Sports in Kansas 2021 Football Players of the Year Announced

Sports in Kansas Offensive Players of the Year by Class Announced. Ballots were sent to over 30 media members in Kansas in all parts of the state to determine the annual player of the year awards. List were finalized by Chet Kuplen and Conor Nicholl of Sports in Kansas. Congrats to the Players of the Year that were honored this week at our all-state event – powered by Mammoth Sports Construction, Nex-Tech Wireless, SAFE, Watco and Gambinos. Click here for the finalists

Sports in Kansas 6A Offensive Player of the Year

Dylan Edwards, Derby RB

Derby junior running back Dylan Edwards enjoyed one of the most prolific seasons in Kansas annals. Edwards delivered 209 carries for 2,603 yards. He tallied 40 touchdowns and 3,214 all-purpose yards. In a game where Derby did not complete a pass, Edwards cleared 200 rushing yards in the 6A state championship loss to Blue Valley Northwest. Edwards went over 1,800 rushing yards in 2020 when Derby captured its third straight state championship

Edwards was considered Kansas’ best offensive player and slightly earned the award over Blue Valley Northwest quarterback Mikey Pauley. Edwards is ranked as the No. 4 recruit in the Class of 2023 and No. 15 nationally. Edwards has 10-plus FBS offers, including Arizona, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State and Kentucky, Michigan State and Minnesota. Edwards led Kansas in rushing yards and all-purpose yards. The 5-foot-9, 165-pound Edwards is on the school’s honor roll and calls baseball his favorite sport.

Pauley, who earned MaxPreps Kansas Player of the Year, is a Nebraska baseball commit and has FBS offers in football and baseball. Pauley passed for 1,945 yards and 23 TDs, along with 1,214 yards and 22 scores. Edwards and Pauley, likely are one and two in all classes of Kansas this season but in the same class, were both SIK Top 11 all-classes. Derby easily led 6A with 52.2 points a contest.

Sports in Kansas 5A Offensive Player of the Year

Avery Johnson, Maize QB

Johnson is ranked as Kansas’ No. 1 overall recruit in the Class of 2023 and the No. 11 quarterback nationally. The state’s top-three sport athlete, Johnson carries a 4.1 GPA and has 18 overall offers, including Arkansas, Auburn and Florida State. Johnson led Maize to the first football state title game appearance in school history with a 10-2 mark. He led the Eagles on a last-second game-winning drive to beat Kapaun Mt. Carmel, 22-21, in the state semifinals. Maize finished eighth in 5A in scoring offense with 35.2 points per game.

Overall, Johnson completed 162 of 296 passes for 2,549 yards with 20 scores against six interceptions. Johnson had 146 rushes for 1,080 yards and 22 TDs. In the Kapaun win, the Crusaders took the lead with 1 minute, 36 seconds left. Then, Johnson threw a 27-yard TD pass to backup receiver Jaeden Martin with 29 seconds remaining. Johnson has earned first team all-state in football, basketball and baseball. Maize won 5A state basketball last winter.

Johnson comes from a highly athletic family. His older sister, Lauren, was a Maize South standout and plays softball for Wichita State.

Sports in Kansas 4A Offensive Player of the Year

Sam Elliott, Buhler RB

Buhler has enjoyed several elite backs under longtime coach Steve Warner, who ranks in the top-10 all-time in state history for wins. Sam Elliott, though, has the most rushing yards of any Crusader. He broke the mark in his final game, a state semifinal loss to Andover Central. Buhler lost twice this year, both to AC.

Elliott finished with 2,294 rushing yards, including 5,172 this season. He earned conference offensive player of the year in each of the last two falls. This year, Elliott also delivered 108 tackles, 10 for loss.

He is a two-time state champion wrestler at 152 and 160 pounds. Warner has long stayed close with past Buhler greats. Crusader running back Tanner Fisher, who held the rushing record, came back for the state semifinals to offer Elliott congratulations for breaking the mark.

Elliott, who is planning to attend Hutchinson Community College, has no college offers, though Warner believes he could be a Division II running back. Buhler had a four-win improvement from 2020, finished 10-2 and averaged 37.9 points per game.

Congrats to our favorite #20 Sam Elliott of Buhler HS on the 4A Offensive Player of the Year from Sports in Kansas. Your family is so proud of you! Go Crusaders!

