30 Texas Panhandle small school football players to watch in 2020


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Wheeler running back Hesston Marshall galloped for over 2,500 yards and 30 touchdowns last season. [David Erickson/ Press Pass Sports]The regular season kickoffs in a little over a week. Needless to say it’s been a rare offseason that no one could have imagined, but area teams are more than eager to get the 2020 campaign underway. Here’s 30 small school players who will stand out in the Texas Panhandle.

Hesston Marshall, Wheeler, Sr. 6-0, 185 pounds, RB-LB

The Mustang leader returns for his senior year after galloping for a Texas Panhandle-best 2,591 yards on 231 totes with 30 touchdowns last year. Marshall, who is dangerous in the open field with his size and speed, averaged 10.7 yards a carry, and more importantly led Wheeler to 10 wins last season.

Brenen Thompson, Spearman, Jr. 5-10, 170 pounds, WR-DB

Arguably the fastest athlete has been the talk of the Amarillo-area receiving 24 Division I offers since April that include Alabama, Auburn, Michigan, Notre Dame and Oklahoma. Through the first two years of his Lynx career, the blazing fast Thompson has totaled 3,312 yards with a combined 37 touchdowns.

Jack McKay, Canyon, Sr. 6-3, 190 pounds, WR-DB

McKay has played in an austounding 34 games during his Canyon career. The 6-foot-3, 190 pound star became the Eagles go-to receiver last season by snagging a team-high 49 balls for 1,025 yards and nine touchdowns.

Dallan Dill, Dumas, Sr. 6-1, 215, LB

The District 3-4A Division I Defensive MVP was part of a sensasational Dumas defense that helped make 2019 a historic season. Dill was able to finish his junior year with 104 tackles, 17 for a loss, five sacks, and a forced fumble.

Cade Cox, Dumas, Sr. 6-1, 205, LB

Cox complimented Dill as a ferocious 1-2 punch that made up one of the best linebacking units in the state. Cox, a District 3-4A first-team All-District selection, made 86 total tackles with a sack, two forced fumbles.

Canadian running back Hayze Hufstedler returns as one of the top players in the state in all of Class 3A. [John Moore/ Press Pass Sports]

Hayze Hufstedler, Canadian, Sr. 5-10, 180 pounds RB-DB

His quiet persona doesn’t attribute on the field where Hufstedler lets his actions do the talking. The hard-nosed, soft spoken bruiser carried the load in the Wildcats backfield rushing for 1,538 yards with 24 touchdowns. On the defensive side of the ball Hufstedler racked up 121 tackls.

Jay Defoor, Canyon, Sr. 6-2, 205 pound, QB

The senior has redemption on his mind after a leg injury sidelined his season only six games into his junior year. The 6-foot-2, 205 pound gunslinger has worked hard to get back and looks as strong as ever. In those six games last year, Defoor was an impressive 95-of-132 for 1,539 yards and 15 touchdowns.

Lance Welps, River Road, Sr. 5-11, 175 pounds, QB-DB

The four-year starter has become the leader of the Wildcats playing in 31 varsity games throughout his career. The dual-threat QB made a smooth transition to the option last season rushing for 1,173 yards to go with 15 touchdowns. Defensively, Welps made 91 tackles and had an Amarillo-area best eight interceptions.

Avian Cruz, West Texas High, Sr. 5-foot-9, QB-DB

The lightning fast Cruz was the Swiss Army knife for a West Texas High team that went 11-3 last season, making a run to the state quarterfinals. The shifty Cruz totaled 3,850 yards of offense with 50 combined touchdowns. He was also named the District 1-2A Division I MVP for a second straight year.

Marc Ramirez, Wellington, Jr. 5-10, 180 pounds, RB-LB

The Skyrockets junior leads by example with his fearless style of play. Ramirez helped lead Wellington to the Class 2A Division II state quarterfinals last season by making 158 tackles, a sack and two interceptions. Offensively, Ramirez added 1,054 yards on the ground with 16 TD’s.

Wes Jones, Panhandle, Sr. 6-3, 180 pounds, QB

Jones was outstanding as a first year starter in 2019. He threw for 2,246 yards with 29 touchdowns, and was deadly efficient thanks to a 63.8 completion percentage. Coming into his senior season, Jones has the weapons around him to reach new heights, and hopefully lead the Panthers on a playoff push.

Cornelius Landers, Pampa, Jr. 5-8, 180 pounds, RB

Speed, vision, and ability to catch the football better than all the others makes Landers a defensive coordinators nightmare. Last year Landers went over 1,000 yards rushing while hauling in 44 balls for close to 400 yards receiving for a combined 12 touchdowns.

The the three-year starter is the glue to the Demons offense. [John Moore/ Press Pass Sports]

Spencer Williams, Dumas, Sr. 5-10, 180 pounds, QB

The the three year starter is the glue to the Demons offense. He’s made a reputation off of keeping his cool and running the offense to near flawlessness. As a junior, Williams kept it on the ground for 770 yards with 15 touchdowns, while throwing for 2,046 yards and another 19 TDs.

