Above Photo: Central Texas high school football players took the field on Saturday, June 12, 2021, for the annual Heart of Texas FCA Victory Bowl. Five UMHB commits were in action. Photo by Mike Zayas/True To The Cru
WACO, Texas- Across the state over the last several weeks, Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) has been contesting its annual all-star games.
On Saturday morning, Heart of Texas FCA hosted its annual football Victory bowl, featuring high school seniors from across central Texas, including five UMHB commits, at Panther Stadium (Midway High School).
Offensive lineman Marshall Mays suited up for the Blue team, while Colby Bailey, Vontez Martin, Trapper Ensor, and Hayden Hopkins took the field for the Red squad.
Mays’ Blue team bested the Red by a score of 33-20.
True To The Cru was on site, and keyed in on the performances of the five UMHB commits.
Mays, who graduated from Holland High School, played all four quarters at right tackle. The 6’4, 288 lb lineman had several key blocks as his team began to gain traction in the run game in the second quarter, including a 40-yard gain followed by a 23-yard run midway through the second.
Though his team was unable to capitalize on those long gains due to a fumble at the one yard line, the Blue still broke through with a safety, and Mays delivered great pass protection on a 42-yard strike through the air from Bosqueville quarterback Luke Bradshaw to Jay King that put the Blue in front 19-6 at the half.
Mays, a Second-Team All State honoree, had exceptional footwork, and handled a couple of blitzes from the Red defense well, taking on two defenders at one point on a play.
The six points that the Red had at the half were a direct result of Bailey’s passing at quarterback, as the Hamilton High School product found Crawford’s Tanner Merenda for a 46-yard completion early in the first quarter. That pass was followed by a 29-yard touchdown to Axtell’s Koby Hollingsworth, as Bailey’s squad briefly led 6-0.
The 6’1, 200 lb Bailey was also prolific on the ground, running the quarterback keeper quite often, and tallying several significant gains. On one drive, he took the snap and ran right for a 16-yard run down to the one-yard line. That set up a touchdown for the Red, and on the two-point conversion attempt, Bailey was flushed from the pocket as he looked to pass. Rolling to his left, he scampered down the sideline, stepping just inside the pylon to make the score 19-14 in the third.
Bailey was a do-it-all kind of player for the Red, seeing time at quarterback, slot receiver, kicker and punter. That versatility is not something the UMHB coaching staff will overlook. In fact, watching Bailey’s performance on Saturday, he seems to be the perfect fit as a wildcat-type quarterback for the Cru, at least during the early part of his college career. His ability to line up in the slot, and actually catch a pass or two, as well as run the offense from the quarterback position with a great running ability, is the complete package for the wildcat formation.
Ensor, of Bruceville-Eddy High School, saw a few snaps at quarterback for the Red, and one apparent characteristic of his skill set is the ability to throw the deep ball. A First-Team All District honoree, the 6’1, 200 lb standout tossed a couple of well-placed passes, including a 40-plus yard completion early in the first quarter, though he did have one interception along the way. He also saw a little bit of action on defense and at receiver.
At receiver for the Red was Killeen Shoemaker’s Martin, who committed to UMHB on January 30. Martin was a big target at wide receiver, and though the ball placement on several passes thrown in his direction were slightly off-target, he still tallied four receptions. His routes were crisp, especially on slants.
Hopkins, representing China Spring High School, saw action on the offensive line for the Red squad, lining up on the interior of the line. In an interview with True To The Cru in January, Hopkins said he felt his run blocking “had taken a step forward” because China Spring’s offense ran the ball 90 percent of the time. That was on display Saturday, as he had several key blocks with Red team driving downfield on multiple possessions. He looked good in pass protection as well, and had clearly been putting in work throughout the spring as he prepares for his first season in college.
A replay of the contest can be seen on June 19 on KWTX at 1 p.m. CT.
5 UMHB Football Commits Play in East Texas FCA All-Star game
A week before, in Tyler, five additional UMHB football commits suited up in the 10th Annual Fellowship of Christian Athletes Heart of a Champion Bowl.
Those were Kale Shaw of Canton High School, Airik Williams of Lindale High School, DJ Freeman and Christian Webb of Pine Tree High School, and Jojo Clark of Harleton High School.
Williams, a First-Team All-District safety, actually had the interception that sealed the 22-21 win for the Red All-Stars.
“It was an experience I’ll never forget,” Shaw said postgame. “I got to meet, and become friends with, some players that my high school team played against. I also got coached by other teams’ coaches that treated us like their own. It was special to me because I got the opportunity to play with two of my high school teammates along with a future UMHB teammate, against three other UMHB commits. FCA has a cool way of bringing athletes of all backgrounds together to spread God’s word and bring it into the sports we love.”
2 UMHB Football Commits Play in Bayou Bowl
Mason Stewart of Waller High School and Zachary Wilkinson of Bridgeland High School were selected to the Bayou Bowl, an annual All-Star game put on by the Greater Houston FCA.
Wilkinson, a 6’2, 275 lb tackle, had three pancake blocks in the game, including the one in the video below, as his strength was on full display.
Cano plays in FCA girls basketball All-Star game in Brownwood
McKenzie Cano represented Mason High School in the FCA All-Star girls basketball game in West Texas on June 5. She did not score, but pulled down eight rebounds and added two steals and two assists, as well as a block.
Powers represents Midway High School at Heart of Texas FCA Softball Game
Playing on her future home field, Kaitlin Powers went 1-for-3 at the plate in Friday’s FCA softball All-Star game at Dee Dillon Field on the campus of UMHB. Playing first base, she also recorded a couple of putouts as her Blue team earned a 13-1 victory over the Red team.