Six Outstanding Student-Athletes Honored as Built Ford Tough Texas High School Football Players of the Week

By: Carson Carney/Ford Motor Company
By: Carson Carney/Ford Motor Company

PLANO, Texas -- October 24, 2012 – Six Texas high school football stars are being recognized as the Built Ford Tough Texas High School Football Players of the Week for Week 7.

These athletes join a long list of players recognized for outstanding efforts on and off the field. They are now among the likes of Heisman Trophy winner and Washington Redskins starting quarterback Robert Griffin III and Atlanta Falcons running back Quizz Rodgers. Other past winners include Texas A&M starting quarterback Johnny Manziel, Nebraska's Big 10 Player of the Year candidate Rex Burkhead, SMU's starting quarterback Garrett Gilbert, and the nation's most-watched freshman running back Johnathan Gray of UT, the only two-time Built Ford Tough Texas HS Football Player of the Year.

This is the seventh consecutive year that Ford Motor Company is recognizing six outstanding student-athletes each week during the 2012 season. The Built Ford Tough Texas High School Football Player of the Week program honors one student-athlete in six of the state’s athletic classifications every week during the high school football regular season for his accomplishments on and off the field.

Following are capsule summaries on the Week 7 winners

CLASS 5-A: Marcos Hernandez, Sr., Running Back/Wide Receiver, El Paso Franklin:

The bigger the game, the bigger Marcos Hernandez plays. When El Paso’s top-ranked teams, Franklin and Americas, hooked up last Thursday, leadership in District 1-5A was on the line. That’s when the Cougars’ Hernandez put on a one-man show to move Franklin to 7-0 overall and 4-0 in the district. He wound up the night with five TDs and 352 all-purpose yards. The versatile 5-8, 170-pounder made the most of his 12 carries, rushing for 270 yards (nearly 23 yards per carry) and scoring from 2, 49, 89, and 89 yards. He also caught a simple screen pass in the fourth quarter and raced 76 yards for another score, capping a memorable 41-10 thumping of the Cougars’ crosstown rivals.

Marcos is a typical “slash” player—wide receiver/Wildcat QB/running back, though his hometown UTEP Miners want him as a pass-catcher. In the spring, you’ll find him sprinting for the track team. Owner of a brilliant 3.5 GPA (top 10% of his class), Hernandez is a regular on the Franklin honor roll and volunteers with Special Olympics.

“He’s extremely versatile and does whatever the coaching staff asks of him,” says Coach Daren Walker. “Marcos is physical for his size, shows tremendous lateral movement, and finishes his runs. He’s the absolute definition of a student-athlete. From a coaching standpoint, we simply need to get the ball in his hands.”

CLASS 4-A: Quade Coward, Sr., Quarterback/Punter, Cleburne:

Even an 18-point third-quarter deficit didn’t shake Cleburne quarterback Quade Coward. On an evening when the most exhausted person in the stadium was the scoreboard operator, Coward kept the Yellowjackets coming back until his third TD pass of the game with 15 seconds to go sewed up a nail-biting 61-59 victory for Cleburne over District 8-4A rival Burleson Centennial. The 6-4, 200-pound signal-caller wound up hitting 21 of 31 for 395 yards and the three scores and rushed 20 times for another 155 yards and two TDs. Quade went 4-for-4 on the winning drive, covering 65 yards in just one minute. The Yellowjackets, who were 4-6 in 2011, raised their record to 5-2 and 4-0 in the district under new Coach Jeff Merket.

Coward, all-district in three sports (baseball and basketball, too) is even better in the classroom. His 4.6 GPA ranks him 32nd in his class of 340. He also participates in the FCA, Cleburne’s reading program for elementary school youngsters, and a local clothing drive for children. Several BCS schools have indicated interest in the scholar-athlete.

“Quade has made remarkable progress with a new coaching staff and new system,” says Merket. “We knew we had someone special because he had more than 2,000 yards of total offense last year. But he’s a great student of the game and he simply excels at everything he does.”

CLASS 3-A: Cecil Johnson, Sr., Running Back/Defensive Back, Gonzales:

With the season possibly hanging in the balance and one of the state’s top-ten 3-A teams on the opposite sideline, Gonzales’ Cecil Johnson took matters into his own hands. The 5-8, 160-pound RB/DB went for three (of his total of five) touchdowns in the first quarter as the Apaches upset district heavyweight Giddings, 43-23, in a pivotal District 26-3A contest. Despite Gonzales’ early lead, the Buffaloes cut the margin to seven heading to the fourth quarter. Up stepped Johnson, peeling off TDs from 19 and 26 yards to put the finishing touches on the victory and on his 259-yard, five TD performance. In his six games, Cecil has amassed 1,392 rushing yards and 18 TDs, surpassing 200 yards in all six. That comes as no surprise for Cecil, who rushed for over 1,700 yards as a junior, earning honorable mention all-state honors.

When he’s not running the football, Cecil starts in the backcourt for Gonzales’ basketball team and sprints for the track team. A solid B student, he’s garnering interest from FBS schools such as UTSA, Stephen F. Austin, and Texas State. Additionally, he’s involved in a reading program for elementary school children and other community projects.

“Cecil is a tremendously versatile player,” says Coach Ricky Lock. “He’ll line up in the slot, take a direct snap in a shotgun formation, and play cornerback. He has a dynamic personality and is well-liked around school. Our game plan usually starts with Cecil Johnson.”

