Gary Farquhar was once a running back and safety in Throckmorton's football program.
That was before Mike Reed arrived as the Greyhounds' coach. When Reed switched Farquhar to receiver and defensive end, he said more than a few eyebrows were raised across town.
Most of the eyebrows raised in Throckmorton these days were courtesy of Farquhar, who made plenty of highlight-reel catches in his three years as a starter.
Farquhar's dominance on both sides of the football and his vital leadership during the Greyhounds' Six-Man Division I title defense are the reasons why he is the third annual Times Record News' Super Six Most Valuable Player.
More than half of Farquhar's receptions went for touchdowns. But his size and speed also translated well to the defensive side of the football, where Farquhar was a terror at defensive end.
Reed, who repeated as Super Six Coach of the Year, knew coaches fretted about how to defend Farquhar when Throckmorton had the ball. In fact, he saw several double teams in the playoffs, a rarity at the six-man level.
But it wasn't until talking to coaching brethren after the season that Reed realized how Farquhar impacted opposing offenses.
"They couldn't run at him because he's so long and he kept his shoulders square. Blockers couldn't get inside him," Reed said. "So they ran away from him, but with his speed, he could be breathing down your neck."
In fact, while he caught three long touchdown passes in the 72-30 championship win over Abbott, Farquhar was named the game's Defensive MVP after making 14 solo tackles and a fumble recovery.
Offensively, Farquhar finished his senior season with 55 catches for 1,432 yards and 30 touchdowns. He dominated a position that many six-man teams don't emphasize.
While crediting Farquhar's preparation and work ethic, Reed pointed out that Throckmorton's versatile system and his teammates have contributed to his success.
"We're not a team that runs 90 percent of the time or throws 90 percent of the time, which would allow defenses to really focus on him. He's got a great group of guys around him," Reed said. "But Gary has worked so hard and that's allowed him to be a cut above the rest."
Reed said Farquhar intends to play football at Texas Tech next season. While he won't be on scholarship, Farquhar has been told by the coaching staff that he won't have to go through walk-on tryouts.
Three other Greyhounds who played integral roles in the school's third state title earned Super Six spots.
Levi Taylor was the team's leading rusher and other senior leader, while nose guard Trinity Haggard was a defensive stalwart on a unit that allowed only 33.6 points during a brutal playoff stretch.
Junior quarterback Bryson Oliver excelled in his first season at the controls, throwing for 2,639 yards and 46 touchdowns.
This was Reed's fifth title game to coach in, which he said was humbling considering there are plenty of great coaches who've never appeared on the game's biggest stage.
Throckmorton had to overcome some early adversity with a loss to Dallas Covenant and had to form a new identity after losing both of its passers from a year ago. As usual, Reed, who still consults his high school coach and mentor Nelson Campbell on a regular basis, made the right adjustments to have his team in the hunt.
And as usual, Reed deflected much of the credit behind the Greyhounds' 14-1 season to his assistant coaches.
"Blayne Davis and Jason Blankenship have been the absolute backbone to this program. When that season ended last year, we prioritize what we need to do to get this next group there," Reed said. "It had nothing to do with X's and O's, but trying to build better men. The minute we started trying to build better men and adversity strikes, those men rise up. That's what this group continues to do."
Notre Dame's Cody McElroy was named to the Super Six team for a second straight year after leading the Knights to the state semifinals once again. McElroy rushed for 1,578 yards and 29 touchdowns, while also leading the 10-1 Knights in tackles (68) and sacks (five).
Newcastle, which shook off a slow start to go three rounds deep in the playoffs, was represented by Michael Moreno, who rushed for 1,576 yards and 31 touchdowns. The senior was also the Bobcats' leading receiver and passer.
Rounding out the team was Crowell sophomore Mitchell Parsley, who led the No. 8 Wildcats in rushing. He also threw 13 touchdowns and picked off seven passes.
2012 SUPER SIX
MVP — Gary Farquhar, Sr., Throckmorton
Coach — Mike Reed, Throckmorton
nRB/NG Trinity Haggard, Jr., Throckmorton – Region II Div. I Defensive MVP
nRB/DB Cody McElroy, Sr., Notre Dame – TAPPS first-team all-state both ways
nRB/LB Michael Moreno, Sr., Newcastle – Region III Div. II Offensive MVP
nQB Bryson Oliver, Jr., Throckmorton – First-team all-region offense; Offensive MVP in Div. I title game
nSB/DB Mitchell Parsley, So., Crowell – Region II Div. I Newcomer of the Year
nRB/DE Levi Taylor, Sr., Throckmorton – First-team all-region both ways