Six Texas high school football stars have been recognized during Week 2 of the “Built Ford Tough Texas High School Football Player of the Week” program.
In its eighth consecutive year, Ford Motor Company’s Player of the Week program is again honoring six outstanding student-athletes each week during the 2013 regular season, recognizing one player in each of the state’s six athletic classifications. The winners are chosen for athletic achievements on the field, as well as for outstanding scholarship and community involvement. These players are the embodiment of Ford’s Go Further commitment.
This week’s winning athletes join a long list of players recognized for their exceptional efforts. Previous Players of the Week include: The last two Heisman trophy winners, Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M and Washington Redskins starting quarterback Robert Griffin III, as well as Cincinnati Bengals running back Rex Burkhead, SMU starting quarterback Garrett Gilbert and University of Texas at Austin running back Johnathan Gray, the only two-time Built Ford Tough Texas HS Football Player of the Year.
Summaries of Week 2 Winners
CLASS 3-A: Chris Keesee, Sr., Quarterback, Brownwood:
It was late in the fourth quarter last Friday and Brownwood was staring at an unthinkable 0-3 start to its season. Enter Lions quarterback Chris Keesee, who engineered what just might turn out to be a season-saver. He led the Lions on a 66-yard drive in just over a minute to pull out a 46-43 homecoming triumph over Snyder. The teams scored four TDs in the final four minutes and there were eight lead changes—all in the second half. Keesee, unflappable as always, delivered 24 completions for 423 yards and four TDs, including three to wide receiver Connor Howard. After three games, he’s connected on 74% of his throws for 999 yards and eight scores, giving the Lions hope.
The 6-0, 170-pound Keesee comes from great football bloodlines. His dad, Aaron, quarterbacked Texas Tech. Though he focuses on football, he also runs track in the spring. Chris is just as adept in the classroom, holding an A average. He also spends time reading to Brownwood elementary school children, volunteering at a local nursing home and staying active with the FCA.
“Chris takes command on the field; all his teammates look to him for leadership,” says Coach Chuck Howard. “We changed our offense to Pro-Style and it has benefited his game. No matter what the situation—and last week’s game was a great example—he stays cool, calm and collected. He really gets us rolling!”
CLASS 1-A: Jalen Garza, Sr., Quarterback/Defensive Back, Anson:
If there’s pressure to win big this season in Anson, QB/DB Jalen Garza isn’t feeling it. With 18 returning starters and a triggerman like Garza, a 2012 Built Ford Tough Texas High School Football Player of the Week, expectations are high. But operating from the Tigers’ pistol spread offense, Jalen is getting it done, as he did in last week’s 61-33 victory over 2-A Jim Ned. Garza hit on 15 of 18 passes for 248 yards and three touchdowns (55, 30, and 1) while rumbling for 210 yards and three more scores. Just for good measure, he gave the Tigers breathing room with a spectacular 82-yard kickoff return TD and made eight tackles on defense. That bumped Anson’s record to 3-0, earning a #4 ranking in this week’s Texas Football rankings.
At 5-11 and 180 pounds, Jalen is drawing attention from several high-academic FCS schools, including a scheduled visit to Butler (IN) later this month. He also excels at basketball, baseball, and track, where he runs on three relay teams. His sparkling 3.95 GPA ranks him second in his class. Despite his busy workload, he finds time for the Fellowship of Christian Students and sits on the Anson athletic leadership council.
“Jalen raises the level of his teammates,” raves Coach Keith Woolf. “Our offense really suits his skill set. He’s the son of a coach (Anson’s offensive coordinator), possesses a high football IQ and is our hardest worker in the off-season.”
Information for this story provided by Ford.