COUNTY — Several athletes from Benson, Tombstone, St. David, Valley Union and Willcox were recently awarded All-State football honors from the Arizona Interscholastic Association.
For the 1A Conference, Kason Jacquez of St. David was awarded first team honors as both a receiver/tight end as well as a defensive lineman. Joining him on the first team were teammates Talon Haynie and Jake Goodman, both as linebackers; Logan Davis at quarterback; Reo Larson as a receiver/tight end and Talon Haynie at running back.
Second team All-Conference honors went to Koy Richardson, running back; Bobcat Pacheco, defensive lineman; Robby Gooding, kickoff returner; Brayden Merriill, linebacker; Jordan Merrill and Pacheco both as offensive linemen and Jordan Merrill, as a placekicker.
Valley Union running back Jacob Sonke who was second in the 1A this year in total rushing yards and finished ahead of six of the running backs who received first team honors, was placed on the All-State second team, a move that upset his coach Brandon Gilbreth, who felt Sonke deserved to be on the first team. Sonke ran for 1,079 in four games while Jayk Kelton, who was one of the seven backs who received first team honors, ended the season with 1,167 yards in nine games.
“They picked seven running backs for the first team and Jacob wasn’t one of them,” Gilbreth said. “Unbelievable.”
Mogollon High School landed the coach, defensive and overall player of the year honors while Superior had the offensive player of the year.
Benson had seven players named to the two 2A All Conference teams to lead the county’s 2A teams. Mundo Esparza, Ryan Francione, Brok Determan and Cameron McFarland were all named to the first team. Jimmy Lerblance and Devin Bowling were named to the second team for the Bobcats.
“We’re always hoping to get kids on there, but there are some really good football players in Arizona on those teams,” Benson head coach Chris Determan said. “I’m proud of those kids who made the 2A teams and looking forward to seeing them all improve moving into next year.”
Ote Allsup received second team honors and is the only Cowboy to receive an honor. Tombstone, who didn’t win a game last season, was represented by Zeke Esparza on the 2nd All Conference team. Esparza was the second team’s place kicker and punter.