Led by Osceola High School defensive lineman Dylan Ruiz, county teams placed eight players on the All-State football list compiled by Floridahsfootball.com, an official partner of the FHSAA.
Ruiz, who compiled 20 quarterback sacks in helping Osceola to a district championship and a 10-2 record, was selected to the first team unit for Class 8A. He would go on to earn Defensive Player of the Game honors at the Central Florida All-Star game. Last week, Ruiz earned All-State honors in wrestling by finishing third at the 3A FHSAA State Tournament in the 220-pound weight class.
“Dylan has been a remarkable athlete for Osceola High School for a long time Head Football Coach Doug Nichols said. “The fact that he was all-state in two different sports says a lot about him. He’s certainly leaving some big shoes to fill.”
Joining Ruiz on the all-state team was offensive lineman Logan Owen, running back DeWayne McGee and kicker Spencer Richards, who were all named to the second team.
Quarterback Davon Wells was named to the 8A Honorable Mention team.
McGee was selected as to the second team as a utility player. He lined up as both a running back and wide receiver in Nichols’ offense, rushing for 949 yards and 10 touchdowns, and catching 26 passes for 495 yards and seven more touchdowns, all while splitting time with talented running backs Jiltandy Swint and Jameson Jones.
Richards, just a sophomore, had a sensational season for the Kowboys. He was 51 of 53 on extra points and 9 of 10 on field goals - scoring 78 points on the season. He also averaged more than 43 yards per punt.
Wells threw a school record 13 touchdown passes and rushed for almost 600 yards and 7 touchdowns in his second year as a starter at quarterback.
Named to the Class 6A second team was Gateway’s Phillip Bangura. He was selected at the utility position. The “Swiss Army Knife” of Coach Marlin Roberts’ team, Bangura played running back, defensive back and special teams. He rarely left the field, leading the Panthers in rushing, interceptions and return yardage.
He rushed for 1,200 yards and 11 touchdowns, caught 16 passes for 276 yards and two touchdowns, tallied more than 2,200 all-purpose yards, led the team in tackles with 91 had four interceptions. He was the offensive player of the game in the Central Florida AllStar Game.
“He was a great player for Gateway and a better person:’ Panther Head Coach Marlin Roberts said. “When we lost a bunch of players when Tohopekaliga opened, he obviously had an opportunity to go play elsewhere. He remained loyal to Gateway and that’s something I will never forget. He was one of my favorite players of all time’
Two players from Osceola schools were named to the third team of the Class 7A team, including Tohopekaliga defensive lineman Nathaniel Isaac and St. Cloud wide receiver Romeo Medina. Isaac posted 53 tackles with eight quarterback sacks; while Medina led the area in receptions, catching 57 passes for 892 yards and eight touchdowns.
OSCEOLA NEWS-GAZETTE EDITOR