Congrats to Sam Elliott on the 4A Offensive Player of the Year and Top 11 from Sports in Kansas. The Buhler Crusader Football Family is proud of you!

Congrats to my nephew Sam Elliott on a fabulous season and high school career, and on being named the 4A Offensive Player of the Year and Top 11 Team. So Proud of you! You Rock! Aunt Dana!

Sports in Kansas 3A Offensive Player of the Year

Harrison Voth, Cheney QB

Cheney senior quarterback Harrison Voth was the runaway winner for 3A offensive player of the year. A first team all-league selection in three sports, Voth helped Cheney to a 10-1 record and 40.2 points per game. It marked the most wins for Cheney in a single season. The Cardinals finished fourth in 3A in scoring offense.

Voth finished 131 of 195 passing for 2,222 yards with 35 scores against seven interceptions. He rushed 64 times for 337 yards and four scores. Cheney had three receivers with at least 50 catches: Jack Voth, Luke Grace and Dayton Higgs. Voth accounted for 3,041 passing and rushing yards as a junior and finishes his career as one of Cheney’s all-time great athletes.

Congratulations Harrison Voth of Cheney High School on 3A Player of the Year. We are very proud of you! Love, Grandma Paula, Grandpa Bruce and Grandma Ki.

Congrats Harrison Voth of Cheney, on 3A Player of the year from Sports in Kansas. Your family is so proud of you. Go Cardinals! Matt, Aly, Jackson, Landry & Hank.

The Cheney Alumni Association would like to congratulate the Cheney Cardinals on a first 10-win season. We are proud of you! Congrats to Harrison Voth on the 3A Player of the Year from SIK!

Sports in Kansas 2A Offensive Player of the Year

Torrey Horak/Corey Catron, Rossville QB/ATH

Torrey Horak

Rossville finished 13-0 for a second straight year. In both seasons, the Bulldawgs paced 2A in scoring offense. This year, Rossville led 2A in both offense at 47.1 points per game and allowed 8.5 points a contest.

Rossville senior quarterback Torrey Horak repeated as 2A Offensive Player of the Year. This season, Horak shared the award with teammate Corey Catron. Horak was banged up for part of the year. Horak and Catron finished with very similar numbers.

Horak completed 86 for 134 passes for 1,347 yards with 12 touchdowns against one interception. Catron delivered 32 of 58 passing for 456 yards with six scores against one interception. Catron had 194 carries for 1,315 yards and 26 scores. Horak had 101 carries for 1,009 yards and 14 scores. As well, Catron was among the top receivers with 15 catches for 230 yards and two scores. Catron paced the Rossville defense by a clear margin with 101 tackles and 11 tackles for loss.

Corey Catron

In the state title game, Catron led Rossville with 19 carries for 63 yards. Horak completed 11 of 16 passes for 234 yards and three passing scores. He also rushed nine times for 33 yards and a TD.

Congratulations Torrey and Corey on Phenomenal football careers and for being selected as 2A Players of the Year from Sports in Kansas. We are very proud of you! Go Dawgs! State Champs – 2014, 2015, 2016, 2020, 2021

Sports in Kansas 1A Offensive Player of the Year

Damon Redeker, Olpe, QB/Lance Hoffsommer, Sedgwick, QB

Olpe quarterback Damon Redeker and Sedgwick quarterback Lance Hoffsommer share 1A Offensive Player of the Year honors. Olpe averaged 48.3 points a game, and Sedgwick delivered 48.9 points per contest. They ranked first and second in 1A in scoring offense.

Hoffsommer helped Sedgwick to a 10-1 record and Class 1A state semifinals, the best finish in school history. Olpe finished 12-0 and won its second straight state championship. Olpe has back-to-back perfect seasons.

Hoffsommer, a three-year starting quarterback for Sedgwick, has enjoyed a remarkable multi-sport career. He was a first team all-state baseball pick on the Cardinals’ state championship winning squad last spring.

Sedgwick is long known for high-flying offense under coach Jeff Werner, and Hoffsommer has a strong case for the Cardinals’ top all-time quarterback.

This season, Hoffsommer completed 179 of 252 passes for 3,027 yards with 37 scores against three interceptions. He had 115 carries for 851 yards with 18 rushing TDs.

