 523 yards on 42 receptions and had six total touchdowns.
Markus was the key cog on the offensive line that attained 343 yards per game and had over 2000 rushing yards on the season. Markus regularly graded out exceptionally and even when matched against the opposing teams best defender he was rarely beaten. Wherever the play was going you needn’t look for to find Markus leading the way.
Blake was in his second varsity season this year, but you couldn’t tell he hadn’t been there for years. There were times last season that Blake looked like the best defensive back on a Senior laden team and this year he left no doubt. Regularly drawing coverage on the other teams best receiver Blake did his job exceptionally. When Ballinger struggled this season it was usually on the ground and much of that reason was because the pass wasn’t available. Blake stepped up big as a Senior and led by example. He had 29 tackles on the year and led the team with 11 passes defended and four fumble recoveries.
It seems like Beau has been on varsity forever at this point, but he will now be moving on. He finished the year the only way he knew how, with an all-district selection. Beau was second on the team with 85 tackles, had two fumble recoveries and led the team with three fumbles caused.
Nakia followed up a terrific Junior year by having an even better Senior year. Having Adam Winn opposite him last season it was debatable if Nakia had as good a year as he did due to teams focusing on Adam. This year Nakia put those worries to rest as he led the Bearcats in tackles with 100, tackles for loss with 15, hurries with 13 and sacks with 4. He also had three fumble recoveries, one of which he returned the length of the field for a touchdown.
As integral as Markus was for the Ballinger offense he might have been even more important for the Ballinger defense. Markus clogged up the middle and caused havoc all throughout the season. He had 55 tackles on the year, four tackles for loss and two sacks.
It is hard to imagine that Briley had never kicked before this year. His success just goes to show what a hard worker and team player Briley is. Players like this are hard to find. Briley made 35 of 44 extra point attempts which is very good at the high school level. His efficiency on extra points regularly made the difference games as Ballinger won two games by just a single point this year.
Through two years of Varsity play Nathan has had his share of bad luck. He missed basically his entire Sophomore year with three instances of Covid quarantine and in the Ballinger’s first scrimmage this season against Comanche he took his first carry for 60 yards and then came down awkward and broke his collarbone. I would be seven weeks later until he took his first official carry of the season and he made the most of it. Nathan finished third on the team in All-purpose yards behind Arrott and Perkins. He was just 74 yards behind Beau on the season with 437 rushing yards on 57 carries while also pitching in 7 touchdowns. He also had 83 receiving yards on three catches and two touchdowns. Nathan will return next season and look to build on this year.
Beau started the year at running back due to the injury to Nathan, but he knew what was best for the team and after Nathan returned he was relegated to being a primary blocker for his cousin. Beau never complained about the move and stated that he even told Coach Lipsey that it was what was best for the team, putting the team ahead of himself. Beau finished second on the team in rushing behind Arrott with 511 yards on 99 carries with 5 touchdowns. Beau was also third on the team in receiving yards with 279 yards on 23 catches with two touchdowns. Beau had some of the most crucial conversions in Ballinger’s upset win over Crane in the playoffs.
Blake started out the year with a bang against Jim Ned going for over 100 yards in his first varsity start, but his success helped lead to Trey’s success as well. They were a dynamic combo that opponents struggled to shut down. Blake was second on the team in receiving yards with 338 on 17 catches. He was a big play threat with a 19.9 yard average and had six touchdowns.
A road grader Daniel was an integral piece on the offensive line that attained 343 yards per game and had over 2000 rushing yards on the season. Not the biggest, fastest or strongest what Daniel gave you was heart. He never backed down from a challenge and had a strong Senior year.
Briley made this list twice because all he does is work hard 100% of the time. Briley is one of those players that might get beat for a touchdown and come back the very next time and get an interception. The highlight of his year on defense was his interception return for a touchdown against Bangs. He also had 28 tackles on the year and six passes defensed.
Martin had a solid year in his first varsity season finishing third on the team with 73 tackles and six tackles for loss. He also tied for second on the team with three sacks. Martin will be returning next year looking to continue to build on this year.