December 14, 2016 Edition

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Harper named state 3A
Defensive Player of Year

Farm Bureau Insurance district sales manager Randy Lloyd (left) presents the 3A Defensive Player of the Year trophy to Walnut Ridge linebacker Luke Harper during the Farm Bureau Insurance Awards Monday night in North Little Rock.
Submitted Photo ~ Rhonda Sharp

Luke Harper of Walnut Ridge was named the State Class 3A Defensive Player of the Year at the 2016 Farm Bureau Awards Monday night in North Little Rock.

"This is a statewide honor and I don't know of anyone in our area ever winning this," said WRHS Principal Jacob Kersey.

The Farm Bureau Insurance Awards honor Arkansas' top offensive player, defensive player and coach of the year for each classification. The veteran staff at Hooten's Arkansas Football selects three finalists for each category, and those 45 finalists and their families are invited to attend the awards ceremony.

"We congratulate our 15 winners. The 45 finalists represent some of the best coaches and student-athletes in our state," said Farm Bureau Insurance Executive Vice President and General Manager David L. Moore.

Harper, a senior, also received 3A All-State honors and has been nominated to compete in the annual AHSAA All-Star football game.

He is the son of Chris and Sarah Harper. Luke's parents, as well as Larry Treadway, Bobcat football coach, and his wife, Diane, were on hand for the awards presentation.

Coach Treadway said that Walnut Ridge only moved up to the 3A classification this year, with the recent consolidation with the Black Rock High School campus. "Considering we were 2A last year, it is a real honor to have the top 3A defensive player in the state." He noted that Harper was also previously named the outstanding running back in the 3A-3 conference.

Treadway said the awards presentation also included a video, shot by Chad Hooten, showing an obvious touchdown by Harper that was unfortunately called as not a touchdown. The call caused the Bobcats to lose in the state playoff game with Paris. However, Harper's honor helped cap the season in a positive way, Treadway added.

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