Several of the most talented senior athletes from around the East Texas area were hailed as the guests of honor at the Northeast Texas Fellowship of Christian Athletes Heart of a Champion Tailgate event, held Monday, April 24, at Tyler All Saints Episcopal School’s Mewbourne Field.
Former Texas A&M and Dallas Cowboys quarterback Stephen McGee served as the keynote speaker at the event.
Also at the event, the senior players for the upcoming 2017 FCA Heart of a Champion football, softball, and baseball games were introduced to attendees by 92.1 FM “The Team” personality Bill Coates.
This year's FCA Heart of a Champion All-Star event will mark the seventh year for the FCA All-Star football game, as the Chick-Fil-A Heart of a Champion All-Star Football Game will be held 6:30 p.m. Saturday, June 10, at Lobo Stadium in Longview.
The Bullard Panther football program will be represented by FCA Blue team senior quarterback/defensive back Tre Crayton and FCA Red team senior offensive/defensive lineman Derek Landrum.
Crayton is the son of Andre Crayton and Shimeka Boyd. While attending BHS, Crayton has been involved in organizations such as FCA and Spanish Club, as well as involved athletically on the Panther football, track and field, and basketball teams.
Crayton plans to attend the East Texas Baptist University in Marshall, and major in athletic training while playing football for the Tigers.
Landrum is the son of John and Kelly Landrum. As a BHS student, Landrum has participated athletically on the BHS football, basketball, track, and powerlifting team, while also being very active in the school’s FCA program.
Landrum also plans to continue to play football at ETBU, while majoring in kinesiology.
Likewise, the Brook Hill Guard varsity football team will also have a competitor in the contest, as Guard football’s senior running back/linebacker Brooks Parham was selected as a member of the FCA Red team in the seventh annual Chick-Fil-A Heart of a Champion All-Star Football Game.
Parham is the son of Cheryl and Pat Hendrix and Greg Parham. While attending Brook Hill, he has also been involved on the Guard varsity basketball, baseball, and track and field teams.
Parham plans to attend Hendrix College in Conway, Ark., and play baseball for the Hendrix Warriors, while majoring in veterinary science.
BHS will also have representation in the third annual FCA all-star softball game, as the Courtney Construction Heart of a Champion All Star Softball Game will be held Friday, June 9, at Irwin Field at the University of Texas at Tyler. Lady Panther senior shortstop Zoe Hancock will compete in the contest on the FCA Red team.
Hancock, the daughter of Kim and Alex Hancock, has participated athletically in the Lady Panther softball, volleyball, and track and field programs, while also being active in FCA, Spanish Club, and Builder’s Club.
Hancock plans to attend Bossier Parish Community College, where she plans to continue her softball career while majoring in nursing.
The Lady Panthers will also be represented on the FCA Courtney Construction Heart of a Champion All Star Softball Game coaching staff, as Lady Panther varsity softball head coach Megan Dobrinski will serve as an assistant coach on the FCA Red team.
Dobrinski has served as the head coach for the Lady Panther softball program for three years, and coached the 2016 Lady Panther softball team to an appearance in the Regional Quarterfinal round of the playoffs.
This season, Dobrinski coached the Lady Panther varsity softball team to an overall record of 21-11, 8-2 in district play, as the team was named the District Co-Champions and Bi-District Champions. The Lady Panther’s 2017 season ended in the Area round of the playoffs in a best-of-three series against the Pittsburg Lady Pirates.
Also in the Courtney Construction Heart of a Champion All Star Softball Game will be a player and coach representing the Brook Hill lady Guard varsity softball team, with head coach Anthony Springer and senior first baseman AD Kuechle participating in the event.
Springer will serve as the head coach of the FCA Blue team in the Courtney Construction Heart of a Champion All Star Softball Game, along with Pine Tree’s Katie Keith, Hallsville’s Kayla Whatley, and Spring Hill’s Ashton Brey.
Springer recently completed his seventh year as the head coach for the Lady Guard softball program, leading the charge for the Lady Guard all the way to the TAPPS State Semifinals in 2016, also referred to as the TAPPS “Final Four,” where the Lady Guard fell short of their goal of a TAPPS State Championship with a loss to the Dallas Christian Lady Chargers.
In the 2017 season, Springer coached the Lady Guard to an overall record of 21-8, 6-0 in district play, as the team was recognized as District Champions and Area Champions. The Lady Guard fell short in the Regional playoff game against Fort Worth Christian.
The Bullard Panther varsity baseball team will also have a representative in the NETX FCA Heart of a Champion All-Star event. Senior pitcher Peyton Miller will represent the team on the FCA Red team during the second annual FCA Heart of a Champion All-Star Baseball game, to be held Friday, June 9, at Suddenlink Field at UT Tyler.
Miller is the son of Brandon and Angie Miller. He has been involved with the Panther baseball program throughout his four years of high school.
Miller plans to attend Panola Junior College in Carthage, and major in nursing in hopes of becoming a certified registered nurse anesthetist.
The Panther baseball team will also have a coaching representative on the roster, as Panther baseball head coach Chad Linder will serve as an assistant coach for the FCA Red team.
In the 2017 season, Linder led the Panther varsity baseball team to an overall record of 12-16-1, 5-5 in district play, allowing the team to be recognized as Bi-District Champions. The Panthers’ season ended with a loss in the one-game Area round playoff contest against the Canton Eagles.
The final participants for BHS in the NETX FCA Heart of a Champion events will be two members of the BHS cheerleading squad, as McCall Cowart and Carley Goode were selected to the FCA Heart of a Champion cheerleading squad.
Cowart is the daughter of Glen and Cammie Cowart. She has been involved in BHS cheerleading, as well as Lady Panther volleyball and track and field. Cowart has also been active in FCA, National Honor Society, and the Bullard Future Farmers of America program.
Goode is the daughter of Michael and Amanda Goode. In addition to her involvement with BHS cheerleading, Goode has also participated in the Lady Panther volleyball and tennis programs, as well as FCA, NHS, Health Science, and Spanish Club.
Goode plans to attend the Honors College at the University of Texas at Tyler and major in biology.
The head coach for the FCA Heart of a Champion cheerleaders will be former Bullard cheerleading sponsor Kelly Nichols.
Sponsors for the 2017 NETX FCA Heart of a Champion events include Adams Engineering, Brickstreet Pharmacy, Cavender’s, Chick-Fil-A Longview, Chick-Fil-A Tyler, Citizens State Bank, Courtney Construction, First Baptist Church Tyler, First Christian Church Tyler, Kiwanis Club of Van, Mentoring Alliance, Philip Davin Edward Jones, Prosperity Bank, Prothro/Wilhelmi & Co., Pathways Financial Solutions, Ralph and Judy Stewart, Robert and Barbara Bardin, Roseman Wealth Advisors, Sonrise Prayer Ministry, Southside Bank, The Rogers Foundation, CHRISTUS Trinity Mother Francis Orthopedics and Sports Medicine, and UBS.