This year’s Facts’ first-team offensive selections will feature 12 players, 11 on offense and a special teams specialist. Eleven of the 12 selections are seniors, with Iowa Colony sophomore Jacody Miles being the lone underclassman.

Either way, the talent was undoubtedly evident every Friday night.

The first-team offense consists of Brazosport quarterback Randon Fontenette; Brazosport running back Xavier Butler, Iowa Colony running back and returner Miles; and Angleton running back Deseahn Thomas; Angleton receiver Kariyen Boniaby Goins, Brazoswood receiver Kade Bengtson; Brazoswood tight end/fullback Riker Blank; Brazoswood lineman Dawson Scott, Danbury lineman Dakota Craig, Angleton lineman Raiveon Smith and Jake Ethridge and Columbia lineman Payton Johnson.

FONTENETTE

The once-Utah Ute has already started taking classes at Texas Christian University. Fontenette decommitted from Utah in November and garnered offers from the University of Southern California and Texas Tech, but TCU came out of nowhere to lock up Fontenette about five weeks later.

The former Exporter safety loved the culture at TCU and felt the Fort Worth school fit him the best.

Despite going to college on defense, Fontenette also put up solid numbers on offense.

A two-time district offensive MVP, Fontenette was 78-of-173 passing for 1,000 yards and nine touchdowns. He also rushed for 1,024 yards on 194 carries and 14 scores to lead the Exporters to their sixth straight playoff appearance.

BUTLER

A change of scenery was good for Butler.

There was nothing wrong with rushing the Wing-T in Columbia, but Butler was the feature back for Brazosport like Paul Woodard was before him.

“It was difficult because I didn’t want to leave my friends, and I wanted to stay where I was comfortable, but being comfortable, you don’t make any progress. You have to be uncomfortable to grow,” he said. “If I didn’t make that move, I wouldn’t be here today.”

Butler excelled in his role with the Ships for a career-high 1,223 yards on 189 carries and 12 rushing touchdowns. He also had six catches for 115 yards and two scores.

However, the change from Wing-T to spread was an adjustment.

“I didn’t get all the audibles because I was used to running one way and making a cut. Changing from the Wing-T to the spread are two different offenses,” Butler said. “You have to read the defenses more because there are more options to attack a defense where in a Wing-T, everyone knows where the ball is going to go.”

Butler’s impact was paramount.

If the back did not rush for at least 125 yards in a game, the Ships were 2-4, but the team went 5-1 when he rushed for more than 125 yards.

“I didn’t feel like my impact was in the games; I felt like I made an impact throughout the week,” he said. “I tried to encourage and push, and players would see me playing well from the work I put in. It made them think they can do it and achieve success by putting in the work I put in.”

This season meant a lot to Butler because he got to experience playing in his first playoff game.

The Roughnecks did not make the playoffs during his sophomore season, and Butler was injured during the ’Necks playoff run last season.

However, the playoff experience almost didn’t happen.

The Exporters needed Stafford to lose its regular-season finale to Bay City. Butler received a call from his cousin late that night telling him they were practicing next week for the playoffs.

“It was fun and a different atmosphere,” he said. “The game changes so fast. I loved it, man, and I can’t wait to play in college next year.”

Butler has narrowed his list to five colleges and is looking to sign his national letter of intent Feb. 7.

“I’m just excited that they are giving me a chance. It has been a dream of mine since I was a kid to play college football and maybe make it to the next level,” Butler said, “I can get my education at the same time while I live my dream, and I thank God for all of it.”

THOMAS

The two-year starter finished his career with solid numbers to help the Wildcats claim their first district title since 2017.

“We knew what we had, and we just executed every play, every day,” Thomas said.

Thomas’ goal was to run for more yards and reach 1,000 yards on the ground. He finished with 165 carries for 839 yards and 17 touchdowns. He also had 14 catches for 84 yards.

“I didn’t reach my goal of 1,000 yards, but I did everything I could to reach it, help the team in a positive way and be the leader that I knew I was,” he said.

