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Daingerfield’s Kelshin Neal the AP Class 2A Defensive Player of the Year

Daingerfield DL Kelshin Neal. (Courtesy Daingerfield-Lone Star ISD)

Daingerfield senior defensive lineman Kelshin Neal was named Class 2A Defensive Player of the Year on the Associated Press Sports Editors all-state football team.

Neal, who helped lead the Tigers to the region finals, received the honor for his performance during the regular season. The team was voted on by members of the APSE. Neal had 134 tackles, 20 sacks and 46 tackles for loss in 10 games.

Refugio senior quarterback Travis Quintanilla was selected as the Offensive Player of the Year.

Joining Neal as East Texans on the first team were White Oak senior receiver Jansen McCurdy, Elkhart senior running back Jeffery Wilson, Tatum senior defensive back Klifton Willis and Frankston senior defensive back Cory Winks.

McCurdy finished the regular season with 40 catches for 1,112 yards and 14 touchdowns. Wilson ran for 2,487 yards and 35 touchdowns prior to the playoffs, Willis recorded 11 interceptions and added 34 tackles, four pass break-ups and two defensive touchdowns and Winks ended the regular season with eight interceptions, 14 pass break-ups, six blocked kicks and 62 tackles.

A pair of Newton teammates represented East Texas on the second team — senior running back Brandon Johnson and senior linebacker Anthony Hadnot.

Area players recognized as honorable mention were: Union Grove offensive/defensive lineman Garrett Bowery, White Oak offensive lineman Jason Heim, Newton offensive lineman Jordan Mattox, Frankston offensive lineman John Ross, Waskom running back Kevin Johnson, Frankston defensive lineman Caden Bruton, Union Grove linebacker Garrett Gibson, Tatum linebacker Demetrius Hill, Jefferson linebacker Chris Smith, Tatum linebacker Kyshaun Smith and Elkhart linebacker Gaje Smock.

Associated Press Sports Editors Class 2A All-State Football Team

Elkhart’s Jeffery Wilson speeds past the Frankston defense during their game Sept. 6 in Frankston. (Noreen Nartia,



  • CLAY BREWER, Eastland, Sr. — highest graded OL on team that averaged 510 yards & 49 points
  • JOE RICHARD CASTELLANO, Refugio, Jr. — 21 pancakes, graded at 96 percent, 0 sacks allowed
  • KYLEN HARRELL, Cameron Yoe, Sr. — 31 pancakes, 13 knockdowns, team averagd 433.2 yards per game
  • BOYD HENRY, Wall, Sr. — Graded at 96 percent, 25 pancakes, offense averaged 453 yards and 48 points
  • JACOB REID, Wall, Sr. — Graded at 96 percent, 28 pancakes, offense averaged 453 yards and 48 points



  • JANSEN MCCURDY, White Oak — 40-1,112, 14 TDs receiving
  • AARON MITCHELL, Teague, Jr. — 64-1,189, 17 TDs receiving



  • TRAVIS QUINTANILLA, Refugio, Sr. — 149-206-3,092, 39 TDs passing, 1 INT


Running backs:

  • GUNNER TATUM, Crane, Sr. — 226-2,165, 17 TDs rushing
  • MATT VALADEZ, Stockdale, Sr. — 2,045 rushing yards, 30 TDs, 8 2-point conversions
  • JEFFERY WILSON, Elkhart, Sr. — 275-2,487, 35 TDs rushing



  • TY MCKINNEY, Leonard, Sr. — 5-7 FGs, long of 44; 49-53 PATS, 28 touchbacks


Offensive Player of the Year: Travis Quintanilla, Refugio

Tatum’s Klifton Willis returns his interception during the Eagles’ Oct. 11 42-21 home win against White Oak. (Christopher Vinn,



  • THOMAS BASQUEZ, Post, Sr. — 125 tackles, 10 sacks, 15 tackles for loss, 3 forced fumbles, 3 fumble recoveries
  • RYAN HARRIS, Eastland, Sr. — 104 total tackles, 20 solo, 84 assist, 11 sacks, 22 tackles for loss, 2 forced fumbles, 2 pass breakups
  • KELSHIN NEAL, Daingerfield, Sr. — 134 tackles, 20 sacks, 46 tackles for loss
  • COLTON SCHWARTZ, Lago Vista, Sr. — 109 tackles, 26 tackles for loss, 7 sacks, 4 fumble recoveries, 3 forced fumbles



  • DRU LUST, Abernathy, Sr. — 135 tackles, 5 sacks, 6 INTs, 5 forced fumbles, 10 pass breakups
  • ALEJO RODRIGUEZ, Post, Jr. — 151 tackles, 4 sacks, 10 tackles for loss, 3 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries
  • KYE SCHWARTZ, Wall, Sr. — 119 tackles, 5 sacks, 7 tackles for loss, 3 fumble recoveries, 2 INTs, 3 defensive TDs


Defensive backs:

  • DALTON HERRINGTON, Hallettsville, Sr. — 143 tackles, 7 tackles for loss, 4 sacks, 3 forced fumbles, 12 pass breakups, 1 INT
  • KYLE PEGGRAM, Olton, Jr. — 11 INTs, 65 tackles
  • JUSTIN TRUELOVE, Bangs, Sr. — 78 tackles, 8 tackles for loss, 7 pass breakups, 6 INTs, 3 fumble recoveries
  • KLIFTON WILLIS, Tatum, Sr. — 34 tackles, 11 INTs, 4 pass breakups, 2 defensive TDs
  • CORY WINKS, Frankston, Sr. — 62 tackles, 8 INTs, 14 pass breakups, 6 blocked kicks



  • AUSTIN ROSS, Muleshoe, Sr. — 32 punts, 44.0 avg., 3 inside the 20


Defensive Player of the Year: Kelshin Neal, Daingerfield




  • Santana Aguilar, Dilley, Sr.; Trevor Davis, Crane, Sr.; Mondo Martinez, Post, Sr.; Ethan Patlan, Sonora, Jr.; William Roberts, Bangs, Sr.