CLASS 2-A: Darius Floyd, Sr., Running Back, Franklin:

For most teams, scoring territory—the infamous “red zone”—starts at the opponent’s 20-yard line. But when you’ve got Darius Floyd, Franklin’s 6-1, 170-pound running sensation in your backfield, anywhere on the field is the “red zone.” Floyd broke open a close contest with district rival Elkhart last week to lead the Lions to an impressive 69-34 thumping. Scoring territory? Darius ran 13 times for an incredible 388 yards and seven touchdowns—from 67, 53, 35, 62, 45, 22, and 54 yards. That raises the Lions’ record to 5-2 and 4-0 in district play, ready for another run at playoff success.

A bunch of BCS schools are keeping their eye on Franklin’s number 20. He owns a 3.0 GPA and stars on both the basketball and track teams. Off the field, he’s the class president, a member of FFA and FCCLA, and serves as a youth mentor at South New Hope Baptist Church.

“Darius is blessed with incredible vision,” says Coach Mike Hedrick. “He sees the field like no one I’ve ever coached. I brought him up to the varsity for the second game of his freshman season and it’s so great to see how he has matured. The rest of the kids are so inspired that it seems that they block and execute even better when he gets the ball. And when he does, anywhere on the field, he’s liable to take it all the way.”

CLASS 1-A: Jalen Garza, Jr., Quarterback, Anson:

If anyone’s surprised that Anson is 7-0 (5-0 in District 4-1A, Division 1), they probably hadn’t counted on junior quarterback Jalen Garza. The 6-11, 180-pound junior had a breakout game last week, throwing for a career-best 372 yards (on an efficient 14 of 17) and six TDs (14, 23, 22, 2, 6, and 21 yards) in a 61-25 blowout of Winters. Garza staked the Tigers to a quick 35-0 first-quarter lead, passing for three of his scores and scampering 21 yards on the opening drive for another. His stellar performance upped his season numbers to 504 yards and six TDs rushing and 1,273 yards and 13 TDs through the air. It’s just the third time since 1990 that the Tigers have at least seven wins in a season with three games to go—including a Nov. 9 faceoff with Built Ford Tough Player of the Week Hagen Hutchinson of Sta mford.

Garza, a solid FCS prospect, concentrates on football but still competes in baseball, basketball, and track, where he runs on two sprint relay teams that qualified for the regionals last spring. His straight-A average ranks him second in his class, which brings a smile to his parents, both Anson teachers. Jalen is also involved in the Fellowship of Christian Students and the UIL Academic Team and is extremely active in community service projects.

“Jalen is a quiet leader,” says Coach Keith Woolf. “His dad is our offensive coordinator so he gets a little extra understanding of what we’re trying to do on the field.”

PRIVATE SCHOOLS: Daniel Davidson, Sr., Quarterback, Addison Trinity Christian Academy:

If there were any question that Addison Trinity Christian Academy football was back, quarterback Daniel Davidson provided the answer last week. Coming off a 3-9 season in 2010 and 6-6 in 2011, the Trojans thought they had something to prove—and they did, knocking off the state’s top-ranked private school, Plano Prestonwood Christian in a 63-47 shootout. The 6-0, 180-pound QB put up pro numbers, completing 34 of 62 for 499 yards and eight touchdowns. The last time he hit for eight scores was in the 2011 opener—when he was also named Built Ford Tough Player of the Week. TCA recovered a surprise onside kick to open the game against the favored Lions and went up 14-0 in the opening minute. After that, Davidson kept the pedal to the metal—raising his season numbers to 349 yards per game and 29 TDs. < /span>

Carrying a lofty 4.3 GPA and a 2030 SAT score, Davidson is on the radar of several Ivy League schools. A sprinter on the track team and an all-region choir member, he plays keyboards for his youth worship team. He also mentors TCA freshmen, is a member of the National Honor Society, and helps handicapped children at the Miracle League of Frisco.

“It has been great to watch Daniel mature as a player and a leader,” says Coach Steve Hayes. “That’s why his teammates elected him captain. They just love him and he has raised the team’s level of play. He’s the catalyst of our team and he still gets better every week.”

Nominate Your Elite Student-Athletes at PlayeroftheWeek.com

Students recognized by Ford, the Texas Ford dealers and the Built Ford Tough Media Advisory Board as the Built Ford Tough Texas High School Football Player of the Week have excelled in three categories:
Individual performance on the field, including significant game statistics. Contribution to the team’s success through individual leadership abilities and Performance off the field, including academic success and good community citizenship.

Texas high school football coaches, athletic directors and fans are invited to nominate players each week. To nominate student-athletes for this award or for additional information on the nomination process, visit PlayeroftheWeek.com

Additionally, fans can keep up with award winners through a weekly television show. Ford and Texas Ford Dealers are teaming up with Fox Sports Southwest to send television crews into communities across the state to shine the spotlight on players who excel on the field, in the classroom and in their communities. The half-hour Built Ford Tough Texas High School Football Player of the Week program airs Saturdays at 8:30 a.m.

Ford F-Series: The Truck of Texas

Ford is the undisputed truck leader in Texas. The F-Series sets the standard for full-size pickups with best-in-class payload, towing, interior roominess, strength and reliability. The Texas Association of Auto Writers named the F-150 the 2012 Truck of Texas. No truck is tougher, and Ford is proud to recognize the Built Ford Tough Texas High School Football Players of the Week.


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