In his career, Hoffsommer finished 512 of 761 passing for 8,450 yards and 98 TD passes versus 14 interceptions. He had 271 carries for 1,694 yards and 33 rushing scores. His 10,144 total yards are among the state’s all-time best.

In a career-defining state quarterfinal 49-48 last-second win at Smith Center, Hoffsommer completed 28 of 41 passes for 302 yards with three scores against one interception. He rushed 23 times for 146 yards and two TDs.

In a 26-21 semifinal loss to Inman, Hoffsommer completed 26 of 40 passes for 333 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. He also rushed for 52 yards and a score. In a key win against Conway Springs that clinched the district championship, Hoffsommer completed 9 of 11 passes for 222 yards with two scores against no interceptions and rushed 15 times for 69 yards and a TD.

In the 35-6 championship game versus Inman, Redeker delivered 22 carries for 148 yards and a score. He completed 5 of 6 passes for 48 yards. Overall, Redeker completed 75 of 115 passes for 1,394 yards with 28 scores and three interceptions. Redeker delivered 108 carries for 1,049 yards and 16 rushing TDs.

Congrats to Damon Redeker on being named the 1A Offensive Player of the Year. We are very proud of all of your accomplishments the last four years! We love you…from Mom, Dad, Chance and Blake!

Congrats to Lance Hoffsommer of Sedgwick for being named the 1A Player of the Year! Your high school career will be remembered for your numbers (2021- 3,027 passing ,37 TD, 851 rushing, 18 TDs, 55 total TDs – Career – 10,144 Total Yards – 131 Total TD – 98 passing) and team success (26-4 as a starter). However, your career will also be remembered by your leadership. Whether that be your quiet composure on the field, your joy in supporting your Coaches/Teamates/Friends and celebrating their successes , or the time you spent with the next generation of Sedgwick football players that idolized you; that leadership is a legacy that will be remembered.

Your family is very proud of you and excited to see you write your next chapter. Congratulations!

Sports in Kansas 8M-I Offensive Player of the Year

Tyson Struber, Canton-Galva, WR

Canton-Galva senior wide receiver Tyson Struber completed a record-setting career and is one of the all-time greats in Kansas eight-man football history. A Kansas State commit, Struber holds career eight-man records for career receiving yards and career touchdowns. As a sophomore, he broke the Eight-Man, Division I record for receiving yards in a state title game.

In his four years, C-G recorded easily the best four-year stretch in school annals with a 42-5 mark. The Eagles finished state semifinalist, state champion, state quarterfinals and state semifinals.

Struber and West Elk lineman Isaiahh Loudermilk (Wisconsin, Pittsburg Steelers) are the top eight-man recruits in recent history. In the four years before Struber, C-G was 12-24.

This season, C-G finished 9-2. Struber delivered 39 carries for 379 yards and 13 scores. He caught 72 passes for 1,472 yards and 24 receiving scores. C-G finished third in the classification with 53.5 points a game. Struber led Kansas in receiving yards for all classes.

In his career, Struber delivered 122 rushes for 978 yards and 25 scores. He finished with 208 catches for 3,954 yards and 69 TDs. Struber is ranked as the No. 10 recruit in Kansas in the Class of 2022.

He broke the eight-man career TD reception record of 63 scores by Axtell’s Hunter Koch from 2016-18. The receiving yards mark was 3,347 by Brewster’s Kyle O’Connor from 2002-05. Struber finished two catches behind O’Connor’s career receptions mark.

Defensively, Struber had 99 tackles and three sacks. For his career, Struber had 292.5 tackles, 19.5 tackles for loss, 21 interceptions and five defensive touchdowns.

In any given year, at least three or four of the top 2021 candidates could have won the award. This was an incredibly deep year for Division I candidates, and that was reflected in the scoring offense numbers, per SIK research and Prep Power Index. Nine teams averaged 50 points a game and two others were at 49. The classification averaged 35.7 points per game, up from 33.6 points a contest last season. In 2020, five teams averaged more than 47 points a game. This year, it was 12.

Meade’s Korben Clawson and Torren Haynes, Hill City’s Aiden Amrein, Madison’s Casey Helm and Bryson Turner, Sedan’s Brec Long, Canton-Galva’s Garrett Maltbie, WaKeeney-Trego’s James Kriegh and Chase County’s Mitch Budke were all among those with huge years.

