Panhandle FCA names Canyon quarterback Male Athlete of the Year


Courtesy of Lawton Rikel

Los Angeles Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn congratulates senior Lawton Rikel at the FCA banquet on Rikel’s FCA Male Athlete of the Year award.

His list is long–quarterback of a successful football team, player on other athletic teams, member of various academic organizations and honors, committed to attend Stephen F. Austin University, active member of Hillside Christian Church, and now he can add FCA Male Athlete of the Year.

Senior Lawton Rikel won the Fellowship of Christian Athletes Male Athlete of the Year award for the panhandle. Head coach of the Los Angeles Chargers, Anthony Lynn, presented the award to Rikel at a panhandle FCA banquet.

“About two weeks ago, Coach McCloskey gave me an application for the award,” Rikel said. “The application has a bunch of questions, and we had to send it in to the FCA people in Amarillo so they could make a decision. I was told I was chosen as a finalist for it, even though they actually knew I had won the award. They told me as a joke I was a finalist so when I went to the banquet, I was surprised.”

Rikel said the focus of the FCA organization and his award is on faith.

I was told I was chosen as a finalist for it, even though they actually knew I had won the award.”

— Lawton Rikel, 12

“Yes, being an athlete is awesome and important, but at the end of the day we are all children of the Lord,” Rikel said. “For me, FCA has taught me to be respectful to the other team. I used to talk smack and stuff, but then I realized not to do that and treat everyone with respect. I look forward to each FCA meeting. It’s fun because I get to go to church with my friends and teammates.”

Canyon High FCA Sponsor Matt McCloskey said Lawton’s award was well-deserved and his character is unmatched.

“He does the job even when nobody’s looking,” McCloskey said. “He’s a man of integrity and of high character. He goes above and beyond in everything he does.”

McCloskey said this is the highest recognition awarded for leadership abilities.

“This is a character award,” McCloskey said. “This is about what he does off the field. His accomplishments on the field help, but this is more so what he does outside the realms of athletics. The podium of athletics puts him on display so he can show that character and leadership to everybody. It’s a very, very big award as far as what he wants to accomplish in his leadership and his character.”

Rikel said receiving the award was special because of the recognition it gave to all his work over the past year.

I tried to change that program and the culture into being a winning team.”

— Lawton Rikel, 12

“I felt like my junior year, after football season, I was really down and depressed because it just wasn’t how anyone expected it to be,” Rikel said. “This football season I tried to change that program and the culture into being a winning team. I tried to be the leader of it, and it was sweet to get that award in recognition of that.”

Rikel said FCA greatly influenced his goals for his college experience.

“A lot of athletes, when they go to college, get involved in other things and forget about school and forget about their faith,” Rikel said. “I have already looked into that kind of stuff, and it’s a big deal for me because I know I want to stay on track in college. I still want to be a child of the Lord. I still want to be making great decisions. FCA has really helped me with that.”

Rikel committed to Stephen F. Austin University to play football in the fall.

“I’ve always been excited for college,” Rikel said. “I can’t wait to go down in the summer to start. I just thought it was a perfect place for me. The campus is beautiful; the coaches are awesome. I want to become a coach and a teacher. I just want to be around sports and athletics because that’s what my passion is.”