Six Outstanding Student Athletes Selected in Week 2 of Built Ford Tough Texas High School Football Player of the Week Program
- Class 6-A : Juma Otoviano, Sr., Quarterback, Martin High School (Arlington)
- Class 5-A: Ender Freeman, Sr., Quarterback, Cooper High School (Abilene)
- Class 4-A: Jordan Whittington, Jr., Wide Receiver/Free Safety/Return Specialist, Cuero High School
- Class 3-A: Aaron Frost, Sr., Quarterback/Safety, Alpine High School
- Class 2-A: Nelson Bermudez, Sr., Wide Receiver/Defensive Back, McCamey High School
- Private Schools: Shaun Taylor, Jr., Quarterback, Ft. Worth All Saints’ Episcopal
In its twelfth consecutive year, Ford Motor Company’s Player of the Week program is again honoring six outstanding student-athletes each week of the 2017 regular season, recognizing one player in each of the state’s six athletic classifications. The winners are chosen for athletic achievements on the field, as well as for outstanding scholarship and community involvement. These players are the embodiment of Ford’s Go Further commitment.
This week’s winning athletes join a long list of remarkable players recognized for their exceptional efforts.
Week 2 Winners
Class 6-A: Juma Otoviano, Sr., Quarterback, Arlington Martin:
Arlington Martin Coach Bob Wager had a hunch. Even though senior Juma Otoviano had never played quarterback, Wager believed that his athleticism and leadership skills would supplant the usual learning curve. Wager has apparently won that bet! Need proof? Last Friday, Juma put up a five TD, 342-yard performance which was more than enough to give the Warriors a 50-33 victory over traditional powerhouse Southlake Carroll. The win pushed Martin to 2-0 heading into this Friday’s final non-district tilt at South Grand Prairie. The 5-0, 190-pounder unleashed all his skills, rushing for 182 yards and three scores. He also returned a kickoff 99 yards to pay dirt, completed seven of 14 passes for 160 yards (including an 80-yard TD), and tacked on a two-point conversion as the Warriors rallied from a 27-22 halftime deficit. In the first two games of his quarterbacking career, he has thrown for nearly 300 yards, a score, rushed for 278 yards and seven TDs.
As good as Juma is on the gridiron, he’s just as good in the classroom, holding down a nifty 3.6 GPA and attracting an offer from the US Military Academy at West Point. In addition, he’s an officer in the student leadership organization and is a volunteer at the local elementary school where he reads to the children. He also runs the 800 meters in track.
“Our team has many high character young men, but Juma is at the head of the pack,” raves Coach Wager. Whatever he does, Juma is invested in it. Whether that’s lifting weights or going all-out at practice, he has earned the respect of his teammates and the coaching staff. He has taken charge these last three years and if changing positions was best to help the team, there was never a doubt in his mind.”
Class 5-A: Ender Freeman, Sr., Quarterback, Abilene Cooper:
In just his second career start, Abilene Cooper’s senior quarterback, Ender Freeman, proved that good things come to those who wait. In completing 41 of 53 passes for an astounding 466 yards and three TDs last week, he threw more passes than he did all last season (44) as the Cougars’ back-up signal caller. The result was a spine-tingling come-from-behind 41-37 victory over a ranked Grapevine squad in the DQ Big Game of the Week. (Grapevine won last year’s match-up, 61-7!) Cooper trailed 21-7 early and 28-21 at halftime before the 5-9, 170-pound Freeman really got cranked up. He completed his first 15 passes of the game, then led the Cougars on a 49-yard drive in the final two minutes, culminating in the game-winning TD pass to Myller Royals with 1:03 left on the clock. (Royals caught three passes during the winning drive and a school record 15 on the night.) The win over the Mustangs has Cooper off to a perfect 2-0 start.
The proud owner of a 3.75 GPA, Freeman is an all-around superstar at Cooper. He’s an all-district baseball player and he’s president of the Student Council. He’s also involved in numerous community service projects. Whether it’s football or baseball, he intends to keep competing on the next level.
“Ender is the All-American boy,” says Coach Todd Moebes. “I know it’s early, but I’ve got to believe that his performance last week has got to be the best anywhere this season. He’s an extremely vocal leader who displays huge competitive spirit whether it’s on the field or in the classroom. It’s no wonder he was elected captain by his peers. I can’t think of a single instance when he hasn’t performed to the best of his ability.”
Class 4-A: Jordan Whittington, Jr., Wide Receiver/Free Safety/Return Specialist, Cuero:
When the calendar flips to September every year, the folks in DeWitt County are chomping at the bit, waiting for the renewal of the great Cuero-Yoakum rivalry. This year’s game was even more meaningful for the Cuero Gobblers because its final scrimmage and opening night game were both erased by Hurricane Harvey. That was apparently all the motivation that Jordan Whittington needed. His performance was simply sensational. The multi-positional junior accounted for five touchdowns and 273 all-purpose yards in Cuero’s lopsided 41-13 victory over the visiting Bulldogs at Gobbler Stadium. The win gave Cuero a 70-32-6 record in the ancient rivalry. Jordan lit up the scoreboard, rushing 16 times for 148 yards and touchdowns of 15, 29, 45, and 4 yards. He also caught five passes for 105 yards, including a 65-yard TD scamper. And on defense, he added six tackles and defensed two passes. The win landed Cuero at No. 6 in the latest AP 4-A rankings heading into this Friday’s non-district test at Floresville.
The 6-1, 205-pound Whittington is on the radar at virtually every major college program, having already fielded offers from Texas, A&M, Notre Dame, Alabama, Florida State, Oklahoma, USC, and UCLA, to name a few. A straight-A student, he’s a member of the National Honor Society and is on the all-district academic team. He runs two relays in track and is a shooting guard on the basketball team. He helped locally in the recovery effort from Hurricane Harvey and mentors elementary and special-needs youngsters.
