Earlier this week, Midway head football coach Jeff Hulme was standing in a hallway at the high school when he noticed Tanner Mordecai with his head down, quietly walking to his next class.
By those appearances alone, an observer would have never known that Mordecai was — as Hulme labeled him — “one of the most competitive kids you’ll ever be around.”
Mordecai’s competitive zeal routinely manifested itself on the field for Midway, and on Saturday the quarterback was honored as the Offensive Player of the Year on the 67th annual Collin Street Bakery/Texas Sports Writers Association Class 6A All-State Team. It’s just the latest honor in a trophy case full of them for Mordecai, who was also selected as the Offensive Player of the Year on the AP all-state squad, the Super Centex Offensive Player of the Year and the Texas Built Ford Tough Player of the Year.
“He was the ultimate competitor,” Hulme said. “Every single day, every game night, he just had a refuse-to-lose attitude. He made everyone around him better. He watched more film than anyone. You read about the Peyton Mannings and the Tom Bradys watching that much film, but he’s a high school kid.”
Mordecai kept defenses scrambling with his dual-threat talents – throwing for 4,388 yards and 53 touchdowns while rushing for 1,139 yards and 23 more TDs. More importantly, the Oklahoma signee led Midway to wins in its first 15 games to push the Panthers to the second state championship game appearance in school history. In the title game, Cy-Fair defeated Midway, 51-35, but Mordecai and the Panthers kept battling all the way to the end.
Mordecai was joined on the TSWA all-state first team by Midway offensive tackle Kaitori Leveston. The Kansas State-bound Leveston graded out at 95 percent and averaged five pancake blocks per game.
Midway receiver C.J. Williams (1,722 yards, 23 TDs) and defensive tackle Jaxon Player (125 tackles, 9 sacks) both made second-team all-state. Williams is headed to Trinity Valley Community College, while Player has signed with Tulsa University.
Additionally, Midway running back James Fullbright earned third-team all-state honors, and tight end David Priebe and linebacker Matthew Barnhill were honorable mention picks. Belton kicker Nyle Tabat also was an honorable mention choice.