BIG COUNTRY PREPS PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Wylie QB Long leads another thrilling comeback to claim award

With the Wylie football team’s season on the line, facing a 40-30 deficit with less than six minutes remaining, the Bulldogs needed an epic comeback to rally past Colleyville Heritage on Friday at Grapevine’s Mustang-Panther Stadium.

Fortunately for coach Clay Martin’s squad, their senior quarterback has made a habit of leading those this year.

After throwing just his sixth interception on a fourth-down play midway through the final quarter, KJ Long was given new life when his defense forced and recovered a quick fumble. He made the most of it by leading a pair of quick scoring drives — the last to put the Bulldogs 43-40 with three seconds left on the clock — to fuel his team to a wild 50-40 area-round win and earn this week’s Big Country Preps Player of the Week award.

“I think in those moments, that’s when you really see who put in the work,” Long said. “We did that and it all paid off.

“I think I struggled a little bit (early) to really feel good and comfortable with the football, and that’s on me. But my teammates just made it easier for me. They all just kind of bailed me out, and I’m just so thankful for how hard this team fights.” 

Long, who was just 4 for 9 for 31 yards passing in the first half, finished 14 of 24 for 254 yards and four touchdowns — three of which came in the fourth quarter. He also rushed for 62 yards, using his legs to escape pressure and extend key drives.

The senior hit Malachi Daniels from 55-yards out to put Wylie up 23-19 midway through the third quarter, before seeing Heritage score back-to-back touchdowns to go up two scores at 33-23. With his team playing from behind the rest of the way, Long had two long touchdown passes to Braden Regala and hit Harrison Heighten with an 11-yard fade to the back corner of the end zone for what proved to be the game-winning points.

The final drive, which began with about two minutes left from the Heritage 38-yard line with no timeouts remaining, marked the fourth go-ahead drive Long has led in the final minute this season. 

The first came in a heartbreaking 63-61 loss to San Angelo Central, which saw the Bobcats win on a last-second Hail Mary, while the others came in thrilling wins over Wichita Falls Rider (39-38), Amarillo Palo Duro (27-24) and Heritage.

For the season — Long’s first and only as a starter for the Bulldogs — the quarterback has completed 174 of 241 passes for 2,960 yards with 34 touchdowns to six interceptions. He’s also run 100 times for 598 yards in leading Wylie (9-3) to its best season since 2016. 


1. Diontay Ramon and Rodey Hooper, WR/QB, Jr./Sr., Hawley — Ramon hauled in seven catches for 148 yards and two scores in last week’s 72-26 area round rout of Panhandle. He also had one sack, forced a fumble and had 163 return yards, including an 85-yard TD.

“Diontay was a force to be reckoned with in all 3 phases (Friday),” coach Mitch Ables said.

Hooper, in the meantime, hit 10 of 17 throws for 203 yards and two TDs. He also rushed for 139 yards and three TDs to give him a direct hand in five scores.

“Rodey played a great game through the air and on the ground,” Ables said. “It was good to see him run the ball with confidence”

2. Lexy Amthor, guard/forward, Sr., San Saba — Had 25 points, nine rebounds, five steals and three assists in a 70-39 win at Richland Springs.

She followed that with 19 points, four rebounds and two steals in a 37-34 tournament win over 5A Grapevine.

3. Carson Finney, RB, Jr., Brock Had five receptions for 69 yards and two TDs in Thursday’s 57-20 rout of Muleshoe in Sweetwater’s Mustang Bowl. But that’s only the beginning. 

He also picked off three passes with 50 return yards and had six tackles.

“With great pressure up front from our D-line, it allowed me to get the three picks,” Finney said. “(Tyler) Moody made some great passes and the O-line blocking was great.” 

The Eagles (8-4) advance to face Bushland (11-1) at 2 p.m. Friday at Vernon’s Lion Stadium.

4. Ryder Lambert, QB, Sr., Stephenville Closed his sterling career at Stephenville with 231 yards passing and four scores in a 33-32 area round loss to Anna. 

Lambert leading Stephenville to a 16-0 mark and a 4A DI state title last year will be one SHS’ enduring memories. 

The Yellow Jackets closed the 2022 season at 9-3. 

5. Kinsey Glasgow, guard, So., Comanche — Made the all-tournament team at the Hamilton Invitational last week with a combined total of 74 points in the event.

She also charted 29 boards and 21 steals., during which she posted her second double-double of the season. 

“Kinsey had a great weekend of tournament play. As the season progresses, she is maturing into an impressive basketball player,” coach Diana Salinas said. 

6. Korda Moore, guard, So., Sweetwater — Had 27 points, five rebounds, six assists and two blocks in a 79-65 win over Graham. Sweetwater improved to 1-1 on the year.

“Korda was in complete control of the game. He scored 27 points on only 13 shots and set up others for easy scores,” coach Evan Grantham said. “He also set the tone for us on defense. When your point guard plays like that, it’s a coach’s dream.”

7. Antoine Rashaw, RB, Jr., Abilene High Was at the forefront of Abilene High’s 35-0 area round win over Red Oak, rushing 21 times for 158 yards and three scores.

The Eagles (6-6) will face Burleson Centennial (11-1) in the regional semifinals at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Arlington’s Choctaw Stadium. 

8. Konlyn Anderson and Ike Hall, RB/QB, Sr./Jr., Brownwood — Anderson rushed 20 times for 114 yards and two scores and Hall rushed for 108 yard and two more TDs to lead Brownwood to a 31-10 rout of Canyon. 

The Lions (10-2) will square off with Wichita Falls High (8-4) on Friday at 7 p.m. at ACU’s Wildcat Stadium.

9. Hunter Long, QB, Sr., Cisco Toted the rock 29 times for 211 yards and one score in a 14-8 area round win over Stratford.

The Loboes (10-2) have advanced to face New Deal (9-3) at 2 p.m. this Friday at Colorado City’s Wolf Stadium

10. Guy Powell, RB, Sr., Bangs Finished strong for the Dragons, rushing 29 times for 146 yards in Friday’s Class 2A DI area round loss to Reisel. 

The Dragons finished at 7-5 with their third playoff berth in the last five seasons. 


J’Lee Salinas, Fr., Comanche (Had a combined 34 points, 29 rebounds, 13 assists, 15 blocks and 13 steals in five games last week); Payson Hicks, Sr., Comanche (Had 47 points in five games last week); Broderick Morton, DE, Sr., Cisco (10 tackles, three sacks vs. Stratford)

For a player to be considered for Big Country Preps Player of the Week, he or she must be nominated by their coaching staff. Deadline for nominations is noon each Monday. Please include the player’s name, class, position, stats and opposition with your submission.

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