Game Ball Honors: The Best Texas High School Players of Week 8

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Photo courtesy mystatesman.com

EDITORS NOTE: Every week, TexasHSFootball will present their official game ball honors to those that were the most impactful under the Friday Night Lights. Our experts watched numerous games and decided on the very best that Week Seven had to offer.

Please post your game ball honorees below and tag @texashsfootball and use the hashtag #GameBallHonors through our various social media channels. Readers can also submit suggestions via email at [email protected]ashsfootball.com (no later than 4 p.m. each Sunday). 

We’ll be sure to keep an eye on all suggestions — and possibly name them a Texas HS Football Game Ball Honoree or an Honorable Mention.

Sean Ruiz (RB, Southwest)

This past Saturday, the Dragons managed to stay unbeaten in district play by defeating the United Longhorns thanks in large part to a big performance for running back Sean Ruiz. Against a stout United defensive unit that is fast and physical, Ruiz carried the ball 23 times for 163 yards and three touchdowns.

This marked the second straight game that Ruiz scored big in victory as the week before, the senior ball carrier also eclipsed the century mark and found the end zone three times in the Dragons’ win over the Laredo Alexander Bulldogs.

Ruiz will look to have another stalwart outing when Southwest faces the winless Laredo LBJ Wolves this coming Friday night.

Trazon Connely (QB, Duncanville), Keilon Elder (RB, Duncanville)

Trazonn Connely, Duncanville (Charleston Gladden, TexasHSFootball)

Duncanville was able to stay undefeated last week as they defeated South Grand Prairie 28-14. Much of that win was thanks to a potent ground attack led by quarterback dual-threat gunslinger Trazon Connley and Keilon Elder.

The two-pronged attack assisted Duncanville against a stout defense that held it from reaching their 40-point mark. Despite the early 7-0 deficit, Duncanville roared back as Connley rushed for 81 yards and two scores and Elder rushed for 120 yards and two scores— garnering both Game Ball Honors.  — Jonathan Rodriguez

Ryan Fiala (QB, Cedar Park)

Brian Ullestad/TexasHSFootball

Fiala’s 25-of-42, 176-yards, two-touchdown and three-interception performance during Cedar Park’s 28-27 win against Georgetown may not be outstanding, but his entrance into the game was a matter of circumstance.

The Timberwolves lost 37-game starter and team captain Mak Sexton to an injury midway through the first quarter. Though Fiala came in and initially struggled, throwing for just 20 yards on 11 first-half attempts, something clicked after halftime.

He came out a different quarterback after the break and completed 7-of-7 passes for 71 yards and tossed a 6-yard touchdown to senior Brant McDonald on the opening drive of the third quarter. He finished the game with a 3-yard score to senior Drew McDaniel with 37 seconds left to cap a wild 20-point second half comeback. — Steven Ryan

Brenden Brady (RB, Cibolo Steele)

Flo Landsteiner/TexasHSFootball

Over the last several weeks, Brady has been arguably the best player in the San Antonio area.

The Rice University commit was responsible for 13 rushes for 137 yards and two touchdowns in the first half against New Braunfels. He’s also scored in six consecutive games, totaling an average of 163.5 yards and two scores in the last two victories for the Knights.

The playoff odds for Cibolo will rely heavily on Brady’s workhorse output through the remainder of the season. – Kyle Spishock

Parker McGrew (QB, Muenster)

Blake Wood/TexasHSFootball

Muenster played dominating football from start to finish last week against rival Lindsay, defeating the Knights 65-0.

One player who made it all possible was McGrew. The junior signal caller took to the air with 164 yards and a pair of scores on nine completions, but also tallied 131 yards and three more scores on the ground.

It’s been a long, long time since the Hornets topped Lindsay in this fashion, and McGrew was a big part of it. He’ll continue to be a key part of Muenster’s success in the 2017 season, and with one more year of high school to go, we may be seeing a lot more of him. — Blake Wood

Colt McCarley (QB, Happy)

If you’ve ever watched a western, then you know every Cowboy has a go-to weapon. For gunslingers in the Old West, the revolver or double-barrelled shotgun were the street sweepers of choice. For Happy High School’s Cowboys, the weapon of choice is a Colt.

Colt McCarley to be exact.

Friday night the Cowboys traveled to Follett, dismantling the Panthers 70-20 in the first two quarters. McCarley finished the game with seven total touchdowns (six on the ground and one passing). During the first quarter, he rushed for 102 yards and three touchdowns, he went on to have a hand in the Cowboys final four touchdowns of the game.

McCarley finished the game with 10 carries for 250 yards and six touchdowns and was 3-for-4 passing for 79 yards and a touchdown — more than 300 total yards and 80 percent of the Cowboys’ offense. – Garrett Ross

Connor Klapesky (WR, The Woodlands)

Vance Valentine/TexasHSFootball

Kesean Carter was the slot receiver people were watching, but Connor Klapesky was the slot receiver that stole the show.

Klapesky was outstanding in The Woodlands’ defeat of the previously undefeated Oak Ridge War Eagles, forced into the starting slot due an injury to Carter that held him out of full participation in practice.

