Richland landed three players on the 2017 Associated Press Class 5A all-state football team, which was announced Wednesday and gave the Rebels the most first-team selections of any school in the state.
Linebackers Dashaun White and Larry Nixon III, and defensive lineman Matt Quenichet made the team. All are seniors. Selection to the AP team, chosen by a statewide panel of voters, is based on regular-season statistics only.
“I'm extremely proud because this is the first class that's been part of our program for all six years,” Richland head coach Ged Kates said. “These boys grew up with our brand of football, completely bought in, and their individual success went with team success. All three are ultimate team players and we are proud they are Richland Rebels.”
Richland posted an 11-3 record in 2017, advancing to the 5A Division II state quarterfinals — the best playoff run in the school’s 56-year history. Prior to this year, the Rebels had not advanced past the second round. Last season, they won their first playoff game in 32 years.
“When you are able to turn an also-ran program into a contender, it takes a special group of young men,” Kates said. “Our kids know that personal accolades come with team success.
“All three are ultimate team guys, never were so much as late for a practice, with us all summer working hard with our summer program, and believed in everything we did.”
Mansfield Legacy safety Jalen Catalon, a junior, made the first team for a second consecutive year. Mansfield Lake Ridge defensive back Trejon Hugue and Aledo guard/center Truett Knox were also first-teamers. Both are seniors.
Denton Ryan senior quarterback Spencer Sanders, who signed with Oklahoma State on Wednesday, made the AP first team for a second consecutive year.
This time he’s the 5A Offensive Player of the Year, passing for 2,557 yards and 34 touchdowns, and rushing for 740 yards with 9 TDs.
Longview Pine Tree defensive tackle Gary Wiley is the Defensive Player of the Year. He recorded 103 tackles, 13 sacks, 25 tackles for loss, 4 pass breakups, 3 fumbles forced, and 5 fumble recoveries.
Area AP First-team selections
OL Truett Knox, Aledo, Sr: 95 percent grade, no sacks allowed, 27 pancakes, 54 knockdowns
DL Matt Quenichet, Richland, Sr.: 120 tackles, 16 TFL, 8 sacks, 4 fumbles forced, 2 fumble recoveries, 3 PBU, 5 blocked punts
LB Larry Nixon III, Richland, Sr.: 125 tackles, 12 TFL, 5 sacks, 4 fumbles forced, 8 pass breakups, 2 INTs
LB Dashaun White, Richland, Sr.: 140 tackles, 18 TFL, 15 pass breakups, 6 sacks, 4 fumbles forced
DB Jalen Catalon, Mansfield Legacy, Jr.: 88 tackles, 3 INTs, 4 fumble recoveries, 9 TFL, 9 pass breakups, 4 fumbles forced
DB Trejon Hugue, Mansfield Lake Ridge, Sr.: 116 tackles, 78 solos, 3 INTs, 2 blocked FGs