The Daily News’ Galveston County athlete of the year coverage continues as we reveal the five finalists for the boys’ side.
All five candidates are among the county’s best multi-sport athletes, excelling on two or more fields of play. Fans can vote for their favorite among the 2016-17 fab five at galvnews.com, with the voting period lasting until Friday, July 21.
As a reminder, next week, The Daily News will announce the county girls athlete of the year, and fan voting will continue until this Friday. The boys finalists are as follows:
Santa Fe, Class of 2018
On the diamond, Blankenship had as good a season at the plate as any baseball player in the county, while also being a solid defensive presence at the all-important catcher position. On the gridiron, Blankenship also was a key player for the Indians’ football squad.
Blankenship led Santa Fe, which again reached the playoffs, in batting average (.432) and runs batted in (27) and smashed a pair of home runs during the baseball season, and manning the tight end position for the football team, Blankenship totaled 502 receiving yards on 38 receptions with three touchdowns.
In both sports, Blankenship ranked highly on the 23-5A all-district postseason honors, as he was named offensive co-MVP in baseball and first team in football. Blankenship also was a first-team all-county baseball selection and was second-team all-county in football.
Evaristo “Kiko” Nunez
Dickinson, Class of 2018
Nunez was an important cog in leading the Dickinson Gators’ baseball team to a 24-6A district title, and was one of the always-unsung heroes on a strong offensive line during another successful football season.
While manning first base for the Gators, Nunez led the team in batting average (.379) and had 19 RBIs with 12 extra-base hits (three home runs, nine doubles). At offensive tackle, Nunez lead the Gators’ O-line stat sheets in knockdowns (35), outstanding plays (19), domination blocks (28) and cut blocks (36).
In postseason awards, Nunez pulled off a rare feat as he earned all-county first-team honors in both his sports in addition to being first-team all-district in both baseball (unanimous) and football.
Clear Springs, Class of 2018
Sawyer was a matchup nightmare for defenses at both wide receiver and on special teams during a football season where the Chargers won the District 24-6A title, made his second straight appearance at the state track and field championships, and was a member of Clear Springs’ varsity baseball squad that made a deep playoff run.
An all-state honorable mention selection and a University of Houston commit, Sawyer totaled 817 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns on 48 catches, 85 rushing yards on 10 carries, 685 yards and five TDs on 16 kickoff returns, and 205 yards and a TD on 12 punt returns. A second-place finish in the 110-meter hurdles at the Region III-6A track meet earned Sawyer a second straight trip to state in the spring.
In addition to his all-state honor, Sawyer earned dual all-district first-team picks as a kick returner (unanimous) and wide receiver, and he was a first-team all-county football selection, as well.
Hitchcock, Class of 2018
Another strong all-around athlete, Scott provided his Division I-caliber talent for the Bulldogs’ football team and then transitioned smoothly onto the hardwood to be one of the basketball team’s best players, as well.
Scott recently committed to Texas Tech after another season as a disruptive force on Hitchcock’s defensive line. He also saw significant time on offense as a tight end in Hitchcock’s slot-T offense. Scott was the Bulldogs’ starting post player and was a double-double machine during basketball season.
In helping lead both teams to the postseason, Scott was a 12-3A-I all-district first-teamer in football and a 24-3A first-teamer in basketball. Scott was a third-team all-county basketball selection and an all-county honorable mention in football.
Clear Springs, Class of 2018
Waller was a three-sport standout for the Chargers in 2016-17 as a lockdown cornerback in football, the team’s starting point guard in basketball, and was a district champion and regional qualifier as a member of Clear Springs’ 4x100-meter relay team.
A first-team all-state honoree, Waller led the entire state in interceptions with 10 and also had 11 pass breakups, one caused fumble, one touchdown and 29 total tackles (24 solo, five assisted). One of the leaders of the basketball team, Waller averaged 10.8 points per game and 1.6 steals per game.
On top of the all-state football honor, Waller was a first-team pick for all-county and all-district. In basketball, Waller was second team all-district in 24-6A and third-team all county.