A member of the Bullard Panther varsity football team has been recognized with a regional award for his efforts on the gridiron in the team’s most recent gridiron battle.
Ty Crayton, a wide receiver and defensive back for the Panther varsity football team, was named as the Week 5 winner of the American State Bank Player of the Week award, announced last week.
“I was pretty excited when I found out I won the Player of the Week award,” said Crayton. “I was shocked actually because I didn’t find out until Wednesday afternoon when Coach Callaway told me that I was nominated and that I won. It means a lot being a senior and winning this award. I hope the younger players under me will look up, continue to play hard, and will hopefully bring awards like this back home to Bullard as they grow.”
Crayton picked up the honor for is stat line in the Panthers’ Class 4A’s Division 1 Region 3 District 9 battle against the Center Roughriders Friday, Sept. 29, at Panther Stadium.
During the contest, Crayton was used by the Panther coaching staff on both sides of the offensive spectrum, catching a total of 11 passes for 130 yards and two passing touchdowns, as well as five rushes for 78 yards and one rushing touchdown.
Despite Crayton’s contribution to the Panthers’ efforts, the Roughriders were able to escape Bullard’s Panther stadium win the district victory, Center’s first win of the year, defeating the Panthers, 39-35.
“The game was really back-and-forth,” said Crayton. “I thought I played pretty well; I did everything I could to try to help the team. As a team, I thought we all played great; we still have a couple of mistakes, but other than that, we played well. Center was a tough team to play, but we never gave up and kept fighting to the end.”
According to stats compiled by Bullard Banner News, Crayton has been a key to the Panthers’ offense, particularly in the receiving game, collecting a total of 27 passes for 416 receiving yards and four receiving touchdowns, the most catches and receiving yardage on the team.
As a senior player for the Panthers this season, Crayton said he had been waiting for football season to approach, while also taking the time during the summer months to improve his game, both individually and with a core unit of the Panthers’ football team as a part of the program’s 7-on-7 summer football team.
“I was very excited and ready for this season to get here,” said Crayton. “I spent a lot of time this summer working hard and grinding, trying to improve my skills and abilities in order to make a contribution to the team this season. I played on the 7-on-7 team in order to keep active competitively, as well as continue to build chemistry with the other guys. With it beign my senior year, I really want to go out and do my best each game.”
Crayton also discussed his head coach, Scott Callaway, who is in his first year at the helm of the Panther football program. Callaway was hired as the Bullard ISD athletic director and head football coach in April.
“Coach’s Callaway’s new system is working great for our program,” said Crayton. “We love both the offense and the defense. It’s working because we’re putting up a lot of points, but we’re struggling a little bit because we’re not finishing; however, we’re just on the cusp of getting past that issue. The new coaches are really great; Coach Varnado, our offensive coordinator expects a lot more out of us and is having us move faster than we did last year. He looks for leaders, and he’s not afraid to call out those who he sees as leaders when they slack off; he demands excellence from us.”
With being a senior in any school program, whether athletic or not, comes a level of leadership necessary to provide the program in order to train up the younger members. According to Crayton, his style of leadership is creating and maintaining a positive atmosphere for the Panther players.
“I’m being a leader by keeping everybody up and making sure we have a positive attitude,” said Crayton. “I want to work hard, play hard, lead by example, and make sure everyone is motivated and that they don’t quit.”
According to Crayton, he is hoping to draw attention from scouts and get a shot to play football at the collegiate level, no matter what NCAA division he catches attention from.
When asked about what he desired his legacy within the Panther football program to be once he hangs up his cleats on his college career, Crayton said he wants the example he has set for the younger players to be what he is remembered for.
“I would like my legacy to be that I was a tremendous hard worker, a great athlete, and a great student that led others by his example,” said Crayton. “Hopefully the younger kids that are watching me can continue to build on that legacy and the excellence that is Bullard Panther football.”
Crayton is the son of Shimeka and Andre Crayton.
Previous winners of the American State Bank Player of the Week award during the 2017 football season include Tyler Bishop T.K. Gorman Crusaders’ wide receiver Isaiah Haggerty, Van Vandals’ quarterback Garrett Moseley, Winona Wildcats’ running back Quindarius Johnson, and Bishop Gorman’s quarterback Jake Smith.
Weekly winners of the American State Bank Player of the Week award during the 2017 regular season are automatically invited to an end-of-the-year banquet in their honor. One of the weekly winners will receive a $10,000 scholarship to the college, university, or accredited trade school of their choice. The remainder of the award’s weekly winners will also take home a $2,500 scholarship.
To nominate a player for the American State Bank Player of the Week award, visit www.asbplayeroftheweek.com.