Bridge City Cardinal senior quarterback Matthew Menard has been named as a finalist in the elite Willie Ray Smith Awards. The honors go to the top offensive and defensive high school football players in Southeast Texas. The winners will be announced at the awards banquet at the MCM Elegante in Beaumont on Feb. 15.

In December Menard was named The Record’s All-Orange County Offensive MVP . During the 2011 season he was double trouble for defences either in the air or tucking the ball and trampling defenders on his way to the goal line. He passed for 1,270 yards and 15 touchdowns while rushing for 1,022 yards and 10 TD’s.

“Matt is an outstanding student, outstanding athlete and an outstanding person. As a finalist he is very worthy of the award,” said Bridge City athletic director and head football coach Cris Stump.

Menard has garnered Acedemic All-District honors in football, track and baseball the past four years. He will be moving on to play baseball for Baylor University after he is graduated from Bridge City High School in May. He plans to pursue a career in engineering.

He is a leader both on and off the field. The son of Glen and Jan Menard, he is ranked number six out of his class of 172 with a grade point average of 4.6738 on a 5.0 scale. For the past four years he has served in the St. Henry Catholic Youth Ministry and is a Eucharistic Minister for the Church. He is active with community service where he volunteered for the Salvation Army during the Christmas season with his Youth Ministry Group at St. Henry. He also assisted with Challenge League Baseball at the Bridge City Little League and worked with the cleanup through Hurricane’s Rita and Ike.

“Matthew is a student in which Bridge City ISD can be proud”, says Cheryl Royal, Director of Student Activities. “He not only excels on the playing field and in the classroom, he also excels in his ability to be a student with strong moral character and one who leads by example.”

Menard’s awards and honors include: honors classes in all subjects 2008-present; Principal’s Honor Roll 2008-present; Outstanding Leadership and Academic Achievement Award given by the Kiwanis Club. He attended HOBY Leadership Conference his sophomore year and attended RYLA Leadership Conference his junior and senior year.

Menard’s numerous awards in football include:

• 2008 21-3A All District New Comer of the Year

• 2008 The Record’s All-Orange County New Comer of the Year

• 2009 21-3A All-District 1st Team Running back

• 2009 The Record’s All Orange County 1st Team Running back

• 2010 21-3A All-District Offensive MVP

• 2010 The Record’s All Orange County Offensive MVP

• 2010 Beaumont Enterprise Super Gold Team 2nd Team Utility Player

• 2010 Bridge City High School Most Outstanding Offensive Player

• 2011 21-3A District MVP

• 2011 2nd Team Academic All State

• 2011 The Record’s All Orange County Offensive MVP

• 2011 Beaumont Enterprise Super Gold Team 2nd Team QB

Menard’s awards in baseball include:

• 2009 21-3A All-District 2nd Team DH (Freshman)

• 2010 21-3A All-District Defensive MVP

• 2010 The Record’s All Orange County Defensive MVP

• 2011 21-3A All-District Offensive MVP

• 2011 The Record’s All Orange County Offensive MVP

Joining Menard as a finalist representing Orange County for the Willie Ray Smith Awards is Vidor senior linebacker Montana Quirante. The remaining six nominees are Jakobi Jones, runningback, Ozen; Glen Roberts, runningback, East Chambers; Terrence Singleton, quarterback, PA Memorial; Corbin Carr, defensive end, Nederland; Joshua Pickett, linebacker, PA Memorial and Brandon Wilson, linebacker, Kelly.

The Willie Ray Smith Awards were created in 1992 by the Beaumont Founders Lions Club. The awards are named for Willie Ray Smith Sr., who won 235 games and two state championships in 33 seasons as coach of Chartlon- Pollard, Orange Wallace and Lufkin Dunbar.

Players are nominated by their coaches and the area sports media votes for their top four players in each category. The top-four vote-getters for offense and defense are the finalists for the award, which is announced at the banquet.