25 players to watch in 2019


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Tascosa Rebels quarterback Joseph Plunk ran for 1,706 yards in 2018. [John Moore/ Press Pass Sports]

Joseph Plunk, Tascosa, Sr. QB-DB

There isn’t a quarterback more important to an offense like Plunk. The 5-foot-10, 170 pound senior ran the flexbone to perfection last season during the Rebels historic run to the Class 6A Division II state semifinals. Plunk chewed up 1,706 yards on the ground for a strong running attack that put up 554 yards a contest. He can also be an asset in the secondary if needed.

John Michael Holcomb, Wellington, Sr. TE-DE

The Skyrockets have had their great players over the past decade, and Holcomb is on his way to joining that list. The 6-foot-5, 215 pound physical two-way standout recently committed to Texas Tech University. As a junior, Holcomb had 114 tackles with 13.5 sacks.

LB Moore, Tascosa, Sr. DE

Not many athletes in the Texas Panhandle have the size, speed and strength Moore possesses. The 6-foot-4, 230 pound end was a menace to offensive lineman last year racking up 147 tackles with 14 sacks. Moore recently committed to play at Texas Tech.

Jalin Conyers, Gruver, Sr. QB-DB

There hasn’t been a story in Gruver history like the one Conyers is writing. Conyers, whose had an eye-opening 22 Division I offers, has verbally committed play at the University of Oklahoma. Playing QB this season will give the Greyhounds multiple options and make Conyers a bigger threat.

Ben Crockett, McLean, Sr. RB-LB

Don’t let the Six-Man tag fool you, Crockett could start on any team at any level. The bruising 6-foot-1 220 pounder lead the Tigers to a Class 1A Division I state championship last season, setting a state record with nine rushing TDs. He ended the year as the Six-Man Player of the Year going for 2,760 rush yards and 59 touchdowns.

Davin Lemmons, Amarillo High, Jr. WR

There may not be a more talented weapon on the outside in the Amarillo area than the speedy junior at AHS. Lemmons has great hands, and is explosive in the open field. He proved that last year with 774 receiving yards adding 11 TDs.

Noah Laurent, Bushland, Sr. Linebacker

The super intense linebacker became Bushland’s leader on defense last season by flying around the football. Laurent tallied an impressive 161 tackles, 71 of which were of the solo variety, with three sacks.

Tarik Williams, Caprock, Sr. QB

Williams is dynamic and hard to stop in many ways. Despite missing three games due to injury, Williams helped Caprock to a District 3-5A championship by totaling 2,307 yards of offense with a combined 27 touchdowns.

Palo Duro’s Dondray DeGrate returns for his third year at QB for the Dons. [John Moore/ Press Pass Sports

Dondray Degrate, Palo Duro, Sr. QB

The three-year starter with a one of the best football names had solidified himself as a top QB in the Amarillo area. DeGrate showed great accuracy in 2018 going 158-for-258 (61%) for 1,970 yards and 22 TDs.

Rhett Pennington, Canadian, Sr. OL-DL

Fresh off a Class 3A discuss championship in May, Pennington is ready to ride that moment into his senior season. Pennington anchors both sides of the line for Canadian, especially on defense.

Tavion Combs, Randall, Sr. WR-DB

The speedy Combs has a chance to be one of the better comeback stories of the season. After a big kickoff return against Midland High on the opening play of 2018, Combs suffered a severe leg injury that kept him out for the entire year.

Tucker Bridwell, Pampa, Sr. QB

In his first year as a starting QB In 2018, Bridwell didn’t disappoint for the Harvesters. The Pampa gunslinger returns for his senior season as the top passer in the Amarillo area with 3,232 yards to go with 26 touchdown tosses.

Jack McKay, Canyon, Jr. WR-DB

With big losses at wideout, the 6-foot-2, 180 pound McKay is going to be the Eagles go-to receiver on the outside. McKay had a superb sophomore campaign with 33 receptions

For 584 yards and seven TDs.

Brandon Gonzalez, Tascosa, Sr. OL

Gonzalez excels at run blocking and will be an an anchor on a punishing Tascosa line. Gonzalez, 6-foot-2 290 pounds, graded out at 93 percent as a junior.

Houston Heck, Panhandle, Sr. RB-LB-P

There’s not much that the versatile Heck can’t do. He’s a go-to running back, a punishing linebacker and has a Division I leg. Last season he ran for 834 yards, made 121 tackles while averaging 42 yards per punt.

Davin Gates, Dumas, Sr. DE

The defensive end turned a lot of heads with his tenatious play. He made opponents’ lives miserable off the edge making 60 tackles, five sacks with a forced fumble.

