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Panthers selected to football All-District

By Griff Servati
Van Alstyne Leader
Kicking specialist Aaron Beckham made two field goals on Friday night, including a 51 yarder.

The 2020 All-District Football nominations were released this week. SIx members of the Panthers were selected by the coaches of the district for their outstanding play. The six Van Alstyne players selected were Jacob Gallardo, Aaron Beckham, Levi Copeland, Jake Smallwood, Connor Loftice, and Will Frey. The coaches met before the playoffs to choose, and players are selected on their regular season play. 

The Panthers competed in the 4A-2 Region I District 4. The Panthers completed their season, their first in the 4A division, with a 3-8 record going 1-3 in district play. The Panthers entered into the playoffs as the district's fourth-place team and were eliminated by the Graham Steers in the first round. Graham is still competing in the playoffs as they defeated Celina, a fellow District 4 member, in the regional finals.

The Panther's first-team selections were Jacob Gallardo and Aaron Beckham. Gallardo, the spirited lineman for the Panthers, was selected first-team for his play on both sides of the ball at offensive guard and defensive tackle. On the defensive side of the ball, Gallardo led the Panthers in tackles on the season with forty-two, with ten of those being tackles for a loss. He also led the team in quarterback sacks with six on the season. 

The other All-District first-team selection was senior kicker Aaron Beckham. Aaron Beckham, the club soccer standout player, has been a valuable asset for the Panthers in the kicking game. The senior had an impressive 51-yard field goal this season and made seven out of the ten tries. The kicker also doubled as the punter and could switch the field with his impressive length in kicks. 

The Panthers had three players selected on the second team. All three of those were key players on the Panthers' offensive line, Levi Copeland, Jake Smallwood, and Connor Loftice. Levi Copeland earned his award by playing the center position. Jake Smallwood was recognized for his play at the offensive guard position. Conner Loftice was awarded second-team honors for his play as the tight-end. 

Will Frey earned Honorable-Mention All-District for his play at the defensive end. The junior was the only Panther selection that was not a senior. 

Several players earned Academic All-District for the Panthers. To do so you have to have an overall 90 or above average in all of your classes.

Those making this distinction were: Gavin Montgomery, Jackson Allen, Manny Chavira, Collin Reynolds, Lucas Lindley, Gavin Bybee, Aaron Beckham, Conner Loftice, Cade Milroy, Foster Cataldie, Diego Hernandez, Jayden Karo, Will Frey, Michael Koch, Brett Long, Ryland Jennings, Jacob Gallardo, Jake Smallwood, Colton Coburn, Levi Copeland, Cooper Carroll and Harrison Maxwell. 

Connor Loftice
Will Frey
Jacob Gallardo
Jake Smallwood
Levi Copeland