The COVID-19 pandemic has affected every facet of life and high school football was certainly not immune.
For starters, the opening weekend of the season was pushed back one month for Class 6A and 5A programs.
Additional postponements and cancellations due to quarantine situations led to an uneven season in which some teams played more games than others.
In 9-6A, the district decided prior to the start of the season to install a pod system to determine playoff berths, which in theory, would declare the postseason teams in November.
Of course, in fitting with the uncertain theme, even that did not go according to plan, as further postponements extended until the end of the regular season.
When the dust settled, three district teams—Naaman Forest, Lakeview and Rowlett--posted winning district records, but because of the rules in place, only the 9-6A champion Rangers would play in the postseason, where they were joined by Sachse, Garland and Wylie.
Through it all, the football season found its way to the end, culminating with the state championship games on Jan. 15-16, and with its conclusion comes the release of the all-district teams.
The parity in 9-6A was reflected on the all-district team, where each of the eight programs earned their share of accolades.
The Mustangs returned to the playoffs for the sixth consecutive season and ninth time in the last decade.
They were rewarded with 21 all-district selections, including a pair of first-teamers on offense.
Junior quarterback Alex Orji was voted to the team, though officially slated in an athlete position. Orji was effective through the air, completing 99-of-189 passes for 1,403 yards and 10 touchdowns. He brought an equally dynamic element to the ground game, rushing 114 times for 926 yards and 15 scores.
Senior offensive lineman Ricardo Ochoa joined Orji, as he graded out at 90 percent and had 45 pancake blocks this season.
Sachse had four more players chosen to the second-team offense. That included a pair of skill players as senior running back Brian Okoye carried the ball 92 times for 703 yards and four touchdowns and senior wide receiver Tyler Williams recorded 30 receptions for 492 yards and a pair of scores.
Senior offensive lineman Jacob Morrow graded out at 88 percent with 40 pancake blocks, while fellow senior Caden Kirkpatrick also graded out at 88 percent with 30 pancakes.
The second-team defense included six representatives from the Mustangs
Junior tackle Albion Krasniqi recorded 29 tackles, with seven for loss, four sacks, three quarterback hurries and a forced fumble.
Alongside Krasniqi, junior T.K. Burnley had 34 tackles, with a team-high 10 for loss, with 13 pressures and three sacks.
In the middle, senior linebacker James Boyd ranked among the team leaders with 55 tackles, two for loss, 4.5 hurries, one sack, an interception, a fumble recovery and a forced fumble.
Junior safety Kevin Courtney made 29 tackles, with one for loss, and four pass breakups, sophomore cornerback James Adams had 34 tackles and three pass breakups and senior cornerback Kori Jones was a key member of the secondary and also a contributor on offense.
The honorable mention list included senior wide receiver/defensive back DeAndre Robb (2 INT, PBU), senior defensive back Eliab Mekuria (28 tackles, 9 PBUs), junior wide receiver Elijah Aimes (10-149, TD), junior linebacker Leon Williams (42 tackles, 4 TFL, 3 hurries), junior defensive end Micah Lowe (15 tackles, 4 sacks, 4 hurries), junior defensive end Sean Catherman (42 tackles, 4 TFL, 4 hurries), junior offensive lineman Roberto Cedeno, junior defensive lineman Jaydon Gibbs (36 tackles, 1 TFL, 3 hurries, 2 sacks) and junior linebacker Jacob Gonzales (39 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 hurries).
The Eagles had 20 all-district honorees, despite playing only six games this season.
Sophomore wide receiver Ernest Thomas was named to the first team after recording 21 catches for 168 yards and two touchdowns, and he was also voted to the second team at punt returner.
Thomas was joined on the first team by senior offensive lineman Daniel Rangel, as well as a trio on the other side with junior defensive tackle Jacory Brown, junior end Michael Ibuken-Okeyode and senior cornerback Taiwan Edwards.
Senior running back D’Wonyae Newton, who had 52 carries for 288 yards and five touchdowns, was a second-team selection alongside senior offensive lineman Anthony Mora, senior linebacker Johnny Ray, sophomore safety Jayden Ellis and Thomas.
Rowlett had 10 players named to the honorable mention list with junior running back Colton Yarbrough (47-244, 6 TDs), senior wide receivers Caleb Stigger-Blair (17-265, 2 TDs) and Hector Soto (13-153, 2 TDs), junior offensive lineman Anthony Menjivar, junior defensive end Uba Anyiam, senior defensive tackle Travon Timms, just linebacker Isaiah Armstrong, senior linebacker Xavier Barber, junior safety Donovan Moore and junior kicker Jacob Martin.
