A senior leader, both on the gridiron and on the diamond for the Dickinson Gators this past year, Landon Roque is the 2018-19 Galveston County boys athlete of the year, handily winning The Daily News’ online poll.
“I’m really thankful to be in this position, and I’m really thankful for the people who have taught me and helped me blossom as a young man,” Roque said. “I know I’ve got a lot to learn, but I’m really grateful for all my coaches and the community. I don’t think there’s anything I can do to thank them enough.”
Out of the 2,538 total votes cast by the end of the voting period 4 p.m. Saturday, Roque, an Angelina College commit for baseball, was named county boys athlete of the year with the support of 1,462 votes — 826 more than runner-up Kirk Collins, a state track and field champion in hurdles and star cornerback from Clear Springs, who received 636 votes.
Rounding out the voting was Clear Creek state tennis singles champion Carter Crookston with 360 votes, and undefeated state wrestling champion Manny Elizondo of Friendswood with 80 votes.
“It’s really humbling knowing everybody has my back, and everyone is really supportive around here,” Roque said. “If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t have won a lot of the awards that I’ve won that involve voting.”
Dickinson athletic director and head football coach John Snelson said that Roque exemplifies the type of student-athlete and teammate any coach would want in their program.
“He’s a multi-talented kid,” Snelson said. “He’s got lot’s of athletic ability, academic ability, and he’s such a great friend and truly a great teammate. He gets as excited when someone else makes a good play as when he does. He’s just so fun to be around — just so happy, and he’d make our day better. He definitely made practice easier.”
Roque began the 2018-19 school year on the mend after undergoing Tommy John surgery in April of his junior year, but worked hard to ready for the start of football season his senior year — just four short months later.
“We didn’t even know if he was going to be able to play football — when he was going to come back, or if he was going to come back,” Snelson said. “We don’t know what we have or how much we’re going to miss something until it may be taken away, and Landon really used that to his benefit and worked harder and was more dedicated than he ever was before.”
In an outstanding football season, the hard-hitting linebacker Roque, a three-year varsity player, recorded 126 total tackles (65 solo), earning District 24-6A’s defensive most valuable player honor. Roque also was selected as a finalist for the Houston Touchdown Club Player of the Year award, which placed him among the Houston area’s elite football players.
“I had to really step up in my senior year and lead, so I feel like I did a pretty good job of doing that,” Roque said.
Transitioning to baseball, where he has been a part of the varsity team since sophomore year, in the spring, Roque finished the season with a .344 batting average, .464 on-base percentage, 11 extra-base hits (including three home runs), 18 runs batted in and 37 runs scored. Playing one of the most taxing defensive positions on the field at shortstop, Roque had a solid .911 fielding percentage. The well-rounded Roque was on 24-6A’s second team in the all-district honors.
And, Roque helped lead both his teams to the playoffs.
“It just makes me really proud that he’s such a fine young man and multi-sport athlete,” Snelson said. “Nowadays, if baseball or basketball or soccer or track is your favorite sport, then lots of times, kids just don’t play football, even if they’re really, really good. What we tell them is, ‘if you can help the Dickinson Gators win, whatever the sport, get out there and make it happen. And Landon just bought into that and left an outstanding footprint on both athletic programs.”
The Gators football team finished runner-up in district and reached the second round of the playoffs, throttling Pearland before being topped by eventual state champion North Shore.
“Going to play Pearland in the first round, that was one of my favorite games,” Roque said.
The Gators were co-district champions in baseball, and reached the third round of the playoffs for just the second time in program history.
“Senior year was pretty fun, and we went to the third round for the first time in like 27 years,” Roque said.
Roque had some college offers for football, but said he felt baseball at Angelina College in Lufkin was the best fit and is the sport where he thinks he has the brightest future. But, Roque added that he wouldn’t be where he is today without being a part of the Gators football program.
“That’s something I really pride myself on, is being a dual-sport athlete,” Roque said. “I think that if I didn’t play football for Coach Snelson, that I wouldn’t be the athlete that I am. He taught us so much about not even being an athlete, but being a man.”