Talamantez, Huerta honored with inaugural KWMC Football Awards
By Brian Argabright
Del Rio has spoken, and the community loves its high school football.
More than 1,100 votes were cast in the inaugural KWMC Football Awards and the first three award winners were announced in a small ceremony at the radio station’s studio Dec. 26.
Del Rio Rams running back Aiden Huerta was named Offensive Player of the Year while defensive lineman Jaden Talamantez was named Defensive Player of the Year and overall Most Valuable Player. Both Huerta and Talamantez are seniors at Del Rio High School.
This is the first time in more than a decade that a local media outlet publicly presented any kind of sports award. Javier Martinez Jr., sales manager at KWMC, said it made sense to honor Del Rio’s student-athletes and said the football awards were just the beginning.
“We felt this was something that needed to be done. We wanted to show these players some recognition for all the hard work they’ve put in, from Pee Wee all the way to their senior year,” Martinez said. “This is the first year we’ve been able to reach a lot of people through our coverage of the Rams football games due to the coronavirus. A lot of negative came out of 2020, so we felt there needed to be something positive to cap this year off.”
Huerta and wide receiver Ricky Haynes were nominated for offensive players of the year. Talamantez was nominated for defensive player of the year along with linebackers Andrew Garza, Alejandro De Luna and Jesus De Luna. All six players were eligible for the MVP award.
The awards were decided by votes cast by the fans through the Internet. Voting took place over three days.
The awards were presented by a trio of community leaders. Community activist and advocate Claudia Lopez Cruz presented the Offensive Player of the Year award, 830 Times Sports Editor Brian Argabright presented the Defensive Player of the Year award, and Val Verde County Commissioner, Precinct 2 Juan Carlos Vazquez presented the MVP award.
Due to the holiday travel, Talamantez was the only player on hand to receive his award on the day they were presented.
The awards were the first for Huerta and Talamantez, but not the last. Huerta was later named District 30-6A First Team running back via a unanimous vote, and Talamantez was named the district’s Most Outstanding Defensive Lineman.
Martinez said he hoped the awards would become an annual tradition for KWMC and said he hoped football would be the first of many sports to be recognized.
“It’s not much but it helps people know that we were watching and I hope it serves as a motivator for these kids next year and going forward,” Martinez said. “This is just the start. We have plans for basketball as well and hopefully other sports to follow.”