Sports in Kansas Coach of the Year by Class Announced. Over 30 media members in Kansas in all parts of the state determine our awards, along with input from Conor Nicholl and Bethany Bowman, then finalized by Chet Kuplen of Sports in Kansas. Congrats to the Coaches of the Year that were honored this week at our all-state event – powered by Mammoth Sports Construction, Nex-Tech Wireless, SAFE, and Watco. All-State teams by classification and non-senior teams will be out 12/3-12/5. Bios/capsules are from Conor Nicholl of Sports in Kansas. Be sure to check back for more professional photos from the creative team we had in attendance and follow along for more postseason awards, honors, patches, apparel coming out over the weekend. Click here for all of the COY FINALISTS
Sports in Kansas All-Classes & Class 6A Coach of the Year: Joe Schartz, Manhattan
Manhattan had the epitome of a dream season in 2022. The Indians were 9-2 and paced 6A in scoring defense in ’21, though entered this fall outside of the top-five in the state rankings. Manhattan has likely zero Division I players, which is generally a prerequisite for a 6A state title. The Indians’ schedule was much more challenging than past years because of Centennial League reshuffling. Manhattan opened the year with a 26-23 overtime win against Derby. The game ended the Panthers’ 46-game home winning streak. Manhattan had lost five straight to Derby going back to 2010.
The Indians eventually finished 13-0, reached the finals for the first time since 2001 and won its first title since 1988. Manhattan set a school record for single season wins. Joe Schartz moved to 120-29 in 14 years with the Indians. Ten of Manhattan’s 13 opponents were ranked at the time of meeting. The Indians won at Hays High, 31-21, in Week 3. HHS eventually went 10-2. Schartz called the team “full of believers and fighters.” Manhattan featured Schartz’s son, senior quarterback Keenan, and senior linebacker Jaxon Vikander.
In Week 4, Manhattan defeated Washburn Rural, 28-25. The Junior Blues were a 6A state quarterfinalist. In Week 6, Manhattan won at Junction City, 44-7, for the historical Silver Trophy. Manhattan defeated Wichita Northwest in the regular season and the playoffs, the classification’s highest scoring offense, and permitted just 46 total points in those two victories. After a 28-23 win against Derby in the state semifinals, Manhattan beat Gardner-Edgerton, 21-20, in double overtime for the state title.
“All season we talked about an unbreakable will to win, and this team exhibited that every day at practice and every game,” Schartz said. “Each week this team was committed to going 1-0, never looking ahead and stayed focused, one week at a time. I was blessed with talented and loyal coaches and talented and loyal players and, when mixed with hard work, a state championship is the result.”
Sports in Kansas Class 5A Coach of the Year: Joel Applebee, Mill Valley
Mill Valley coach Joel Applebee went 12-1 and led the Jaguars to its fourth straight 5A state title. The Jaguars became the first 5A squad in Kansas annals to win four straight titles. Applebee improved to 115-36 in 13 years with the Jaguars, including 6-0 in the state championship. Applebee has the state record for the most state title wins without a loss.
Applebee and his Mill Valley staff prepare and develop arguably the best of any team in Kansas. Longtime defensive coordinator Drew Hudgins is one of many longtime assistant coaches. MV allowed just six points a contest; the Jags’ defense allowed even less when two pick-sixes against Olathe North are subtracted. Mill Valley and 2014 Bishop Carroll are statistically the best 5A defenses in the last 20 years. Likely none of MV’s large senior class will play Division I football, but collectively the group encapsulated the Jags’ philosophy.
They led on and off the field, pushed each other in all aspects and life and strove to improve. Applebee has more than 160 players in the program and 40-plus seniors with an elite youth football pipeline program. For large classes, many schools have looked to Mill Valley as the example for how to run a program. Mill Valley has focused on each day and enjoying the successes along the way, not just focusing on a state championship. The program is based on “great attitude, great work ethic, great focus” and the three pillars of servant leadership. From 2016-2023, recruiting industry leader 247 Sports has 137 players as top Kansas prospects. Mill Valley has one of those – and has six state titles in eight years.
Sports in Kansas Class 4A Coach of the Year: Weston Moody, Wamego
Wamego was unranked at the beginning of the year. The Raiders went 12-1 and finished as 4A state runner-up to Bishop Miege. Wamego reached the state semifinals for the first time since 1975 and its first-ever state championship game. Weston Moody, a former Salina South standout and Fort Hays player, is known for his energetic personality. He helped Wamego improve from 23 points allowed a contest last season to 9.1 this season. Wamego enjoyed great defensive line play, a group that worked well together. The Red Raiders also navigated the quarterback situation with top-15 all classes recruit Hayden Oviatt and Colin Donahue, likely both headed to Army West Point. Oviatt was hurt in the summer, returned for five games and mainly played running back. Donahue, a former wide receiver, passed for more than 2,000 yards and will heavily contend for all-state honors. If a season could be based on just the playoffs, Oviatt may have had the best season in Kansas but was injured the majority of the year. Absolutely one of the best players in Kansas.
