Albany's Newton leads 2A All-Big Country football team as Player of the Year

·12 min read

Editor's note: The Reporter-News is presenting its 2021 All-Big Country football teams.. The complete teams can be found at reporternews.com.

Here is the print publication schedule:

Wednesday: Class 1A

Thursday: Class 2A

Friday: Class 3A

Saturday: Classes 4A-6A

Sunday: 2021 Super Team

PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Jaheim Newton

Albany's Jaheim Newton (31) carries the ball against Muenster during the Region II-2A Division II semifinal at Springtown's Porcupine Stadium on Nov. 26. Newton is the Class 2A All-Big Country Player of the Year.
Albany's Jaheim Newton (31) carries the ball against Muenster during the Region II-2A Division II semifinal at Springtown's Porcupine Stadium on Nov. 26. Newton is the Class 2A All-Big Country Player of the Year.

School: Albany

Class: Senior

Positions: Running back/linebacker

Height: 5-11

Weight: 185

Strength: Physicality

“He runs mad,” Albany head coach Denney Faith said. “He’s hard to tackle and gets a lot of yards after contact. We could always count on Jaheim to get the tough yards when we needed it.”

2021 Highlight: Newton had his biggest game Oct. 29 against Santo. The senior ran for 184 yards and two touchdowns, helping Albany win 33-6 and clinch the District 8-2A Division II championship. A week later, Albany beat Windthorst for the Region II championship — the program’s first since 2018.

Coachspeak: “Jaheim is a player that would do anything to help his team be successful and is one of the most humble athletes that I have had the pleasure to coach,” Faith said.

Why he’s here: The Santo game was just the tip of the iceberg of Newton’s exceptional season. Newton finished the year with 1,628 yards and 21 touchdowns on 156 rushes, fumbling once. He averaged 10.4 yards per carry as a senior and graduates from the program as one of its best players of all time.

Cisco quarterback Hunter Long scrambles with the ball during during a game against Jim Ned in Tuscola on Sept. 17.
Cisco quarterback Hunter Long scrambles with the ball during during a game against Jim Ned in Tuscola on Sept. 17.

OFFENSIVE MVP

Hunter Long

School: Cisco

Class: Junior

Position: Quarterback

Height: 5-11

Weight: 180

Strength: Toughness

“Hunter is built to run our offense,” Cisco head coach Kevin Stennett said. “He makes great decisions, leads by example, and plays with a very high level of intensity. His toughness stands out more than anything, which makes him a perfect fit for our brand of football.”

2021 Highlight: In Cisco’s 69-21 bidistrict playoff win over Panhandle, Long exploded. The dual-threat quarterback rushed for 334 yards and three touchdowns. That statline is even more impressive when considering he only played one series in the second half.

Coachspeak: “It's hard to believe that we get him back for another year,” Stennett said. “We are looking forward to watching him bring that experience into his Senior season.”

Why he’s here: Long combined for more than 3,000 all-purpose yards in the Loboes’ 11-3 season. He ran for 2,182 yards and threw for 949, combining for 44 touchdowns. Long has started 28 games for the Loboes and will be a centerpiece for his team next year.

DEFENSIVE MVP

Braxton Smith

Hawley wide receiver Chandlin Myers tries to catch a pass but his effort is broken up by Coleman defensive back Braxton Smith during the Region I-2A Division I semifinal game at Wylie High School Nov. 26. Coleman is 2021's 2A All-Big Country Defensive Player of the Year.
Hawley wide receiver Chandlin Myers tries to catch a pass but his effort is broken up by Coleman defensive back Braxton Smith during the Region I-2A Division I semifinal game at Wylie High School Nov. 26. Coleman is 2021's 2A All-Big Country Defensive Player of the Year.

School: Coleman

Class: Junior

Position: Cornerback

Height: 5-8

Weight: 140

Strength: Shiftiness

“His ability to change direction on a dime is great,” Coleman head coach John Elder said. “He anticipates routes really well and is able to jump them.”

