Cleburne Times-Review, Cleburne, TX


December 12, 2013

Zebras dominate all-district superlative selections

Grandview receives MVP, offensive MVP, lineman and newcomer of the year

GRANDVIEW — After rolling through District 12-2A play with an undefeated record and a district title for the second consecutive season, the Grandview Zebras also ran away with the all-district awards.

Grandview received four of the seven superlative awards.

Senior receiver and defensive back Colby Lee was voted as the district MVP. Junior running back Jordan Martinez received the offensive player of the year and senior lineman Josh Russell was named the lineman of the year. Sophomore quarterback Zach Smith received the district’s offensive newcomer of the year.

“I’m proud of what they did,” Grandview Coach Casey Walraven said. “I think we had a great district with a lot of kids that were deserving of those awards. Being the district champion, we were that for a reason and it’s because of these kids that put in the work they put in. Every one of them deserve it because they worked to get it. I’m proud of that and I appreciate the district voting them in those selections.”

Lee, who was an all-state selection in 2012, continued to play at that level his senior year this season as he hauled in 74 receptions for 1,275 yards and 16 receiving touchdowns. He also had 18 carries for 142 yards and five rushing touchdowns. On defense, Lee had 91 total tackles and two interceptions.

“I thought every one of them was deserving, and there were other kids who could’ve got some of those awards who were deserving as well,” Walraven said. “It’s just how the district voted and I’m happy with the outcome.

“We’ve had several district MVPs in recent years. Ryan Breton the past two seasons, Reid Golson, Daniel Spencer. Zach or Jordan would’ve been deserving of it this year, too. But Colby played both sides of the ball and I’m proud he got it.”

Martinez, also an all-state selection for the Zebras in 2012, was voted the district’s newcomer of the year last year. He continued his stellar play in 2013 by rushing for 2,065 yards and 24 touchdowns on 237 carries to go along with 17 receptions for 230 yards and two touchdowns.

“With our offense, I didn’t really know how much we could really improve individually statistically, but Jordan was able to get 500 more yards and he broke the 2,000-yard barrier,” Walraven said. “He was able to carry it five or six more times per game this year. He’s a tough runner. His yards after contact has to be astronomical. That would be the most impressive stat. He was never tackled on first contact. He definitely deserved offensive MVP.”

Smith, who took over for Breton, had a breakout year as a sophomore with 2,940 passing yards, 33 touchdowns and 10 interceptions on 60 percent completion. He also scored six rushing touchdowns.

“I could’ve fit him right there as offensive MVP or I could’ve seen him being MVP,” Walraven said. “This offense has to have a good quarterback to be successful. This year we finished the season as the top offense in Class 2A, Division I in the regular season. And a big reason was his play.

“Being a sophomore, he didn’t play like one. Mentally and physically, he played beyond his years. If he would’ve started the first two games, he could’ve been over 3,000 yards. He had one of our best all-time single games against Whitney, throwing for over 500 yards. He’s got a bright future in this game beyond high school if that’s what he wants to do. I think that was an easy choice for him being newcomer.”

While the skill position players get much of the hype and love with their gaudy numbers, the Zebras were also represented for their play in the trenches via Russell’s play. Russell started every game and played offense at right tackle and defense at defensive tackle and end. Defensively, he racked up 104 total tackles with four sacks.

“Josh played both sides of the ball almost every down for us this year,” Walraven said. “There’s not a lot of kids who do that. Endurance-wise it’s very tough, especially with what we do offensively. He’s a great athlete who happens to play lineman. He’s well deserving just because of how well he did on both sides of the ball.”

The Zebras finished the season with a 9-3 record and reached the area round of Class 2A playoffs where they lost to White Oak, which faces Cameron Yoe in the state semifinals Friday.

Godley senior running back and quarterback Cory Anderson was voted the district’s utility player of the year. Anderson had 1,294 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns on 184 carries to go along with 10 catches for 201 yards and a score. He also filled in at quarterback in two games where quarterback Ian Aguirre was injured. Anderson was also a key player for the Wildcats in the defensive backfield and returned punts and kicks at times, as well.

“In the meetings, I think the other district coaches realized how important he was to our team,” Godley Coach Randy Brawner said. “On defense, he played corner back and safety, and he returned punts and kicks. I think in the spirit of what a utility player is, he’s a true definition of that. The coaches in the district felt he best exemplified what a utility player is.”

Whitney senior linebacker T.O. Owens was named the defensive MVP and Maypearl’s Chase Ford received the defensive newcomer of the year.

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