Van's Cooper Bledsoe named first-team all-state


Cooper Bledsoe, a three-year starter at safety and a key spark for the Van Vandals, was named to the 2016 Texas Associated Press Sports Editors Class 4A all-state football team, the Dallas AP office announced on Tuesday.

The team is based on regular season statistics and voted on by sports writers and broadcasters around the state.

Bledsoe, a senior, led East Texas with seven interceptions during the regular season, including one returned for a TD. He had had 125 tackles as the Vandals won the District 8-4A Division I championship. The Vandals won three playoff games before dropping the state quarterfinals matchup with Kennedale. Van had an overall record of 12-2.

Other area first-teamers were Wills Point senior offensive lineman Sloan Rodberg, Tatum senior defensive lineman Shay Rodgers of Tatum and Center senior linebacker Adrian Johnson. Rodberg was also honorable mention at linebacker.

Levelland senior quarterback Nick Gerber was named Offensive Player of the Year, while Kennedale senior linebacker Baron Browning was voted Defensive Player of the Year.

East Texans on the second team were senior offensive lineman Tanner Elliott of Carthage, Gilmer senior wide receiver LaMarcus Morton, Carthage junior running back Keaontay Ingram and Paris senior linebacker Dre McKinney.

Earning honorable for Van were offensive lineman Kris Dike, wide receiver Isaiah Allred (who has committed to Missouri State), quarterback Garrett Moseley and defensive lineman Christian Lemus.

Other area players on HM were offensive linemen Jake Neal of Palestine, Dylan Scarlett of Kilgore and Andrew Williams of Gladewater; receiver Trestan Ebner of Henderson; quarterback Aaron “Poppy” Brown of Gilmer; running backs LaKendrick Van Zandt of Henderson and Donovan Williams of Paris; and kicker Elivan Torres of Kilgore.

Defensive honorable mention players from East Texas were linemen Kelton Collier of Gilmer, Tre’ Gatlin of Carthage and Bradlee Warrick of Pittsburg; linebackers Mykel Gates of Carthage, Bryston Oliver of Gladewater and Jaylon Roberts of Tatum; and defensive backs Jordan Furtch of Paris, Kollin Hurt of Gilmer and T.D. Williams of Paris.

Abraham Garcia of Kaufman was HM as placekicker and punter.


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Sports Editor

I am a native Tylerite and I grew up reading the Tyler Morning Telegraph and The Tyler Courier-Times. My parents took both the morning and afternoon papers. I came to work here 35 years ago at the age of 23, right after college.