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PLANO – The top high school football stars have been recognized in week 1 of the 2021 Built Ford Tough Texas High School Football Player of the Week program. Now in its sixteenth year, the program is back again. Since 2006, the program has recognized outstanding student-athletes. The program has celebrated many future college and professional standouts during their Texas high school careers.

This week’s winning athletes join a long list of remarkable players recognized for their exceptional efforts.

Built Ford Tough Player of the Week Award. (Photo courtesy of Ford)
Built Ford Tough Player of the Week Award. (Photo courtesy of Ford)

 

Week 1 winners

Class 6A: Conner Weigman, Senior, QB, Bridgeland High School (Cypress Fairbanks ISD’s 12th High School)

Mascot: Bears

Opponent: Klein Cain High School

Three years ago, as a new school on the far western edge of the Houston metro area, “recruiters didn’t know where we were,” said coach David Raffield. Now, Conner Weigman is in his third year as a starter.

In the opener against Klein Cain, quarterback Weigman completed 23 of 33 for 358 yards and five TDs, ran 10 times for 104 yards and a score and caught a 47-yard touchdown pass. As for recruiters beating a path to the Bear’s door, Texas A&M got there first and won a commitment from one of the state’s most highly recruited players.

“We wanted to build a program that would carry on year in and year out, and his play has elevated us quickly.”

  • Bridgeland High School (Cypress Fairbanks ISD’s 12th High School) Head Coach David Raffield
Conner Weigman. (Photo courtesy of Ford)
Conner Weigman. (Photo courtesy of Ford)

 

Class 5A: Richard Torres, Senior, QB, Southside High School

Mascot: Cardinals

Opponent: Lopez High School

San Antonio Southside quarterback Richard Torres completed 13 of 17 passes with no interceptions for 302 yards and a school-record eight TDs in a 62-14 rout of Brownsville Lopez. Torres, who has committed to Nebraska, was pulled from the game by Coach Ricky Lock after he threw his last TD pass on the third play of the second half. Torres’ scoring strikes covered 33, 51, 56, 61, 12, 17, 36 and 28 yards. He threw TD passes to six different receivers. Torres, 6’6” and 215 pounds, checks all the boxes as a dual-threat quarterback. An honor student, Torres was a backup as a sophomore before becoming Southside’s starting quarterback at the start of the 2020 season. He was voted District 14-5A Offensive MVP after passing for 1,149 yards and 18 TDs in only seven games. Torres also starts at point guard on the Southside basketball team.

“Richard is much improved from a year ago. He put in a lot of work in the offseason and the summer to improve his game. You can tell that he’s been in the weight room and made a conscious effort to gain strength and bulk up a little bit. He’s gained about 25 pounds. I thought he was very cool, calm and collected in our opener. He’s always been an even-keeled kind of player. Richard is also very coachable and is a good leader. His teammates follow his lead.”

– Southside Head Coach Ricky Lock

 

Class 4A: Epi Hinojosa, Junior, RB, Calallen High School

Mascot: Wildcats

Opponent: Gregory-Portland High School

Corpus Christi Calallen running back Epi Hinojosa rushed 20 times for 313 yards and two TDs in the Wildcats’ 41-19 victory against Gregory-Portland. The latest in a long line of outstanding Calallen running backs, Hinojosa keyed a ground game that piled up a school-record 614 yards on 48 attempts. Hinojosa set the tone for the Wildcats’ big rushing night when he broke loose for an 82-yard TD on the second play of the game. Hinojosa’s single-game rushing total ranks No. 5 in Calallen history. Hinojosa (5’9”, 195 pounds) saw limited duty last year as a backup to Jeremiah Earls, who graduated this spring. With Hinojosa running behind an offensive line anchored by senior center Cole Hobbs, the Wildcats wore down the Gregory-Portland defense with their physical play. Five of the Calallen’s six TDs went for at least 50 yards. Calallen coach Phil Danaher, who missed the game with an unspecified illness, watched his team’s season-opening victory via live stream.

“You’re talking about a tough runner in Epi Hinojosa. He runs over people. And then when he does, he breaks it, and they don’t catch him very often. Epi has excellent speed. His 82-yarrd touchdown really got us going. It would motivate anybody. After losing Jeremiah Earls to graduation, we’re lucky that Epi came around like he did. He didn’t play much at all last year because we had Jeremiah, but Epi worked really hard this spring. All of our kids did.”

– Calallen Head Coach Phil Danaher

 

Class 3A: De’Anthony Gatson, Senior, QB, Newton High School

Mascot: Eagles

Opponent: Woodville High School

If you know anything about Newton Eagles football, you know their incredible tradition with five state championships (’74, ’98, ’05, ’17, ’18). Their deep history of record-breaking running backs dates to Anthony Byerly in the early-80’s, to most recently Darwin Barlow, who led the Eagles to their two latest state titles. Welcome their newest star in senior De’Anthony Gatson, who is already committed to the University of Southern California. Everyone knows the incredible tradition of Heisman Trophy running backs at USC and Trojans fans have to like Gatson’s career-record 335-yards on 38-carries and four TDs during the Eagles 46-26 opening week win against Woodville.

