The 2017 Red Raven football season had many surprising twists and turns. The team finished 4-7 while having several key members of their team go down via injury. That being said, there were more highlights and individual successes to highlight, than negatives.
Eleven players were voted--by coaches in the conference--and recognized as the top players in the conference.
Highlighted in the eleven is sophomore linebacker Vernon Dasher. Dasher was undoubtedly the leader of the Red Ravens in the 2017 season. His coaches sang his praises throughout the year as a leader, student, and player. On the year, Dasher had four defensive touchdowns and was a staple for big hits throughout the year. So, when he was named KJCCC Defensive MVP, it was no surprise to his coaching staff. Dasher was also named to the KJCCC 1st Team All-Conference.
Not too often can a program promote their punter as a major factor, but that is exactly what happened with sophomore Cooper Lee. The entire coaching staff gave credit to Lee's kicking ability in their victory over #18 Butler Community College. The field position Lee put other teams proved to be an effective weapon for the Red Ravens. This is the second year Lee has represented the Red Ravens with postseason success.
Offensively, the Red Ravens suffered costly injuries to their quarterbacks. With those injuries piling up, the offense leaned on their reliable, explosive, and leader running back Justin Henderson. The red-shirt freshman from Lake Wales, Florida proved to be the player the offense could lean on. Henderson carried the load for the Red Ravens and helped keep the opponents defense on the field while pounding (and sometimes leaping over) defenders relentlessly.
While Dasher received majority of the headlines, sophomore corner back Robert Hayes Jr. put together quite the season as well. Hayes was noted as a lock down corner that forced opponents to throw the ball on the opposite side of the field. On top of Hayes' shut down ability, he also was a hard hitting, tackling corner.
If there was one player that defined the word moxie, it would be kicker Triston Bailey. Bailey suffered early season woes while kicking field goals. Despite his early struggles, Bailey turned his season around while remaining perfect on field goals, point after, and kickoffs from Northeastern Oklahoma throughout the rest of the season. Bailey rewarded the coaching staff's belief in him and earned himself postseason accolades.
Vernon Dasher (Defensive MVP)
98 tackles, 56 assists, 2 sacks, 3 interceptions, 2 fumble recoveries, 1 forced fumble, 4 defensive touchdowns
71 punts, 3014 yards, 66 yard longest punt, 28 inside 20 yard line, 19 fiar catches, 1/2 field goals
158 rushes, 943 yards, 12 touchdowns, 60 longest rush, 5 receptions, 65 yards
Robert Hayes Jr.
27 tackles, 10 assists, 4 interceptions, 6 breakups
11/17 field goals, 43 yard longest kick, 34/34 point after, 67 points
Pictured: (Top Left to Bottom Right) Cooper Lee, Justin Henderson, Robert Hayes Jr., Triston Bailey, Vernon Dasher (middle)