Jaylin Marshall, Bushland, Sr. 6-3, 190 pounds, WR-DB

With size and speed not many teams attempted to test the 6-3, 190 pound lockdown corner last season. Marshall did make two interceptions as a junior, finishing with 36 tackles. Expect Marshall to be more of an offense weapon and improve on his 314 receiving yards with four touchdowns a year ago.

Devron Sims, Childress, Sr. 6-0, 180 pounds, WR-DB

Sims came into his own in 2019 for a young Bobcats team that had lost veteran leadership. Now a leader for Childress, Sims will want to one-up his 629 receiving yards on 51 catches and six touchdowns. He also made 38 tackles with two interceptions a year ago.

Jacob Bautista, Friona, Jr. 5-9, 155 pounds, RB

The shifty speedster won’t be a secret weapon in 2020 after exploding onto the Texas Panhandle scene with a sensational sophomore season, ending the year with an impressive 2,091 yards on 270 carries with 26 touchdowns. He even showed his versatility making 35 snags for 518 yards.

Landyn Hack, Panhandle, So. 6-3, 190 pound, RB-QB-DB

The 6-foot-3 versatile sophomore did a little bit of everything during his first year of varsity football last year. Hack ended his year 92 carries rushing for 1,142 yards with 19 touchdowns on top of 313 receiving yards with another three score. Defensively, Hack made 26 tackles including a pick six.

Noah Brown, Hereford, Jr. 5-9, 170 pounds, WR

Brown has the expectation to be the Whitefaces big play threat this year. In 2019 as a sophomore, the 5-9 receiver showed flashes of what he could do hauling in 12 catches for 173 yards and two touchdowns.

Francisco Ortega, Stratford, Sr. 5-11, 225 pounds, OL-DL

Ortega established himself as one of the better offensive and defensive lineman in the Amarillo-area last season. The mauler cleared a path for an Elks solid run game and has improved in pass protection grading out at 91 percent with 31 pancakes last year. On defense, Ortega made 75 tackles with three sacks.

Sylvester Ballard, Clarendon, So. 6-1, 175 pounds, RB-DB

Clarendon has a stable of young running backs, and Ballard is one that fans will want to keep an eye on. As a freshman last season Ballard emerged on the scene rushing for 1,172 yards with 12 touchdowns. Playing in the secondary, he made 42 tackles with an interception.

Vega’s Riley Tiemman is one of the more explosive backs in the Texas Panhandle this season. [Mackenzie Teal/ Press Pass Sports]

Riley Tiemman, Vega, Sr. 5-9, 165 pounds, RB

Tiemman made the most of his carries behind dual-threat quarterback Carson Kirkland. With Kirkland departed, Tiemman’s chances will increase. He typically produces a big play, averaging 9.5 yards per carry on 139 totes last season, finding the endzone 20 times. Tiemman ended the year with 1,327 yards.

Hunter Warminski, Sr. White Deer, 5-11, 195 pounds, RB-LB

The Bucks are primed for a deep run this season behind the explosive, and physical Warminkski. He’s put on weight, built his speed, and is ready to top his 1,325 yards and 25 touchdowns from a year ago. If White Deer wants to get out of the region, Warminski will be a key cog to that success.

Gunnar Lamb, Groom, Sr. 6-2, 175 pounds, QB-DB

The do-it-all athlete helped the Tigers to a 10-3 overall mark, including a trip to the Class 1A Division II state quarterfinals. With the ball in his hands, Lamb is as deadly as anyone. Last season he threw for 1,725 yards with 40 touchdowns, and rushed for 938 yards adding another 19 touchdowns.

Brody Sutterfield, Bushland, Sr. 6-1, 175 pounds, WR-LB

As a junior the two-way standout continued to improve as the season went on, becoming a valuable asset for former head coach Jimmy Thomas. Sutterfield will have more of an offensive role this year, but he excelled defensively a year ago making 89 tackles and three INT’s.

Reagan Cochran, Canadian, Sr. 6-3, 205 pounds, WR-DB

As a receiver who came on last season, Cochran is a raw, athletic 6-foot-3, 205 pound receiver that caught 28 passes for 413 yards with five touchdowns in 2019. On the defensive side, he was equally dependable making 133 tackles with two sacks.

Rocky Reiswig, West Texas High, Sr. 5-10, 215 pounds, LB

Reiswig was overshadowed by a high-potent Comanches offense last year, but it didn’t stop the 5-foot-10, 215 pound linebacker from earning the District 1-2A Division I Defensive MVP honors making 123 tackles.

Kyler Cook, Pampa, Sr. Pampa, 5-10, 185 pounds, LB

Cook quietly produced 111 tackles and four sacks for a Harvesters team that advanced to the area round of the Class 4A Division I playoffs. As a veteran of a defensive unit with new pieces surrounding it, coach Greg Poynor hopes to see an even bigger season from his senior linebacker.

Hunter Wilkinson, Borger, Sr. 6-2, 198 pounds, WR-DB

Wilkinson’s stability is exactly what the Bulldogs need as coach Duane Toliver rebuilds the Borger program. In 2019, Wilkinson had a superb season on both sides of the ball snagging 18 catches for 258 yards on offense, and racking up 61 tackles, eight of which were for a loss, with two interceptions on the defense.

