With the high school football season officially over, a handful of players got to play on the biggest of stages over the weekend when seven state championships were decided, and a few of the top performances will be recognized now.
1. Johnathan Gray, RB, Aledo: This one really isn't even close. No one in the state was bigger on Saturday than this sophomore running back. Gray got two quick scores to get Aledo out to a 14-0 lead over Brenham before Brenham battled back, but Gray wasn't finished. Gray, who showed an amazing ability to flat-out run away from people, as well as an unfair mixture of power, had 32 carries for 252 yards and four touchdowns in the game. Facing third-and-8 from his own 11 with less than two minutes remaining and a one-score lead, Gray made the biggest play of the season for Aledo, and put a cherry on top of his breakout performance. The sophomore phenom took it 89 yards to the house to ice the game for Aledo, which won 35-21. Aledo has a core of amazing sophomores and will be tough to beat for two more years.
2. Brandon Carter, WR, Euless Trinity: The athletic big-play threat was the epitome of that term in Saturday's thrilling come-from-behind, overtime win over Austin Westlake in the Class 5A Division I title game. Carter touched the ball just twice in the entire game. One touch was a 54-yard on a reverse that set up the Trojans deep in Westlake territory for a score. But no one play in the game was bigger than his second touch. On the second play of the Trojans' drive in overtime -- after Westlake got a field goal to open OT -- Trinity QB Willie Hubbard found Carter on a fade pattern in the end zone from 18 yards out to win the game.
3. In Division 1 Class 2A, Pilot Point beat Kirbyville 35-18 to take the state crown on Dec. 12. Not enough can be said about this kid. The senior speedster had at least 100 yards rushing in every game this season, but wrapped up his high school career with the game of his life -- not necessarily statistically. Four touchdowns and 242 yards rushing would normally be a career day for a high school running back, but not for Johnson. But the surrounding circumstances made his performance in Pilot Point's 35-18 win in the Class 2A Division I state title game even more impressive. Johnson's dad passed away after a battle with cancer just two short weeks ago, and Johnson was playing this game for him, as was his entire team. The Bearcats weren't the favorites, but they dominated, and it started and ended with Johnson. What a beastly monster.
Adam Boedeker is a sports writer/award-winning blogger for the Denton Record-Chronicle. He had his first of four Christmases last night.