The Wildcats’ win against Magnolia West stood out to Thomas. The Wildcats overcame a 21-7 deficit with nine minutes left in the fourth quarter. Eventually, they won following a 4-yard rushing touchdown by quarterback Adrian Ewells and a two-point conversion from Ewells to Aaron Grear with 36 seconds left.

“Being down going into halftime like that and coming out and having a good offensive game was amazing,” Thomas said. “They were a hard team to play against, not because of how good they were but because of how they played. They didn’t have the greatest sportsmanship, but we stuck with it and won the game.”

Thomas would like to continue his football career in college.

He finished his career with 1,615 rushing yards on 280 carries, a 5.8-yard average, 28 rushing touchdowns and 30 scores overall.

MILES

Miles cherished the opportunity to play at the varsity level during his sophomore year in Iowa Colony’s inaugural season.

“It was a great experience to see how it is to play against bigger people,” Miles said. “… And it was close almost every game, so I feel next season will be good.

“There was more work and dedication in the weight room. As freshmen, we weren’t in the weight room much, but on varsity, we would stay and work. It was a different level.”

Miles rushed for 646 yards and averaged 5.9 yards per carry on 110 attempts and six touchdowns. He had 14 receptions for 193 yards and a score. Miles was also a weapon for the Pioneers as a returner, where he fits best on this list. Miles accumulated 233 kickoff return yards and 46 punt return yards to a total of 1,118 all-purpose.

He also played safety on defense, finishing with 70 tackles, 41 solos, three tackles for a loss and four passes defensed.

“I get the ball more wherever I am,” he said. “As a receiver, it’s better to put me out in the open field; as a running back, I can gain yards, and on defense, I am the last man you have to beat. They were dependent on me, and I did what I did.”

The Pioneers finished the season 2-8 overall and 1-5 in District 12-4A, D-I play.

GOINS

The Wildcat senior began the year as the team’s quarterback, then moved back to wide receiver when Ewells returned. He never doubted his skills.

He finished with 53 receptions for 829 yards and five touchdowns. He had 104 receptions for 1,447 yards and 11 scores for his career.

“I felt like the season could have gone better seeing how I wasn’t 100 percent the whole season, but I felt like I did my part and I played my heart out.”

Goins faced the most significant test in the UIL Class 5A, Region 3 Area round game against College Station when he went one-on-one against College Station cornerback AJ Tisdell — a University of Wisconsin commit.

Goins constantly won that battle, finishing with 11 receptions for 183 yards.

“I was ready. That was my chance to shine, my chance to get my recognition, and that was my chance to show everybody that I am that dude,” Goins said. “And people are still sleeping on me, so I still gotta show up.”

Goins is looking to play college football, and recruitment is starting to pick up, he said, including an offer from Angelo State University earlier this month.

SCOTT, BENGTSON AND BLANK

All three agreed that making the playoffs was the biggest accomplishment this season. After missing the playoffs each of the last 10 seasons, Brazoswood broke through in 2022 after beating Clear Lake in the regular-season finale to finish fourth in the District 24-6A standings.

“We put in all of the work to win that game, and in the past four years that we’ve been here, that year probably meant the most to us. Being able to win on our home field will always be the best thing about this season,” Scott said.

Scott, a three-year starter, was a rock as quarterback Isaac Ponce’s blind-side protector.

“Isaac and I had a bond. I protected him, and he trusted me so he could drop back in the pocket and make his throws,” Scott said. “Just this whole season was fun. Coach (Joe Dale) Cary came in and changed the whole program. It was an awesome deal.”

Bengtson enjoyed a bounceback year from a torn ACL in 2021. He finished with 40 catches for 616 yards and eight touchdowns.

“It was a blessing,” Bengtson said. “Putting in all the hard work over the summer and with the trainers during my rehab allowed me to get back out there and play the sport that I love.”

