ELGIN – Elgin’s varsity football team has been crowned Class 5A state academic champions for 2022.
Elgin’s 66-member team earned a 3.54 grade point average and will receive a trophy before the state championship game Saturday at the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond.
“It says a lot about the kids we have in the classroom,” Elgin head coach Chalmer Wyatt said. “It’s really cool. Elgin won it last year in wrestling and the track team won it in the spring.”
Combining brains and brawn is a necessity on the gridiron, Wyatt said.
“It sure does help in football to have both,” he said.
The entire football squad will be bussed to UCO to accept the trophy before the Carl Albert-McAlester state title matchup.
Elgin’s Clay Underhill was honored as the District 5A-1 Offensive Lineman of the Year while Toby Parker was recognized as the district’s Defensive Back of the Year. Parker intercepted four passes this season as the leader in the secondary.
“Toby had one of the most solid seasons as a defensive back I’ve seen in a long time,” Wyatt said. “He was very consistent and that’s a hard position to be consistent. He made plays and didn’t give up much all year at the cornerback position.”
Parker had more than 60 tackles and four tackles for loss.
Wyatt also praised Underwood for his effort “on every single play.”
“Clay plays harder than the guy across from him every single time,” the coach said. “He has a lot of heart and for him to be recognized by the district coaches as offensive lineman of the year is very cool.”
In addition, Landin Blankenship was named the Defensive Newcomer of the Year and teammate Austin Elam was recognized as the Newcomer of the Year for utility players. Those two awards also were decided by all of the District 5A-1 coaches.
“What people probably don’t know about Austin is he’s been our snapper for three years. Utility is exactly what he’s been for us,” Wyatt said.
Elam started as Elgin’s inside receiver and was the long snapper on punts and short snapper on field goal and extra point attempts.
Blankinship played a small role for the Owls during the 2021 season but stepped up this year and played every single snap at the defensive end.
“I’m proud of his development,” Wyatt said, while pointing out the senior’s continued effort from his junior season until the 2022 campaign.
Meanwhile, special recognition was given to Casey Britton for his on-field efforts and Shun Deener was named to the District 5A-1 Defensive Line.
Elgin’s Chandler Zimmerman was honored as an All-District wide receiver and Nacona Tahdooahnippah was named as an All-District offensive lineman. Tarick Saunto received honorable mention as a linebacker.