Congrats to Tyson Struber of Canton-Galva HS on the Top 11 Team Selection and 8M-I Offensive Player of the Year. Family is very proud of you!

Sports in Kansas 8M-II Offensive Player of the Year

Isaac Detweiler, Axtell, QB

Axtell junior quarterback Isaac Detweiler led the Eagles to a 13-0 record and plus-six win improvement from 2020. Axtell won its first state championship, second since 1993. A three-time first team all-state selection, Detweiler was the team leader on a squad that had zero seniors in key roles.

Fourth-year Thunder Ridge coach Joel Struckhoff, who holds multiple eight-man state records, labeled Detweiler probably one of the smartest, if not the smartest player he has ever seen in eight-man football.

He completed 124 of 164 passes for 1,984 yards with 34 touchdowns against two interceptions. He delivered 207 carries for 1,273 yards and 29 rushing TDs. In the state championship game, Detweiler recorded 37 carries and cleared 420 all-purpose yards in a top-five all-time showing in an eight-man title game, per SIK research and Kansas historian Brett Marshall.

Axtell, with no true running back and standout freshmen Eli Broxterman and Brandon Schmelzle as the key skill players, led Eight-Man, Division II in scoring offense with 54.2 points a game and defense at 12.3 points a contest. Schmelzle led all eight-man freshmen nationally in total touchdowns. Isaac’s dad, Eric, is an Axtell graduate and Eagle head football coach.

Isaac served as a key receiver on Axtell’s state runner-up team in 2019. That year, Quinn Buessing was Axtell’s quarterback and set the eight-man career record for completion percentage. This season, Buessing came back as an Axtell assistant coach, and helped Isaac.

Axtell defeated rivals Hanover (twice) and Frankfort for the first time in the same season since 1991. Last year, Axtell was tenth in the classification with 44 points a game and 12th at 28.4 points allowed a contest.

Congrats on winning the state title and 8M-II Player of the Year from your fans, teammates and community!

Sports in Kansas 6-Man Offensive Player of the Year

Kayden Martinez, Natoma, RB

Martinez also picked Six-Man Offensive Player of the Year by the 6-Man Coaches. Martinez was widely considered the best six-man offensive player and was extremely hard to tackle. He helped Natoma to a 9-0 mark, the program’s first playoff wins in 47 years and the six-man state championship.

The 5-foot-10, 217-pound Martinez helped Natoma average 68 points a game. Martinez completed 13 of 20 passes for 517 yards with six scores against one interception. He rushed 106 times for 1,814 yards and 41 rushing scores.

The 5-foot-10, 217-pound Martinez also caught four passes for 72 yards and two TDs. Martinez proved highly challenging to bring down throughout the season for defenders. As a junior, Martinez delivered 88 carries for 832 yards and 16 rushing scores. Martinez holds a Kansas Wesleyan offer.

Sports in Kansas Defensive Player of the Year by Class

Sports in Kansas 6A Defensive Player of the Year

Gabe Peterson, Blue Valley Northwest, DL/Jet Dineen, Lawrence Free State, S

Blue Valley Northwest senior Gabe Peterson and Lawrence Free State senior linebacker Jet Dineen share this honor. Both players led their teams to massive win improvements. Northwest had nine total wins in the last four years, including 5-2 last fall. Northwest went 12-1, a plus-seven win improvement from 2020, and captured its first state title in school history. Free State had a winless 2020 that was wrecked by COVID and injuries.

Free State enjoyed an eight-win improvement to 8-3 and played Derby in a one-score loss in the state quarterfinals. Free State collected a regular season victory versus three-time 5A state champion Mill Valley. That marks MV’s only loss in its last 19 games.

The 6-foot-2, 240-pound Peterson is an athletic marvel with a 4.6 speed in the 40-yard dash and a 36-inch vertical. His dad, Ben, played with Pittsburg State University as a three-time All-American and the Cincinnati Bengals.

Peterson has offers from FCS Southeast Missouri State and Pittsburg State, among others. Peterson also started on the offensive line. Northwest permitted 17.2 points per game as Peterson clogged holes and lanes. He finished with 33 tackles, three for loss.

Dineen comes from a long family of highly successful Dineens. Older brothers have played at KU and K-State. Free State permitted 17.8 points a contest. The 5-foot-10, 185-pound Dineen played quarterback and safety. He set the all-time single season record for total offense at 3,066 yards (rushing and passing) in FS history.