2021 Highlight: In Coleman’s game against San Saba, the Armadillos ran a fake punt pass for a first down that Smith nearly knocked down. The junior didn’t dwell on it. A few plays later, Smith intercepted San Saba and returned it for 70 yards and a touchdown. Coleman won that game 49-7.

Coachspeak: “He is a fun kid to be around,” Elder said. “He is a good teammate and student on campus.”

Why he’s here: Smith wreaked havoc on opposing quarterbacks, logging nine interceptions. He ran four of those back for pick sixes. The junior also recorded nine pass breakups and 24 total tackles. Also a key receiver for the Bluecats, Smith’s return should help them remain contenders in 2022.

NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR

Zane Waggoner

Albany's Zane Waggoner (70) delivers a lead block for Jaheim Newton (31) against Muenster during the Region II-2A Division II semifinal at Springtown's Porcupine Stadium on Nov. 26. Waggoner is the 2A All-Big Country Newcomer of the Year.
Albany's Zane Waggoner (70) delivers a lead block for Jaheim Newton (31) against Muenster during the Region II-2A Division II semifinal at Springtown's Porcupine Stadium on Nov. 26. Waggoner is the 2A All-Big Country Newcomer of the Year.

School: Albany

Class: Sophomore

Position: Offensive tackle

Height: 6-3

Weight: 250

Strength: Athleticism

“He has great quickness, good feet and plays with an attitude,” Faith said. “He has exceptional athletic ability for a big man, and has the desire to get even better.”

2021 Highlight: In Albany’s 34-21 regional semifinal win against Muenster, Waggoner’s blocking was crucial in the Lions’ 13-point win, constantly opening holes for their backs. Behind Waggoner and the Lions’ other lineman, Newton ran for 162 yards. Waggoner also notched six total tackles at the defensive tackle position.

Coachspeak: “Zane had an outstanding year as a sophomore,” Faith said. “He played like a player with more experience. He is a player to watch over the next two years.”

Why he’s here: Waggoner earned a 96% grade at offensive tackle, notching 38 pancake blocks. He was named Division 8-2A Division II’s Newcomer of the Year. As Albany looks to find its next star running back, Waggoner will be crucial in opening holes for him to run through.

COACH OF THE YEAR

Mitch Ables

Hawley head coach Mitch Ables lifts the gold ball trophy after beating Marlin on Dec. 9. Ables led Hawley to the 2A Division I state championship game.
Hawley head coach Mitch Ables lifts the gold ball trophy after beating Marlin on Dec. 9. Ables led Hawley to the 2A Division I state championship game.

School: Hawley

Strength: Longevity at Hawley

“I’ve been here for eight years now,” Ables said. “I’ve seen these kids from grade school all the way up, and we’ve had a lot of coaches’ kids in that bunch. The more you’re around them, the better you’re going to play together.”

2021 highlight: Under Ables’ direction, the Bearcats went further than they had ever previously gone. They started the season 15-0 en route to the state championship game. Hawley did this in spite of numerous injuries on both sides of the ball, most notably starting running back Austin Cumpton.

Coachspeak: “We have a competitive bunch,” Ables said. “Sometimes they’re not the smartest, but they’re competitive and don’t like to lose. It’s a testament to how hard our kids work and how our coaches get them prepared and have a good game plan.”

Why he’s here: Despite injuries and a treacherous playoff bracket, Ables led the Bearcats to Arlington. They didn’t lose a game until falling to Shiner at AT&T Stadium. To get there, Ables helped Hawley navigate past Coleman, Cisco and Marlin — three of 2A’s best teams — in low-scoring slugfests. With Ables and several of the team’s top players returning, the Bearcats will be poised to return to state in 2022.

