, Muskogee, OK

Prep Sports

December 25, 2013

2013 MUSKOGEE PHOENIX ALL-AREA FOOTBALL TEAM: Wagoner has MVP, Hilldale draws most selections


Large school—

Offensive Player of Year

Evitt edged Hilldale quarterback Chandler Puckett for the MVP. Puckett, a 5-10, 175-pound senior, completed 60 percent of his passes for 2,373 yards, 30 touchdowns and ran for 6.72 yards and seven TDs and ended up as the Large School Offensive Player of the Year.

“It’s a one-man award but you can’t do it without those other 10 guys on the field, my receivers for being playmakers and the offensive line for protecting me and the coaching staff putting in a lot of work to make us all better,” Puckett said.

Two of those pieces made the team on offense. Bradley Campbell was his best receiver, and the top vote-getter by a considerable margin at that position. Drew Vandiver was regarded as Hilldale’s best lineman and got the same nod on this team.

Campbell was fifth in the MVP hunt and there’s little doubt the two sapped votes from each other.

Puckett, who was 21-5 as a starter, wanted to share this honor with him.

“We had such good chemistry,” he said. “We kind of mentioned this to each other, like hopefully one gets one award and the other gets the other award.

“He’s probably happy for me and I’d been happy if he’d received this. We couldn’t have had the seasons we had without each other. And Lawrence, the things he’s done the last two years, he’s deserving of this too.”

Chad Kirkhart knows how tough it was to decide between the two, having coached them together the past two seasons.

“You couldn’t have asked for much more from either,” he said.

With Puckett drawing this honor, Kirkhart saluted him, pointing to two defining games.

In a 42-41 loss in a District 3A-7 decider against Locust Grove, Puckett had 441 total yards, 254 rushing and 187 passing. In the second round of the 3A playoffs against Metro Christian on a icy night in Tulsa, facing one of the state’s top defenses, he was 10-of-13 while under constant pressure.

“In one situation it was his ability,” he said. “In the other, while we didn’t have many yards that night, he stayed poised, made great decisions, had no turnovers, threw the ball away when he needed to. To go 10-of-13 is nothing to sneeze at against that particular defense. And of his TDs, one he throws on a rope and the other he stays in the pocket, takes a hit and still delivers it on the money.”

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