While Carter ended up playing against Oak Ridge and his presence helped steal the War Eagle defense’s attention, Klapesky was a difference-maker for the Highlanders in the first half, collecting seven catches for 121 yards and a score. — Tim Verghese

Andrew Fernandez (QB, El Paso Montwood)

Adrian Broaddus/TexasHSFootball

Andrew Fernandez continues to impress in El Paso high school football, helping Montwood High School move to 7-0 after a monstrous 69-52 win over Coronado.

Fernandez completed 28-of-35 passes and threw for 493 yards and eight total touchdowns. He also tallied 94 rushing yards through the Rams’ balanced attack.

The thing that may be most special about Fernandez’s play, though, is his poise in the pocket and ability to make plays. He’s able to sustain drives, which he did effectively versus Coronado. – Adrian Broaddus

Cedarious Barfield (QB, El Paso El Dorado)

File photo by Kyle Jacobson/ TexasHSFootball

The San Diego State defensive back commit Cedarious Barfield is something out of a video game. He put up 424 yards of total offense and added seven total touchdowns to beat Franklin 63-44.

The multi-talented quarterback didn’t just contribute on offense, though. He played all three sides of the ball, also as El Dorado’s starting defensive back and even returned kickoffs for the team.

Barfield’s third and fourth down efficiency was what hurt Franklin so much. If the play was third-and-long, it was no matter for the elusive quarterback. He even converted a 4th-and-13 on the ground, which ended up in a 22-play, 83-yard touchdown drive.  – Adrian Broaddus

Matteo Serrano (QB, El Paso Burges)

File photo by Adrian Broaddus/TexasHSFootball

The senior quarterback did a little bit of everything for the Burges Mustangs on Thursday night. He finished with 215 total yards and three rushing touchdowns in the win over El Paso Austin to give Burges a 4-0 record in District 1-5A play. – Tony Venegas

Ricardo Valles (LB/RB, El Paso Bowie)

File photo by Tony Venegas/TexasHSFootball

El Paso Bowie linebacker Ricardo Valles came up big when his team needed him the most on Friday night. The senior linebacker finished with nine tackles, forced and recovered a fumble and ran for the go-ahead 41-yard rushing touchdown in the 19-16 win over El Paso High. – Tony Venegas

Quad’tavias Donalson (LB, Waxahachie) and the Indians’ defense

At this point, no team is surprised by the multifaced talent that lies on Mansfield Legacy High School’s sidelines or the duo that powers its offense.

Before entering last Friday’s matchup with Waxahachie, the Broncos had outscored Mansfield Timberview, Midlothian, and Lancaster High Schools 137-57 — an average 26.6 point margin — during its last three victories.

With the help of three forced fumbles and a Jarreth Sterns interception, Donalson (INT, FF, FR in 2017) and the Indian defense held the Jalen Catalon and Grant Johnson-powered, Associated Press No. 8 Broncos to 315 total yards and fell by only a five-point margin. – Marcus Matthews-Marion

Chux Nwabuko (RB, Hutto)

Hutto High School entered last Friday’s matchup with East View High School 6-0 overall and 4-0 in District 19-5A. One hundred and sixty-eight total yards and five Chux Nwabuko-powered touchdowns later, the Hippos improved their record by a game and made a move up the TexasHSFootball Top 10 rankings.

Nwabuko’s breakout performance may have been more surprising given his previous game totals against Bryan (72 yards, TD), Rudder (89 yards, 2 TD), Georgetown (69 yards, TD), Pflugerville Connally (119 yards, 2 TD), Elgin (124 yards, 2 TD) and Bastrop (96 yards, 3 TD).

Nwabuko (910 total yards, 16 total TD) has scored at least two touchdowns in five of the Hippos’ seven games and at least one in every matchup this season. At his current rate, he is on pace to gain 1,300 all-purpose yards and score 23 touchdowns. – Marcus Matthews-Marion

Gunner Petty (QB, Maypearl)

Courtesy Jerome Stewart

After beating Scurry-Rosser High School 63-6 on the road last Friday, Maypearl (5-2, 3-1) is third in District 6-3A and poised for a looming matchup with state-ranked Grandview.

Senior quarterback Gunner Petty — who completed 10 of his 15 passes for 185 yards and three touchdowns to three different receivers and rushed 11 times for 118 yards for another trio of scores — has been a focal reason for the Panthers’ success in 2017.

Outside of the 303 total yards and six total touchdowns against Scurry-Rosser’s Wildcats, Petty has thrown for nearly 600 yards and seven touchdowns and run for 763 yards and 11 touchdowns. He is on pace to crack the 1,000-yard barrier on the ground and through the air for the first time in his high school career, as well as score 27 total touchdowns. – Marcus Matthews-Marion

Hayden Terry (QB, Groveton)

Courtesy Groveton ISD

In three games with Groveton High School’s 4-2 overall and District 12-2A Indians, senior gunslinger Hayden Terry has been on a frenetic trajectory. He’s slung the pigskin to the tune of 1044 yards and 12 touchdowns and rushed 29 times for 258 yards and three touchdowns.

During last Friday’s 65-29 victory against West Hardin, he threw for 403 yards and six touchdowns on 19-for-25 passing — in only two quarters.

Perhaps more important is Terry’s field vision and accuracy. He’s found the waiting hands of seven different at a 69 percent clip. The Indians are 3-0 since he took over under center on Sept. 29 and have scored an average of 49.7 points per game. – Marcus Matthews-Marion

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