Linebacker Blu Caylor and safety Gage Graham, seniors who were among the leading tacklers the past two seasons for the Stephenville Yellow Jackets football team, both earned second-team all-state honors earlier this week from the Associated Press Sports Editors.
Also, APSE honorable mention all-state honors were earned by Stephenville’s Lane York, a 6-5, 270-pound senior offensive lineman, and Trace Morrison, a 6-2, 180-pound sophomore, as a punter.
“There’s a lot of football players in the state of Texas, and to get that (any all-state designation) is a great honor for the kids,” said SHS head coach Greg Winder, who led the 2018 Yellow Jackets to a 7-4 season record, falling to Celina by a 31-21 margin in the area round of the Class 4A Division I playoffs.
Caylor posted a team-leading 152 total tackles in 11 games in 2018, including 91 credited as solo stops and 9.5 quarterback sacks. He also contributed on offense, as a short-yardage specialist at running back who scored four touchdowns on just 12 carries. As a junior playing 15 games in 2017, Caylor recorded 189 tackles and 10 sacks overall, and was voted as that district’s Defensive MVP.
Graham was second in tackles in 2018 with 119, including 77 solo. His three pass interceptions tied for the team lead with Chase Carrillo and Cody Storrs. As a junior in 2017, Graham had 146 tackles and five interceptions. Graham, like Caylor, also contributed on offense, and was a capable punt and kick returner. Graham, a 5-11, 175-pound performer, caught six passes for 115 yards, including one 40-yard gain this season, after having 38 receptions for 678 yards and six scores in 2017.
Winder said it was no surprise that Graham and Caylor earned all-state recognition.
“Ever since they have been here, they have been outstanding,” Winder said. “They both helped out on offense and defense. They are great team players, and they deserve every bit (of the honors).”
Winder had particularly lofty praise for Caylor, a 6-1, 220-pound linebacker who flew all over the field and almost always ended up at or near the ball.
“I haven’t been around a player that can dominate a football game like he can, offensively and defensively, and that’s why he’s the district MVP,” said Winder, crediting hard work and love for the game as the key factors in Caylor’s success.
Morrison posted an outstanding season punting average of 47.6 yards per kick.
York was a top blocker for the SHS offense, which scored an average of 33.9 points per game, and generated running room for running back Krece Nowak, who finished his high school career as the second-leading rusher in school history over the last three seasons. Nowak ran for 4,261 yards in his three varsity seasons. This season, York and his teammates led the way for Nowak to rush for 1,180 yards and seven touchdowns, plus 1,502 yards and a dozen TDs passing by Kade Renfro.
Winder noted that York blossomed as an offensive lineman despite not playing football until his freshman year because he attended school in Morgan Mill — where there is no football program — through the eighth grade.
In addition, District 5-4A coaches voted Caylor as the district’s overall Most Valuable Player — in a league that includes state finalist and district champion Waco La Vega. The all-district voting results are not released until all teams from the district complete their seasons. La Vega was set to play Liberty Hill in the 4A Division I state championship game at 3 p.m. Friday (Dec. 21).
La Vega dominated the other overall all-district superlative selections, with Defensive MVP Jared Rogers, Offensive Newcomer of the Year Jar’quae Walton and Defensive Newcomer of the Year Jordan Rogers, along with Coach of the Year Don Hyde. Brownwood senior quarterback Tommy Bowden was voted as the Offensive MVP.
La Vega had five other players on the all-district first-team offense and seven on first-team all-district defense. Stephenville fared even better outside of the superlative picks, with 10 on the offensive first-team and seven on the defensive first team.
Other than Caylor as the overall MVP, Stephenville players who were voted first-team all-district are Graham as safety and punt returner, along with inside linebacker Quentin Walker, defensive end Pacen Parker, defensive tackle Jonathan Gutierrez, cornerback Cody Storrs, defensive utility player Kason Phillips, place-kicker Chase Carrillo, quarterback Kade Renfro, wide receivers Kyle Lindsey and Gavin Rountree, Morrison at inside receiver and punter, tight end Zane Walker, offensive guards Lane York and Scott Gill, and center Jacob Poston.
Parker, Poston, Graham and Caylor were on last year's APSE honorable mention all-state list.
Lindsey was the leading receiver for the Yellow Jackets, catching 32 passes for 576 yards and five TDs. Rountree led the team in TD receptions, with nine, and was second in catches with 29 for 502 yards.
Quentin Walker was third among Stephenville's defensive players in tackles with 100, including 65 solo.
The second-team all-district players from Stephenville are running back Krece Nowak, offensive tackle Devon Roeming, outside linebacker Victor Moreno, defensive tackle Tyelir Brown, and cornerback Nathan Diedrich.
One senior, defensive end Dylan Garber, and three juniors — offensive tackle Adrian Cervantes, defensive tackle Daniel Luna and defensive end Austin Stidham — received honorable mention all-district honors for Stephenville.
Last season, Caylor, Graham, Lindsey, Poston, Roeming, Carrillo, Parker and Zane Walker were first-team all-district.
APSE CLASS 4A ALL-STATE
SECOND TEAM DEFENSE
Linebacker — Blu Caylor, sr.
Defensive back — Gage Graham, sr.
Offensive lineman — Lane York, sr.
Punter — Trace Morrison, soph.
Most Valuable Player — Blu Caylor, sr., Stephenville.
Offensive MVP — Tommy Bowden, sr., Brownwood.
Defensive MVP — Jared Rogers, sr., Waco La Vega.
Newcomer Offense — Jar’quae Walton, soph., La Vega.
Newcomer Defense — Jordan Rogers, soph., La Vega.
Coach of the Year — Don Hyde, La Vega.
FIRST TEAM OFFENSE
Quarterback — Kade Renfro, jr.
Wide receiver — Kyle Lindsey, sr.; Gavin Rountree, soph.
Inside receiver — Trace Morrison, soph.
Tight end — Zane Walker, sr.
Guard — Lane York, sr.; Scott Gill, sr.
Center — Jacob Poston, sr.
Punter — Trace Morrison, soph.
Returner — Gage Graham, sr.
FIRST TEAM DEFENSE
Inside linebacker — Quentin Walker, jr.
Defensive end — Pacen Parker, sr.
Defensive tackle — Jonathan Gutierrez, sr.
Cornerback — Cody Storrs, sr.
Safety — Gage Graham, sr.
Defensive utility — Kason Phillips, soph.
Place-kicker — Chase Carrillo, sr.
SECOND TEAM OFFENSE
Running back — Krece Nowak, sr.
Tackle — Devon Roeming, sr.
SECOND TEAM DEFENSE
Outside linebacker — Victor Moreno, sr.
Defensive tackle — Tyelir Brown, sr.
Cornerback — Nathan Diedrich, sr.
Offensive tackle — Adrian Cervantes, jr.
Defensive tackle — Daniel Luna, jr.
Defensive end — Austin Stidham, jr.; Dylan Garber, sr.