Blank was a first-team all-district selection and played an H-back role this season. He helped pave the way for Ponce and running back Jose Trevino in the running game. Blank ends his career as a two-year varsity starter.

“I like playing fullback because all I have to do is go hit somebody, but at tight end, I get to run a lot more routes,” Blank said. “I thought this went pretty well. Making the playoffs is a big deal and a great accomplishment.”

SMITH AND ETHRIDGE

Both linemen were steady, helping the Wildcats become a potent offense behind Ewells, Thomas and Goins.

Smith was the glue that held everyone together at center. He finished his senior season with a 97 percent grade, recording 17 pancake blocks and allowed just one sack.

“It was a great season. It was a crazy season having Kariyen at quarterback for one half of the season and then having Adrian come back,” Smith said. “When Adrian came back, we put up a lot of points, we were moving the ball and we were playing well.”

En route to a district championship, the Wildcats had won seven games in a row, including a bidistrict game. However, the win against Manvel stands out for Smith.

The team trailed 13-0 in the first quarter against a school Angleton had not beaten in four straight tries. The win came down to Goins rolling left and hitting freshman receiver Bryce Duron for a 52-yard pass to set up a game-winning 29-yard field goal by Shaun Neibert as time expired. Smith and Ethridge were on the field for the Goins-to-Duron connection.

“Kariyen was trying to give the receivers a call with about two seconds left (on the play clock,) and I was looking at the clock the whole time,” Smith said. “There was about a second left when I snapped it, and if I didn’t snap it, we would have lost.

“It starts with me, but I kept my calm, kept everyone else calm.”

The team’s energy is what rubbed off Ethridge the most. The senior lineman graded at 98 percent with 12 pancake blocks and two sacks allowed.

“We played as a team. We brought everyone up when we were down,” Ethridge said. “It was an amazing season overall, and I loved it. We all came together. Last year, we played together, but we didn’t have the right energy, and that’s why we got kicked out of the playoffs.

“This year, we came together, played as one and it felt like an actual team. I am proud to be a part of it.”

Ethridge finished his career as a three-year starter, and no win meant more to him than beating Manvel in Week 3. Ethridge had always experienced defeat when playing their rivals to the north.

“It felt amazing to beat them, and the way we beat them was perfect,” he said. “I love that game. I remember pass protecting when Kariyen ran outside the pocket and threw it up — I was praying, and then Bryce called it, and the rest was history.”

Smith has yet to have an opportunity to be recruited by a college, and Ethridge will end his football career in Angleton.

JOHNSON

Johnson had big shoes to fill in his first and only season at varsity, and he made good use of it. Johnson graded out at 93 percent and helped guide a revamped running game that took some time to gain footing.

“With pretty much our whole offensive line left after last year, I knew I had to step up into that role and become the new guy and play well so that our offense — we had a good year last year, so I wanted to try to replicate that success from last year,” Johnson said. “I won lineman of the year in our team awards, so I felt like, based on our team and staff, I deserve to be the lineman of the year.”

Johnson is looking to play college baseball, but if opportunities do not open in that avenue, he will give college football a look.

CRAIG

The Danbury Panthers had many moving parts in 2022, but offensive lineman Dakota Craig was the one constant.

“It’s not about the individual effort; it’s about the team,” Craig said. “We didn’t do too well this season, and that’s all I care about.”

After making the postseason for the first time since 2013 last season, the Panthers finished 1-9 overall and 0-6 in District 14-3A, D-II play under first-year head coach Chance Barlow.

Injuries forced changes at running back and quarterback and trickled onto the defense, but Craig led a strong offensive line.

One thing Craig will cherish the most, however, is being a part of the 2021 playoff team.

“It was amazing and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” he said. “The fact that we made it there was amazing.”

Craig will not play football in college.

Jake Dowling is the sports editor for The Facts. Contact him at 979-237-0161 or by email at jake.dowling@thefacts.com.

Recommended for you

(0) entries

Sign the guestbook.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.