Jet (5-10.5, 185) had more than 1,500 rushing and 1,500 passing yards and accounted for 35 offensive TDs. Dineen paced Free State in rushing, passing and tackles. In the 27-21 loss to Derby, Dineen passed for 225 yards and two scores, rushed for 100 yards and a TD, paced the Firebirds in tackles, had a forced fumble and fumble recovery and blocked an extra point. Dineen also averaged 40 yards on three punts. He earned first team all-league both at quarterback and safety.

For the season, Dineen finished with 84 tackles, two interceptions, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. Dineen earned Sunflower League Player of the Year. He has been offered by FBS SMU and FCS Southeast Missouri State. Dineen carries a 4.0 GPA and is a Simone Award semifinalist for the best player in the greater Kansas City area.

Congrats to our son Gabe Peterson on his football senior season! State Champions 6A! First time in school history. We are so proud of your dedication to yourself and the team. We are excited for your future. “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

Sports in Kansas 5A Defensive Player of the Year

Gavin Meyers, Hays High, LB

Hays High senior linebacker Gavin Meyers was the runaway winner in the media voting for Class 5A Defensive Player of the Year and one of the easier selections on this list. Hays High finished 8-3 and advanced to the state quarterfinals before a close loss to Maize. The Indians had its best finish since 1995. Meyers finished his career as by far Hays High’s all-time leading tackler.

He delivered 384 tackles, 42 tackles for loss, 12 sacks, four interceptions, seven forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries, per veteran Hays High broadcaster Dustin Armbruster. Meyers cleared 120 tackles this season.

Meyers and Hays High senior quarterback Jaren Kanak (Top 11 all-classes, Clemson commit) have led the turnaround for the Indians. Hays High is 13-6 in the last two years with back-to-back outright/shared Western Athletic Conference titles. Meyers has helped completely transform the Indians’ defense under coordinator Layton Hickel.

In 2018, Hays High allowed 32.4 points a game, the team’s worst scoring defense in at least 25 years. In 2019, HHS dropped to 29 points permitted a contest. Last year, Hays High allowed 16 points a game, the best in a decade and third-best in the last 20 falls.

This season, against a more challenging overall schedule than 2020, Hays High allowed 22 points a game, No. 13 out of 32 teams in Class 5A. The Indians faced the No. 1 offense in 5A (Wichita Northwest, 52 points per game), Maize South (fourth at 38.1), No. 8 Maize (35.2) and No. 15 Andover (30.7).

Meyers is ranked as the No. 6 recruit in Kansas for the Class of 2022 and has been on FBS radars since his sophomore year. Meyers was part of an historic Hays High class under fourth-year coach Tony Crough, who was also a 5A Coach of the Year finalist.

Kanak cleared more than 4,000 career yards, including 2,000-plus rushing, 1,000 passing and 1,000 receiving. Dalton Dale (career 171 tackles) and his cousin Jordan Dale (WAC Offensive Player of the Year as a junior), along with four-year starting lineman Gavin Nutting and running back Roy Moroni (1,944 career rushing) rounded out a great class. Before 2020, Hays High had five straight sub-.500 seasons.

Meyers is a former state placer in wrestling and javelin and is expected to be a 5A state contender at 220 pounds in wrestling.

Sports in Kansas 4A Defensive Player of the Year

Wade Spencer, St. James Academy DL

St. James opened 0-4 and then won nine in a row to finish 9-4 and win its second straight 4A state title. SJA became the first Kansas team ever to start 0-4 and still capture a state crown. Wade Spencer, a junior defensive lineman, delivered another huge season with 79 tackles, 23 for loss and 13.5 sacks. He set Thunder school records for TFLs and sacks. The 6-foot-2, 215-pound Spencer has 128 tackles, 18.5 for loss in the last two years. Spencer’s two older brothers are currently with the Naval Academy, and he has a sister in the Marines.

Overall, SJA significantly increased its big defensive plays from the 8-4 season in 2020. That year, the Thunder had 43.5 tackles for loss and 20.5 sacks. This year, SJA had 73 TFLs and 33 sacks.

Spencer also plays on the offensive line, and coach Tom Radke called him SJA’s best defensive player. St. James allowed 39 points a game in the 0-4 start. In the next nine contests, the Thunder permitted 16.7 points a contest.

