Defense doesn’t just win championships — it also wins respect in the form of postseason awards.

Stephenville’s two football all-staters, Eric Edwards and Cody Davis, have recently earned more recognition for their gridiron feats.

Edwards, a senior linebacker, has been nominated as an Old Spice Red Zone Player of the Year, while Davis, a junior safety, was listed on the first team of TexasFootball.com’s 2006 All-Texas Defense.

According to a press release announcing his nomination, Edwards is eligible to be selected as a national Red Zone Player of the Year. Winners will be announced with a full-page feature in USA Today next month.

The program is designed to honor players who “elevate their play and step up when the heat is really on,” particularly within the “red zone,” the 20 yards extending from either goalline.

The designation is fitting for Edwards, who often took snaps at quarterback in Stephenville’s jumbo packages in short-yardage situations near the endzone. Edwards charged in for six rushing touchdowns, and threw for another.

He was also the heart of a Wardog defense that grew especially tough when backed up deep into their own territory. Edwards had a team-high 113 tackles on the season, and the Yellow Jackets gave up just 136 points on the season, fewest in District 8-4A.

Davis was another integral part of that defense, with nine interceptions and 99 tackles. He also scored three defensive touchdowns, and seemed to be a threat to score every time the ball came his way.

According to TexasFootball.com, the online arm of Dave Campbell’s Texas Football magazine, the main criteria for making this first-ever All-Texas team were lofty statistics and “if the player elevated his team.”

Davis accomplished both, serving as one of Stephenville’s most consistent playmakers, as noted by the site: “Stephenville is known for passing the ball, but Davis was stellar against the pass (and the run, too).”

While apprecative of the positive attention, Davis downplayed the honor, saying that he focuses “on all the small stuff and work my way up” to making big plays.

“I think it’s good (to receive the recognition), but I don’t really pay that much attention to it,” Davis said.

“I’m just really looking forward to next season,” Davis said, and seeing what kind of team the Yellow Jackets will field.

Both players earned all-state honors from the Associated Press.