“He always thanks his teammates, always and especially his offensive linemen for his success. De’Anthony wants to win and make a run this year and tells me he will do what he has to do for our team. De’Anthony is always energetic, and an exited guy and I tell people all of the time he has never met a stranger and I am so glad I’m the one getting to coach him.”

  • Newtown Head Coach Drew Johnson

 

Class 2A: Zane Zeinert, Senior, QB, Rosebud-Lott High School

Mascot: Cougars

Opponent: Leon High School

Rosebud-Lott football hasn’t had much to celebrate in recent years, but second-year head coach Brandon Hicks and his program are getting better and for the second-consecutive year they have a player honored by Built Ford Tough as a Class 2-A Texas High School Player of the Week. A year ago, it was Jordan Landrum with his amazing four interception defensive performance against Wortham. Senior quarterback Zane Zeinert gets the honor this season. He completed 20-28 passes for 406-yards and six TDs in a 60-22 victory against Leon. Zeinert, who is ranked fifth in his senior class is also a captain on the football team and Coach Hicks couldn’t be prouder.

“Zane is in great standing on and off the field and has become a great leader and sets an example for all of the kids in our program. Zane does an outstanding job of leading our offense and his instincts are second to none and that sure does make my job a lot of fun as his coach.”

  • Rosebud-Lott Head Coach Brandon Hicks

 

Private Schools: Zak Johnson, Senior, RB, Shiner Catholic High School

Mascot: Cardinals

Opponent: Yorktown High School

Shiner St. Paul coach Jake Wachsmuth was impressed by what he saw from senior running back and linebacker Zak Johnson in the team’s scrimmages. But he had no idea what was in store for the Cardinals’ season opener against Yorktown.

Johnson carried 22 times for 380 yards and seven touchdowns, had a 28-yard reception, ran for five two-point conversions, kicked an extra point, and had nine tackles, including one for a loss.

Johnson scored on runs of 62, 34, 2, 64, 1, 2 and 85 yards to lead three-time defending TAPPS Division IV state champion St. Paul to a 59-36 win. Johnson also kicks off and punts for the Cardinals and earned first-team all-state honors last season at running back, linebacker and as a punter.

 

“He had really good scrimmages and he was making big plays in those. He just had a lot of big runs, and he also had the 4 or 5 yards to get first downs. To do it on 22 carries, I think he had four or five really big chunk yardage plays, and on those plays he just made things happen.”

  • Shiner Catholic Head Coach Jake Wachsmuth

 

Nominate your elite student-athlete at FordPlayeroftheWeek.com

During each week of the 2021 regular season, fans, coaches, and media are asked to nominate players at FordPlayeroftheWeek.com, as well as catch up with winners, view video clips of players in action and get the latest program details. Fans will be able to follow the conversation on social media by using #FordPOTW and share the recognition of these outstanding individuals each week.

Additionally, fans are encouraged to catch all the action on Bally Sports Southwest. The network is again teaming with Ford and Texas Ford dealers to keep up with award winners through its weekly television show. Each week, television crews will travel to communities across Texas, spotlighting players who excel on the field, in the classroom and in their communities. The half-hour Built Ford Tough Texas High School Football Player of the Week program will air on Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00AM.

 

How the program works
The Built Ford Tough Texas High School Football Player of the Week program recognizes one high school student-athlete in six of the state’s athletic classifications each week of the regular season.

Nominees must excel in three categories:

  • Individual performance on the field, including significant statistics from that week’s game
  • Contribution to the team’s success through individual leadership abilities
  • Performance off the field, including academic success and good community citizenship

At the end of the regular season, Ford and its advisory board will select one student-athlete from the 11 weekly winners to be the Built Ford Tough Texas High School Football Player of the Year in each classification. Following the championship games, honorees will once again be recognized at a banquet.

Ford F-Series: The best-selling truck for 44 years
Ford is the undisputed truck leader in Texas. Ford F-Series sets the standard for full-size pickups with leading payload, towing, interior roominess, strength and reliability. Ford is proud to recognize the Built Ford Tough Texas High School Football Players of the Week.

About Ford Motor Company

Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F) is a global company based in Dearborn, Michigan, that is committed to helping build a better world, where every person is free to move and pursue their dreams. The company’s Ford+ plan for growth and value creation combines existing strengths, new capabilities, and always-on relationships with customers to enrich experiences for and deepen the loyalty of those customers. Ford designs, manufactures, markets and services a full line of connected, increasingly electrified passenger and commercial vehicles: Ford trucks, utility vehicles, vans and cars, and Lincoln luxury vehicles. The company is pursuing leadership positions in electrification, connected vehicle services and mobility solutions, including self-driving technology, and provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. Ford employs about 182,000 people worldwide. More information about the company, its products and Ford Motor Credit Company is available at corporate.ford.com.

 

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