A football season that began in uncertainty last fall wound up reaching the finish line with champions crowned in every UIL classification. Several of the standout players who contributed to that effort were recently recognized among the best in the state.
The Texas Sports Writers Association compiled its all-state football teams for each classification, with area athletes across Collin and Denton County among those earning postseason accolades.
That included six selections for a Lovejoy squad that tallied racked a program-best 13 wins under first-year head coach Chris Ross and advanced to the regional finals for the first time since 2010.
The Leopards didn’t lack in all-state-caliber talent in 2020, with senior offensive tackle Trent Robinson, senior wide receiver Reid Westervelt and junior linebacker Philip Joest all earning all-state first-team nods.
Named 7-5A Division II offensive MVP and an all-area first-team selection, Westervelt had a prolific year as Lovejoy’s top pass-catcher — his 31 receiving touchdowns ranked sixth in state history to go along with 89 catches for 1,803 yards. Up front, Robinson anchored a dominant offensive line to the tune of 127 pancakes and only one sack allowed on 400 pass attempts. Defensively, Joest led Lovejoy in tackles with 156 on the year. Fifteen of those went for a loss of yardage, with the linebacker adding 5.5 sacks and three forced fumbles.
Lovejoy senior defensive back Chief Collins eclipsed the 100-tackle threshold with 105 on the year to go along with seven interceptions on his way to an all-state second-team nod.
Senior RW Rucker cracked the all-state list as a third-team selection at both quarterback and punter. Star Local Media’s all-area MVP passed for 3,417 yards, ran for 1,044 more and totaled 59 touchdowns in rewriting the Lovejoy record books behind center. His punting was a weapon as well with a 42-yard average that included six kicks downed inside the 5-yard line.
In Class 6A, Allen and McKinney Boyd had four all-state selections each. The Eagles, who went unbeaten for an eighth consecutive year and advanced to the regional semifinals, were represented by senior offensive lineman Neto Umeozulu on the third team, plus honorable mention nods for senior quarterback General Booty, senior running back Jordan Johnson and senior punter Caden McNeese.
An all-area pick who’s among the top offensive line prospects in the state, Umeozulu paved the way up front for an Allen offense that averaged 491.7 yards and 45.2 points per game. He afforded his quarterback, Booty, plenty of time in the pocket to which the first-year signal-caller managed to rack up 2,235 passing yards, 403 rushing yards and 35 total touchdowns.
Booty shared the backfield with Johnson, one of the area’s most explosive rushers. The all-area second-teamer ran for 1,055 yards on 8.4 yards per carry and scored 12 touchdowns last season.
And if called upon, McNeese delivered on special teams with a 40-yard per-punt average with eight kicks downed inside the 10-yard line.
Boyd’s resurgent season, which resulted in the program’s first playoff berth since 2014, was fueled by a defense that featured two all-state linebackers. Senior Matteo Bianchi was named to the third team and junior Ethan Wesloski earned honorable mention. Bianchi was named all-area first team after compiling 101 tackles (25 for a loss), 11 sacks, 28 quarterback pressures, 12 pass break-ups and six forced fumbles, while Wesloski tallied 129 tackles, five sacks, 14 pressures, two interceptions and three forced fumbles on his way to 5-6A defensive MVP honors.
Boyd senior punter Connor Dailey also earned a third-team spot after amassing a 42.2 yards-per-punt average with 18 kicks pinned inside the 20-yard line. Junior Carter Whitefield, who sparked the Broncos as both a rusher (346 yards, four touchdowns) and receiver (259 yards, four touchdowns), earned an all-purpose all-state honorable mention nod.
Joining their 5-6A bunkmates were a trio of all-state picks from Prosper, which advanced to the regional finals for the second straight year. Senior linebacker Aidan Siano was a big reason why, and Star Local Media’s all-area defensive player of the year was further commended for his strong season with an all-state first-team spot. Siano racked up 146 tackles (24 for a loss) last season as well as four sacks and one interception.
Siano was joined in the middle by senior linebacker Mason Jolley, who received all-state honorable mention after logging 95 tackles, six sacks, five quarterback pressures and two forced fumbles.
Offensively, senior Cameron Harpole was a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses and that reflected with a second-team all-state nod at tight end. Harpole caught 59 balls for 878 yards and 14 touchdowns.
Lewisville ISD had three of its programs recognized as well, including a first-team spot for Flower Mound senior defensive lineman Stone Eby. Named 6-6A defensive player of the year and all-area first team, Eby totaled 60.5 tackles (17 for a loss), 5.5 sacks, two pass break-ups, two fumble recoveries and a defensive touchdown.
District champion Marcus was paced by senior Garrett Nussmeier, who was named honorable mention at quarterback. Star Local Media’s all-area offensive player of the year, Nussmeier threw for 2,815 yards and 35 touchdowns on a 72% completion percentage. His top target was senior receiver J. Michael Sturdivant, an all-state honorable mention pick after catching 75 passes for 843 yards and 10 touchdowns.
The Marcus defense was anchored in the back by senior Christian Espinoza. An all-area first-teamer who was named 6-6A special teams player of the year, Espinoza was voted all-state honorable mention in the secondary after breaking up seven passes, catching three interceptions and returning two for touchdowns.
Lewisville, meanwhile, was paced by all-state third-team selection Damien Martinez at running back. The junior ran for 2,014 yards on 8.7 yards per carry to go along with 31 touchdowns. Out wide, senior Isiah Stevens caught 66 passes for 1,162 yards and 13 touchdowns on his way to receiving all-state honorable mention.
At the 4A level, Celina’s offensive line was represented with a pair of all-state spots for junior Michael Reemts on the third team and senior Wyatt Smith as an honorable mention. Reemts graded out at 97% with 48 pancakes, while Smith finished at 96% and with 33 pancakes.