District champion Naaman Forest claimed three superlative honors with senior wide receiver/defensive end Devean Deal as most valuable player, senior defensive back Matua Mauga as defensive most valuable player, as well as the coaching staff of the year.
Garland junior wide receiver Jordan Hudson was tabbed offensive most valuable player, Wylie sophomore wide receiver was voted offensive newcomer of the year and Lakeview sophomore defensive end Trey Wilson earned defensive newcomer of the year honors.
9-6A Football All-District Team
Most Valuable Player
Devean Deal Sr. WR/DE Naaman Forest
Offensive Most Valuable Player
Jordan Hudson Jr. WR Garland
Defensive Most Valuable Player
Matua Mauga Sr. DB Naaman Forest
Offensive Newcomer of the Year
Cam Pruitt So. WR Wylie
Defensive Newcomer of the Year
Trey Wilson So. DE Lakeview
Coaching Staff of the Year
First Team Offense
Marcus McElroy Sr. QB Wylie
Jalil Brown Jr. QB South Garland
Jayshon Powers Jr. RB Garland
Camar Wheaton Sr. RB Lakeview
Devean Deal* Sr. WR Naaman Forest
Cambryn Jones Sr. WR Lakeview
Brison Huey Sr. WR Naaman Forest
Ernest Thomas So. WR Rowlett
Tyreon Key Jr. WR South Garland
Ellis Rogers Jr. WR Garland
Shaunte Russell Sr. WR Garland
Jordan Hudson* Jr. WR Garland
Cam Pruitt* So. WR Wylie
Tommy Dunn Sr. TE/HB Naaman Forest
Ezra Oyetade Sr. OL Lakeview
Cam Smith Sr. OL Naaman Forest
Daniel Rangel Sr. OL Rowlett
Ricardo Ochoa Sr. OL Sachse
Diego Escalante Sr. OL South Garland
Andrew Hill Sr. OL Wylie
Alberto Gonzalez Jr. OL North Garland
Xzavien Campbell Jr. OL Lakeview
Alex Orji Jr. Ath. Sachse
Francisco Castillo Sr. K Naaman Forest
Shaunte Russell Sr. KR Garland
First Team Defense
Ikechukwu Iwunnah Sr. DT Lakeview
Tommy Dunn Sr. DT Naaman Forest
Jacory Brown Jr. DT Rowlett
Devean Deal Sr. DE Naaman Forest
John Brown Sr. DE Lakeview
Christian Moh Sr. DE Naaman Forest
Kameron Wheeler Sr. DE North Garland
Michael Ibuken-Okeyode Jr. DE Rowlett
Trey Wilson* So. DE Lakeview
Dezmond Adamson Sr. ILB Wylie
Isaiah Ellis Jr. ILB Lakeview
Arin Cintora Sr. ILB Naaman Forest
Tairence Landrum Sr. OLB Naaman Forest
Dawson Cox Sr. OLB Wylie
Josh Nwosu Sr. OLB Lakeview
Tristan Johnson Sr. S Naaman Forest
Dexter Davis Sr. S North Garland
Jacob Crim Jr. S South Garland
Chance Biddle Jr. S Garland
Matua Mauga* Sr. S Naaman Forest
Taiwan Edwards Sr. CB Rowlett
Aaron King Jr. CB Garland
Crayton Thompson Sr. CB Naaman Forest
Kingsley Bennett Jr. PR Naaman Forest
Andrew Cunningham Sr. P Wylie
Second Team Offense
Cergio Perez Jr. QB Garland
Austin Valdez Sr. QB Naaman Forest
Brian Okoye Sr. RB Sachse
Kingsley Bennett Jr. RB Naaman Forest
Darrick McClendon Sr. RB Wylie
D’Wonyae Newton Sr. RB Rowlett
Seth Kramer Jr. WR Wylie
Isaiah DeLeon So. WR North Garland
Tyler Williams Sr. WR Sachse
Jalen Davis Sr. WR Lakeview
Jacob Crim Jr. WR South Garland
Aden Gonzalez Sr. WR Naaman Forest
Charles Allen Jr. WR Garland
Clay Swilley Sr. TE/HB Wylie
Rickey Smallwood Sr. OL Lakeview
