Whitehouse High School's rifle-arm quarterback Patrick Mahomes was named the inaugural American State Bank Player of the Year during a banquet on Thursday at Hollytree Country Club.
The junior three-sport star wins a $10,000 scholarship to the college of his choice. It will be held at ASB until Mahomes graduates next year.
Each week during the high school football season, players were nominated from area fans, coaches and teachers for the weekly award. Then a five-person committee voted on the weekly winner, who was then eligible for the Player of the Year honor.
Mahomes and John Tyler High School standout quarterback Greg Ward were the only two-time winners during the season. Other winners were Blake White of Grace Community School, Brentavian Henderson of Bullard, Marcalas Johnson of Arp, Will Weathers of The Brook Hill School, Garrett Smallwood of Van, Hunter Hopkins of Van and Tristan Saint of Bishop Gorman.
Tim Haugh, ASB General Manager of Consumer Finance, presented the trophy to Mahomes.
"It feels great to win the Player of the Year award," said Mahomes, who picked up his first football scholarship offer this week from new Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury. "It is such an honor just to be a weekly winner because of all the outstanding players in East Texas."
Mahomes, whose father Pat was a longtime Major League Baseball pitcher, said he has also received baseball offers from Arkansas and Arizona.
Mahomes hit on 237 of 418 pass attempts for 3,839, 46 touchdowns and only nine interceptions. He also rushed for 258 yards and six touchdowns on 107 attempts.
According to the ASB Award rules, the selection each week was judged on three criteria: 1, Individual performance on the field, including significant statistics from the week's game; 2, Contribution to the team's success through their individual leadership abilities; and 3, Performance off the field of play, including academic success and good community citizenship.
Brandon Steele, chairman of American State Bank, also made a surprise announcement that each weekly winner would be receiving a $2,500 scholarship.
Haugh, who played high school football at Van, served as master of ceremony, while ESPN East Texas 92.1-FM sports director Bill Coates was guest speaker.
Haugh attended the pep rallies each week to present the winner with their trophy.
Voters for the honor were Haugh, Coates, Kelly Sanders, president/CEO, Jason Schomerus, New Copeland Road branch manager, and Darrell Taliaferro, Arp branch manager.
Coates noted the talented players were part of a tradition of excellence from East Texas players that have won more than 50 state championships beginning with Tyler High's 1930 title. He added there have been Super Bowl winners, all-pros, All-Americas and Heisman Trophy winners from the area, including the most recent winner Johnny Manziel.
But he said the players have not only excelled on the field, but off the field in being great husbands, fathers and citizens. Also, "real leadership takes place when no one is watching."
"We are excited to give the opportunity to a high school student to further their education in college," Steele said. "This $10,000 can be applied to any college of their choice. American State Bank feels strongly about the importance of education for the future generation."
Steele, who grew up in Tyler, told the players that as they prepare for college and leaving their families, they can count on Jesus Christ to always be there for them.
Jeff Olive, pastor of Dayspring United Methodist Church, blessed the meal.
Twenty five of the 26 schools in the bank's market area play football. New Summerfield High School does not field a football team, but Haugh said the bank would do something for the Hornets later.
Schools eligible included All Saints, Arp, Athens, Big Sandy, Bishop T.K. Gorman, Bullard Brook Hill, Brownsboro, Bullard, Carlisle, Chapel Hill, Frankston, Grace Community, Hawkins, Henderson, Jacksonville, John Tyler, King's Academy, Lindale, Overton, Robert E. Lee, Troup, Van, West Rusk, Whitehouse and Winona.
American State Bank opened as Arp State Bank in 1911 and Haugh said although the bank has changed names they wanted people in the area they are still heavily involved locally.