Heart O' Texas Youth Football, Inc. is proud to be partnered with USA Football. Heart O' Texas Youth Football, Inc is the FIRST youth football league in the Waco area to be "ALL-IN" with the programs afforded by the "Governing Body of Football" with its League Affliation program. Heart O' Texas is determined to continue to offer the best youth football experience in our area for our participants and feel that our partnership with USA Football is a natural progression toward that goal.
By Will Parchman and Jason Orts
Tribune-Herald staff writers
Sunday January 8, 2012
Our top honorees are Waco High RB Darrell Harris (left) and Lorena LB Jakob Coker, the offensive and defensive players of the year.
It always seemed like Darrell Harris just knew.
In the offseason, gauging the impact he’d have on the Waco High offense as a senior, he worked for months with a 20-pound weight jacket to juice up his speed and strength.
During games, he had an innate ability to emulate a Venus flytrap by slyly burying his eyes into the sideline to invite in defenders before flicking his eyes upfield and darting into open space for big gainers.
No running back in Central Texas did it better or more often than Harris in 2011, allowing the senior to run away, both literally and figuratively, with the Super Centex Offensive Player of the Year award after a record-setting season.
Waco High workhorse running back Darrell Harris is our Super Centex Offensive Player of the Year.
Duane A. Laverty / Waco Tribune-Herald
“He was good with taking it on his shoulders,” Waco High coach Danny Ramsey said. “You just see his big smile when he’s being asked questions about football or his teammates. His work ethic is great. You almost never have to get on him about running hard. That’s never the case.”
After Harris’ astonishing year, no running back in the history of Waco High can match his numbers. In 11 games, Harris rushed for 2,567 yards to clear Louis Fite’s 21-year-old single-season school record by 35 yards. He had four games of more than 300 yards rushing, and his average of 8.2 yards per carry was a boon for a Waco High offense that averaged 35 points per game.
And yet the numbers barely register in his own mind. All that floods back is Waco High’s early playoff exit. The Lions lost to Mansfield Summit, 46-31, in the bi-district round of the playoffs. After sharing the District 8-4A title with Stephenville and Midway, failing to win a playoff game was a bitter pill to swallow.
“I felt like we had the team to go to state,” Harris said. “We didn’t make it, but if we could go back we would definitely make it, no doubt. We should have beaten Mansfield.”
In the fourth game of Harris’ junior season against Abilene Wylie, he unknowingly tore the meniscus in his knee. He played through it the next three games, all of them losses, before taking a knock low against San Angelo Lake View that forced him to the sidelines.
He gritted through the pain in a gutsy win over University the next week, but the injury eventually forced him to have surgery in the offseason. After two months of rehab, Harris came out the other end bigger, stronger and faster.
“I wanted to get better so I just looked at it like a job, something I had to do,” Harris said.
In football terms, perhaps the only thing Harris has wavered on is his choice of schools at the next level. Harris hasn’t received much interest from major Division I schools, and he’s mulling offers from UT-San Antonio and Sam Houston State. For a player who shared Associated Press first-team all-state honors with the likes of Johnathan Gray, it’s a puzzling situation.
“I’m kind of baffled,” Ramsey said. “Looking at his numbers, and just if you looked at numbers knowing the league we play in, this kid is legitimate. All the folks we played against would tell you that he is, so I don’t know where the drop-off is.”
Without a doubt, the highlight of Harris’ year was notching a victory over city rival Midway on the opening week of district. The night before the game, Harris and a group of Waco High players watched the Waco High-Midway freshman game at Midway. They took some verbal jabs that night and repaid the favor on the field the next day.
“I still go back and watch that game now,” Harris said. “I get chills.”