Canadian defensive back Jack Koetting (2) wraps up Newton’s Darwin Barlow during the Class 3A Division II state title game last December at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. [Tyler Anderson/ Press Pass Sports]

Bill & Jack Koetting, Canadian, Sr. WR-DB

The Koetting twins have always done everything together, so it’s only fitting they make this list together. The sons of Canadian coach Chris Koetting are a pivotal piece to the Wildcats’ success. Jack piled up 222 tackles last season with three picks. Bill had 341 receiving yards and made 164 tackles with three INTs.

Jaden Massey, Dalhart, Sr. DL

The gritty defensive lineman is a workhorse in the trenches for Dalhart coach Joey Read. At 6-foot-1, 335 pounds, Massey demands double teams almost every snap. He’s also serious in the weight room. Massey benches 455 pounds, squats 720 pounds and dead lifts 530 lbs.

Luke Ramsey, Amarillo High, Sr. DL

Ramsey solidified himself as a leader for the Sandies as one of Chad Dunnam’s best defensive players last season. Ramsey bought into Dunnam’s scheme and it paid off with 54 tackles, six for a loss and three sacks.

Jaden Cano, Hereford, Sr. LB

The three-year starter has gone from a sophomore newcomer to a senior captain, and one of the anchors on the Whitefaces defense. Cano’s savvy, aggressive play last year allowed him to pile up 127 tackles with three sacks and four forced fumbles.

Parker Carson, Valley, Sr. QB-LB

It was an injury-riddled and frustrating year for the Patriots QB, who played in only five games. When healthy, Carson is one of the top talents in the area. As a sophomore, he threw 43 touchdowns to only one interception.

Morgan Holcomb, Childress, Sr. LB

Big things are expected of Bobcats linebacker in 2019. The senior had a nose for the football stacking up 190 tackles, six tackles for a loss with an interception.

Jacob Mares, Dumas, Sr. RB

Dumas head coach Aaron Dunnam found his workhorse last season in Mares. Mares broke the 1,000 yard mark on only 138 carries,  averaging 7.4 yards per carry scoring 19 TDs.

Jonah Villanueva & Jaykob Hernandez, WT High, Sr. WR

Its hard to separate this duo who have played on opposite sides of each other for the past three years. The speedy combo combined to bring in 110 catches for 1,380 and 16 touchdowns a year ago.

Carson Kirkland, Vega, Sr. QB-LB

The dual-threat QB is one of the Texas Panhandle’s most unheralded players. Entering his third year under center, Kirkland is the heart and soul of the Longhorns offense. Last season, he piled up 956 yards on the ground, threw for 1,225 yards combining for 28 TDs. Defensively, he sniffed out 114 tackles with four interceptions.

Notable Players to Watch

Darius Sanders, Tascosa, Jr. RB

Trey Thomas, Amarillo High, Jr. DB

Isaiah Carrasco, Caprock, Sr. LB

Anthony Randle, Palo Duro, Sr. WR-RB-DB

Branson Britten, Randall, Jr. LB

Jay Defoor, Canyon, Jr. QB

Spencer Wallace, Dumas, Jr. QB

Sebastian Grajeda, Hereford, Sr. DB

Kaleb Caldwell, Pampa, Sr. RB

Baylor Gillispie, Bushland, Sr. K

Jerad Thomas, Bushland, Sr. QB-LB

Hunter Wilkinson, Borger, Jr. WR-LB

Yordi Hernandez, Perryton, Sr. OL-DL

Jesse Montiel, Muleshoe, Sr. RB

Lance Welps, River Road, Sr. QB-DB

Grant McCook, Canadian, Sr. QB-WR-DB

Trent Mayden, Childress, Sr. FB-DE

Mario Pina, Dimmitt, Sr. QB

Jose Grado, Friona, Sr. QB

Jack Wilkerson, Spearman, Jr. QB-DT

Cade Swinburn, Tulia, Sr. QB-DE

Hunter Nicholas, H. Park, Sr. QB

Wes Jones, Panhandle, Jr. QB-DB

Justin Gipson, S. Fritch, Sr. QB-DB

Iuden Romero, Stratford, Sr. RB-DB

Connor Crownover, Sunray, LB

Avian Cruz, West Texas High, Jr. QB-DB

Carter Armes, Gruver, Sr. WR-DB

Jamal Butler, Clarendon, Sr. WR-DE

Hesston Marshall, Wheeler, Jr. RB-LB

Shea Jernigan, Shamrock, Jr. QB-DB

Cole Emery, Bovina, Sr. QB

Leefe Atkinson, Farwell, Sr. QB

John Perriman, White Deer, Sr. FB-LB

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