Former Coronado coach Butch Henderson continues to pluck some of the best talent in West Texas and the South Plains while building the program at Wayland Baptist.
The Pioneers signed eight players from area schools on Wednesday, including five from Cooper in receiver Will Simonton, defensive backs Grant Savage and Branson Reese, offensive lineman Byron Lara and defensive lineman Austin Ross.
“All of them are just quality kids,” said John Windham, newly named Cooper ISD athletic director and the football coach at the school the past 14 seasons. “Dependable, always show up, great academic students, high character, the kind of kids coach Henderson is building a program on and it’s just exciting to see for those guys.”
Three of those players — Savage, Simonton and Lara — missed most or all of the season for the Pirates due to injury. Lara said he’s glad signing day finally arrived after he missed the entire season with a knee injury.
“I’m pretty amped about going to Wayland,” Lara said. “I’m looking forward to playing at the next level and ready to go. I’ll be ready. I’ve been going to rehab three times a week and pushing it as far as I could go.”
Reese, a member of the Avalanche-Journal Class 3A All-South Plains team at defensive back, was part of a defense that allowed just 133 passing yards per game in the regular season. The Pirates missed the playoffs due to four one-point losses.
Also signing with Wayland was Monterey defensive back Jesse Perez, who helped lead the Plainsmen three rounds deep in the postseason, their best playoff run since the mid-2000s.
Others with area ties signing with Wayland were Plainview offensive lineman Jacob King and Idalou offensive lineman Derek Spargo, a member of the A-J Class 2A All-South Plains team.
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