The 29th ESPY Awards, the annual ceremony devoted to honoring standout professional and collegiate athletes and teams of the past year, aired on July 10.
It's the sports equivalent to the Oscars or Grammys, so Star Local Media has decided in recent years to put a high school spin on the concept.
The 2020-21 school year won’t be soon forgotten by the athletes, coaches and fans involved, as high schools adapted to the change brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and managed to play out a full year of high school sports.
During that time, Carrollton and Lewisville showcased no shortage of notable individual and team athletic achievements, so it’s only appropriate to put the last year of local sports into an award-winning perspective. Over a three-week stretch, the city’s top athletes, teams and games will be recognized among nine different awards.
With that said, Star Local Media presents the ninth edition of The Varsitys.
Lewisville’s Damien Martinez vs. McKinney Boyd, Dec. 11
On the heels of a star-making regular season, Martinez began the Farmers’ 2020 playoff run with a bang against a stout Boyd defense.
The Lewisville running back tallied 293 rushing yards on 25 carries, good for nearly 12 yards per carry, and scored five touchdowns on the ground in a 48-24 victory in the bi-district round of the Class 6A Division I playoffs.
Martinez set a high bar for himself during the regular season after going wire-to-wire as the Metroplex’s leading rusher in 6A — he eclipsed 2,000 yards on the ground for the season.
He followed up with a monster night against Boyd, setting the tone from the onset by recording all 75 yards amassed on the Farmers’ opening drive and scoring his first of five touchdowns on the night.
Scoring on a 5-yard run for the game’s first points, Martinez added touchdown runs of 26, 14, 2 and 6 yards as Lewisville cruised into the area round of the postseason.
Percy Johnson, Newman Smith boys basketball
Johnson entered the 2020-21 season with the tall order of building off the Trojans’ best year in program history — a season where Smith went unbeaten in the regular season and matched its deepest-ever playoff run with a trip to the regional quarterfinals.
The Trojans graduated a wealth of firepower from that squad, including Star Local Media all-area offensive player of the year Jarren Cook, and still managed to produce a second straight district championship and a trip to the third round of the postseason.
Johnson led Smith to another quality campaign, maintaining the same approach that he has any other season. All he wants out of the Trojans is for them to work hard and the rest will take care of itself.
Smith showed as much in a game effort in the regional quarterfinals against top-ranked Lancaster, trailing 49-42 with 7:40 left in the fourth quarter before the Trojans’ size and depth took over.
Hebron girls basketball defeats Denton Guyer, Feb. 11
The memory of the Lady Hawks’ 61-36 bi-district playoff loss to Denton Guyer in 2020 wasn’t lost on Hebron head coach Lisa Branch, who missed that ballgame with the flu.
The Lady Hawks scored a measure of revenge last season, making critical free throws down the stretch and just enough stops on defense to eke out a 54-53 victory over state-ranked Guyer in the first round of the playoffs.
Balanced scoring led the way for Hebron, with sophomore Jordan Thomas logging 14 points in her playoff debut and alum Demauria Miles chipping in 11 points.
The Lady Hawks held off a late charge from the 5-6A co-champions, who trailed by five points with around two minutes left. Hebron struggled to protect the ball late, which helped Guyer pull within one point and earn a chance to go for the win.
The Lady Hawks mustered one last stop, smothering Evie Goetz on the attempted game-winner and punching their ticket to the second round.