Six Outstanding Student-Athletes Honored as Built Ford Tough Texas High School Football Players of the Week
- Class 5-A: Dimitri Flowers, Jr., WR/RB, San Antonio Churchill
- Class 4-A: Dru Smith, Sr., QB, Sherman
- Class 3-A: Preston Townley, Sr., QB, Huffman Hargrave
- Class 2-A: Ozzie Buckner, Soph., QB, Frankston
- Class 1-A: Blake Hutchins, Sr., RB/LB/K, Cross Plains
- Private Schools: Kade Clayton, Jr., RB, Tyler Grace Community
PLANO, Texas – October 10, 2012 – Six Texas high school football stars are being recognized as the Built Ford Tough Texas High School Football Players of the Week for Week 5.
These athletes join a long list of players recognized for outstanding efforts on and off the field. They are now among the likes of Heisman Trophy winner and Washington Redskins starting quarterback Robert Griffin III and Atlanta Falcons running back Quizz Rodgers. Other past winners include Texas A&M starting quarterback Johnny Manziel, Nebraska's Big 10 Player of the Year candidate Rex Burkhead, SMU's starting quarterback Garrett Gilbert, and the nation's most-watched freshman running back Johnathan Gray of UT, the only two-time Built Ford Tough Texas HS Football Player of the Year.
This is the seventh consecutive year that Ford Motor Company is recognizing six outstanding student-athletes each week during the 2012 season. The Built Ford Tough Texas High School Football Player of the Week program honors one student-athlete in six of the state’s athletic classifications every week during the high school football regular season for his accomplishments on and off the field.
Following are capsule summaries on the Week 5 winners
CLASS 5-A: Dimitri Flowers, Jr., Wide Receiver/Running Back, San Antonio Churchill:
After a 1-4 start, the mood around San Antonio Churchill wasn’t exactly exhilarating. The defense had given up huge chunks of yardage and the offense wasn’t going anywhere. Enter Dimitri Flowers who led the Chargers to a 56-31 thumping of MacArthur last Saturday. The junior wide receiver/running back jolted his team with an electric all-around performance. He ran for 193 yards and four TDs (1, 16, 19, and 58 yards) and caught seven balls for 153 yards and two more scores on his near-perfect night.
Flowers will be a big-time recruit next year. Several FBS schools already have him tabbed as their H-back of the future. And why not? His dad, Erik Flowers, was a first-round pick of the Buffalo Bills in 2000 after a stellar career at Arizona State. If football doesn’t work, Dimitri’s backup plan could be as a centerfielder. MLB has its eye on him for the 2014 draft. He’s a solid B student and involved with several school activities.
Churchill Coach Glenn Hill (who also coached Dimitri’s dad at San Antonio Roosevelt) notes that while Dimitri and Erik were totally different as players, they’re both wonderful people. “Dimitri is a polished receiver. We moved him all around the field last week to try to keep McArthur from double-teaming him. What makes him so valuable is the ability to get off that first tackler. He’s a gifted player.”
CLASS 4-A: Dru Smith, Sr., Quarterback, Sherman:
It didn’t take Dru Smith long to get caught up in The Rivalry. In arguably the longest-running match-up in all of Texas, Smith’s Sherman Bearcats pulled away from Dennison in the third quarter, securing the Battle of the Axe for another year in front of a disappointed SRO crowd at Dennison. For Smith, Sherman’s senior quarterback, it was his first taste of The Battle after transferring to Sherman from Mesquite Horn last winter. But he got right into the swing of things, completing 20 of 25 passes for an amazing 407 yards and 3 touchdowns and running for another as the Bearcats took control, 42-21. Smith also raced 90 yards for an apparent TD, which was called back for an illegal block. For the season, he’s now averaging 345 yards per game through the air.
A baseball player and track athlete, Smith has run up a brilliant 3.5 GPA. He’s an active FCA member and reads to elementary school youngsters. He also participates in the FCCLA Club, which is involved in various community projects.
“He has exceeded all of our expectations,” say Sherman Coach Gary Joe Kinne. “We thought he’d be really special but you just never know until the games start. He’s a terrific leader who really knows how to take care of the football and isn’t afraid to extend the play, always looking for that extra yard or two.”
CLASS 3-A: Preston Townley, Sr., Quarterback, Huffman Hargrave:
When Huffman Hargrave went to the locker-room at halftime last Friday, their senior quarterback, Preston Townley, was noticeably absent. He was busy out on the field, awaiting the announcement of this year’s Homecoming King. He finished second. But that was the only thing he didn’t win that night. The 6-0, 205-pound Townley absolutely ruled the gridiron, throwing for 390 yards and eight touchdowns (42, 22, 19, 29, 20, 15, 17, and 77 yards), tied for second in state annals. For good measure, he also ran for 67 yards and another score as the Falcons drubbed archrival Liberty 62-13, bouncing back from a loss to move to 4-1 in the District 22-3A opener.
Preston is no stranger to the limelight. All-district in football in ’11 and a baseball player, he’s a frequent participant in Hargrave’s theater program. He’s in heavy demand as a speaker at Huffman’s elementary schools and a member of the Christian Student Union and Lunch Buddies, a mentoring program. The 3.27 GPA student has also done missionary work through his local Baptist church.
