It was another exciting year for high school football in Galveston County. We had four teams crowned district champions, teams make runs in the playoffs — one after an undefeated regular season — and surprises almost every week.
Friday nights in Texas don’t get any more exciting than they do here.
This area has some of the best talent in the state, and when The Daily News selected its All-County teams and top award winners for 2013, it wasn’t an easy task.
But, as they always do, the best of the best stood out even from the crowd of elite players, and a stellar year on both sides of the ball for a senior Stingaree distinguished himself from the rest.
Player of the Year
Sr., Texas City
There was a lot of hype surrounding Texas City before the high school season kicked off, and much of that attention was because of twins Armanti and D’Onta Foreman. The brothers were entering their third year of varsity play and had gotten better each season.
Much of the preseason publicity focused around Armanti, and both Foremans had great seasons on both sides of the ball for the Stings, but D’Onta became a workhorse out of the offensive backfield and a terror at defensive end en route to earning The Daily News’ Player of the Year award.
“To win this, it’s just a great honor,” D’Onta Foreman said. “It really is something I’ve always wanted and dreamed of. We had a great group, and I worked hard for the team, and getting awards like this you hope come as you’re trying to do everything you can do to win.”
D’Onta Foreman finished the year with 2,102 yards rushing and 31 touchdowns as the Stings capped an undefeated regular season with a District 24-4A title. He also played defensive end, where he was just as dominant a player.
“I wanted to do whatever it took to help the team win, and playing both sides of the ball was part of that,” he said. “Conditioning was a big part of playing both ways, and I knew I just had to work as hard as everybody else was on the team. With us, it was more about the team than anything individual.”
Texas City head coach Leland Surovik, who took over the Stings’ program last season, saw an improved D’Onta Foreman this year.
“He already was an impact player, but you could see how much he grew and matured in his senior year,” the coach said. “He became a team leader and pushed the offense as a group. He wanted the ball in his hands, and he was going to do everything it took to score.
“On defense, he really stepped up,” Surovik said. “He gave us speed off the edge. He did a good job doing whatever we needed him to do, and that’s a team player.”
D’Onta Foreman and his brother split Most Valuable Player honors in 24-4A, both were First Team All-District on offense and defense — Armanti Foreman at receiver and defensive back.
The brothers have committed to play at the next level in Austin at the University of Texas, and D’Onta Foreman said they still are on track to play for the Longhorns even after head coach Mack Brown’s resignation. D’Onta Foreman said new head coach Charlie Strong already has called and talked to the twins and said he plans to come visit them.
“I’m very proud of the season and of the team.” D’Onta Foreman said. “It ended too early, we wanted to go to state, but it was a great year. This is a great achievement, and I’m going to keep working hard and continuing to get better.”
Offensive Player of the Year
Sr., Clear Creek
Clear Creek’s offense was tough to stop in 2013, and a big reason for the Wildcats’ success was the poise and play-making ability of senior quarterback Jarrett Hildreth, The Daily News’ Offensive Player of the Year.
Hildreth exploded on the scene as a junior and used that experience under center to lead Clear Creek to an average of more than 42 points a game and a 9-2 record that included a 6-0 romp of District 24-5A.
“Any time you have a quarterback with experience coming back, it’s always a plus, but Jarrett is the type of kid who continues to work hard and get better every day and every week,” Clear Creek head coach Darrell Warden said. “He really became a leader for us and did a great job.”
Hildreth passed for 800 fewer yards than his junior year, but that statistic is deceptive. As a senior, he threw for 2,150 yards with 23 touchdowns and only four interceptions. He also ran for 540 yards and six touchdowns. In his junior season, Hildreth had 22 touchdowns and 10 interceptions, and he finished without any positive rushing yards.
Hildreth also played a lot less as a senior. He missed almost an entire game with an injury, and Ward said he pulled his starting quarterback in the third quarter in six games this season.
“Jarrett thrives in pressure situations,” Ward said. “He had a lot more weapons on offense this season, and he was a much more efficient player. Our goal is to make sure everybody plays because we’re winning big and not losing big, and Jarrett had a big part in us winning big.”
Defensive Player of the Year
Jr., LB, Texas City
For the second year in a row, D’Vonta Hinton was a force in the Texas City defense. And for the second year in a row, the Stingaree linebacker is The Daily News’ Defensive player of the Year.
Hinton proved there would be no slump after a standout sophomore season — his first on varsity. The District 24-4A Defensive Player of the Year finished 2013 with 157 tackles, 27 going for losses, four forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, an interception and a pair of defensive touchdowns. His efforts also earned him a spot on the Class 4A All-State First Team.
“To get this award again is amazing,” Hinton said. “It was great the first time, but knowing I can do it again makes me think I can get better and become a great player. I’m blessed. I put in a lot of hard work with my teammates.”
Hinton said he was a much more aggressive player this year and worked on becoming stronger in the offseason.
“I wanted to be bigger, and worked at it,” he said. “I also watched a lot of film and tried to become a smarter player with a higher football IQ. Now, when I line up, I can tell other players what we need to do. I’ve tried to work hard with my coaches and learn whatever I can.”
And as a senior, there will be a little more for Hinton to learn. He said he will play on both sides of the ball, seeing time at running back for the Stings. That’s the position he used to play until his sophomore season when a switch to linebacker earned him a spot on the varsity team.
“I want to do what I can for the team and I’ll carry them on my back as much as I can on offense and defense,” Hinton said. “We might not have as much proven talent next year, but these guys are willing to learn and listen. It’s not about ‘me,’ it’s about the team. Everybody is committed, and we’re looking forward to showing people what we got.”
Coach of the Year
In his second year at the helm in Texas City, Leland Surovik led the Stings to a Top 5 ranking in the state, an undefeated regular season and a District 24-4A title. It was a standout season in the City By the Bay and for The Daily News’ Coach of the Year.
“When you get an award like this, a lot of that goes to the assistant coaches and to the kids for working so hard,” Surovik said. “It was a great season for us, one that we wanted to go even further. But these guys accomplished so much and did so much, and awards like this happen because of that.”
Texas City went 12-1 overall with a 10-0 mark during the regular season, its only test a 45-37 win over Friendswood as the team went on to outscore 24-4A opponents 326-117. The Stings fell in the third round of the playoffs to Brenham, 37-34. Brenham went on to the state title game, losing to Aledo.
In his first year in Texas City, the Stings went 9-3 — equaling the number of wins for the program in the previous two years combined — with a second-round playoff loss.
“The biggest difference from the first to the second year is that the kids and the staff can have a full understanding of what you’re trying to do,” Surovik said. “They came in this year with that knowledge and a real desire to win. Everybody being on the same page can drastically build your program. The kids knew what to expect, worked hard and did us proud.”