Entering the 2013 football season, it was already established that the Denton Record-Chronicle’s All-Area MVP would be a two-horse race between dynamic players.
On Dec. 20, when Guyer and Argyle won state championships in their respective classes at Arlington’s AT&T Stadium, it was clear that not even a photo finish could determine a winner.
So just like in August, it was clear there was no option but to award co-most valuable player honors to Guyer quarterback Jerrod Heard and Argyle wide receiver/do-it-all threat Ian Sadler.
Both players were named second-team all-state by The Associated Press, as both were hurt by being removed from several games early in the second half due to their teams’ blowout victories. Both were awarded offensive MVP trophies following their state championship game victories. Both players are moving on to play college football in the Big 12 — Heard at Texas and Sadler at Texas Tech.
The list goes on, but Sadler said he was shocked when he learned he’d be sharing the award with Heard, and not at all in a cocky way.
“Whenever you guys [called and said] you were having a [MVP photo] shoot, I was like, ‘Why? Isn’t it just Jerrod? What’s going on?’” Sadler said with a smile. “Then I was like, ‘Wow. OK, cool.’”
Heard won the honor by himself last season after leading Guyer to its first state championship in its second try, accounting for seven touchdowns in a win over Georgetown. His return this season made Guyer a clear favorite to repeat, and the Wildcats did just that with a 31-14 win over previously unbeaten San Antonio Northside Brennan that saw Heard rush for 159 yards and two touchdowns while going a perfect 9-for-9 through the air with a touchdown pass in his 60th career game.
He finished the season with nearly identical stats on the ground and through the air, rushing for 2,161 yards and 27 touchdowns and throwing for 2,136 yards and 22 scores.
Speaking of being a multi-dimensional threat, they don’t come any bigger than Sadler, who, like Heard, was the best player on the field every time he stepped onto one.
Sadler did just about everything in helping lead Argyle to its first state championship victory in three tries, including a heartbreaking loss in 2011. In that game, Sadler, then a sophomore, suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament early in the game and had to wonder what could have been.
But he put on a show in what was arguably the most exciting state final this year by scoring four touchdowns, including a punt return to bring Argyle back from a halftime deficit against Fairfield.
“After we lost to Gilmer [in 2012] and the state game my sophomore year, we knew we had to do it [win state] or it would all be for nothing,” Sadler said. “It ended the right way, and it was good.”
Sadler had a monster season, despite rarely playing in the second half of his team’s games, seeing time at wide receiver, wildcat quarterback and even moving to tailback in the postseason and putting up 100-yard rushing games.
He finished the year with 2,378 all-purpose yards and scored 38 touchdowns, spread out between rushing, receiving and the Eagles’ return game.
“It was fun playing all the different positions,” said Sadler, who was almost exclusively a wide receiver as a sophomore and junior. “Quarterback, running back, wide receiver — just whatever the week called for and whatever the game plan called for. It was fun.”
There were not many bigger fans of Sadler’s exploits than his co-MVP, who said he had no problem sharing the award.
“It adds coolness to it,” Heard said. “I hear about Ian everywhere. We almost live like across the street from each other with him being in Argyle. Just knowing what he’s doing and his accomplishments, to get this co-MVP is pretty awesome.
“Sometimes when we had a bye week, we’d go up the street and watch him just to see another great team doing awesome in your area. I enjoyed every minute watching him. Seeing what he’s able to do is pretty awesome.”
ADAM BOEDEKER can be reached at 940-566-6872 and via Twitter at @aboedeker.