Leefe Actkinson, Farwell, Sr. 5-11, 210 pounds, QB-LB

During the past two seasons the underrated Actkinson the has become one of the better quarterbacks in the Texas Panhandle. Last season Atkinson showed much growth going

64-of-143 for 1,146 passing yards with 12 touchdowns. He also added 505 yards on 99 carries, punching in another five TD’s.

Shea Jernigan, Shamrock, Sr. 5-9, 155 pounds, QB-DB

The lightning quick two-way standout has been the backbone of the Irish program for the past four years playing in 33 total varsity games. As a junior, Jernigan totaled over 2,000 yards passing, rushing and receiving, accounting for 73 percent of Shamrock’s touchdowns. If that wasn’t impressive enough he made 82 tackles on defense.

Notable Players to Watch

Brody Olsen, Canyon, Sr. OL-DL

Joe Shaw, Canyon, Sr. WR-DB

Gael Davila, Dumas, Sr. OL-DL

Jacob Mares, Dumas, Sr. RB

Ah Lee Yart, Dumas, Sr. K-DB

Sergio Campos, Hereford, Jr. LB

Braedyn Mendoza, Hereford, Jr. RB

Jack Studabaker, Pampa, QB

Camden Hernandez, Borger, Sr. QB

Pablo Perez, Perryton, Sr. WR-OLB

Jahir Romero, Perryton, Sr. RB-LB

Leaford Calder, Bushland, Sr. DB

Brennan Lloyd, Dalhart, Sr. QB-Db

Xavier Hammett, Dalhart, Sr. RB-WR-DB

Matt Fabela, Muleshoe, Sr. RB-LB

Irvin Torres, Muleshoe, So. WR-DB

Kaden Hutson, River Road, Sr. LB

Josh Culwell, Canadian, Sr. QB

Twister Kelton, Canadian, Sr. WR-DB

Lane Foster, Childress, Sr. RB-DB

Trey Aguero, Dimmitt, Jr. RB-LB

Marcus Ontiveros, Dimmitt, Sr. RB-DB

Juan Salinas, Friona, Sr. DB

Jax Reese, Highland Park, SR. RB

Caden Thompson, Highland Park, Sr. QB

Brayden Klafka, Spearman, Jr. WR-DB

Jack Wilkerson, Spearman, Sr. QB-DB

Isacc Garcia, Tulia, Sr. OL-LB

Hayden Montgomery, Tulia, Sr. WR-DB

Wesley Dougherty, Boys Ranch, Sr. WR-LB

Caleb Thompson, Boys Ranch, Sr. QB-DB

Zion Mercer, Panhandle, Sr. WR-DB

Zach Wood, Panhandle, Sr. WR-DB

Kobe Cunningham, Sanford-Fritch, Sr. QB-DB

Joel Watson, Sanford-Fritch, Jr. QB-DB

Izaiah Gonzales, West Texas High, Sr. LB

Ismael Jimenez, Booker, Sr. RB-DB

Erick Ramirez, Booker, So. OL-LB

Cole Emery, Bovina, Sr. QB

Jmaury Davis, Clarendon, So. RB-LB

Lamarcus Penigar, Clarendon, Jr. QB-DB

Rudy Acosta, Gruver, Sr. OL-DL-LBAngel Gaspar, Gruver, Sr. RB-LB

Carlos Castillo, Farwell, RB-LB

Christian Lockhart, Memphis, Sr. RB-DB

Genaro Luna, Memphis, Sr. QB-LB

Sean Wright, Shamrock, Jr. RB-DB

Cody Rinne, Stratford, Sr. QB-DB

Tate Debord, Sunray, Sr. QB-LB

Cutter Lust, Sunray, Jr. OL-DL

Brady Tiemann, Sr. Vega, RB-LB

Mason Folk, Wellington, Sr. RB-LB

Sammy McLain, Wellington, Sr. TE-DL

Marcos Herrera, Wheeler, Sr. OL-LB

Daniel Rascon, Wheeler, Sr. OL-DL

Mathew Ryan, Claude, Sr. RB-LB

Jonathan Camacho, Follett, Sr. RB-LBMarshal Howard, Follett, Sr. TE-DL

Damon Kuehler, Groom, Jr. RB

Arik Coile, Happy, Sr. TE-DEStetson Jameson, Happy, Sr. RB-LB

Jordan Upton, Hedley, Sr. RB-LB

Told Fry, Lefors, Sr. OL-DLAllen Noordenbos, Lefors, Sr. RB-LB

Keaton Helton, McLean, Sr. FB-LB

Jacob Watson, McLean, Sr., RB-DL

Tristen Douglass, Miami, Sr. RB-DLRance Moreno, Miami, Sr. FB-LB

Luke Betzen, Nazareth, Sr. RB-DB

Aidan Moore, Nazareth, Sr. TE-DB

Baylor Cruse, Valley, Sr. WR-CBAlvaro Valdez, Valley, Sr. TE-LB

Harris Albracht, Wildorado, Sr. RB-LB

Tyler Espenson, Wildorado, Sr. WR-LB

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