Most Valuable Player
Cuero's J.T. Rudd was named the MVP of the 2005 Advocate All-Area Football Team.
J.T. Rudd emphatically made his point to the Cuero coaching staff as he gestured to the sideline after two incomplete passes left the Gobblers facing a fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line and trailing Hutto 12-0 with 8 seconds remaining in the first half of their Class 3A, Division II semifinal game.
"J.T. was telling us their linemen were standing straight up and let's run the football," Cuero coach Mark Reeve said. "J.T.'s one of those guys, when he says something, you trust him."
Reeve followed Rudd's advice and running back Fabian Olguin scored on the next play. The touchdown wasn't enough to prevent Cuero from dropping a 23-21 decision, but it demonstrated the role Rudd played for the Gobblers.
Rudd, a three-year starter and team captain, rarely left the field this season. The 6-foot-2, 230-pound senior started at tight end and defensive end and also lined up at fullback and linebacker while leading Cuero to a 13-1 record and securing his selection as the Most Valuable Player on the Victoria Advocate's 2005 All-Area Football Team.
"J.T.'s a warrior," Reeve said. "J.T.'s the first kid I've ever had who played line positions both ways. He plays with such great intensity that if you didn't know, you'd never have any idea that he's playing both ways."
Rudd, whose full name is John Thomas, had 32 solo and 57 total tackles, including 28 tackles for losses and nine sacks, to go along with 13 quarterback pressures, one caused fumble, and two fumble recoveries. He graded out at 98 percent in his blocking assignments with 23 pancake blocks, and nine of his 18 receptions went for touchdowns.
"It was a perfect season all the way up to the semifinals," Rudd said. "We expected to be there. It was not something we hoped for so it was a little bit different this year."
Rudd, who is scheduled to make recruiting visits to Baylor, Houston, Memphis, and Texas State, thrived on the pressure facing the Gobblers, who were ranked No. 1 virtually the entire season.
"It seemed like we had a target on us every Friday," Rudd said. "It was fun. I liked it even better. It always prepared us for the next week."
Coach of the Year
The Gobblers prepared well enough to extend their regular-season winning streak to 28 games leading to Reeve's selection as Coach of the Year. Other finalists for Coach of the Year honors were Schulenburg's Brad Oden and Industrial's Doug Kuhlmann.
"The most important thing was finding people to fit in the right places," said Reeve, who has a 36-4 record in his three seasons at Cuero. "Once we got to knowing where we were going, it was just a matter of how much they could go two ways. I think what we wanted to do is feed off the confidence we gained last year while understanding this was a different group of people."
Newcomer of the Year
Sophomore Quincey Whittington made a difference for the Gobblers on offense, defense, and special teams and was chosen as Newcomer of the Year.
Whittington, the son of former Cuero standout Quincy Whittington and the nephew of former Cuero, SMU, and Oakland Raiders running back Arthur Whittington, stands only 5-7 and weighs 150 pounds but played wide receiver, cornerback, and returned punts and kickoffs for the Gobblers.
Whittington had 25 receptions for 371 yards and two touchdowns and a 10.9-yard rushing average and scored two rushing touchdowns. He also intercepted one pass and returned a kickoff 79 yards for a touchdown in a comeback win over Sealy.
"We knew in the spring that Quincey had a knack to be good," Reeve said. "He has good football sense. He plays hard and he has great hands. He's not very big, but he's intelligent. His future is in the weight room. If he can get big enough and strong enough, he can do whatever he wants."
Offensive Player, Defensive Player, and Lineman of the Year
The Gobblers were the only team in the Advocate area to advance beyond the regional playoffs and their success was reflected in the postseason honors they received.
Cuero quarterback Kyle Noack was selected as Offensive Player of the Year, Cuero free safety Justin Wesley was picked as Defensive Player of the Year, and Cuero offensive and defensive tackle Joey Adams was chosen as Lineman of the Year.
Noack, a 6-foot, 185-pound junior, completed 149 of his 220 passes (67.7 percent) for 2,666 yards and 32 touchdowns with only four interceptions. He also rushed for 493 yards and seven touchdowns.
Wesley, a 6-3, 185-pound senior, had 19 solo and 38 total tackles, broke up 13 passes, and intercepted five passes, including three in the playoffs, and returned one for a touchdown.
