Cleburne Times-Review, Cleburne, TX


December 21, 2012

Coward adds all-state honors to long list of awards

CLEBURNE — Cleburne senior quarterback Quade Coward, who has received just about every award for high school football there is, was recently voted as honorable mention to the 2012 Texas Associated Press Sports Editors Class 4A all-state high school football team.

The Yellow Jackets’ leader had 3,250 passing yards, 35 touchdowns and nine interceptions on a 60.3 completion percentage to go along with 598 rushing yards and 13 rushing touchdowns as he helped lead Cleburne to one of its more successful seasons in recent memory.

“Being mentioned for all-state pretty much sums up everything that I’ve worked for, all that I’ve put into football,” Coward said.

Coward guided the Yellow Jackets to a 7-4 record as Cleburne went 6-1 in District 8-4A, finishing in second place behind Crowley. The Jackets averaged 42 points per game with Coward at the helm in their first season under a new coaching staff, led by Head Coach Jeff Merket.

While Cleburne’s season ended with a loss to defending state champ Aledo in the first round of Class 4A playoffs, it was quite a season for Coward and the Jackets.

“I feel so blessed to have been a part of a season like we’ve had this year,” Coward said. “All that I accomplished this year was done by the help of the whole team. There wasn’t ever one receiver that I threw to or one guy that blocked, everything was always a team effort. I’m honored to be able to look back and see all those awards and, even more, that I got them while wearing a Yellow Jacket uniform.”

Coward had several signature plays and moments during the 2012 season as he routinely connected on perfectly thrown deep passes to Al Baylor and Kameron Pickett, but perhaps two of the moments most will remember from this season came in the district opener against Waco High on Sept. 28 and the homecoming game against Centennial on Oct. 19.

Against Waco, the District 8-4A preseason favorite, the Yellow Jackets recorded a 42-41 win in overtime. The game was a back-and-forth contest that saw both teams score in the final three minutes of regulation to send it into overtime, where Waco scored on its first possession. The Jackets also scored on their first possession of overtime on a Coward 6-yard run.

Rather than kick the extra point for the tie, the Jackets went for the 2-point conversion, and Coward’s pass to Khalil Hall in the corner of the end zone was on line and the Jackets pulled off the upset. Coward had six total touchdowns with 388 passing yards and 69 rushing yards.

Against Centennial, the Jackets trailed by as many as 18 points and scored 26 points in the fourth quarter to pull off a 61-59 win. Coward connected with Pickett on a 12-yard pass with 15 seconds left to give the Jackets the win.

Coward had six total touchdowns with 403 passing yards and 169 rushing yards.

Coward was among the nominees for Texas Football’s player of the week two times and he also received the Built Ford Player of the Week, given to one player at each classification from across the state of Texas. In District 8-4A selections, Coward received the most valuable player award.

Georgetown’s Jake Hubenak was the Class 4A all-state first-team quarterback and Mount Pleasant’s Montravious James was the second-team quarterback. Hubanek passed for 3,032 yards, 40 touchdowns on a 65 completion percentage with 300 rushing yards and five rushing touchdowns.

While Coward’s football career for Cleburne is now in the rearview mirror, he’s focusing on working for what may be a collegiate career in football, but he’s also planning on playing baseball for the Jackets.

“I’ve been in baseball offseason running and lifting weights,” Coward said. “My main goal is to put some weight on before I graduate. ... But as of right now, I’m planning on playing baseball. I want to play and pretty much the only thing that would keep me from it is if the school I’m going to doesn’t want me to.”

Coward has received some interest from several colleges, but he is weighing all of his options and waiting to decide on the best fit.

“The other day a couple of schools, Abilene Christian and Angelo State, came by and talked to me,” Coward said. “Angelo State already has invited me on a visit. There are still some possibilities at bigger Division I schools due to coaching changes. That’s the level I’m aiming to play at.”

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