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

Naaman Forest

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

Honorable Mention

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

For continued coverage on the local sports scene, follow Devin Hasson on Twitter: @DevinHasson

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