“Preston has a presence in school, on the field, and as a part of our community,” raves Coach Mike McEachern. “He’s a vocal leader on and off the field. But he’s the best when he’s in front of a microphone, including his on-stage moments. He has that special charisma which rubs off on everyone he meets.”
CLASS 2-A: Ozzie Buckner, Soph., Quarterback, Frankston:
Frankston opened its season with a big, experienced quarterback—who promptly went down with a shoulder injury three possessions into the opener. Enter inexperienced sophomore Ozzie Buckner, who has taken the reins and run with them. In last week’s 48-8 win over Union Grove, the 5-10, 160-pounder did it all, completing 8 of 12 passes for 207 yards and two touchdowns and rushing nine times for 167 yards and two more scores (92 and 42 yards). Blessed with a great backfield partner in running back Caleb Williams, Buckner is making Frankston’s spread offense his own. “He’s getting better and better every week,” says Coach Matt Nally who, like his QB, is in his first season. Ozzie’s timing couldn’t be better; the win over Union Grove came in the Indians’ District 10-2A Division II opener.
An outstanding student with a 3.07 GPA in a schedule packed with honors courses, Ozzie is Frankston’s starting varsity point guard and he also plays baseball. He finds time to be an active member of both the FCA and his church youth group.
“Ozzie is just a super kid,” raves Coach Nally. “Although he has survived numerous challenges in his young life, he’s a phenomenal leader for a 15-year-old. He has really helped build school spirit here and finds time to assist others, including coaching and encouraging our junior high school quarterbacks.”
CLASS 1-A: Blake Hutchins, Sr., Running Back/Linebacker/Kicker, Cross Plains:
These are heady times in the panhandle farming community of Cross Plains. The Buffaloes have gone from a winless 2010 to three wins and a playoff berth in 2011 to three wins in only five starts this year. At the center of this revival is senior Blake Hutchins who scored all of Cross Plains’ points in a 27-12 district win at Roscoe last week. The 6-1, 200-pounder rushed for four TDs (87, 6, 6, and 3 yards), carrying the ball 33 times for 230 yards. He also kicked three PATs. And if that wasn’t enough, he added six tackles on defense. The win was Cross Plains’ first on the road in nearly three years, setting up this week’s showdown against district rival Roby.
Blake is all-district in football, basketball, and baseball (shortstop and right-handed pitcher) and ran legs on two relay teams that qualified for the regional track meet last spring. He wants to keep playing football after high school (West Texas A&M is most interested to date) and his 3.8 GPA average (top 10% of his class) will be no deterrent. He’s heavily involved in FFA and other community projects.
“Winning that first one on the road was a big hurdle and Blake was the guy who got us over the hump,” says Coach Daniel Purvis. “When we needed it, Blake gave us his best all-around performance. He’s the type of player who gets stronger as the game goes along. We just give him the ball and watch him go!”
PRIVATE SCHOOLS: Kade Clayton, Jr., Running Back, Tyler Grace Community:
After banging up his wrist in Grace Community’s only loss this season, Kade Clayton gets taped and padded up on game nights and virtually plays one-handed. The Cougars’ opponents would hate to see a fully healthy Clayton. In last week’s 48-7 win over Cedar Hill Trinity Christian, the 6-0, 175-pound junior averaged nearly 22 yards per carry, piling up 325 yards on only 15 attempts and scoring five TDs. He also caught a pass for another score. The victory raised Grace Community’s season totals to 4-1 and 1-1 in the district.
If you think those totals are impressive, Kade is even more impressive on the track, winning state championships in both the 100 and 300-meter hurdles last spring. A stellar 3.4 GPA student, Clayton is active in his FCA chapter, works for the Salvation Army Food Bank, and volunteers at the Azelway Boys Ranch.
“Kade’s a tremendous worker,” says Coach Mike Maddox, “which probably derives from his effort in track. There’s no other sport where the athletes are totally self-motivated. He’s a fun kid who gets totally serious when he competes. He always takes the opportunity to credit offensive line, but it’s his work ethic, on the field, on the track, in the classroom, in the weight room, and in the community that is most impressive.”
Nominate Your Elite Student-Athletes at PlayeroftheWeek.com
Students recognized by Ford, the Texas Ford dealers and the Built Ford Tough Media Advisory Board as the Built Ford Tough Texas High School Football Player of the Week have excelled in three categories:
- Individual performance on the field, including significant game statistics.
- Contribution to the team’s success through individual leadership abilities and
- Performance off the field, including academic success and good community citizenship.
Texas high school football coaches, athletic directors and fans are invited to nominate players each week. To nominate student-athletes for this award or for additional information on the nomination process, visit PlayeroftheWeek.com.
Additionally, fans can keep up with award winners through a weekly television show. Ford and Texas Ford Dealers are teaming up with Fox Sports Southwest to send television crews into communities across the state to shine the spotlight on players who excel on the field, in the classroom and in their communities. The half-hour Built Ford Tough Texas High School Football Player of the Week program airs Saturdays at 8:30 a.m.
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About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 168,000 employees and about 65 plants worldwide, the company’s automotive brands include Ford and Lincoln. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford and its products worldwide, please visit http://corporate.ford.com.