orangeleader.com (Orange, Texas)

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January 23, 2013

Vidor's Quirante, WO-S' Lynch among Smith Finalists

BEAUMONT —  

Vidor standout quarterback and linebacker Montana Quirante and West Orange-Stark standout linebacker Joe Lynch were named finalsts for the Willie Ray Smith Awards that was announced Wednesday at the Elegante Hotel.

As a matter of fact, Mr. Quirante was named as both a Offensive Finalist and a Defensive Finalist. Lynch is a Defensive Finalist.

Vidor coach Jeff Mathews has seen his share of excellent players stroll the Pirate program over the years and so have the Pirate faithful, but they could all arguably say that Mr. Quirante is the best overall player that has ever put on a Pirate jersey.

Quirante was the key force in leading the Pirates to back-to-back playoff trips.

As a senior this year, Quirante rushed for 1,783 yards and a stunning 33 touchdowns on just 193 carries.

He was just as effective on the defensive side of the leather, notching 147 tackles, seven sacks and three interceptions. When he wasn’t running it down opponents’ throats, he also passed for 344 yards and two scores.

To put Quirante in even better perspective, in the last two seasons, he’s rushed for 2,813 yards and 53 TDs on 342 carries, passed for 701 yards and three scores and has piled up 290 tackles.

A superb linebacker for three years for the Mustangs, Lynch, a senior, bounced back from a knee injury that he suffered as a junior in fine fashion.

Lynch was a key cog for a Mustang defense that allowed a mere 145.6 yards a game and just 80 total points in 14 weeks of action. He was also a part of school history, helping lead the Mustangs to a school-record nine shutouts.

He led the vaunted Chain Gang Defense, notching a team-high 152 tackles, 86 of them unassisted.

Lynch also had 16 tackles for losses, five sacks, two caused fumbles and a fumble recovery.

Quirante is joined as a Offensive Finalist by Port Arthur Memorial quarterback Ricky Fisk, Nederland running back Kendrick Hopkins, and East Chambers running back Glenn Roberts.

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