The Texas High School football season came to a close, and it was another amazing year for the Texas Panhandle.
Here’s a look at the 2022 Press Pass Sports superlative honors.
Coach of the Year
Adam Cummings, West Plains
Three games into the 2022 Texas high school football season the West Plains Wolves sat at 0-3.
Nobody blinked an eye at the 0-3 record as West Plains under first-year coach Adam Cummings was a new school.
This meant 10 seniors were on the roster.
This meant early August was the first time all the West Plains players had been on a practice field together in full pads.
This meant realistic expectations for outsiders looking in at the young and new West Plains football program meant one, maybe two wins, would make for a good season.
Cummings and his Wolves had different ideas and by the end of the 2022 season opened eyes wide becoming the feel-good story of the 2022 season in the Texas Panhandle.
West Plains not only breezed past the two-win mark by game six of the season, Cummings guided the Wolves to their first-ever win over Class 5A Palo Duro (28-26, Sept. 15), a 3-1 District 2-4A Division II record, a 7-5 overall record, and the icing of the season a 56-7 bi-district playoff win over Pecos.
Seven wins and two rounds deep in the playoffs? Are you kidding?
Nobody, and I mean nobody except Cummings, his staff and players, believed a winning record was possible in year one of West Plains High.
For making the unexpected happen Adam Cummings is the overwhelming choice for 2022 Press Pass Sports Coach of The Year.
“What a great first season for West Plains football,” said Cummings, who spent the previous four years at Sundown compiling a 35-13 record. “I am so proud of our kids and coaches for how they came together and continued to get better each week. It’s exciting to look back and know that’s the first of many. I truly feel like our team and community set the standard for what’s to come. I’m very honored to have been a part of it and so grateful for our school, administration, players, coaches and community for the way they all made it happen. This is an awesome place to be.”
– Lance Lahnert
Player of the Year
Camren Cavalier, Canadian, 5-11, 175-pound, Jr.
From figuring it out as a sophomore to completely taking over during his junior year, Canadian quarterback Camren Cavalier had a dominating season for a Wildcat team that went 12-3 and made their unprecedented eighth UIL state semifinal appearance in the past nine years.
Because of Cavalier’s stellar play during the year, the dual threat QB garners the 2022 Press Pass Sports Player of the Year.
“It was amazing how much Camren improved from a sophomore,” Canadian head football coach Chris Koetting said. “He was great as a sophomore, but he took his play to another to another level this year, especially when you look at his stats. He was a game changer and brought another dimension to our offense that made us so potent. He made great decisions all year long and I can’t say enough good things about him.”
Following back-to-back losses early in the year, Cavalier and the Wildcats started to put it all together rolling to 11 straight wins that included an eighth district championship in nine years.
Behind the District 3-3A Division II MVP efforts Canadian averaged 50 points a game and averaged an eye-popping 478.9 yards per contest. Individually, Cavalier’s stats are flat out impressive. Cavalier totaled 4,606 yards of offense tallying a combined 67 touchdowns. Through the air, Cavalier was 187-of-288 (65 percent) throwing for 3,069 yards with 31 touchdowns to only eight interceptions. However, his ability to run the ball is where he made his mark leading the team with 186 carries for 1,537 yards with 36 TDs.
“The experience as a sophomore helped a ton,” Cavalier said. “This year I really felt more confident and more in control and it helps that I had a great offensive line and skill players that made me better. We just all played for one another and we’re always there for each other. I wouldn’t be where I am without my teammates.”
– Kale Steed
Offensive Player of the Year
Armando Lujan, Sunray, 6-0, 185-pound, Sr.
In just his second full season on the varsity, Lujan had one of the greatest years throwing the ball of any quarterback in the history of the area and has two more seasons to make an even bigger impact on the record books.
Lujan threw for a staggering 4.476 yards and 51 touchdowns with only nine interceptions in 12 games. That told just part of the story of how valuable he was to Sunray’s offense, as Lujan was a prolific dual threat, running for 783 yards and 16 touchdowns, both of which led the Bobcats as part of a productive offense which also boasted two 1,000-yard receivers.
It should come as no surprise that Lujan was voted the District 1-2A Division II MVP in leading Sunray to a 9-3 record and the second round of the playoffs. For good measure, Lujan also played defensive back and recorded 47 tackles with two interceptions and a fumble recovery.
“We continue to be surprised by Armando,” Sunray coach Wesley Boatmun said. “He’s got a crew of talented kids around him who really make his job easier, but it’s hard not to give credit where credit’s due. He soaks up what the coaches give him. He’s the kind of kid coaches want to work with. We brought virtually everyone back and we knew that avoiding injuries was going to be key.”
