PLANO, Texas — Other than winning a state title for your team, what’s one of the most coveted things a north Texas high school football player could possibly want?
What about North Texas high school football’s very own version of the Heisman?
Highland Park High School state championship quarterback John Stephen Jones nabbed the Landry Award — named in memory of late Dallas Cowboys Head Coach Tom Landry and is awarded to the top high school football player of any position, division, and school in North Texas — Monday night at the Hope Center.
— Brian Gosset (@Gosset41) December 12, 2017
The recipient, chosen in December each year, is picked by a voting panel made up of former coaches and players, members of the media and leaders in the area.
Though Jones was the one to raise the hardware, the other four athletes invited to Plano were all well-deserving. Denton Ryan’s Spencer Sanders who had a total number of 51 touchdown passes, more than 3,600 total yards and threw only 6 interceptions during the season. Matthew Gadek, a running back from McKinney, made the short list with 290 carries for 2,265 total rushing yards this season.
Gadek racked up 15 touchdowns for McKinney in 2017.
Mansfield Legacy’s quarterback, safety, and utility athlete Jalen Catalon was also a finalist with 205 solo tackles, 272 total tackles and 7 caused fumbles on the season. Desoto’s defensive back and wide receiver Byron “BJ” Hanspard, who announced his commitment to Baylor University later in the evening, was also in the running with 36 receptions for 493 yards this season.
On Monday night, with a blue shirt offer from Texas Tech and a recent extended offer from Arkansas, Jones took the Landry Award. He has 3,774 total yards and 52 passing touchdowns this season so far and his season with the Scots isn’t over yet.
If Jones were to surpass the 4,000 total-yard mark, he would be the first since Allen High School legend Kyler Murray. Jones is in route to winning his second consecutive state title and plays Denton Ryan in the state semi-finals at 9 p.m. Friday in AT&T Stadium.
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