Adam Hass was shocked when he first heard he had been named the District 2A-5 Coach of the Year.
Hass guided Keys to a 5-8 overall record and the deepest playoff run in program history in his first season as a head coach with the Cougars.
“I was floored and shocked,” Hass said. “I’m honored, but I don’t do this job for those things. I think we approached things with an open mind and did what was going to be best for the kids. Probably the big thing for me this year was the character building that we did. Every Monday, we had a character building session before practice. A big thing for me was trying to help these guys become better human beings, better men.”
The Cougars made most of their noise over a two-week stretch in the postseason. They started with a come-from-behind 50-26 win at Hugo in the opening round of the playoffs, and followed with an upset win over fourth-ranked Casica Hall, 16-14, in Tulsa. Their season came to an end with a 52-14 loss at No. 10 Beggs. Keys had three regular season wins, including back-to-back victories over Pocola (58-8) and Heavener (35-6). The Cougars, who started 0-4, also defeated Panama, 27-14, in week nine.
Five Keys players were also honored as part of the 2A-5 All-District Team.
Senior defensive lineman Tristan Howe was selected the district’s most outstanding nose guard. Howe, who missed four games in his final season, recorded 34 tackles and two quarterback sacks.
“It was awesome for Tristan to get that honor,” Hass said. “He missed four games this season and they still voted him in, which says a lot to me. He’s a great player and he’s very deserving. One of my wishes is that I could’ve been with him for four years.”
Senior Jordan Andrews was voted as the Punter of the Year. Andrews averaged 28.5 yards per punt, but it was his accuracy with ball placement that stood out to Hass.
“I asked Jordan to directionally punt a lot,” Hass said. “The punting average doesn’t tell the whole story. He did an outstanding job for us. Jordan’s a selfless player and I’m going to miss him.”
Freshman Austin Davis was named the Co-Newcomer of the Year, along with Pocola’s Garrett Scout. Davis led the Cougars with 62 tackles as an inside linebacker and also took every snap as the center on the offensive line. Davis had a fumble recovery and one interception.
“To be a freshman and take every snap at center is a big deal. That’s a tough job,” Hass said. “Austin is going to be a great player. He’s very coachable and he’s a tough kid.”
Defensive end Eli Trammel and special teams player Zane Aliya were chosen as honorable mentions. Trammel led Keys with four quarterback sacks and registered 41 tackles.
“They did a heck of a job this year for us,” Hass said of Trammel and Aliya.
Keys’ junior quarterback Lane Taylor completed 61 of 149 passes for 550 yards with seven touchdowns and six interceptions. Taylor also rushed for 518 yards with eight scores. Junior running back Joel Scott led the Cougars in rushing with 595 yards on 94 carries with six TDs, and junior fullback Colby Nottingham closed with 559 yards (5.3 average) and six touchdowns. Junior receiver Gage Barnes was Taylor's top go-to target. Barnes had a team-high 33 receptions for 456 yards and four TDs.
Defensively, junior linebacker Levi Troyer had 54 tackles, one fumble recovery and an interception, while Taylor led Keys with seven interceptions and posted 35 tackles.
Vian quarterback/cornerback Javyn Wright was selected the Most Valuable Player, Spiro running back Conner Rodgers was picked the Offensive Player of the Year, and Vian defensive lineman Solomon Wright and Cascia Hall linebacker Dylan Wilson were chosen the Co-Defensive Players of the Year.