Ellison's Meeks Wraps Up District Defensive Player of the Year Honor

Ellison senior linebacker Kesean MeeksPlaying in one of the more competitive districts in Class 5A Division I, Shoemaker, Killeen and Ellison held their own during the 2023 season. And for it, the KISD contingent was well-represented among District 4-5A-I’s post-season honors.


In all, the Grey Wolves, Kangaroos and Eagles were awarded a combined nine first-team nods, which were determined by a coaches’ vote after the regular season and released this week.


Highlighting the recognitions was Ellison senior linebacker Kesean Meeks, who covered ground as thoroughly as a sprinkler en route to amassing an eye-popping, district-high 168 tackles (16.8 per game) during the regular season –– 66 more than the next player on the list.


Meeks, the two-time first-team all-district recipient with a fitting nickname of “Taz” that he displays on social media, also had four sacks among 21 tackles for losses, forced three fumbles and was credited with four pass break-ups. To boot, he returned an onside kick for a TD in Week 9.


Shoemaker, which advanced to the playoffs for the fourth time in the last five seasons, tallied six first-teamers –– running back Jerrod Hicks, receiver Maurice Starr, tight end Isaiah Tanner-Butler, offensive lineman Kareem Edmon, defensive end Travone Woodley and safety Malik Esquerra, a Texas Tech pledge.


Hicks wrapped up his senior year with 1,022 yards and 17 touchdowns on just 93 carriers while also defending his district scoring crown. Starr (41 catches, 713 yards, four TDs), Woodley (league-high 11 sacks) and Esquerra (co-league leading four interceptions) also filled out the stat sheets, while Tanner-Butler and Edmon were reliable, versatile contributors for the Grey Wolves (7-4).

Shoemaker Jerrod Hicks


The Kangaroos’ Timothy Boatner landed on the first team as a returner. The junior averaged 43 yards per kickoff return, including a 96-yard touchdown return against Lake Belton. Boatner, a junior, also finished the regular season fifth in receiving with 713 yards and six scores on 39 catches.


Among the second-team honorees was Killeen senior quarterback Roderick Norman, who, despite missing the final two games of the season because of an injury, finished third in district with 2,366 yards and 23 TDs passing. The Kangaroos posted a 6-4 record this season, the program’s best since 2012.


First-Team Offense

Killeen: Timothy Boatner, jr., returner


Shoemaker: Jerrod Hicks, sr., running back; Maurice Starr, jr., wide receiver; Isaiah Tanner-Butler, jr., tight end/H-back; Kareem Edmon, sr., offensive lineman


First-Team Defense

Ellison: Kesean Meeks, sr., linebacker


Shoemaker: Travonne Woodley, jr., defensive end; Malik Esquerra, sr., safety


Second-Team Offense

Ellison: Aiden Uresti, jr., offensive lineman


Killeen: Roderick Norman, sr., quarterback; Kardae Hicks, jr., running back; Raymond Howard, jr., wide receiver; Tekoree Landours, sr., wide receiver; Tory Gayden, sr., offensive lineman


Shoemaker: Brandon Brown Jr., soph., running back; Conner Schulze, sr., offensive lineman; Kmare’ Balfour, sr., tight end/H-back


Second-Team Defense

KHS Roos Timothy BoatnerEllison: Sema’J Howard, jr., defensive lineman; Israel Najera, sr., punter


Killeen: Samuel Hernandez, sr., defensive tackle; Sha’Drach Gordon, soph., outside linebacker; Jaden Montgomery, jr., cornerback; Jaeshaun Peyton, sr., utility


Shoemaker: Jay Haynes, sr., defensive end; Christian Kent-Easter, sr., defensive end; Isaac Terrazas, senior, inside linebacker; Justice Janda, sr., outside linebacker, Marquis Cross, sr., cornerback


Honorable Mention

Ellison: Tay’Veon Johnson, sr., wide receiver; Jordan Jews, sr., slot receiver; Elijah Martinez, sr., cornerback; Prince Hall, soph., wide receiver; Marquivio Ballard, jr., linebacker; Tim Olagoke, sr., linebacker; Joseph Fowkles, jr., running back; Kenneth Jones, sr., offensive lineman


Killeen: Max Widacki, sr., offensive lineman; Christopher Vargas, jr., wide receiver; Kenya Ford, sr., cornerback; Dayshawn McHenry, soph., defensive end; Anthony Beverly, soph., linebacker


Shoemaker: Johnathan Lahmann, sr., wide receiver; Xavier Watkins, jr., offensive lineman; Torion Thomas, jr., safety; James Evans, soph., cornerback


Academic All-District

Ellison: Tay’Veon Johnson, Jordyn Jews, Sidney Holland, Elijah Martinez, James Holden, JaKolby Freeman, Xavier Dormeus, Prince Hall, Marquivio Ballard, Tim Olagoke, Julian Jackson, Brendan Corbitt, Ty Olliver, Kenneth Jones, Toni Ale, Israel Najera, Kendrick Byrd, Juan Ramirez


Killeen: Max Widacki, Marvin Gamble, Jaeshaun Peyton, Ja’Ceon Davis, Dayshawn McHenry, Kenya Ford, Jaizion Martinez, Dawood Al Mashadani, Samuel Hernandez, Jonah Tauilli, Elario Chavez, J’Narri Franklin, Kardae Hicks, Roderick Norman, Anthony Beverly, Jeremiah Alvarez, Connor Thompson, Tori Gayden, Antwoine Warren, Aaron Edwards, Roderick Myles, Antonio Saenz, Kelton Adair, Jaden Montgomery


Shoemaker: Malik Esquerra, Malachi Jerome, Travonne Woodley, Brendon Logan, Tyrieke Wade, Kaiden Gallegos, Justice Janda, Williams Thomas, Dontae Cuthbert, Conner Schulze, Dylan Keys, Brian Martinez, Brandon Brown Jr.


Photos by Todd Martin