– Lee Passmore
Defensive Player of the Year
Avion Carter, Tascosa, 6-6, 245-pound, Sr.
No other area player came into this season as hyped as Carter, who had verbally committed to TCU over the summer and signed there in December. In the end, no other defensive player deserved to be as hyped.
Facing constant double and occasional triple teams, Carter anchored Tascosa’s defense up front at tackle and was in the eye of the storm for a dominant unit which led the way to an undefeated District 2-5A Division I championship. He finished the season with 75 tackles, including 10 for losses along with five sacks and 10 quarterback pressures in earning the district’s defensive MVP honors.
Those numbers alone don’t tell the story of Carter’s dominance, as he was a marked man after three years starting up front. He showed he was worthy of signing with a program which is playing in the national semifinals and lived up to those expectations.
“I don’t really let (expectations) bother me, I just play,” Carter said. “Like coach (Ken) Plunk tells us, just block out all the noise and do your thing and do what you were taught. I’m thankful and blessed for the opportunity of this year. I’ve done a lot of things for this team at defensive tackle and I’m just happy I succeeded.”
– Lee Passmore
Newcomer of the Year
Reid Macon, West Plains, 6-0, 165-pound, Fr.
Twelve months ago Reid Macon celebrated Christmas coming off a season of slinging passes against 8th grade defenses as quarterback for Westover Junior High.
A few days ago Macon celebrated Christmas coming off a season lighting up varsity defenses for West Plains High School.
Arguably no football player in the Texas Panhandle made a name for himself quite like Macon did stepping in as starting freshman quarterback for West Plains High.
As a result, Macon is a no-brainer as Press Pass Sports Newcomer of the Year.
Inserted into the starting lineup at quarterback in game two of the season, the unassuming Macon was a poised, tough, confident leader beyond his years helping first-year school West Plains to many firsts and producing the feel-good story of the 2022 Texas Panhandle football season.
At 6-0 and 165-pounds Macon guided West Plains to a 7-5 record which included the first-ever win in school history over Class 5A Palo Duro, a 3-1 District 2-4A Division II record, along with a 56-7 bi-district playoff win over Pecos.
Macon put on display a knack to escape pressure, an accurate passing arm, an ability to get up after tough hits, along with impressive statistics. Macon completed 197-of-336 passes for 2,273 yards with 19 touchdown passes and seven interceptions. He ranked on the Wolves in rushing with 337 yards and seven touchdowns.
“Reid is a special kid and a fierce competitor,” said West Plains head coach Adam Cummings. “The way he prepares, and his understanding of the game are unique for a player his age. But his ability to lead and execute at a high level are equally impressive. It was fun watching him mature and elevate his game each week. He has a very bright future, not just as a player, but as a young man and leader.”
– Lance Lahnert
Fighting Heart Award
Landyn Hack, Panhandle, 6-3, 205-pound, Sr.
This honor has become go award that focuses on a Texas Panhandle football player that exudes excellence over a lengthy career.
That’s why there is no other choice than Panhandle’s do-it-all standout Landyn Hack to receive the 2022 Press Pass Sports Fighting Heart Award.
This senior season was by far his best leading the Panthers to a 9-3 season and an area round playoff appearance. On the offensive side of the ball Hack was nearly unstoppable. Running or passing Hack made life miserable on opponents completing 125-of-211 passes for 2,174 yards with 29 touchdowns. On the ground, Hack used his bulky 6-foot-3, 205-pound frame to pile up 1,520 yards on only 149 carries with 26 TDs. Hack also made 46 extra-points, made 38 tackles at linebacker with two interceptions.
“We’re really going to miss Landyn,” Panhandle head coach Dane Ashley, who is also Hack’s stepfather. “He’s played for us so long I think we may have taken him for granted at times. He carried the team and anytime we needed a score we knew we could just go to Landyn. His work ethic is where I’m really proud of him. He’s always in the weight room getting bigger and faster. He was our team MVP, and I couldn’t be prouder of him.”
The two-time district MVP never missed a start over his four-year varsity career playing in 46 career games. He also never missed the playoffs. Hack leaves Panhandle as one of the best throwing for 4,658 career yards while rushing for 5,530 yards totaling an amazing 10,188 yards with a combined 147 touchdowns. Defensively, Hack ends his career with 167 career tackles with seven interceptions and three touchdowns.
– Kale Steed