Kaden Brown grew up around football, so it makes sense that he developed a love for the sport. Ironically, though, he didn’t start playing until he was in junior high.
Suffice it to say, once he started, he kept getting better. And now the senior Midlothian Heritage quarterback is the Co-Offensive Player of the Year on the Blue Bell/Texas Sports Writers Association Class 5A All-State Team.
It’s the first time a Midlothian Heritage player has received this honor.
“I’ve been around football my whole life. Both my dad and stepdad played college football. We always have a football being thrown or a game on the TV,” Brown said. “I’ve always been in love with the game, but I didn’t actually start playing until seventh grade. I think the relationships and brotherhood that we had at Heritage plays a big role in staying in love with the game.”
And he’ll continue to capitalize on that love as he has signed a letter of intent to play for South Dakota State next season. The Jackrabbits are the reigning Football Championship Subdivision champions after defeating rival and perennial power North Dakota State 45-21 in Frisco in December.
“I’m very excited to play at SDSU. I’ve been committed since July 2022, and there’s no other place that I would have rather gone to. The coaches and I have built great relationships and I can’t wait,” Brown said.
Brown passed for 3,291 yards with 40 touchdowns and just four interceptions in leading the Jaguars to an 11-2 record. He also rushed for 639 yards and six touchdowns.
“Going into my junior year I was in a QB competition that was very competitive and I think that’s what changed the way I viewed things and made me a much better football player,” Brown said.
“Kaden is simply a tough competitor. This award is very much earned and deserved,” Heritage coach Eric Edwards said. “Our program has had several all-state players, but this is the first TSWA Offensive Player of the Year, so that is pretty neat for Kaden and Heritage.
“He embodies our program with how he played the game. We can’t wait to see his success at the next level at South Dakota State University.”
Area Well Represented
Brown is joined by numerous others from around the area who were also honored by the TSWA.
In Class 6A, Duncanville senior linebacker Solin Simmons was named the Defensive Player of the Year. He posted 33 tackles for a loss, 22.5 of which were sacks, and had 45 quarterback pressures for the 15-0 Division I state champion Panthers.
Duncanville coach Reginald Samples, after winning his first state championship following several runner-up finishes, was named Coach of the Year in 6A. Before defeating Houston North Shore 28-21 in December for the title, his Panthers had lost to them three of the previous four seasons.
Samples ran his career record to 326-87-2.
Also in 5A, Dallas South Oak Cliff senior lineman Billy Walton was chosen as Defensive Player of the Year. The University of Texas signee had 105 tackles, 34 for a loss, and 20 sacks for the Bears, who went 13-3 and won the Division II championship.
Bears coach Clifton Todd, who guided the team to a second straight state title, was named the 5A Coach of the Year.
Others Honored From Area
First team offense: WR Johntay Cook II, DeSoto, sr.; RB Caden Durham, Duncanville, jr.
First team defense: OL Kei’Trone Simpson, Duncanville, sr.; LB Brandon Booker, DeSoto, jr.; LB Vernon Grant, Duncanville, sr.; DB Calvin Simpson-Hunt, Waxahachie, sr.; DB Caimon Mathis, DeSoto, sr.
Second team defense: DL Jeremy Jackson, Waxahachie, jr; utility Keith Abney II, Waxahachie, sr.
Third team offense: QB Darius Bailey, DeSoto, jr.
Honorable mention defense: DL Kaleb James, Mansfield, sr.; LB Gus Fleming, Mansfield, sr.; LB La’Markus Reed, Waxahachie, sr.; DB Robert Hannah, Waxahachie, sr.
First team offense: T Brione Ramsey-Brooks, South Oak Cliff, sr.; T Andre Cojoe, Mansfield Timberview, sr.; PK Dylan Riggins, Midlothian Heritage, sr.
First team defense: DL Keith Smith, South Oak Cliff, sr.; LB Brandon Jones, South Oak Cliff, jr.; DB Malik Muhammed, South Oak Cliff, sr, DB David Spruills, South Oak Cliff, sr. DB Gerald Lacey, Lancaster, jr.
Second team offense: WR Bryant Wesco, Midlothian, jr.
Third team defense: Jordan Sanford, Mansfield Timberview, sr.
Honorable mention offense: C Hunter Trojacek, Midlothian Heritage.
Honorable mention defense: DL Kade Tompkins, Midlothian, sr.; DB Solomon Hopkins, Midlothian Heritage, sr.