The Orange Leader
West Orange-Stark has seen its share of outstanding defensive players over its storied history.
Many of them have picked up honors throughout the years, including winning the prestigious Willie Ray Smith Awards.
However, for the first time in the school’s history, two players have been named finalists for the award this year in linebacker Elijah Teel and defensive back Deionte Thompson.
Both players were at the Elegante Hotel Wednesday night to accept the honor.
The Willie Ray Smith Banquet will be held Feb. 19 at the Elegante Hotel.
Teel, a senior, and Thompson, a junior, were key cogs for head coach Cornel Thompson as they helped lead the Mustangs (11-2) to yet another District 21-3A title as the Mustangs advanced all the way to the Class 3A Region III Division I finals.
Teel, who was also the Defensive Most Valuable Player on the All-Orange Leader Team, led the Mustangs with 155 tackles and had 17 tackles for losses.
Thompson spearheaded a young Mustang secondary and finished with 66 tackles and four interceptions.
The other two defensive finalists are Port Arthur Memorial’s C.J. Levine and Nederland’s Deshawn Washington.
Levine had 104 tackles for the Titans and had four interceptions. Washington collected 74 tackles for the Bulldogs, had 10 1/2 sacks, 21 tackles for losses and knocked down 10 passes.
The offensive finalists are Deweyville quarterback Cody Dupuy, Beaumont West Brook running back Justin Hervey, Silsbee quarterback Patrick Reed and Port Neches-Groves receiver Jeremiah Rose.
Dupuy rushed for 1,548 yards on 146 carries and passed for 495 more yards to lead the Pirates to the playoffs.
Hervey rushed for 1,573 yards and 19 touchdowns on 205 carries for the Bruins.
Reed, the two-time Most Valuable Player out of District 21-3A, passed for 1,870 yards and 21 TDs and rushed for 1,285 yards and 18 TDs.
PN-G’s Rose was 20-4A’s leading receiver with 90 receptions for 1,176 yards and 11 TDs.
The guest speaker for the 22nd annual event will be Jerry LeVias, the Beaumont Hebert ex who went on to do amazing things at SMU.
Last year’s winner was Vidor quarterback Montana Quirante, who became the first player ever to win both the defensive and offensive award in the same year.
Here are the past Willie Ray Smith Award winners:
1993: Dexter Hebert, Kelly
1994: Jay McGuire, Silsbee
1995: Jeffery Spikes, Burkeville
1996: Elijah Burkins, Thomas Jefferson
1997: Bryan Bock, Bridge City
1998: Offense: Chip Ambres, West Brook; Defense: Charles Sias, WO-S
1999: Offense: Beaux Daville, Orangefield; Defense: Rod Gulley, Newton
2000: Offense: Dustin Long, PN-G; Defense: Gayron Allen, WO-S
2001: Offense: Sean Yoder, Nederland; Defense: Jermaine Hope, WO-S
2002: Offense: Tony Eckert, Lumberton; Defense: Ricky Wilson, Lincoln
2003: Offense: Matt Peebles, Bridge City; Defense: William Bryant, Jasper
2004: Offense: Jamaal Charles, P.A. Memorial; Defense: William Morrissey, Silsbee
2005: Offense: Jamaal Charles, P.A. Memorial; Defense: Brian West, Ozen
2006: Offense: Kenneth Beasley, WO-S; Defense: Sean Weatherspoon, Jasper
2007: Offense: Micah Mosley, Nederland; Defense: Earl Thomas, WO-S
2008: Offense: Cody Hussey, Lumberton; Defense: Tramain Thomas, East Chambers
2009: Offense: Christian Micheal, West Brook Defense: Kevin Robinson, WO-S
2010: Offense: Jeremy Johnson, Silsbee; Defense: Jacoby Hale, Central
2011: Offense: Fred Ford, Kirbyville; Defense: Colin Garrett, West Brook
2012: Offense: Terrence Singleton, P.A. Memorial; Defense: Corbin Carr, Nederland
2013: Offense: Montana Quirante, Vidor; Defense: Montana Quirante, Vidor