Texarkana’s four high school football coaches know that great players are a big part of the equation to winning championships. That’s what we considered in selecting the 2019 Fox Sports Texarkana All-City Football Team.
Twenty years ago Liberty-Eylau became the first high school on the Texas-side to win a state title since integration. Soon afterwards Texas High won a 5A state crown. Pleasant Grove brought home the 4A Division II hardware in 2017. In between, Arkansas High won back-to-back titles.
All of those teams had special talent, and many players went on to play college football.
History could repeat itself in 2019. Three of the four local schools advanced past the first round of their respective playoffs. Pleasant Grove remains alive in its quest for a second state championship. Therefore, Fox Sports Texarkana believes the timing is perfect to announce its first All-City Football Team. Coaches Gerry Stanford, Barry Norton, Josh Gibson and Klint King were asked to nominate players from their teams, and, consequently, the final selections were easy.
Leadership is another part of the equation. Fox Sports Texarkana didn’t have to look far for its inaugural Player of the Year and Coach of the Year.
Harmon is All-City Player of the Year
Pleasant Grove’s senior quarterback Ben Harmon has all the intangibles of being a leader and winner. Harmon led the Hawks to 41 wins the past three seasons, including 12 in 2019 so far. During the regular season Harmon passed for 1,127 yards and 17 touchdowns, from the wing-t formation. Don’t be shocked if coaches from all over East Texas attend his graduation next spring to bid him farewell. That’s why he is our Player of the Year.
Harmon had a special individual to show him the way things should be done on the gridiron. Josh Gibson has Pleasant Grove two wins away from its third consecutive appearance in the state championship game. That is why Gibson is our Coach of the Year. Our selections on offense and defense could match up with most high schools at the highest classification.
All-City offense piled up big numbers in 2019
It has already been noted Harmon is the quarterback. Lined up behind the Hawks’ signal-caller is senior teammate Bruce Garrett. Texas High senior Tracy Cooper, and Arkansas High junior Torie Blair join Garrett. That trio combined for 3,330 yards and 40 touchdowns this season in the regular season. Cooper led the way with 1,438 yards and 13 TDs.
Harmon also has his favorite target to throw to in senior Sergio Rodriguez. He has 21 receptions for 641 yards and 10 TDs in the Hawks’ first 10 games. Texas High senior Kobe Webster was an easy pick after catching 39 passes for 710 yards and 11 TDs for the Tigers. We went with Texas High junior Clayton Smith (6-5, 220) at tight end.
There’s a strong Pleasant Grove flavor in the offensive line. Senior Connor Stanfill and juniors Cameron Weekly and Alex Murphy helped the Hawks average more than 350 yards on the ground. Texas High senior Eric Poe and Razorback junior Gaylon Williams round out this big, strong group of young men.
The final selection on offense is quite possibly the fastest player in East Texas. Liberty-Eylau senior Korbyn White is our utility player. While playing wide receiver, running back, kick returner and cornerback for the Leopards, White led the Leopards in scoring with nine touchdowns.
Defense loaded with size and speed
It really shouldn’t surprise anyone that Pleasant Grove dominates our defensive selections, particularly up front.
Senior Jamie Lewis and juniors Marcus Burris and Torey Phillips make up the interior line. Junior teammates Landon Jackson, Nick Martin and senior Dylan Hopkins are three of the five linebackers. Arkansas High senior Larry Jefferson and Liberty-Eylau junior Damian Henderson give us a deep group at linebacker.
The secondary is loaded with great athletes. Texas High senior Marquavius Fisher and junior Caleb Arnold head this group. Pleasant Grove senior K.J. Hicks, Arkansas High junior Jalen Pastchol, and L-E sophomore Keyvuntae Featherson complete this unit.
There’s experience and youth at the kicking positions with Pleasant Grove senior Anthony Mejia, and Arkansas High sophomore Christian Stewart.
There were other deserving players, but Fox Sports Texarkana is pleased to honor those recognized.