Adversity can sometimes bring a football team and its head coach closer together so that they reach new heights.

Such was the case with the Rains Wildcats and their head coach Ken Little during the 2005 high school football season. The Wildcats rallied around Little following the death of his wife Beverly on Aug. 26 and then made school history by reaching the Class 3A Division II regional round of the playoffs.

Rains senior quarterback-defensive back Tyler Jones, who played a big part in the Wildcats’ success, earned most valuable player honors on the (Greenville) Herald-Banner’s annual high school football all-star team which is called Dream Team. Little claimed the coach of the year award.

Jones, a 6-1, 195-pounder, was indeed a two-way standout for the 9-3 Wildcats. He rushed for a team-high 1,112 yards and 15 touchdowns on 189 carries, plus was 42-of-99 passing for 739 yards, six touchdowns and only three interceptions. Jones also averaged nearly 10 tackles per game on defense and intercepted three passes. Jones was also the MVP of District 11-3A.

Little had to carry on this season without his wife of 32 years, whom he met while both were students at East Texas State University.

“These kids have been so sweet, so understanding,” Little said before the Wildcats’ regional playoff game against Canton. “We don’t hide the fact that we have a hard time. You keep on keeping on. We all have a great appreciation of each other.”

Quarterback Zak Bragg, who led the 8-3 Caddo Mills Foxes to their first district football title in 18 years, captured the offensive MVP award after throwing for 2,250 yards and 22 touchdowns. Bragg helped the Foxes to a 28-25 victory over Lone Oak in a battle for the 17-2A championship that was called “The Showdown of 2005.”

Celeste senior linebacker David Lakeman, also named the top defensive player of the year in Class A, captured the Dream Team’s defensive MVP award. The 5-9, 170-pounder rang up 156 tackles for the 2-8 Blue Devils, including an amazing 42 for losses. He also intercepted three passes, forced four fumbles, recovered two fumbles, recorded two sacks and blocked six kicks.

“He did everything for us,” said Celeste coach Mike Lipsey. “He realized we didn’t have the players we had in the past. None of it was on him that we didn’t win. He showed up and played like he always has.”

Sophomore quarterback Bert Boudreux, who helped the 6-5 Royse City Bulldogs make it back to the playoffs, claimed the Dream Team’s newcomer of the year award. Boudreux threw for 816 yards and three touchdowns while replacing an all-stater (James Mapps) at quarterback.

Commerce’s standout senior Zack Boles captured three top Dream Team honors, making the first offense at quarterback and the first defense at both defensive back and punter. Boles threw for 1,224 yards and five touchdowns for the 6-4 Tigers and also rushed for 344 yards and five touchdowns.

The Dream Team’s first offense also featured three 1,000-yard rushers at the running back positions with Royse City senior Cameron Holliness, Leonard senior Nathan Dawson and Wolfe City junior Jonathan Price.

Two big-play guys, Caddo Mills sophomore Desmond Brigham and Greenville Christian School senior Jesse Hayre, made the top offense at wide receiver.

Tight end Jeff Dudley, who also made the first offense, made some big catches for the Caddo Mills Foxes.

The Dream Team lines features five strong blockers with Commerce senior J.W. Hall, Rains junior Aaron Marshall, Caddo Mills senior Holden Price, Community senior Cody Wood and Boles senior Jarrod Anderton.

Greenville senior placekicker Cole Jones and junior kick returner Curtis Johnson also made the top offense. Jones was 9-of-11 on field goals this season and 19-of-24 during his varsity career for the Lions. Johnson returned a kickoff and a punt for touchdowns for the Lions and nearly broke several other returns for touchdowns.

All-state linebacker Bryan Moyer of Greenville Christian School headed up the first defense. Moyer led the 7-5 Eagles with 120 1/2 tackles, including 94 solos, plus intercepted four passes, recovered five fumbles and broke up 13 passes.

Moyer was joined on the first team by three more tough linebackers including Rains senior Larry Moore, Royse City senior Cooper Crowell and Lone Oak junior Alex Bowman.

All-state defensive back Chase Stokes of Lone Oak made the first-team defensive secondary along with Rains senior Aaron Potts, Boles of Commerce and Hayre of GCS. Stokes produced 102 tackles and intercepted three passes in the regular season, plus forced three fumbles and recovered four fumbles.

The Dream Team’s top defensive front featured Rains senior Brandon Medders and Royse City senior Josh McKinney at the ends, Royse City senior Jarrell Howard at a tackle and Lone Oak senior Jerry Bodeker at a tackle.

Players from Lone Oak, Caddo Mills, Greenville Christian, Farmersville, Celeste, Lone Oak, Wolfe City, Greenville, Quinlan Ford and Rains captured second-team honors.

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