“Jordan is an explosive, well-rounded player who just makes big plays on both sides of the ball and on special teams,” says Coach Travis Reeve. “He’s developing into a great leader and you never have to worry about him doing the right thing,”
Class 3-A: Aaron Frost, Sr., Quarterback/Safety, Alpine:
When you come into a season with a four-game losing streak hanging over from 2016, you look for someone to turn things around. Apparently Alpine has found that guy. Quarterback Aaron Frost has taken over the Bucks offense with a bang. Coach John Fellows noticed something special about his senior during 7-on-7 play this summer and after a stunning pair of victories, his instincts appear to have been correct. The 6-0, 180-pound Frost hung up a 65-0 pasting of San Angelo Grape Creek and a 60-0 beat down of Van Horn. With a home game coming up Friday against Pecos, the Alpine turnaround is well underway. Frost apparently specializes in clipping Eagles’ wings. He hit on 12 of 17 for 184 yards and three scores against the Van Horn Eagles after notching a 13 of 15 night (for 267 yards and three more scores) against the Grape Creek Eagles. And for good measure he has rushed 40 times for 239 yards and seven TDs in the pair of victories.
“We knew we’d be better,” says Coach Fellows, “but I don’t think we were expecting a pair of total blowouts to start the season.”
A solid A- student, Frost plays baseball and basketball for the Bucks. He is heavily involved in a Baptist church encampment which his family directs.
“Aaron is tremendously unselfish,” says Coach Fellows. “He truly defines the ‘team’ player. We’ve struggled in the past but this group really wants to turn it around. We saw during the 7-on-7’s that Aaron was going to be a tremendous leader and our team chemistry is outstanding, thanks to that leadership. He’s not afraid to get physical. Even after a completion, you never know when he’s going to be racing downfield to throw a block.”
Class 2-A: Nelson Bermudez, Sr., Wide Receiver/Defensive Back, McCamey:
There’s a real buzz these days in the Permian Basin and it’s coming from the McCamey Badgers. McCamey is 2-0 for the first time since 2005 and Nelson Bermudez is emerging as a do-everything player. Take last Friday, for example. Nelson dominated on both sides of the ball in the Badgers’ 46-26 triumph over Class 3-A Coahoma. The senior wide receiver-defensive back never took a play off. He caught five balls for 92 yards and three touchdowns (for 21, 46, and 5 yards). And as a ball-hawking defender, he picked off two Bulldog passes, made six tackles, and returned a fumble 55 yards for his fourth score of the night. “Nelson is fast, explosive, and intelligent,” says first-year Coach Fred Staugh. Bermudez will need another big-time effort Friday against Iraan in a battle of unbeatens at Badger Stadium. That’s when McCamey looks to stop a four-game losing streak against last year’s 2-A, Division II state finalists.
The owner of a nifty 3.25 GPA, Nelson hasn’t yet decided whether to play football or baseball at the next level. He’s a four-sport athlete—a right-handed pitcher in baseball, a standout basketball player, and a member of McCamey’s regional qualifying relay team in track. He’s a greeter at the local elementary school and is involved in a variety of community projects.
“Nelson is a high-character kid,” says Coach Staugh. “He certainly leads by example. On the field, whether it’s offense or defense, he’s a big play kid who always wants to have the ball in his hands.”
Private Schools: Shaun Taylor, Jr., Quarterback, Fort Worth All Saints’ Episcopal:
Exactly a year ago, Shaun Taylor took over the reins of then 0-2 Fort Worth All Saints’ Episcopal. Since then, the Saints have won 10 straight, including last year’s SPC title game. His latest conquest was last week’s 51-28 thrashing of Trinity Christian-Addison, the last team that beat All Saints before Taylor’s epic win streak began. Blessed with an outstanding offensive line and great receivers, the 6-0, 185-pound signal caller completed 26 of 43 passes for a huge 451 yards and six touchdowns to trip the highly-regarded Trojans. It was just another night at the office for Taylor. In week one, he threw for 491 yards and six scores in a 61-50 shootout win over the Metroplex’s top-ranked private school, Prestonwood. With 935 yards and 12 TDs, it’s no wonder that All Saints’ receivers rank 1, 2, and 3 in the Dallas area. Taylor will have to be at his best every week this season. With the Saints transitioning from SPC to TAPPS, they’ll be competing for an at-large berth in the top division to make the playoffs this season. If he maintains his current pace, however, that goal could well be within reach.
It’s Shaun’s 13th (and final) year at All Saints’ (he has been there since kindergarten). His departure will be the school’s loss. He plays basketball and runs track while maintaining a 3.3 GPA and scoring solidly on the ACT. He intends to continue in football and several FCS schools are already showing interest. He’s extremely active in the K-Life program and in regular functions at Holy Family Catholic Church. His activities include providing food and entertainment to underprivileged youngsters.
“I couldn’t be more impressed with his leadership in the offseason,” says Coach Aaron Beck. “He took over as you’d expect a starting quarterback to take over. He led us to a hugely successful summer in 7-on-7. He has it all—the presence, the body language, the work ethic, the classroom habits—that you hope your leader would have. If we’re going to get to the playoffs, we’re going to need him to keep doing what he’s doing right now.”
Nominate your elite student-athlete at PlayeroftheWeek.com
Students recognized by Ford Motor Company, Texas Ford dealers and the Built Ford Tough media advisory board as Players of the Week excel in three categories:
- Individual performance on the field, including significant game statistics
- Contribution to the team’s success through individual leadership abilities
- Performance off the field, including academic success and good community citizenship
Additionally, fans can catch all the action on Fox 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 these 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 airs Saturdays at 8:30 a.m. for 12 weeks.
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