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Hernandez, Dodge lead American-Statesman's 2020 All-Central Texas football award winners

Austin American-Statesman
Cedar Park quarterback Ryder Hernandez, breaking a tackle by Anderson's Blaise Darbyshire, earned All-Central Texas MVP honors for taking the Timberwolves to the Class 5A Division I state title game. He passed for at least 200 yards in all 15 games.

Most Valuable Player

Ryder Hernandez, senior QB, Cedar Park

For sustained excellence, it’s hard to match the player who led the Timberwolves to a Class 5A Division I state championship game and a 14-1 record. The Texas State-bound (for baseball) Timberwolf passed for at least 200 yards and two touchdowns in all 15 games. His high marks for passing yards (399) and TD passes (seven) were against Corpus Christi Veterans Memorial in a playoff game. In three years, Hernandez tossed 114 touchdown passes and 18 interceptions.

Round Rock running back Israel Morgan, celebrating after a touchdown against Belton, rushed for at least 100 yards in every game. He finished with 26 rushing touchdowns.

Offensive Player of the Year

Israel Morgan, senior RB, Round Rock

Durable and consistent, the Dragon playmaker was the biggest reason Round Rock reached the second round of the playoffs after upsetting Lake Travis in bi-district. He rushed for at least 100 yards in all 11 games. Morgan was at his best when he rushed for 458 yards and seven touchdowns in a 70-41 victory over district rival Westwood. He led the Dragons with 26 touchdowns.

Westlake linebacker Nick Morris, taking a break against San Marcos, spearheaded a defense that allowed 7.5 points per game. He had 16 sacks in 2020.

Defensive Player of the Year

Nick Morris, senior LB, Westlake

Shortly after Westlake earned the Class 6A DII state championship in 2019, the Chaparrals discovered a gem that would enable them to win again. Morris was a standout at Fairfield (Conn.) Prep, but his state elected to bypass football in 2020 because of COVID-19 concerns. After transferring to Westlake, he averaged eight tackles a game and led the Chaps with 16 sacks.

High school football:WRs Hegtvedt, O'Banan, Williams lead All-Central Texas team

Rouse quarterback Mason Shorb, scrambling against Liberty Hill, helped the Raiders go 10-2 just one year after they went 1-9. He completed 39 touchdown passes as a sophomore.

Newcomer of the Year

Mason Shorb, sophomore QB, Rouse

Coming off a 1-9 record in 2019, the Raiders found an offensive leader who would turn the program around. On a team with many standouts, Shorb was the biggest reason Rouse surprised the area with a 10-2 record in 2020. He threw for 258 yards per game and fired 39 touchdown passes for a team that averaged 43.6 points per game.

Westlake coach Todd Dodge, celebrating with his team after winning a Class 6A Division I semifinal, earned his sixth state championship a week later against his former school, Southlake Carroll.

Coach of the Year

Todd Dodge, Westlake

The 2020 Chaparrals have already been labeled by some as the greatest high school football team in Central Texas history. After winning the Class 6A DII title in 2019, Westlake repeated as state champion with an incredible run in DI this season. An offense led by QB Cade Klubnik averaged 54 points. With arguably the best defense in the state, the Chaps yielded 7.5 points a game. At 57, Dodge is a six-time state champion with no signs of slowing down.

Rick Cantu