FIRST TEAM

* — UNANIMOUS SELECTION

OFFENSE

Hunter Long

Quarterback

Cisco

5-11, 180, Junior

Stats: Rushed for 2,182 yards and 32 touchdowns on 239 carries. Long also threw for 949 yards and 12 touchdowns on 59-of-124 passing.

Jaheim Newton*

Running back

Albany

5-11, 185, Senior

Stats: Rushed for 1,628 yards and 21 touchdowns on 156 rushes. Newton fumbled just once all season.

Trent Huston*

Running back

Cisco

6-0, 180, Junior

Stats: Rushed for 1,518 yards and 18 touchdowns on 164 carries.

Coleman's Ryland Gentry carries in the Bluecats' 31-7 win over Cisco on Oct. 22.
Coleman's Ryland Gentry carries in the Bluecats' 31-7 win over Cisco on Oct. 22.

Ryland Gentry

Running back

Coleman

6-1, 190, Junior

Stats: Rushed for 870 yards and 13 touchdowns.

Kason O'Shields*

Wide receiver

Hawley

6-1, 165, Junior

Stats: Caught 55 passes for 722 yards and eight touchdowns.

Kason O'Shields leaps over a couple Forsan defenders on a punt return on Nov. 5.
Kason O'Shields leaps over a couple Forsan defenders on a punt return on Nov. 5.

Aeneas Segura*

Wide receiver

Hawley

5-9, 170, Senior

Stats: Caught 42 passes for 647 yards and nine touchdowns. Segura also rushed for 29 yards and three touchdowns.

Hawley wide receiver Aeneas Segura catches a pass on Dec. 9 in the 2A Division I state semifinals. The Bearcats won 19-12 to advance to their first state title game in program history.
Hawley wide receiver Aeneas Segura catches a pass on Dec. 9 in the 2A Division I state semifinals. The Bearcats won 19-12 to advance to their first state title game in program history.

Seth Wilcox*

Wide receiver

Roscoe

5-10, 150, Sophomore

Stats: Caught 33 passes for 633 yards and eight touchdowns. He also rushed for 398 yards and seven touchdowns on 38 carries.

Roscoe's Seth Wilcox (4) returns an interception during a Region II-2A Division II bi-district playoff against Quanah on Nov. 11.
Roscoe's Seth Wilcox (4) returns an interception during a Region II-2A Division II bi-district playoff against Quanah on Nov. 11.

Dawson Hearne

Tight end

Cisco

6-4, 215, Senior

Stats: Caught 12 passes for 161 yards and seven touchdowns. He also had 65 knockdowns at tight end.

Cisco's Dawson Hearne, right, looks for running room as a teammate blocks New Deal's Luke Joy on Nov. 26.
Cisco's Dawson Hearne, right, looks for running room as a teammate blocks New Deal's Luke Joy on Nov. 26.

Zane Waggoner*

Offensive line

Albany

6-3, 250, Sophomore

Stats: Graded out at 96% on the line with 38 pancakes and won District 8-2A Division II Newcomer of the Year.

Monte Cauble*

Offensive line

Albany

5-9, 207, Senior

Stats: Graded out at 94% on the line with 29 pancakes and was a First Team All-District selection.

Corley Williams

Offensive line

Hawley

5-7, 200, Senior

Stats: Graded above 90% at guard.

Quarterback Rodey Hooper (right) scrambles as Corley Williams blocks against Marlin on Dec. 9.
Quarterback Rodey Hooper (right) scrambles as Corley Williams blocks against Marlin on Dec. 9.

Trent Bailey

Offensive line

Cisco

6-1, 280, Senior

Stats: Graded above 90% with 70 knockdowns from the tackle position.

Gus Allen

Offensive line

Coleman

6-2, 240, Senior

Stats: Graded out at 92% with 22 pancakes and 27 knockdowns.

Anson wide receiver Dylyn Pyle carries the ball into Coleman territory during a Region I-2A Division I bi-district playoff game on Nov. 11.
Anson wide receiver Dylyn Pyle carries the ball into Coleman territory during a Region I-2A Division I bi-district playoff game on Nov. 11.

