Texans football sweeps WAC postseason awards with 11 total honorees, Beau Allen named Rookie of the Year – The Flash Today || Erath County | Trending


STEPHENVILLE — Tarleton’s teammates have voted and agree with what Texans have known for a while: There are plenty of stars on the Tarleton football team.

The Western Athletic Conference announced its 2022 postseason awards on Tuesday, voted on by head coaches from across the WAC, and 11 Texans were honored and can lay claim to being the best of the best in the conference.

Tarleton had 10 players named to the All-WAC first or second team, the second most of any program in the conference. This was Tarleton’s third-most individual conference honors over the past 10 seasons, trailing only Lone Star Conference winning years in 2018 and 2019. Offensively, the Texans had six first- or second-team All- WAC, second as well, with three named first team All-WAC, tied for the most accolades of any team in the conference.

In addition to the 10 first- or second-team All-WAC honorees, Tarleton QB Beau Allen earned his own special recognition, one of the Big Five award winners, as he was named the Newcomer of the WAC year 2022.

Tarleton had five first-team All-WAC names, three on offense, one on defense and one on special teams. Wide receiver Darius Cooper and offensive linemen Kendall Dearth and Blake Haynes were first-team All-WAC on offense. Defensive end Donovan Banks was first team All-WAC on defense. Long snapper Brandon Oldham was first team All-WAC on special teams.

Tarleton had five named Second Team All-WAC, three on offense and two on defense. Running back Derrel Kelley III, wide receiver Jaden Smith and offensive lineman Layton Ernst were All-WAC second team on offense. Linebackers Patrick Jones and Qua’Shawn Washington were second-team All-WAC on defense.

Allen is the winner of one of the five major awards the WAC gives out (Offensive Player of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, Special Teams Player of the Year, Coach of the Year and Newcomer of the Year year). The redshirt freshman had a breakout season in his first year at Tarleton, completing 193-of-340 (.568) for 2,836 yards, 23 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. He had a QB rating of 142.7, averaging 257.8 yards per game. He also rushed 79 times for 110 yards and a touchdown.

Allen led the WAC in passing touchdowns (23, 16th in FCS), passing yards (2,838, 17th in FCS), as well as having 300+ yard games on the season (five). He was tied for the third most 300-yard games in a single season in program history, tied with Steve Kelley (2001), trailing only Kevin Vickers (seven, 1994) and Cliff Watkins (six, 2003). On October 8, in Tarleton’s 42-40 win at Southern Utah, Allen threw for a career-high 406 yards passing, adding three touchdowns, while leading the team in rushing with 55 yards in 11 attempts. His 406 yards are the 11th most in Tarleton Football history and the 12th 400+ yard game in program history. His 406 was also the second most by a WAC QB this year. In the previous game, Tarleton’s 43-28 win at North Alabama, Allen earned WAC Offensive Player of the Week honors after throwing for a career-high 316 yards and four touchdowns while add 32 yards on seven carries. His four touchdown passes were tied for the third most TD passes by a WAC QB this season, and his 86-yard pass to Jaden Smith in the game was the longest in the conference this season year.

First-team All-WAC offense features Cooper, Dearth and Haynes. Cooper won his first career conference postseason award after reaching the coveted 1,000-yard milestone in the final game, finishing with 54 receptions for 1,063 yards and nine touchdowns. In the entire WAC, he had the third-most receiving yards (ninth in FCS), third-most receiving touchdowns (tied for 21st in FCS) and fourth-most receptions. He also had five games of 100+ yards, tied for second most in the conference. His 1,063 receiving yards are the most by a Texan since 2019.

Dearth and Haynes, who were both preseason All-WAC selections, each took home their second career honors in the postseason, though it’s the first time each has made the first team. Dearth, a senior, ends his long Texan career with first-team accolades to add to his All-LSC second-team recognition in 2019. Haynes makes it back-to-back years for postseason conference honors after the honors second-team All-WAC last season. Both helped the offense gain 436.8 yards per game, Tarleton’s best average since 2019, highest in the WAC this season, 21st most in the FCS.