Adams, a 6-4, 285-pound senior, had a blocking grade of 95 percent with 50 pancake blocks on offense, while making 45 tackles, including eight for losses, and getting five quarterback pressures on defense.
All-Around Player of the Year
Bay City recovered from a 0-3 start and advanced to the playoffs for the 10th consecutive season. It's no coincidence that Bay City's fortunes began to improve when senior Da' Marcus Griggs started playing in the secondary as well as at quarterback.
The 6-1, 150-pound Griggs steadied the Blackcats on defense while directing them on offense and was selected as the All-Around Player.
Griggs completed 103 of 202 passes for 1,381 yards and 15 touchdowns with seven interceptions, while rushing for 423 yards and two touchdowns. He also excelled in man coverage on defense and had a game-saving interception in the end zone against El Campo.
All-Area Team Player Selections
Cuero, Schulenburg, and Shiner each had two selections on the first-team offense.
Olguin, a junior, who rushed for 1,522 yards and 17 touchdowns, was picked at running back. Tre Gray, a junior, who had 54 receptions for 906 yards and nine touchdowns, was chosen at wide receiver.
Schulenburg senior Jarad Trojacek was the first-team quarterback. Trojacek completed 123 of 225 passes for 2,501 yards and 29 touchdowns with 11 interceptions and also rushed for 926 yards and 18 touchdowns.
Schulenburg sophomore Carlos Lara was the first-team kicker. Lara converted 58 of 62 extra-point attempts and made four of six field goals, including a long of 37 yards.
Shiner seniors Dylan Hagens, who has committed to Baylor, and Will Pekar combined for 63 pancake blocks and were selected to the first team on the offensive line.
The first-team offensive line also included Gonzales senior Ryan Arellano at center, along with St. Joseph senior Winston Ruelas and El Campo senior James Terrell.
Wharton junior Jamial Shelton, who had 54 receptions for 906 yards and nine touchdowns, and Bay City senior Cordero Williams, who had 37 receptions for 473 yards and six touchdowns, joined Gray at first-team wide receiver. Shelton was the Newcomer of the Year last season.
Along with Olguin, Weimar senior Brandon Burley, who rushed for 1,330 yards and 15 touchdowns, and Hallettsville senior Parris Brown, who rushed for 1,355 yards and 20 touchdowns, were the first-team running backs.
Beeville senior Jo Jo Garza, who had 177.8 all-purpose yards per game, was the first-team utility player. Garza rushed for 1,121 yards and 13 touchdowns, had 21 catches for 434 yards and eight touchdowns, had a 23-yard average and one touchdown on punt returns, had a 43.8-yard average and one touchdown on kickoff returns, and punted for a 32.7-yard average.
Cuero had three selections on the first-team defense, while Refugio and Memorial each had two.
Cuero senior Joey Gonzalez, who had 55 tackles, three sacks, and one caused fumble, was chosen on the line. Junior Dason Jackson, who had 90 tackles, seven sacks, three interceptions, three caused fumbles, and one fumble recovery, was picked at linebacker. Junior Domingo Ruiz, who had five interceptions, was chosen at defensive back.
Refugio senior Chris Doomes, who had 41 tackles, four sacks, one caused fumble, and one fumble recovery, was selected on the line. Refugio sophomore Ricky Lewis, who had five interceptions, was picked in the secondary.
Memorial's Willie Garley, who led the Vipers with 88 tackles and caused three fumbles and recovered one, was picked at linebacker. Memorial senior Alvin Ford, who had a team-leading four interceptions, was chosen at defensive back.
The first-team defensive line also included Industrial senior Randall McDuff and St. Joseph senior Hank Gilley.
Along with Jackson and Garley, the first-team linebackers were Hallettsville senior Preston Fredrich and Bay City senior Dennis Grebe.
Joining Ruiz, Lewis, and Ford in the secondary was Yoakum senior Austen Wilemon, who had an area-leading eight interceptions.
The first-team punter was Palacios senior Dane Kubecka, who had a 40.2-yard average on his 33 kicks and placed seven punts inside the 20-yard line.
The first-team returner was Goliad senior Adam Morris, who had a 31.9-yard average and one touchdown on his 18 kickoff returns.