That included wins against Missouri small-school power St. Pius X (currently 12-1), two wins versus rival Bishop Miege, a playoff victory against then-undefeated Basehor-Linwood and the state title game versus Andover Central. Spencer was a Top 11 all-classes player this fall and is expected to be among the state’s top recruits for the Class of 2023. Spencer, who also wrestles, currently has zero scholarship offers. Spencer had the best defensive season in 4A on the way to leading his team to a state title. He also played some of the best lineman in the state in the EKL on his way to earning a first team spot.

Sports in Kansas 3A Defensive Player of the Year

Landon Dean, Frontenac, DL

Frontenac senior Landon Dean is 6-foot-5, 255 pounds and is one of Kansas’ most well-known football players. Dean has committed to Oklahoma State and is the No. 8 player in Kansas class of 2022, per 24/7 sports.

Dean helped the Raiders to a 10-3 mark and 3A state runner-up showing under coach Mark Smith. Dean was part of the Raiders’ highly experienced front that included Collin McCartney, Cruz Blair and Lane Franklin, all multiple year starters. Frontenac permitted 15.6 points per game, and Dean was a Top 11 all-classes player.

As SIK has noted several times this fall through Hudl research, Frontenac improved across the board from last year’s 6-5 team. Frontenac held opponents to 4.3 yards per play and 138 rushing yards a contest. Teams collectively completed 79 of 177 passes for 1,042 yards with 10 touchdowns against 16 interceptions. That yielded a 44.97 passer rate on the NFL scale, more than 18 points better than 2020.

Frontenac won 10 games for the third time in eight years under coach Mark Smith. He is 79-32 in 10 years with the Raiders.

Last year, the Raiders allowed 4.8 yards per play, 159 rushing yards a contest. The pass defense permitted 63 of 135 for 980 yards with seven scores against eight interceptions for a 63 passer rating on the NFL scale. In the state championship game, Dean finished with six tackles and a sack. Overall, he delivered 71 tackles, 11.5 sacks. What Dean did that was most impressive to land him a nod on this years Top 11 is his unselfish play. Dean, who is one of the states best tight ends, agreed to move to the offensive line for the success of his team. What a difference that made as Dean was one of the best offensive lineman in the state in any class as the Raiders would go on to play for a title.

Andale won its third straight state championship and by far paced 3A in scoring offense and defense with a 694-68 margin. Southeast of Saline was 11-1 and second with a 576-90 margin. Andale was highly balanced with several top defensive players. SES senior middle linebacker Matthew Rodriguez earned special recognition as well with 90 tackles, 24 for loss and six sacks, all team-highs. In his career, Rodriguez delivered 285 tackles, 14 sacks and nine forced fumbles.

Sports in Kansas 2A Defensive Player of the Year

Grady Seyfert, Beloit, DL

Beloit junior lineman Grady Seyfert (6-2, 270) has delivered a prolific career for a Trojan squad that reached the 2A semifinals last season and earned 2A runner-up this fall. Seyfert was first team all-NCAA on both offense and defense lines, the only player honored as such in his league. As a sophomore, Seyfert was first team all-league offensive line. He was also a Non-Senior pick from Sports in Kansas and 3A all-state selection as a sophomore last fall.

This year, Beloit finished 9-4 and allowed 14.9 points per game versus the No. 4-hardest strength of schedule in 2A, per Prep Power Index. Seyfert was part of an excellent defense that also featured lineman Brennan Walker and linebacker Braden Burks.

Seyfert was consistently doubled and tripled teamed. He finished with 67 tackles (34 solo), five sacks and 23 tackles for loss, which ranked top-10 in Kansas for 11-man players. In the championship game, he helped hold Rossville to 139 rushing yards and 3.97 yards per carry. It marked the second-lowest rushing yards and yards per carry for Rossville this year.

Seyfert was part of Beloit’s big, veteran front that led a four-win improvement this fall. Seyfert was the lead in the school play and called lifting weights his top hobby.

Seyfert is also a standout thrower and finished third at state track in the shot put as a sophomore with a toss of 52 feet, 9.75 inches, and fifth in discus. His dad, Casey, is Beloit’s longtime principal. He is one of the greatest Kansas high school throwers in the history of the sport in any class with a shot put toss of over 65-feet back in 1997. Casey is an assistant football coach. He competed in football and track at Fort Hays from 1998-2002 and was inducted into the Fort Hays Hall of Fame in 2008. Casey’s school record in the shot put stood from 2001 to ’11.