One of Tarleton’s senior leaders, Banks earns his first conference postseason award after a career year, earning a team-leading four interceptions (two interceptions for touchdowns), to go with a forced fumble, 47 tackles, 6.0 tackles for loss, one sack. and four pass breakups. His four interceptions were tied for the most in the WAC this year (tied-13th in FCS), while his two interceptions were tied for the most nationally and the most in the conference. He had a two-interception game against Abilene Christian on Nov. 5, his second career multi-interception game. On October 10, Banks was named the WAC Defensive Player of the Week after his vital 41-yard interception return for a touchdown in Tarleton’s win over Southern Utah.

Oldham was named the conference’s top long snapper in his first year with Tarleton. He played in all 11 games without a single error all season.

Making the All-WAC second team on offense were Kelley, Smith and Ernst. Kelley had a breakout season after coming on late as the starting RB, reaching the 1,000-yard mark with 155 carries for 1,004 yards and eight touchdowns. He averaged 91.3 yards per game and 6.5 yards per carry. He also had 15 catches for 120 yards. Kelley, a sophomore, saved his best for last, rushing for 239 yards on 24 carries (10.0 yards per rush) and two touchdowns in the season finale against Houston Christian. His 239 yards are the fifth most in a single game in program history, just 30 shy of the all-time mark. He rushed for more than 100 yards five times this season, including four times in the last five games. Kelley had a three game streak for 100+ yards, the longest stretch by a Texan since Daniel McCants had three in a row late in the 2019 season. In the entire WAC, he had the most touchdowns tied for second most yards (25th in FCS). He also had the most yards per rush at 6.5, the 17th best average in the country.

Smith had an incredible start to the year and held his own as one of the top receivers in the WAC during his first year at Tarleton. He finished with 48 receptions for 822 yards and 10 touchdowns. In the conference, he had the second-most TD receptions (tied-14th in FCS), fourth-most receiving yards and fifth-most receptions. His 10 receiving touchdowns are the most by a Texan since 2019 and tied for sixth most in a single season in program history. In his first game of the year, Smith caught three touchdowns, making 11 receptions for 95 yards. His first TD catch was an OBJ-like one-handed skying, No. 4 on SportsCenter’s Top 10 Biggest Plays Countdown. On Sept. 24 at North Alabama, he had the longest play of the year in the WAC, an 86-yard touchdown catch.

Ernst, a sophomore, takes home his first all-conference honor of the postseason. He leads three offensive linemen on the team to earn WAC postseason recognition after starting all 11 games, part of Tarleton’s best total yardage average since 2019.

Rounding out the All-WAC second team defense were Jones and Washington as Tarleton’s linebacker pair had incredible years in their own right. Jones did a little bit of everything, finishing with two interceptions, one fumble recovery, one forced fumble, 65 total tackles (30 solo), 8.5 tackles for loss, three sacks, two pass breakups and four quarterback hurries . He led his team in sacks, tied for second-most tackles for loss and tied for third-most tackles. At Southern Utah on Oct. 8, Jones won the Texans’ game with an interception to preserve Tarleton’s 42-40 victory. Against Southwest Baptist on Oct. 22, he had a season-high 11 tackles, to go with a sack and 1.5 tackles for loss.

Washington played in nine games, leading Tarleton in tackles (75, 37 solo) and tackles for loss (13.5), while adding 1.5 sacks, three quarterback hurries and a pass breakup. He led the WAC in average tackles for loss (1.5, tied for 11th in FCS) and tackles per game (8.2). He began the year with four straight double-digit tackle games, his best performance coming in the season opener against Mississippi Valley State, where he compiled a season-high 12 tackles, adding a half-sack and 2.5 tackles for loss total.

The total of 11 players honored is a highlight of another successful season for Tarleton, which has started its reclassification period with three consecutive winning seasons. They are just the fourth program since 2004 to begin this stretch with three straight winning seasons, joining regular national champion North Dakota State, playoff regulars South Dakota State and often-successful Central Arkansas.

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