Martin Crawford may be easily overlooked by the casual fan. He’s short and not particularly fast. But he’s indispensable to his team.
“When people in the stands look at this senior class, they might not notice Martin as much as some of the others,” Houston coach Chris Edwards said. “He’s not the biggest kid and not the strongest kid, but he made a lot of plays. He’s just a really good football player that made the most of his abilities and did everything we asked him to do.”
Crawford was rewarded for his standout senior season last week when he and eight of his teammates received all-conference honors.
Joining Crawford on the first team were fellow seniors Ty Scheets, Preston Wade and Travis Barker and junior Kyle Williams. Wide receiver Kyle Poynter was named to the second team, and David Weybright, Brad Pounds and Adam Fleming received honorable mention recognition.
Crawford, a two-way starter at wide receiver and defensive back, led Houston with 88 tackles, including six for losses, and had a team-best 44 receptions for 601 yards and seven touchdowns. Edwards said Crawford, who is just 5 feet, 9 inches tall and 155 pounds, knew all four receiving spots in the Tigers’ spread attack and most defensive positions.
He was the team’s best defensive player during an impressive stretch late in the season when he recorded 43 tackles against Liberty, Willow Springs, Salem and Pleasant Hope.
“He just stepped up and made more plays,” Edwards said. “That’s what big-time players do. They raise their level of play when they need to, and that’s what he did for us.”
Scheets landed on the first team at wide receiver despite missing one conference game with a shoulder injury and half of another. He finished with 43 catches for 623 yards and three scores in eight games. Scheets was also the team’s leading tackler before being injured.
“He can do it all at the wide receiver spot,” Edwards said. “He can stretch the field because he can go up and over a lot of defensive backs. Then you can throw him the quick hitters and he has the toughness to get upfield and break some tackles.”
Williams earned first-team honors on the offensive line despite his 5-9, 190-pound frame. He also recorded 34 tackles – six for losses – at linebacker before injuring his knee in Week 8.
Barker found a home at linebacker after shuffling between defensive end and safety last season. He had 63 tackles and tied for the team lead with seven tackles for losses. Barker also led the team in sacks (4), interceptions (2) and forced fumbles (5).
Wade returned to the gridiron after a two-year layoff and made an immediate impact at defensive end. He recovered a team-high four fumbles and had 36 tackles – six for losses.
“A lot of his buddies were out (for the team) and he wanted to give it one more shot his senior year,” Edwards said. “As coaches, we were extremely happy that he did.”
Another Tiger earned postseason honors following a hiatus from football. Poynter, a transfer from Lebanon, last played as a freshman before joining this year’s team as a junior.
Poynter snatched seven catches for 202 yards and three touchdowns in his second game and averaged 18.7 yards per catch en route to 636 yards and nine touchdowns. After starting slowly with just two catches and several dropped passes in his debut, Poynter had 10 catches for 335 yards and five scores the next two weeks.
“To get recognized second-team all-conference and only play in half the games is a pretty big accomplishment,” Edwards said.
Weybright was an honorable mention selection despite leading the conference in passing yards. Liberty’s Luke Yarber, the SCA back of the year, was named to the first team and Willow Springs’ Casey White landed on the second team after consecutive year on the first team.
Weybright completed 175 of his 324 passes for 2,413 yards and 20 touchdowns. He was also a dangerous on the ground, rushing for a team-high 483 yards and 14 touchdowns.
Pounds was a versatile weapon for the Tigers, lining up as a receiver and running back. He had 292 receiving yards, 224 rushing yards and three scores.
Fleming earned all-SCA honors in his first year as a starter on the offensive line.