By BEN JOHNSON
Brayden Scott will have to settle for a consolation prize. Same goes for his Sequoyah teammates.
After being forced to forfeit all nine of their wins this season, due to an Oklahoma Secondary Schools Activities Association ruling, the Sequoyah Indians will have to settle for District 3A-7 honors, instead of, perhaps, postseason glory.
Scott was named 3A-7’s Most Valuable Player, while Sequoyah’s Tanner Sheets (Offensive Lineman of the Year) and Ryan Helsley (co-Secondary Player of the Year) also picked up top accolades in the loaded seven-team league.
“He was the unanimous choice,” Sequoyah interim coach Shane Richardson said, referring to Scott. “He had a great career at Sequoyah. To me, he was the best player in the district.”
Scott finished the 2012 season with 1,809 yards and 32 touchdowns through the air. He completed 59 percent (124 of 210) of his passes while commanding an Indians’ offense that generated 43.8 points per contest.
During his tenure at Sequoyah, Scott amassed 7,069 yards passing and 90 touchdowns (a new school record).
“His career speaks for itself when you look at the numbers he put up,” Richardson said of Scott, who last week signed his letter of intent to play college football at the University of Memphis.
Allowing Scott and others to perform at maximum efficiency on offense was the presence of Sheets on Sequoyah’s offensive line. With Sheets’ help, the Indians averaged 411.6 yards of offense per game.
“He was probably our most consistent football player,” Richardson said of Sheets, who was also a menace on defense, collecting 33 tackles, 7 1/2 tackles for loss, 3 1/2 sacks and one interception.
“He’s the type of player that you almost forget about him, because he’s always taking care of his position. He was as solid and as good as any lineman around here.”
While Helsley’s team-leading 674 receiving yards and 15 touchdowns were enough to make him a viable offensive option, it was the senior’s defensive efforts that allowed him to make the All-District squad.
Helsley racked up four interceptions, three pass break-ups, two fumble recoveries and 34 tackles to land top secondary honors, along with Hilldale’s Miles Jackson.
“He’s just a playmaker,” Richardson said of Helsley. “He may not have always been in the right position, but he was always around the ball and was always making big plays.”
Sequoyah’s county rival, Keys, also picked up two top spots on the All-District list. Kicker JJ Ozturk was tabbed Special Teams MVP, and Tyler Blankenship was named Linebacker of the Year.
Providing Keys with a viable threat in the kicking game, Ozturk who was 38 of 40 on point-after attempts, capped the year with eight field goals — 42 yards being his longest — on 12 attempts. Blankenship patrolled the middle of the field for the Cougars, tallying 126 tackles, 14 tackles for loss, three sacks and two interceptions.
Other top honors in the district went to Jay’s Shai Jones (Offensive MVP) and Hilldale’s Josh Giem (Defensive MVP).
Lincoln Christian’s passing-and-catching combination of quarterback Austin Grauer and receiver Anthony Wilkinson both picked up Player of the Year nods at their positions. Grauer tossed for 2,640 yards and 27 touchdowns, while Wilkinson hauled in 53 catches for 798 yards and 11 scores.
On defense, Locust Grove’s Mike Baker was named the Lineman of the Year, and Jay’s Stephen Tanner was selected as the Defensive End of the Year.
At Keys, both of the Cougars’ top two offensive weapons (quarterback Trevor Eubanks and running back Cody Cole) were left off the short list of the district’s top honors. But both received All-District selections, along with offensive linemen, Blake Maxey, Trent Cox and J.D. Daugherty, and defensive end, Chris Kelley.
“When guys have numbers like Trevor and Cody, and they don’t get the top honors, you know it’s a pretty solid district,” Keys coach Gary Willis said. “It was a tough, tough district. Hilldale had several on there, and they were deserving of it.”
Playing only eight of Keys’ 12 games this season, Cole put up a full-season’s worth of statistics with 1,289 yards on 136 carries.
“He ended up playing six whole games,” Willis said of Cole. “He had All-State type of numbers in 3A. That’s pretty impressive.”
Willis also recognized this year’s offensive line as one of the most consistent that he’s ever had during his 11-year run at Keys.
“We’ve had one or two guys through here that have been pretty good,” he said. “But as a whole, I’d say this group was probably the best. We got a lot of mileage out of those guys.”
For Sequoyah, Forrest Cully (kicker), Karter Woodruff (linebacker), Kyle Helsley (running back), Greyden Elrod (defensive tackle), Nike Hammer (wide receiver) and Tyler Chaffin (tight end) made All-District accolades.
“We were blessed with so many talented players,” Richardson said. “It’s a shame guys like Karter Woodruff and Niko Hammer didn’t get more individual recognition, but they played with a lot of good players. There’s just not enough awards to go around in a year like this with so much talent.”
Both Sequoyah and Keys also had players pick up honorable mention honors. For the Cougars, it was Franky Walker (offensive line), Mason Turman (defensive end), Tyler Hunter (wide receiver), Josh Ferguson (free safety), Jesse Haeberle (linebacker) and Trey Horn (center). At Sequoyah, it was Mvhayv Locust (offensive line), Jordan Colburn (defensive end), Logan Saiz (offensive line), Ty West (offensive line), Robert Smith (running back) and Lonnie Drapeau (linebacker).
District 3A-7 honors
Most Valuable Player: Brayden Scott (Sequoyah).
Offensive MVP: Shai Jones (Jay).
Defensive MVP: Josh Giem (Hilldale).
Special Teams MVP: JJ Ozturk (Keys).
Offensive Players of the Year
Lineman: Tanner Sheets (Sequoyah).
Wide receiver: Anthony Wilkinson (Lincoln Christian).
Running back: Jamaul Collum (Hilldale).
Quarterback: Austin Grauer (Lincoln Christian).
Defensive Players of the Year
Lineman: Mike Baker (Locust Grove).
End: Stephen Tanner (Jay).
Linebacker: Tyler Blankenship (Keys).
Secondary: Ryan Helsley (Sequoyah), MIles Jackson (Hilldale).
Keys: Trevor Eubanks (QB), Cody Cole (RB), Blake Maxey (OL), Chris Kelley (DE), Trent Cox (OL), J.D. Daugherty (OL).
Sequoyah: Forrest Cully (K), Karter Woodruff (LB), Kyle Helsley (RB), Greyden Elrod (DT), Niko Hammer (WR), Tyler Chaffin (TE).
Hilldale: Trandon Boylan (OL), Richard Mabery (DB), Eli Lawley (DE), Seth Sherman (OL).
Lincoln Christian: Andrew Wright (DB), Chase Holmes (LB), Logan Young (LB), Chad Blume (WR), Dan Beaudry (OL).
Jay: Blair Rogers (OL), Luke Haggard (OL).
Locust Grove: Colton Witt (DB), Tyler Fox (DE), Aaron Conway (WR), Dakota Simerly (LB).
Westville: Justin Self (QB), Chip Collins (DB), Hershal Gifford (LB), Conner Delarosa (DB).
Keys: Franky Walker, Mason Turman, Tyler Hunter, Josh Ferguson, Jesse Haeberle, Trey Horn.
Locust Grove: Lane Thigpen, Clay Rohde.
Sequoyah: Mvhayv Locust, Jordan Colburn, Logan Saiz, Ty West, Robert Smith, Lonnie Drapeau.