Riverton's 'X-Man' is Player of the YearDec 9, 2012 By Craig Blumenshine, Staff Writer
The quarterback is a special position on any football team. Behind center, looking at opposing defenses and making sure his players are all set, there is no question that the QB is in charge.
And this year, the Riverton Wolverines had perhaps the most-experienced signal caller in their history in senior Xavier Webb, who started several games as a sophomore and, for the last two seasons, was on top of the QB depth chart for the Wolverines.
The committed leader met all expectations, led his team this year to a perfect 5-0 Class 3-A East record, was named the conference offensive player of the year by 3-A East coaches, and now is recognized as the Fremont County football player of the year by the sports staffs of The Ranger, Lander Journal and Wind River News.
Not bad for an athlete who likes basketball even more than football.
"Xavier did a great job for us throwing and running the ball. He kept the offense moving and was able to put points on the board. He was named our team's most valuable offensive player," Riverton head coach Jeremy McCormick said.
"He was level-headed and cool under pressure. When he was a sophomore, we discussed it as a coaching staff and he was playing well."
The 6-foot tall, 175-pound lefty led Wyoming in passing with 162 yards per game and also in total offense, averaging 227 all-purpose yards per game. Webb scored 10 touchdowns and passed for six more during the season. He played safety on defense and was Riverton's punter and kickoff specialist. Webb rarely left the field.
He is quick to credit his teammates for his and his team's success and recognizes that the Wolverines had an array of weapons on both sides of the ball this year.
"Without the linemen, receivers and backs, I wouldn't be receiving this award. I would like to thank all of them and my coaches for my success," Webb said.
But, perhaps more than anything else, the senior recognizes that his team fell short of its ultimate goal of advancing deeper into the Class 3-A playoffs. Top-seeded Riverton lost to Cody in the first round.
"It was a tough pill to swallow after that (Cody) game. As seniors we had great expectations and goals. We were heading in the right direction being the first seed and at home. We had everything going for us, but unfortunately the ball didn't bounce our way. It was upsetting, but we just have to move on," Webb said.
For Webb, many balls have bounced his way, but he feels that his best development may be in his mental approach to sports.
"Through the years, I feel like I became a better leader with the team and learned more of the offense. Over the years, I've spent my time in the weight room and tried to get better," Webb said.
Webb had latitude to change plays at the line of scrimmage and operated almost the entire season in a no-huddle offense.
"The no-huddle offense worked for us pretty well and kept defenses guessing and on their heels. They could not make subs as often. Every so often, when things weren't looking good, we changed the plays on the line," Webb said.
Webb said that the Douglas game this year, Riverton's second to last regular season game, may have been his team's toughest.
"We knew what was on the line on that game with winning conference or not. Throughout the game we had our ups and downs, but fortunately we were able to bounce back up every time. It was a nice feeling getting that conference banner," Webb said.
The senior had a taxing summer leading up to his season. He played on a Salt Lake Metro AAU basketball team in two tournaments in San Francisco and a third in Las Vegas. He still made it to the weight room, to open gyms and organized seven-on-seven football as much as he could.
"I would drive down and practice with my team for an hour and drive back. It was a busy summer, probably just on the edge, but it got my mind focused on the upcoming seasons for high school. I've gotten quicker with all the jump-roping I've done," Webb said.
As for his post-high school plans, Webb is now trying to evaluate his options.
"I want to go somewhere in a science department for my studies. I'm just waiting now for offers and coaches to start talking to me, and I'll decide which school fits me the best. I would rather play basketball than football right now," Webb said.
Webb, the son of Justin and Flo Webb of Riverton, said Michael Jordan and then Allen Iverson were players he followed.
"As of today, I just strive to be better. Coach Dick Quayle had been coaching me since second or third grade, and he has been working with us, trying to get us better and it's paying off (in basketball)," Webb said.
Webb is averaging more than 20 points a game on the hardwood so far for the unbeaten, second-ranked RHS boys basketball team.
Final football game
Although Wolverine Field was at capacity for Riverton's home games this season, long after the final horn had sounded it what will be their final game as Wolverines, Webb and his good friend Kade Salisbury did not want their football season to end, even if it meant playing in front of an empty grandstand.
"In the locker room, we were befuddled. We had a bitter taste knowing that we put together that end of the game that led to an interception. In the locker room, I asked (Kade) if he wanted to go outside and throw a little bit and get it out of our system and leave the field with a better sense."
The two, by themselves, played for another hour. When it got a little cold, two friends joined them, they put on sweatshirts, and they played football until the clock struck midnight.