ARLINGTON, Texas – Winning two state championships should be a perfect way to end a high school football career. That just wasn’t enough for former Aledo cornerback Rylan Riney.
Riney returned to his home in the Metroplex as the low man in College Station, working hard for a walk-on spot for Texas A&M, to become the defensive MVP of the Texas High School Coaches Association All-Star football game in a 38-14 North squad win.
Riney made his mark on the game with eight minutes left in the fourth, returning an interception 27 yards for a score.
“Just getting that interception – my eyes were wide and just getting that feeling back and putting the pads on - is unbelievable,” Riney said.
Riney sat back in coverage when he noticed an open South All-Star the near the sideline. He jumped the route just in time to snag the pass and return it untouched into the end zone. The defensive score came on the first South play after a North offensive touchdown.
“It was crazy,” Riney said. “I could replay it over and over. It’s something I’m going to remember forever.”
Riney also added three tackles and one pass break up to help secure the MVP honor, which he said he will framed to show it off to his new teammates at A&M.
On the offensive side of the ball, former Fort Worth Arlington Heights wide receiver Marquis Jackson will be able to take the offensive MVP plaque all the way to Kansas when he begins playing for the Jayhawks in the fall.
Jackson began the game with a bang, scoring a 96-yard touchdown off the opening kickoff. The return was just shy of the record for the THSCA All-Star game set by Livingston’s Dustin Harris in 2009 on a 99-yard return.
“I saw the hole and I saw one dude come out and I thought, 'If I could beat this dude, I’m going to go to the house,'” Jackson said.
Jackson added 57 yards receiving, including a 35-yard TD completion from former Highland Park quarterback Jake Howeth in the second. Jackson went up to pull in the pass off a post route behind the South defense.
An offensive MVP showing was a sweet ending to Jackson’s senior year after being bumped from the playoffs in the first round.
“I felt like I had to prove myself in many ways because I left losing in the first round of the playoffs so I felt like I had to come back and prove myself,” Jackson said.