Dylyn Pyle

Utility

Anson

5-9, 160, Senior

Stats: Pyle caught 33 passes for 503 yards. He also rushed for 253 yards and four touchdowns on 42 carries and passed for 154 yards and two touchdowns.

DEFENSE

Kyle Nichols*

Defensive line

Hawley

5-10, 155, Junior

Stats: Nichols had 80 solo tackles and 30 assists for 110 total tackles. He also had 32 tackles for loss, 13 sacks and four fumble recoveries.

Corley Williams*

Defensive line

Hawley

5-7, 200, Senior

Stats: Had 89 total tackles (65 solo/24 assists), 28 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks and five quarterback hurries.

Quanah quarterback Kenny Cole (9) throws a pass before being hit by Roscoe's Reese Kiser (51) on Nov. 11.
Quanah quarterback Kenny Cole (9) throws a pass before being hit by Roscoe's Reese Kiser (51) on Nov. 11.

Reese Kiser

Defensive line

Roscoe

5-9, 170, Senior

Stats: Had 91 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, six sacks, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.

Will Scott*

Linebacker

Hawley

5-11, 160, Junior

Stats: Scott had 88 solo tackles and 22 assists for 110 total tackles. He also had 12 tackles for loss, eight interceptions, three defensive touchdowns and three forced fumbles.

Hawley linebacker Will Scott makes a tackle against Marlin on Dec. 9.
Hawley linebacker Will Scott makes a tackle against Marlin on Dec. 9.

Dawson Hearne*

Linebacker

Cisco

6-4, 215, Senior

Stats: Had 151 total tackles, four tackles for loss, two interceptions, four forced fumbles, a sack and a defensive touchdown.

Trace Guelker

Linebacker

Roscoe

5-9, 195, Junior

Stats: Had 101 total tackles, 25 tackles for loss, 11 sacks, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and two interceptions.

Brooks Neece

Linebacker

Albany

5-10, 205, Senior

Stats: Neece recorded 56 solo tackles and 96 assists for 152 total tackles. He also had 21 tackles for loss, two forced fumbles, two fumbles recoveries, a sack and an interception, helping Neece win District 8-2A Division II Defensive MVP.

Kason O'Shields*

Defensive back

Hawley

6-1, 165, Junior

Stats: Had 57 solo tackles and 11 assists for 68 total tackles. O’Shields also had seven interceptions, two of which he returned for touchdowns.

Seth Wilcox*

Defensive back

Roscoe

5-10, 150, Sophomore

Stats: Had 48 total tackles, three tackles for loss, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, six interceptions and 11 pass break ups.

Tre Brackeen*

Defensive back

Cisco

6-2, 185, Junior

Stats: Had 95 total tackles, eight interceptions, three tackles for loss, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and a defensive touchdown.

Braxton Smith*

Defensive back

Coleman

5-8, 140, Junior

Stats: Smith had 14 solo tackles and 10 assists for 24 total tackles. He also had nine interceptions, four pick sixes and nine pass breakups.

Hawley's Kason O'Shields makes an extra point against Merkel on Sept. 10.
Hawley's Kason O'Shields makes an extra point against Merkel on Sept. 10.

Kason O'Shields

Kicker

Hawley

6-1, 165, Junior

Stats: Made three of five field goal attempts, making a long of 49 yards against Forsan on Nov. 5. O’Shields also made 59 of 69 extra point attempts.

SECOND TEAM

Cole Chapman

Quarterback

Albany

6-3, 186, Senior

Stats: Threw for 2,314 yards and 32 touchdowns, completing 134 of 224 pass attempts. Chapman also rushed for 745 yards and nine touchdowns on 83 carries.

Riley Pippin

Running back

Anson

5-10, 175, Senior

Stats: Rushed for 875 yards and six touchdowns on 173 Carries.