A former Manhattan defensive coordinator, Moody is 38-15 as Wamego’s head coach.
“I’m extremely proud of our players, coaching staff, and community. We had a historic season and had a lot of fun in the process,” Moody said. “This team was a classic example of everyone buying into the success of the team above all else. This team will be remembered in Wamego forever.”
Sports in Kansas Class 3A Coach of the Year: Dylan Schmidt, Andale
Andale set school records for scoring offense and scoring defense with a 53.4-5.2 mark in 2021. This year, the Indians had basically identical numbers for the most accomplished senior boy class in Andale history. The Indians posted an average score of 53.0-5.2. Coach Dylan Schmidt improved to 74-2 at his alma mater. Andale has won 51 straight games, the fifth-longest winning streak in Kansas history and second-longest currently in the nation. Schmidt has coached 15 years overall, 12 at Andale. He served at Wellington for one year as head coach and currently six at his alma mater. Schmidt carries a 77-8 overall record as head coach.
Andale was the huge favorite all year, but the Indians had various coaching maneuvers that helped with the success. First, the coaches kept track of turnovers forced in practice, an idea that kept AHS from going through the motions. Against Pratt, Andale, not known for passing, went 7 of 7 passing from quarterback Wyatt Spexarth. Rock Creek had the No. 1 passing offense in Kansas. Andale switched Riley Marx to nose guard and forced seven interceptions. Just as impressively, is the Andale’s culture of youth football, the weight room and longtime assistant coaches. Andale high school has three junior highs: Andale, St. Marks and Colwich, which is rare for a 3A school.
“The thing I am most proud of is the way our kids and coaches approached everyday,” Schmidt said. “Whether it was our summer camps, the weight room, practice, or games, the kids were totally committed and attacked the process everyday. Our team came together for one common goal, one common mission, a state championship and they worked like true champions!”
Sports in Kansas Class 2A Coach of the Year: Michael Glatczak, Nemaha Central
Nemaha Central coach Michael Glatczak led a six-win improvement and 13-0 record for a Class 2A state championship. Glatzcak, like many others of the state title coaches, relies heavily on a veteran group of assistants. A big change for the Thunder came when it moved Cooper Hajek to fullback. Hajek rushed for more than 2,000 yards. He alone rushed for nearly the same number of yards that the Thunder produced as a team in 2021. The Thunder had a sizable increase in offensive production and posted an average score of 48.3-11.6. Glatczak was a Shrine Bowler and state title winning player for his dad, Larry, at Centralia.
“I am so proud of all these kids,” he said. “They have worked their tails off since day one of
summer weights to be crowned state champions. Every single one of them bought in and
trusted what was going on and they came to work every day to get better. This is a resilient
group that loved to compete and loved to win. These Seniors have been incredible leaders the
last thirteen weeks, we will miss all nine of them.”
Sports in Kansas Class 1A Coach of the Year: Kyle Schenk, St. Marys
St. Marys current senior class went 2-7 as freshman and 3-6 as sophomores. Schenk, a former Smith Center Shrine Bowler with extensive college coaching experience, took over the Bears. St. Marys improved to 5-4 in 2A with a big defensive improvement in 2021. As well, the coaching staff made a huge gain with quarterback Keller Hurla. This season, the Bears moved to 1A and were expected to have a big year. St. Marys was preseason No. 1. The Bears opened 1-2, won 10 straight and pulled off the first state championship in program history. St. Marys went on a game-winning 99-yard drive to beat Inman, 44-41, in the 1A title game. St. Marys posted an average margin of 41.7-15.4. In 2021, the Bears had a marge of 36.2-19.1. Hurla has become a Top 11 classes player and four-sport all-state athlete.
“We have an awesome community that supports our programs,” Schenk said. “The assistant coaches Troy Biladeau, CJ Marple and Mark O’Halloran deserve so much credit for the great calls they make and all the hard work they put in. This team got up every morning in the summer to run and lift. They showed up to 7 on 7 and padded camps without excuses. They worked like champions before they were champions and that’s what makes this group special. The seniors showed the underclassmen what great leadership looks like. Thank you to my wife Kristen Schenk because without her I couldn’t be the coach I aspire to be.