Will Cabaniss Sr. OL Naaman Forest
Anthony Mora Sr. OL Rowlett
Caden Kirkpatrick Sr. OL Sachse
Yash Hirapara Sr. OL Wylie
Darwin Murrillo So. OL South Garland
Jacob Morrow Sr. OL Sachse
Robert Inguanzo Sr. OL Lakeview
Justus Perales So. OL Naaman Forest
Kornell Smith Jr. OL North Garland
Zecheriah Dunston Jr. Ath. Lakeview
Jayllen Chambers So. Ath. South Garland
Andrew Cunningham Sr. K Wylie
Kingsley Bennett Jr. KR Naaman Forest
Second Team Defense
Albion Krasniqi Jr. DT Sachse
Diego Escalante Sr. DT South Garland
Shango Johnson Sr. DT Garland
Markis Deal So. DT Naaman Forest
Nick Calais Sr. DT Lakeview
Doug Onchweri Jr. DE Garland
T.K. Burnley Jr. DE Sachse
Trey Adams Sr. DE Wylie
Keylan Smith Jr. ILB Garland
Ivan Garcia Jr. ILB North Garland
Michael Kerr Sr. ILB Wylie
Johnny Ray Sr. OLB Rowlett
James Boyd Sr. OLB Sachse
Damerian Wigenton Jr. OLB Garland
Jayden Ellis So. S Rowlett
A.J. Harris So. S Lakeview
Kevin Courtney Jr. S Sachse
Zavion Wright Jr. CB Lakeview
James Adams So. CB Sachse
Isaiah Watkins Sr. CB North Garland
Kori Jones Sr. CB Sachse
Ernest Thomas So. PR Rowlett
Francesco Sccaffetti Sr. P Naaman Forest
Colton Yarbrough Jr. RB Rowlett
Anthony Menjivar Jr. OL Rowlett
Caleb Stigger-Blair Sr. WR Rowlett
Hector Soto Sr. WR Rowlett
Uba Anyiam Jr. DE Rowlett
Travon Timms Sr. DT Rowlett
Isaiah Armstrong Jr. LB Rowlett
Xavier Barber Sr. LB Rowlett
Donovan Moore Jr. S Rowlett
Jacob Martin Jr. K Rowlett
DeAndre Robb Sr. WR/DB Sachse
Eliab Mekuria Sr. DB Sachse
Elijah Aimes Jr. WR Sachse
Leon Williams Jr. OLB Sachse
Micah Lowe Jr. DE Sachse
Sean Catherman Jr. DE Sachse
Roberto Cedeno Jr. OL Sachse
Jaydon Gibbs Jr. DL Sachse
Jacob Gonzales Jr. ILB Sachse
Makhi Byrd Jr. LB Naaman Forest
Kendall Ivory Sr. DB Naaman Forest
Sean Garcia Sr. DT Naaman Forest
Jahari Lee Sr. RB Naaman Forest
Keldred Johnson Sr. OG Naaman Forest
Abdul Darkazalli Sr. OG Naaman Forest
Tarrence Davie WR Lakeview
Nickolas Duran P Lakeview
Jack Dustin RB Lakeview
Corey Grey LB Lakeview
Michael Hierro QB Lakeview
Raymone Jeffery S Lakeview
Jamar Rhodes CB Lakeview
Luis Rivera K Lakeview
Jose Elizondo Sr. S South Garland
Khaydarius Hart Sr. CB South Garland
Dayvaun Gilmore Sr. LB South Garland
Jose Juarez Sr. DE South Garland
Ismael Alvarez Jr. DL South Garland
Tyreon Key Jr. CB South Garland
Eric Garcia So. DE South Garland
Jayllen Chambers So. RB South Garland
Will Perry Sr. RB Wylie
Kam Scott Sr. DT Wylie
Ethan Carter Sr. OLB Wylie
Kyle Meister Sr. S Wylie
Chris Yanez Jr. C Garland
Pedro Aguilar Jr. G Garland
S. Rodriguez Sr. G Garland
Jaytrick Geter Jr. S Garland
Axel Martinez Sr. DE Garland
Keven Ortiz Sr. DT Garland
Geber Durant Jr. OLB Garland
Ta’Marques McNeal So. DT Garland
Adam Sounahoro Sr. DE Garland
Chigo Oledibe Sr. OLB North Garland
Anthony Bell Sr. S North Garland
Isaiah Henry Sr. U North Garland
Adrian Ramirez So. C North Garland
Elmer Ferrufino Sr. OL North Garland
D’Marco Bell Sr. OL North Garland
Rodney Gibson Sr. DL North Garland