Nine area players dot the 1A-3A Associated Press Sports Editors All-State lists released this week, including one first-team selection.
Max Jones was the top lineman for a Stephenville team that won its third straight district championship for only the third time in school history. He helped the Yellow Jackets win their second straight 3A Division I regional championship after capturing the state title last year when he was a second-team selection.
Jones and honorable-mention all-state lineman Matt Diaz helped pave the way to 45.4 points and 446 yards per game during the regular season. Only regular season stats count toward the all-state nomination and voting process.
Jones, Diaz and Stephenville's remaining all-state players are all seniors. Defenders Jonah Noah at end, Kobe Beavers at linebacker and Mookie Carlile at defensive back each joined Diaz as honorable-mention selections. It's the third such honor for Carlile and Noah.
Hico finished second in District 5-A Division I before avenging its only regular season loss by knocking off league-rival Goldthwaite in the 1A Division I Region II championship.
Some of the players who powered the Tigers to their best regular season since 1972 earned their just due, as the AP named offensive lineman Johnny Serratt second-team all-state and defenders Lane Turner, a defensive lineman, and Blake Hyles, a linebacker, to the honorable-mention list. Hyles, also a running back, was also named District 5-A Division I MVP in a vote of the league's head coaches.
Dublin doubled its win total from two to four this season and was led by receiver Dirk DeVries. The senior became Dublin's first all-state pick in 10 years when he made the honorable-mention list. The last Lion to be named all-state was his brother, defensive end, Ted DeVries. The elder DeVries was a second-team selection in 2003.
A handful of noteworthy area players were left off the all-state list. Stephenville quarterback Jarrett Stidham is the No. 1-ranked junior dual threat quarterback nationwide by ESPN, but sat out much of the second half in six regular-season blowouts and didn't have the stats of first-team quarterback Blake Bogenschutz of Carthage or second-team pick Grayson Muehlstein of Decatur.
Freshman running back Kaegun Williams rushed for more than 900 yards in five playoff games to finish the year with 1,647 yards on the ground. However, the AP does not accept running backs as nominees if they did not top 1,000 yards in the regular season.
Hico fell victim to the same rule, as the Tigers divied up their almost 500 rushing yards per game among runners Blake Hyles, Duane Hyles, Dakota Mullins, Cade Hitzfeld, Tyler Turner and quarterback Hunter Wood. None of them topped 1,000 yards before the end of the regular season.
Hico's all-district honorees from 5-A Division I are listed.