Congrats to Grady Seyfert of Beloit High School on the 2A Player of the Year from Sports in Kansas. Your Family is proud of you!!

Congratulations to Grady Seyfert on the 2A Player of the Year and to the Beloit Trojans on a fantastic season. The Beloit High School Booster Club is proud of all of you!

Congrats to Grady Seyfert of Beloit High School on the 2A Defensive Player of the Year and to the Beloit Trojans State Runner-Up Team. We are proud supporters of Beloit High Activities and Athletics. Go Trojans! Visit us at

Sports in Kansas 1A Defensive Player of the Year

Ted Skalsky, Olpe, LB

Olpe senior linebacker Ted Skalsky repeated as 1A Defensive Player of the Year and earned Top 11 all classes. He paced Olpe with 105 tackles and 14.5 tackles for loss, playing in a half in nearly every contest. He was also a dominating offensive lineman. Skalsky will go down as one of the best 1A defenders in Kansas history with what Olpe did on defense the last two seasons. He also has great size at 6’2.5″ and 220 lbs.

Skalsky helped Olpe to its second straight state championship and bumped the Eagles’ winning streak to 25 games, including byes/forfeit wins. Olpe allowed just one first half score all season when Inman tallied a touchdown in the state title game.

Olpe, under longtime head coach Chris Schmidt and defensive coordinator Terry Smith, have built an historically great defense. The Eagles have allowed 35 and 24 points total in the last two years. For a two-year stretch, that is better than the gold standard of scoring defensive teams: 1979 Rossville and 2007 Smith Center.

In 1979, Rossville famously allowed just three points all year but would lost in the state semifinals 3-0. In 2007, Smith Center outscored teams 844-20 and still holds a variety of offensive marks. But neither team can match Olpe for a two-year run, per SIK research and the Kansas Football History database.

In 2006, Smith Center allowed 94 points. In 2008, the Redmen permitted 124 points. Rossville allowed 89 points in 1978, and 78 in 1980. It is reasonable to say that Olpe has the most dominant defense in Kansas history for a two-year run.

In the final, Olpe limited Inman to 22 carries for 42 yards, along with 11 of 27 passing for 126 yards. Olpe outgained Inman, 360-186. Skalsky delivered a team-high 11 tackles, along with 1.5 tackles for loss.

Congrats Ted on being named one of the Top 11 and 1A DPOY by Sports in Kansas! We are super proud of your hard work and dedication to getting stronger this last year. Keep wprking hard in all that you do. Love you lots, Mom, Dad, Blake, Lilly and Alisa.

Sports in Kansas 8M-I Defensive Player of the Year

Korben Clawson, Meade, LB

Meade enjoyed the biggest one-season turnaround from an eight-man program in at least 15 years with first-year coach Bryan Luetters. The Buffs went 13-0, a plus-nine win improvement from last season. Meade was 4-3 last year in its first season of eight-man football. This year, Meade emerged from a closely packed West and held off many of the state’s top offenses.

Meade beat Little River, 22-14, in the state championship game, a game that featured zero second half scoring. The Buffs also had wins versus WaKeeney-Trego, Hill City, and Leoti-Wichita County. Overall, Meade was second in Eight-Man, Division I with 12.2 points allowed a game. Meade brought back nearly its entire team and impressed with its speed and athleticism.

Senior Korben Clawson, also a finalist for classification offensive player of the year, delivered 110 tackles, six for loss, along with four defended passes and one interception. Junior linebacker Brayden Norris (128 tackles, 11 for loss) and senior lineman Cullen Lumry (six sacks) also earned consideration. Overall, the Buffs forced a remarkable 33 turnovers and finished plus-25 in turnover margin.

Meade’s scoring defense number is even more impressive when considering the offenses faced. Overall, the classification averaged 35.7 points per game. Meade faced Wichita County, which ranked first in scoring offense at 55.8 points a contest. The Buffs also faced the sixth-best offense with Hill City (51.8), seventh in Trego (51.6) and 11th with Little River (48.8). In those four contests, the Buffs collectively permitted 19.5 points per contest.

