TEXARKANA — Coach Todd Ledford presented his final football team awards Monday night at the Texarkana Razorback Athletic Foundation All Sports Awards banquet.
The outgoing coach had high praise for his team that finished 3-8 overall with a 2-5 conference record and recorded its sixth straight postseason appearance under Ledford.
“We have a group of a young men I couldn’t be more proud of that stayed at it because it was always something from week to week,” Ledford said. “There was something to try to make you take a step backwards. It seemed like every week the kids just kept digging in. That’s why I want to recognize all the football players. What I will remember about you is not only the toughness and the physical side, but the mental side and I’ll appreciate that as always.”
Senior Tyler Braswell took home the Finnis E. Pharr Award, the team’s most valuable player award equivalent.
Said Ledford on Braswell: “This young man, he scored touchdowns by throwing the football. He scored touchdowns by catching the football. He ran them in. He kicked extra points. He kicked field goals. And then the next night he probably went and won the cross country meet. He’s an extremely talented young man, but even more so, he’s an extremely driven young man. I couldn’t be more proud of him.”
Linebacker Robert James, who will be continuing his football career at Cisco Junior College in Cisco, Texas, won the Dr. William H. Richardson Award, a leadership accolade.
“We were young, as I said earlier, but we had a senior on the football team,” Ledford explained. “It seemed like he was always taking us some place. But as he grew up, he started leading by actions a little bit more.”
Senior receiver Michael Caldwell won the Bob Graham Razorback Award and will continue his football career in nearby Magnolia, Arkansas with the Southern Arkansas University Muleriders.
“It goes to somebody who is a strong competitor, somebody who keeps going, keeping fighting for another day,” Ledford said.
Chris Scott and Bailey Bates each won the Joey Martin “Man of Steel” Award which goes to the most competitive offensive or defensive lineman in practice and on the field.
Said Ledford: “I saw Bates one night get his head knocked off and I thought the only left in his mouth was going to be a mouthpiece. Chris Scott lined up at 220 pounds and never complained. Every day in practice he played guard. But here’s the thing: they were productive with what they did and they did a good job.”
Incoming head coach Barry Norton, a legend at rival Texas High, will replace Ledford on the sidelines and as athletic director.
“What I’ve witnessed over the last couple of months is excited and makes you proud to be a part of the Razorback family, Razorback team,” said Norton.