July 10 marks the 27th ESPY Awards, the annual ceremony devoted to honoring standout professional and collegiate athletes and teams of the past year.
It’s the sports equivalent to the Oscars or Grammys, so why not put a high school spin on the concept?
Over the past school year, the Little Elm area has showcased no shortage of notable individual and team athletic achievements, so it is only appropriate to put the last season of local citywide sports into an award-winning perspective. In the coming weeks, the city’s top athletes, teams and games will be recognized among nine different awards.
With that said, Star Local Media presents the seventh edition of The Varsitys.
Little Elm vs. Lone Star football, Sept. 28
Since Lone Star first played Little Elm in football for the first time in 2014, the two programs, which are separated by roughly three miles, have squared off four times.
The Lobos lost the first three meetings by an average margin of 36 points and had a legitimate shot of snagging that elusive first victory over the Rangers this past season with the two foes reunited back in the same district.
Despite not scoring an offensive touchdown all night, Lone Star utilized a stifling defense and key special teams plays to keep the winning streak alive and took down the Lobos in a defensive slugfest, 10-7.
It almost seemed as if this showdown between two stout offenses was going to evolve into a high-scoring affair when Lone Star found the end zone just 15 seconds into the game after Marvin Mims took the opening kickoff all the way to the house for an early 7-0 advantage.
But that would put an end to all of the scoring for either side until the fourth quarter, as Mims’ huge play to begin the contest played a major part in deciding the outcome.
Speaking of special teams, another kick return by senior defensive back Trey Taylor to midfield set up the go-ahead field goal midway through the fourth quarter. With the score deadlocked at seven apiece at that point, the excellent field position helped set up a 37-yard field goal by senior Harper Simmons a few plays later that gave the Rangers the lead for good.
Simmons also played a key role in making sure to not let Little Elm’s dynamic, do-it-all return man, Brandon Crossley, have a chance to do damage, who was also held to just 12 yards rushing and 25 yards receiving.
With Crossley and the passing game taken out of the equation against a stout Lone Star defense, Little Elm’s game plan most of the night was to pound the rock and keep its defense off of the field.
The Lobos’ coaching staff and offensive unit were able to achieve just that, as they ran the pigskin a whopping 42 times. The player that led that rushing committee was running back Jordan Hall, who lugged it 26 times for 78 yards and helped set up a 1-yard touchdown by running back Saevion Jefferson early in the fourth to tie the game at 7-7.
However, that was the only time Little Elm crossed the pylon all night.
Derek Lewis, Little Elm baseball
Less than a year ago, Lewis was on the junior varsity doing everything he could to earn his spot on the varsity roster.
Lewis got that chance this season and by the first couple games of the district slate, he had emerged as the Lobos’ ace on the mound.
He led Little Elm in innings pitched with 49, posted a 7-3 record, struck out 34 batters and recorded a .851 ERA.
Although the Lobos graduated District MVP Logan Kohler, the good news for the program is that it returns Lewis and fellow starter Jorge Aldrete in the rotation next season.
RJ Hampton reclassifies, forgoes college and goes pro
Just weeks after head boys basketball coach Rusty Segler was reassigned from the program back in April, Hampton made headlines when he announced he would forgo his senior season and reclassify to graduate in 2019.
The five-star recruit’s major decisions weren’t done there, as the question then loomed as to which college he would choose to play at next season.
But the former Lobos then made even greater headlines a few weeks later on ESPN’s “Get Up” when he announced he will also forgo college and play overseas next season with the New Zealand Breakers of the Australian National Basketball League.
Hampton is now eligible for the 2020 draft after signing a professional contract straight out of high school, and the 18 year old is projected to be a top six pick in ESPN’s mock draft and is forecasted to go even as high as No. 2 overall in NBA Draft Room’s mock draft.