Clawson also earned Western Kansas Player of the Year honors for 6/8 Man from Hill Brothers, which regularly covers the western part of Kansas. Clawson has not elected to play sports in college and will attend Kansas State as a student. The youngest of five siblings, Clawson finishes with 3,541 rushing yards, 289 tackles and 24 for loss in his career. He is also a two-time state tennis qualifier and  won the 2021 state powerlifting championship in bench press. Clawson comes from a farm/ranching family and called that his top hobby.

Congratulations to Korben Clawson of Meade High on the 8M-I Defensive Player of the Year. We are proud of you! Mom, Dad, Cooper, Leah, Dean, Walker, Laura and Gatlin!

Sports in Kansas 8M-II Defensive Player of the Year

Jett Vincent, Wheatland-Grinnell, DB

A three-year starter on both sides, Wheatland-Grinnell junior wide receiver/defensive back Jett Vincent has been a known player since he paced Kansas with 13 interceptions as a freshman. He is among Kansas’ best wide receivers/defensive backs for all classes. He is on the short list for best eight-man players at those positions in recent history with Canton-Galva’s Tyson Struber and Central Plains’ Layne Bieberle. Struber committed to Kansas State, and Bieberle enjoyed a standout career at Fort Hays.

This year, Vincent helped W-G win 11 straight contests and finish with an 11-2 record and Eight-Man, Division II runner-up to Axtell, the best season in Thunderhawk history. Vincent finished with 125 tackles, nine passes defended, six interceptions, five forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries.

Offensively, Vincent delivered 67 catches for 1,341 yards and 18 receiving scores. His brother, Trey, served as W-G’s quarterback and was a four-year starter.

For his career, Vincent has 111 catches for 2,150 yards and 33 receiving scores. He has recorded 256 tackles and 28 interceptions. Vincent will have an excellent chance to break the state all-time career interceptions mark next fall. The eight-man mark is 31. The all-time Kansas record is 32 set by St. John’s Travis Neidig from 2004-07, according to the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame.

This fall, W-G allowed 19.9 points per game, ninth-best in the classification, a number made more impressive considering strength of schedule. The Thunderhawk’s opponents tallied 37.5 points a game in games not against W-G, per SIK research. That’s a difference of 17.6 points per game. W-G held its last 10 opponents at least 9.9 points under their scoring average. The Thunderhawks faced multiple high-octane offenses, including Axtell (twice), Victoria, South Barber, Quinter and Bucklin.

Overall, W-G permitted teams around five yards per pass attempt, a number slightly better than Axtell’s pass defense. The Thunderhawks picked off 18 passes this year. Vincent consistently is up at 5:30 a.m. to do his own workouts and has set a goal to play Division I football.

Sports in Kansas 6-Man Defensive Player of the Year

Derek George, Natoma, DL

The clear-cut winner for Six-Man, Defensive Player, Natoma senior Derek George enjoyed an incredibly dominant season. While former Pawnee Heights’ standout Kade Scott and Cheylin quarterback Colton McCarty have set the Kansas standard for six-man offensive performance, George has done the same on defense.

Natoma finished 9-0, won its first playoff games in 47 years and captured the first state championship in school history. The Tigers earned one-score regular season wins at Northern Valley (53-50) and at Cheylin (40-32). Natoma won all three playoff games by the 45-point margin. George made a game-saving tackle versus NV.

In the state title game versus Cunningham, George flummoxed the Wildcat offense when he mirrored the quarterback. Natoma coach Tyler Masters said George executed the game plan perfectly. George recovered a fumble and led Natoma to a 60-12 mercy-rule victory against Cunningham.

Known for his speed, aggression and leadership, George finished with 162 overall tackles, 14 for loss, 13 sacks, seven fumble recoveries, four forced fumbles and three interceptions. Last year, George delivered 82 tackles, 32 for loss, in a 3-2 season. A team captain, the 6-foot-1, 205-pound George has not yet received any collegiate offers. Natoma permitted 18.1 points per game. For much of the year, George led Kansas 6/8M players in sacks and tackles. George also played offense and finished with 38 carries for 460 yards, including more than 90 rushing yards in the state finals.

Congratulations to Derek George of Natoma High School 6-Man POY! George Fencing is proud of your accomplishments and those of the Natoma Tiger 6-Man State Champions!

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