With the completion of spring football last week Cody Harrel had, arguably, the most complete sports year in the history of Booneville High School.
The easy choice for male athlete of the year, Harrel was All State in football, All District in basketball, a member of a 4A state champion weightlifting team, All State in baseball, and an event winner at the state track meet and seventh place in the Meet of Champs.
He did all that while playing, again arguably, the most demanding positions in sports.
Harrel was the starting quarterback for the Bearcat football team and when the season ended in the chill of late November Harrel had run for 1,154 yards and 16 touchdowns to lead the Bearcats on the ground.
Rushing for four figures at Booneville isn’t exactly breaking news, but doing it as a quarterback is still somewhat rare — Harrel was just the fourth to do it.
"Cody is one of those kids who is a competitor. When the lights go on he is going to perform," said football head coach and assistant athletic director Scott Hyatt. "He don’t mind the pressure and he’s going to give you everything he’s got.
Not only on the football field, which was good for us but he’s done it in basketball, he’s done it in baseball, he’s done it in track, he’s done it in weightlifting. He’s just one of those kids who makes things happen."
No matter what.
"He’s a tough kid. Even when he’s hurting, he’s still going to go. You don’t find kids like that every day anymore," said Hyatt.
Including a season-high 185 yards against Mena, Harrel had five 100-yard games, but his finest night was the Pottsville game in week 9.
Harrel ran 23 times but managed just 76 yards, but he also completed 5-of-8 passes with no interceptions for 66 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He returned a kickoff 20 yards, kicked a key field goal that made it a two score game, and added five tackles.
He had another big night when the Bearcats won a second round playoff game for the first time since 2005. Against Newport the junior ran for 48 yards but threw for 108 and a touchdown. He also kicked three extra points, had seven tackles and picked off a pass.
Harrel was like that in the postseason.
Fast forward to mid-February, after a snow delay, the 4A-4 fourth seeded Bearcats took on 4A-1 champion Farmington and sent the Cardinals home.
Harrel hit 9-of-11 free throws and finished with 11 total points to go with nine rebounds.
The point guard for Tim Goers’ basketball team, Harrel set a school record for assists with 111, eclipsing the previous mark by just one.
That was possible because the Bearcats also eclipsed their previous best postseason by reaching the state tournament, and winning a first round game for the first time in school history.
In that game, a win over Malvern, Harrel had 17 with three 3s, eight rebounds and six assists.
For the year Harrel averaged 8.7 points per game and five rebounds.
After basketball came the simultaneous trifecta of baseball, weightlifting and track.
Harrel played shortstop for Darby Ulmer. He also hit in the leadoff spot. Oh, and when needed late in the year, he delivered on the mound.
If Harrel had a single bad day this school year it was the conference season opener at Subiaco going into spring break. He faced four batters and did not record an out — three walks and a hit batter — but the Bearcats went on to get the win.
Harrel didn’t pitch again until the conference finale. Then, he came in to start the ninth inning and threw three shutout innings as the Bearcats beat Dover 2-1 in 11.
Harrel also finished the district tournament win over Maumelle, throwing three innings again for a save.
For the year Harrel hit .370. He had three doubles, two triples and two home runs. He led the team in walks drawn with 13 and scored 22 times.
In the midst of a conference title season Harrel led off a game against Pottsville with one of those home runs and, with the Bearcats down one in their final at bat, he drew a walk and swiped a base. He and Brandon Wolski scored on a double by James Ray to win it.
The next day, Harrel accompanied Josh Walker’s weightlifting team to the state meet in Russellville. The 198-pound division representative for the Bearcats, Harrel accounted for 505 pounds of weight in the bench press and power clean lifts as Booneville beat its closest 4A competitor by 110 pounds. From there he went back to the baseball diamond for another game.
"He comes in here and maxes with the quarterbacks at 275 on bench press, then gets on power clean and throws up 275, which is impressive for his weight," said Walker.
All of that left little time for the track coach, also Walker. But then Harrel didn’t require much.
He didn’t participate in a single meet until the district meet where he qualified for the state meet in the long jump, high jump and triple jump.
Second at the district meet, at the state meet, with a little practice, Harrel won the event with a 21’ 11 1/2," or 7 1/2 inches past his district leap. He would finish seventh of 12 in the Meet of Champs.
For the last two weeks, Harrel’s been back in pads, and back at quarterback getting ready for his senior season.
He has a tough act to follow.
The Democrat’s Athlete of the Year award changed to a school year format five years ago. The previous eight awards were announced at the end of a calendar year.
All previous winners are:
• 2011-2012, Cory Chambers
• 2010-2011, Talor Tatterson
• 2009-2010, Michael Corbitt
• 2008-2009, Jordan Reid
• 2007-2008, Matt Wilson
• 2006-2007, Jordan Cobb
• 2005, Derek Davis
• 2004, Jason Bonner
• 2003, Jeremy McDonald
• 2002, Kyle Arnold
• 2001, Brad West
• 2000, Trey Holloway
• 1999, Allen Ray
• 1998, Brandon Rowland