Having one football player achieve all-state status is a great individual honor, but having two players honored reflects team success as well, according to Tolar head coach Mike Franklin.
Two of his players, senior defensive back B.J. Dollins and junior running back Cory Solomon, are honorable mention selections on the Class 2A Texas Sports Writers Association team for the 2012 season.
“It speaks for them – and their teammates,” said Franklin, whose Rattlers advanced to the area round of the playoffs, notching their first-ever postseason win at the Class 2A level.
“You don’t get recognized for things like this unless you make the playoffs. Those two young men definitely did their part, but their teammates definitely did their part as well.”
Tolar was 6-1 in district play, and 9-3 overall, earning its first playoff berth in 2A since moving up three seasons ago.
Earlier this offseason, Dollins was voted to the Associated Press Class 2A all-state team, and he was Defensive Co-MVP in District 4-2A, Division II. Solomon earned his second straight first-team all-district offensive honor at running back in 2012.
Dollins was Tolar’s leading tackler, with 99 stops in 12 games. He posted 71 solo stops and 30 assists, and also led the squad in tackles for a loss, with 13. He was second on the team in interceptions, with three.
Solomon led the Rattlers in rushing for the second year in a row, with 1,723 yards on 227 carries, and also scored a team-leading 23 touchdowns.
Franklin said Dollins plans to attend Texas Tech University and study engineering. His coach said he thinks he would be capable of playing football at the next level, but Dollins doesn’t plan to play in college.
“He’s a very, very intelligent young man,” Franklin said. “He used his physical and mental abilities to be the player he was. He will definitely be successful at whatever he attempts.”
Dollins played linebacker on occasion, Franklin said, and he was able to make a smooth adjustment at that position when he did.
“He was a defensive team leader back there (in the secondary),” Franklin said. “He battled through some injuries.”
Between his junior and senior years, Franklin noted, Dollins put on 10-15 pounds, “and he came back ready to show some people some things.”
During the 2012 season, Dollins battled a quad muscle strain that kept him from being able to perform his other highly essential job, kicking extra points.
“Had he not had that quad injury, I think he would have done even better,” Franklin said.
Solomon made his mark in a crowded field of talented backs, Franklin noted, averaging 7.6 yards per carry.
“When you do that, that’s saying something. There were a lot of good running backs in (Class) 2A this year,” Franklin said. “I’m happy he got on there. He was definitely deserving.”
Solomon’s improvement since his sophomore year, paired with his knack for hard work, leaves Franklin expecting even greater accomplishments in the 2013 season.
“I thought he did a great job of growing as a running back from last year to this year, and hopefully he’ll make the same kind of jumps next year,” Franlin said, noting that Solomon – already a load to bring down when running straight ahead – also became more elusive last season.
“This year he started making better moves and becoming a better running back. He’s one of our hardest-working kids. He’s here (working out) every day.”
Franklin is hoping to use Solomon more catching passes coming out of the backfield as a senior.
“He can work better as a receiver, and his blocking can improve,” Franklin said.
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