  • Anthony Pando, Tulia, Sr.; Josh Quinn, Sunnyvale, Sr.



  • Colton Kent, Cisco, Sr.


Running backs:

  • BRANDON JOHNSON, NEWTON, SR.; John Love, Teague, Jr.; Cedrick Perkins, East Bernard, Sr. ; Darmarcus Robinson, Cooper, Sr.



  • Tyler Ellis, Blooming Grove, Jr.
Newton LB Anthony Hadnot. (Christopher Vinn,



  • Landon Beck, Early, Jr.; Dustin McBride, Cisco, Sr.; Tralund Webber, Cameron Yoe, Sr.; Phillip Zuniga, Banquete, Jr.



  • Alex Coronado, Refugio, Sr.; ANTHONY HADNOT, NEWTON, SR.; Robert Mendez, Slaton, Sr.


Defensive backs:

  • Grant Aschenbeck, East Bernard, Sr.; Kasey Byler, Ballinger, Sr.; Demetrius Gray, Sunnyvale, Sr.; DeVontae Steele, Marlin, Sr.



  • Jaden Dement, Clyde, Sr.
Waskom’s Kevin Johnson runs the ball during the Wildcats’ 60-13 Oct. 18 win at Elysian Fields. (Jeff Stapleton,


  • LinemenGARRETT BOWERY, UNION GROVE; Lionel DeLeon, Sonora; Tanner Dewbre, Abernathy; Tei Dixon-McDaniel, McGregor; Mathew Graham, Bushland; JASON HEIM, WHITE OAK; Juan Hernandez, Littlefield; Mason Holcomb, Childress; Justin Hoskinson, Bangs; Gino Juarez, Brownfield; JORDAN MATTOX, NEWTON; Cole Maxwell, Danbury; Conner Mayes, Van Alstyne; Jonathan McAnulty, Cameron Yoe; Logan McMain, Nixon-Smiley; Anthony Norman, Edna; Ty Oliver, Cooper; Dylan Pelton, Leonard; Zach Pfiel, Stockdale; JOHN ROSS, FRANKSTON; Dustin Smith, Muleshoe; Johnny Swires, Canadian; Bryan Townsend, Whitesboro; Matthew Wiethorn, Crawford; Tyler Williams, Cooper.
  • Receivers/Ends: Tyler Blackwell, Danbury; Cole Brunett, Whitney; Jordan Demps, Brownfield; Dirk DeVries, Dublin; Boston Hudson, Canadian; Colby Lee, Grandview; Austin Ross, Muleshoe; Colton Shuffield, Cameron Yoe; Aaron Sims, Cameron Yoe.
  • Quarterbacks: Ben Arbuckle, Canadian; Ryan Cottingame, Sunnyvale; Luke Dacy, Wall; Jason Kopriva, Cameron Yoe; Josh Moylan, Eastland; Spencer Seman, Danbury.
  • Running backs: D.J. Brown, Post; Brandon Jackson, Tulia; KEVIN JOHNSON, WASKOM; Jordan Martinez, Grandview; De’Vonte Mathis, Littlefield; Braden Murphy, Crawford; Jaden Roberts, Comanche; Carson Skala, Rogers; Traion Smith, Cameron Yoe; Solomon Titus, Leonard; Willie Winborne, S&S Consolidated.
  • Kickers: Adolfo Cordero, Refugio; Alex Lara, Schulenburg; Devin O’Sullivan, Corsicana Mildred; Zach Tovar, Abernathy.
Union Grove’s Garrett Gibson recovers a fumble during the Lions’ first-round playoff loss to Waskom on Nov. 14 in Hallsville. (Jeff Stapleton,


  • Linemen: Brett Boles, McGregor; GARRETT BOWEY, UNION GROVE; CADEN BRUTON, FRANKSTON; Elijah Cross, Sonora; Lucas Greenwood, Pilot Point; John Groff, Pilot Point; Nathan Hlavinka, East Bernard; Alexander Hoskins, Teague; Garrett Johnson, Jacksboro; Tristan Jones, Cooper; Justin McGuire, East Bernard; Sadler Pinkerton, Olton.
  • Linebackers: Michael Alexander, Brownfield; Dylan Dunn, Stockdale; GARRETT GIBSON, UNION GROVE; DEMETRIUS HILL, TATUM; Aaron Jongema, Aransas Pass; Tavaris Owens, Whitney; Mason Reed, Cisco; Justin Reeves, Hallettsville; Cody Rosales, East Bernard; Bryan Smith, Post; CHRIS SMITH, JEFFERSON; KYSHAUN SMITH, TATUM; GAJE SMOCK, ELKHART; Zach Stavinoha, East Bernard; Dylan Washington, Godley; Somari Wright, Cameron Yoe.
  • Defensive backs: Colton Adamick, Crawford; Branden Dietzman, McGregor; Garrett Earlywine, Nixon-Smiley; Braxton Iden, Coahoma; Colt Labay, Cameron Yoe; Cameron Loveday, Refugio; Devonte Mathis, Littlefield; Eriq Mitchell, Lago Vista; Justin Pratt, Cameron Yoe; Austin Ross, Muleshoe; Chance Seale, McGregor; Draylon Sterling, Corsciana Mildred.
  • Punters: Jason Kopriva, Cameron Yoe; David Llamas, Bloomington; Ty McKinney, Leonard.

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