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Simmons Says - Best of the best
Photo courtesy of Painted Barn Media Brooks Helton had a dominant senior season before an elbow injury. The Pioneer standout has signed to play baseball at Faulkner University next year.

If you missed the “Best of the Best” girls selections, see Friday’s edition. Let’s dive right into the “Best of the Best” boys, as selected by me. 

Athlete of the year 

CJ Taylor (Football/basketball)

Recently somebody asked me why people should be excited about Pioneer football going forward. The easiest answer was one name – CJ Taylor.

Taylor was dynamic for the Pioneers last season, only slowed when leg and shoulder injuries began to pile up. He looked like the kind of player who would’ve been the best option for the Pioneers no matter where they lined him up. 

His position is playmaker – and he’s excellent at it.

His exploits didn’t end of the gridiron either. He may have been even better on the hardwood.

Taylor is going to be the next 1,000-point scorer for the Pioneers. If not for a knee injury as a freshman, he probably would be reaching that milestone next season. He may anyway.

The crazy thing about watching Taylor dominate last year on the field and the court is that I know it’s the worst I’ll ever see him play. He’s only going to get better.

Honorable Mention – Ethan Smith (Baseball/basketball), Raven Lewandowski (Basketball/football), Ethan Cowan (Wrestling/Soccer)

Senior of the year

 Brooks Helton (Baseball)

District 6AAA coaches paid Helton the ultimate respect earlier this month. Despite missing two district games (25 percent of the district slate), Helton was named the District 6AAA MVP. 

He was simply that dominant in the six games he played.

Helton was having a monster year before an elbow injury stopped him in his tracks. In 27 games, Helton hit .463 with four home runs and 36 RBIs. His district numbers (.667, 3 HRs, 12 RBIs) seem impossible in six games.

His hitting alone would’ve made Helton the most feared player in the area, but he was just as good on the mound. Helton struck out 36 in 30.2 innings, a hefty mark he will hopefully be able to match at Faulkner University.

I wish the best of luck to the former Pioneer during his recovery from elbow surgery. I think he’ll come back better than ever. 

Honorable Mention – Eric Haywood (Football), Dylan Ward (Baseball), Will Cantrell (Baseball)