The 2017 sub-5A Texas Associated Press Sports Editors all-state high school football lists were released this week and nine area players made the cut.
Two players from Rio Hondo, five players from Raymondville and two from La Villa hold this year’s distinction of making it onto the team. As always, voting was based on regular-season performances only.
RIO HONDO: After an impressive 2017 season, Rio Hondo receiver Erik Pizarro and offensive lineman Ty Rhyner can now celebrate their inclusion onto the all-state team first team. Rhyner recorded a 98 percent grade, 43 pancakes and did not allow any sacks in nine games allowing quarterback Tyler Bush to work his magic.
“I’m very proud of Ty because he has come a long way,” said Rio Hondo head coach Rocky James. “He had a great senior year both offensively and defensively and was actually the heart and soul and gave us that extra push when we needed it.”
Pizarro, meanwhile, mesmerized with his acrobatic catches and helped the Bobcats decimate opposing defenses. Pizarro caught 69 passes for 1,206 yards and 17 touchdowns.
“I can actually say that Pizarro is actually the best player that has come out of Rio Hondo, athletic wise,” said James. “He’s just a phenomenal athlete and he showed his senior year, with the help of Tyler Bush getting him the ball, making all of those big catches and really turning the games around for us.
“He helped us out offensively and defensively because he also played safety for us through all of district and in the playoffs and just a great kid all around.”
RAYMONDVILLE: This season the Bearkats had a lot to celebrate after turning things around. For their efforts, five players made the list including senior defensive lineman Darian Cortez and sophomore kicker Saul Garcia, who both were named to the first team. Teammate Jacob Posas made the second team, and Fred Rodriguez and Noe Zambrano were both on the honorable mention list.
Defensively, Cortez had a solid season with 86 tackles, 11 sacks, 21 tackles for losses and three caused fumbles.
Raymondville head coach Frank Cantu said there aren’t enough positives words to say about Cortez.
“For the past two years he’s been the district’s Defensive MVP and he’s been just super solid for us these past three years,” said Cantu. “He was a big reason as to why we had the kind of season that we had. He and Jacob Posas, who was actually our defensive player of the year with 146 tackles, were big reasons why we had the type of season we did.”
Offensively, no other Raymondville player made more of a name for himself this year than Saul Garcia. Garcia captivated the Bearkat faithful with his long-range kicking, making 13 of 15 field-goal attempts, 31 of 31 PATs with a his longest field goal coming from 58 yards out.
“We are excited about getting get a kid like this on the all-state team,” Cantu. “He’s just a sophomore and he really embraced that roll, and was just so successful with it. I look forward to really seeing what’s in store for him.”