Sports in Kansas Class 8M-I Coach of the Year: Brant Douglas, Leoti-Wichita County
Leoti-Wichita County coach Brant Douglas has become an offensive genius during his five seasons with the Indians. WC set the all-time eight-man scoring record with 792 points. WC went from 6-3 to 13-0 and won the first state title in school annals. Douglas has led the Indians to the most points per game in eight-man football since he took over. He is 47-9 in five years, already the most successful run in school history. WC went from 38 points allowed in ’21 to 12 this season, a huge change. Defensive coordinator Haydon Parks has played a key role on the WC staff. Wichita County came back from a two-touchdown deficit against Little River in the state championship game. Plus, Douglas believed in his team in the fourth quarter in the rain against Little River. WC converted fourth-and-nine and fourth-and-five for first downs in the fourth to secure the win.
“This season was exceptional for the team, school, and community,” Douglas said. “It took a village to raise this team. We could not have accomplished all that we did without all of the support and encouragement from the community. The assistant coaches also deserve a ton of credit. Coach Parks and Coach Nickelson do a great job of game planning for their respective responsibilities and building relationships with our players. I could not be more proud of our players. I am thankful that I had the opportunity to coach such a fantastic group of young men.
Sports in Kansas Class 8M-II Coach of the Year: Eric Detweiler, Axtell
Axtell has posted back-to-back 13-0 seasons and two straight Division II state titles. The Eagles briefly held the eight-man single season scoring record before WC broke the mark later in state championship Saturday. Coach Eric Detweiler is 89-24 at his alma mater. Detweiler’s dynamic offense produced 201 career offensive touchdowns responsible for from his son, quarterback Isaac Detweiler. However, Axtell also has remarkable depth with Eli Broxterman, Brandon Schmelzle, Grady Buessing and others. Axtell has three state title trips in the last four years. At state, Broxterman called coach Detweiler a “great teacher” of the offense. Defensive coordinator Dale Buessing is a critical component of Axtell’s success. Notably, Axtell’s coaching staff helped with a comeback against Canton-Galva in the state semifinals and Thunder Ridge in the championship game.
“I am so proud of how our team has won back to back state championships,” coach Detweiler said. “All the hard work these boys have put in has paid off for them. The backing from our community is unreal, and it gives our team the extra confidence they need to be successful.”
Sports in Kansas Class 6-Man Coach of the Year: Lance McGuire, Cunningham
Lance McGuire is a longtime stalwart for Cunningham sports, especially in football. The Wildcats had some success under McGuire. Then, the Wildcats went through back-to-back winless seasons and four straight years without its own team. Cunningham re-started in the six-man class four years ago. The Wildcats went 1-7, 6-2, 9-1 and 13-0. This year yielded the first KSHSAA sanctioned six-man state football championship. The Wildcats won their first football state title in school history. Cunningham beat Ashland in Week 1 and in the championship. McGuire is one of few six-man coaches that use two quarterbacks (Luke McGuire and Trey DeWeese) to great success.
McGuire also helped with the development of Jack Ruckle, whose improvement helped Cunningham to 8.1 points allowed a contest. That is the best-ever six-man scoring defense since the classification re-started in 2016. Cunningham took a tough loss to Natoma in the six-man Wild West Bowl in ’21, was motivated all year and went wire to wire as the No. 1-ranked six-man team.
USD 332 is proud of the 2022 State champion football team! A special shout out to our Sports in Kansas co-offensive POY: Trey DeWeese and Luke McGuire, and co-defensive POY: Lane Halderson and Jack Ruckle! We’re also proud of Coach Lance McGuire! It’s a great day to be a Wildcat! Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!
Assistant Coach of the Year – Small Classes: Tim Fairchild, Andale
Fairchild has been a part of the 51-game win streak as the defensive coordinator for state power Andale. Perhaps the states best defense in any class this year along with Mill Valley – Fairchild has consistently some of the best defenses in the state in the class. If the name Fairchild sounds familiar it should. His oldest son, Matt, was a Top 11 pick in the late 2000s, while another son, Mason, was a Top 11 pick a few years back and now starts for the KU football team as a second team All-Big 12 TE. Two of his daughters, one a senior at Andale (McKenzie) is the top javelin thrower in the US and arguably the states best multiple sport athlete (2x 4A POY in volleyball), while daughter Katelyn is an All-SEC javelin thrower at Texas A&M and qualified for the Olympic trials in HS (2021). Fairchild was unable to make the event due to a shoulder surgery but his son (Matt) accepted the award on his behalf at our all-state event.
Assistant Coach of the Year- Big Classes: Drew Hudgins, Mill Valley
Hudgins has been one of the best assistants in the state for multiple years at state dynasty Mill Valley. The MV program has won six state football titles since 2015 and recently just 4-peated in 5A. They are 6-0 all-time in state title games. He has been with the program for 12 years and seventh as the defensive coordinator. He is arguably the best defensive coordinator in the big classes of Kansas over the last 10 years with a lot of rings to show for it. The Mill Valley defense is known for its aggressive style of play and depth.