Diontay Ramon

Running back/wide receiver

Hawley

6-3, 182, Sophomore

Stats: Rushed for 524 yards and eight touchdowns on 72 carries. Ramon also caught 15 passes for 208 yards and three touchdowns.

Dylyn Pyle

Wide receiver

Anson

5-9, 160, Senior

Stats: Pyle caught 33 passes for 503 yards.

Braxton Smith

Wide receiver

Coleman

5-8, 140, Junior

Stats: Caught 19 passes for 400 yards and six touchdowns.

David Navarro

Offensive line

Coleman

5-11, 210, Junior

Stats: Graded out at 94% with 13 pancakes and 30 knockdowns.

Jorge Salas

Offensive line

Coleman

5-11, 225, Sophomore

Stats: Graded out at 90% with 14 pancakes and 39 knockdowns.

Jeryd Fain

Offensive line

Coleman

6-2, 295, Senior

Stats: Graded out at 91% with 21 pancakes and 38 knockdowns.

Garrett Smith

Offensive line

Coleman

6-0, 230, Junior

Stats: Graded out at 92% with 10 pancakes and 15 knockdowns

Sone Cortez

Offensive line

Hawley

5-11, 175, Senior

Stats: Graded above 90% at center.

DEFENSE

Taren Farmer

Defensive line

Albany

6-1, 180, Senior

Stats: Had 73 solo tackles and 65 assists for 138 total tackles. Farmer also had 28 tackles for loss, 8.5 sacks, eight quarterback pressures, two forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and an interception.

Diontay Ramon

Defensive line

Hawley

6-3, 180, Sophomore

Stats: Had 56 total tackles, 22 tackles for loss, 10 sacks, five quarterback pressures and an interception.

David Navarro

Defensive line

Coleman

6-0, 210, Junior

Stats: Had 26 solo tackles and 37 assists for 63 total tackles. Navarro also had 11 tackles for loss, five pass breakups, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.

Jake Gonzales

Linebacker

Roscoe

5-9, 180, Senior

Stats: Had 99 total tackles, six tackles for loss, two sacks, two forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and an interception.

Ryland Gentry

Linebacker

Coleman

6-1, 190, Junior

Stats: Had 51 solo tackles and 62 assists for 113 total tackles. Gentry also had 15 tackles for loss, two forced fumbles, two pass breakups, two quarterback hurries, two sacks and an interception.

Brent Bouldin

Linebacker

Coleman

5-11, 170, Sophomore

Stats: Had 36 solo tackles and 44 assists for 80 total tackles. Bouldin also recorded seven tackles for loss, two quarterback hurries and a sack.

Riley Pippin

Linebacker

Anson

5-10, 175, Senior

Stats: Had 26 solo tackles and 51 assists for 77 total tackles and made First Team All-District.

Denver Hunter

Defensive back

Coleman

5-9, 155, Senior

Stats: Had 28 solo tackles and 31 assists for 59 total tackles. Hunter also had six pass breakups, four tackles for loss, two interceptions and a fumble recovery.

Christian Villeda

Kicker

Coleman

5-9, 150, Senior

Stats: Villeda made four of his six field goal attempts with a long of 33 yards. He also converted on 46 of his 52 extra point attempts.

HONORABLE MENTION

Quarterback — Jax Watts, So., Roscoe; Jadin Jackson, So., Coleman.

Defensive line — Jeryd Fain, Sr., Coleman.

Linebacker — RJ Wright, Sr., Coleman; Christian Espitia, Sr., Coleman.

Carson Field is the area sports reporter for the Abilene Reporter-News. He covers primarily Big Country high school sports. If you appreciate locally driven news, you can support local journalists with a digital subscription to reporternews.com.

This article originally appeared on Abilene Reporter-News: Albany's Jaheim Newton wins 2A All-Big Country Player of the Year

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