Sometimes, all you need is a chance to show what you could do at the next level.
A trio of Odessa High student athletes are getting that chance and were honored at a signing ceremony Thursday at the Odessa High Fieldhouse.
Wide receiver Tyrone Caufield and defensive back Xavier Minjarez will continue their football careers at Southwestern Assemblies of God University in Waxahachie and Sul Ross State University, respectively.
Pole vaulter Dawson Hayes signed to continue his track and field career at West Texas A&M.
For Caufield, getting to this point has been the culmination of a long journey.
“I was crying tears of joy when he (Coach Servance) was speaking,” Caufield said. “That’s when it started hitting me and it became real. It’s been a long journey but I’m just thankful.”
Caufield finished as the second-leading receiver for the Bronchos last season, catching 23 passes for 464 yards and seven touchdowns.
He was able to make big plays down the field for Odessa High and says that he’s looking forward to continue doing that with the Lions.
“I know I’ll become a better person going to school there,” Caufield said. “The receivers are the heartbeat of the offense and I just knew that was the place for me. It felt like home.”
Like his teammate, Minjarez also found the right fit for him by signing with the Lobos.
Minjarez was a productive defensive playmaker for the Bronchos, finishing as the team’s second-leading tackler (61), with two sacks, two pass breakups and two interceptions.
He reunites with teammate Kameron Gonzales, who signed with the Lobos back in February.
“It’s an amazing feeling to get a chance to continue my football career,” Minjarez said. “Kam and I have played football since the third grade and we’ve always had that close bond.
“With him also being there, it’s great because we’ll be there to push each other.”
Hayes has had plenty of success at the high school level. His accomplishments from this past season include setting a new personal best of 14 feet, 6 inches at the San Angelo Relays and qualifying for the Region I-6A meet.
But for all that he achieved, he didn’t want to make the regional meet the last time he competed.
“This is a huge accomplishment for me,” Hayes said. “Ever since I started pole vaulting, I knew I didn’t want to stop after high school. I wanted to keep going to that next level.”
Hayes got that chance after he set that personal record. Shortly after that, he took a visit to campus where he was offered a spot on the team, validating the hard work put in over his high school career.
“That’s really what sold me on WT,” Hayes said of the Buffaloes’ program. “All I wanted was a fully guaranteed spot and that’s what they offered. This is a huge accomplishment.”
All three signees each have had their own path to get to this point. And as head football coach Danny Servance said during the ceremony, all of them have a chance to make the most of that opportunity.
And after Thursday’s festivities, they are ready to get going.
“It just feels like all of my hard work has paid off,” Caufield said. “I’m just so grateful for the opportunity to keep playing and I give God all the glory for this moment.”
Among the others honored Thursday were cheerleaders Sheyanna Moore and JD Pando, who signed with UTPB and Makynna Munsey, who will head to Angelo State.