Top 11 and All-Class football teams are selected by The Wichita Eagle with the help of coaches across Kansas.
Every coach in the state is mailed a ballot to return to The Eagle, by mail or online, by the end of the season. Coaches may nominate their own players and players from other teams. They also are asked to supply statistics and comment on players they nominate.
The teams were selected by Joanna Chadwick. She tabulated nominations from the ballots and received additional input from coaches and other media members.
Top 11 teams are selected regardless of position, while All-Class teams are selected by position.
Senior running back
• Led Buhler (13-1) to the Class 4A title, the school’s first football title and first appearance in the title game since 1990. Had 173 rushing yards in the 4A title game against Coffeyville and 209 in the semifinal game against defending-champion Holton.
• Allen (6-0, 175) had 1,932 rushing yards on 241 carries and 26 touchdowns despite missing three games to injury. As a junior, he ran for 2,260 yards and 32 touchdowns.
• Has quickness to run past defenders, the cutting ability to make players miss and became an even more physical player this season.
Coach Steve Warner: “Obviously he’s the kind of athlete that put us over the top. We had other great players, but he took us to the next level. He’s so dynamic and fast and explosive. In the first quarter of the state championship game, he wasn’t getting any yards. He still wanted the football and he found a way to make yards. I think he became a better running back after he sat out for three weeks and was injured. There was something that clicked. He did find yards when there was no yard.”
• Derby’s top defensive player, Delgado, a three-year starter, helped lead the Panthers to the Class 6A title with a 12-1 record. It was Derby’s first appearance in the title game since 2002 and first title since 1994.
• Delgado (5-11, 190), who ran a 4.3-second 40-yard dash at Kansas State’s camp, led a defense that gave up three first-half touchdowns in the Panthers’ final 12 games.
• Led Derby with 69 solo tackles and 84 total tackles. Also had 19 tackles for loss and three sacks, an interception and three forced fumbles.
Coach Brandon Clark: “He was by far the most valuable player on defense. We stuck him in the middle of the field so he could play both sides. As the middle linebacker, he’s there to plug holes and stop the inside run, but he was fast enough to make plays at the line of scrimmage on stretch plays. He’s very smart and understands the game of football. Against some of the good teams we played, if we didn’t have Jose, half those plays he made wouldn’t have been made. That’s on him, being so athletic, so quick and so strong. He did a lot of those things on his own.”
Senior tight end
• Goolsby (6-4, 225), one of the nation’s top-ranked tight ends, has made an oral commitment to play at Florida. His father, Brian, was a Top 11 selection from Dodge City in 1994.
• Had 613 receiving yards on 38 catches and nine touchdowns to lead Derby (12-1) to its first state title since 1994 and first appearance in the title game since 2002.
• A blocker who could take out two defenders, Goolsby opened up the running game for the Panthers. And if they didn’t double him up, he could turn a short pass into a 50-yard gain.
Coach Brandon Clark: “Some games people wanted to stop our run game, and then those are the games where he goes off for 150 yards on five catches. You pick your poison, and most of the time, ti was to not let DeAndre touch the ball. That was fine with us because then we were able to run the ball.
“When he first came in, he was 6-1, maybe 210, 215. I saw him mature big time on and off the field. He grew a lot and became a physical presence in there. He had great feet. He worked on those feet, worked with us, worked with his dad.”
Junior offensive tackle
• Led Blue Valley to a 10-3 record and the Class 5A title, Blue Valley’s fourth title in the last 11 seasons.
• Led an offensive line that had 3,454 rushing yards, 1,749 passing yards and 33.9 points per game.
• Harris (6-3, 297) was dominant physically, whether Blue Valley needed him to run block or pass block. Has quick feet, strength and leverage.
Coach Eric Driskell: “He blows people off the ball. He’s strong, and he’s quick and he’s very powerful. In the state finals we scored on a touchdown and, I don’t watch him very much because you don’t have to. But I asked him, ‘The backside linebacker must have got caught up in the wash, AJ, is that why you were blocking the safety?’ He said, ‘No coach, I blocked the safety.’ I watched it on film and he ran over the backside linebacker and then blocked the safety. It’s pretty amazing, the plays he makes.”
• Ivey led Miege to a 9-2 record and the 5A quarterfinals. Had 124 tackles, 24 tackles for loss and three sacks.
• Ivey (6-2, 220), a four-year starter, is Miege’s career leader in tackles with 457, with more than 120 tackles in each of the last three seasons. He also has 77 career tackles for loss and 12 sacks. Played a key role in Miege playing for the 2012 Class 5A title.
• Had speed and power, and caused problems for offenses who knew they had to at least slow him down.
Coach Jon Holmes: “He was obviously strong enough to stop the run, but also fast enough to run plays down sideline to sideline and drop back into pass coverage. He was able to do anything we asked. We lost a lot of good players around him from our defense (from the 2012 team that finished second in 5A). He was the guy offenses were keying on. He was double teamed. He really had to step his game up, and he was able.”
• Led Silver Lake to its eighth Class 3A title, finishing with a 13-1 record. A three-year starter, he scored eight touchdowns in the title game, including five passing touchdowns in the first half of an 82-38 win over Beloit.
• Kruger (5-10, 160) tore his left anterior cruciate ligament in the second game and only missed 1 1/2 games. Still ran the scout team in preparation for opponents that relied on the passing game.
• Completed 157 of 277 passes for 2,468 yards. Had 31 touchdowns and five interceptions. In his career he had 5,694 passing yards with 69 touchdowns, along with 2,032 rushing yards with 38 touchdowns and hit 68 of 85 PATs. Two of his cousins were Top 11 selections — Shannon in 1997, Kyle in 2002 and 2003.
Coach C.J. Hamilton: “This is probably a bad thing to say, but the injury helped him as a quarterback. Before, he had such great feet and he’s very fast, and if he felt any pressure at all, he’d start running. When he got the injury, we restricted how much he could do. If you feel pressure, get down. If you’re scrambling, run out of bounds.
“I think (the injury) forced him to trust the offensive linemen and the pass protection blocking and forced him to stay in the pocket a little more. In the past he’d have flushed and ran and made the play with his feet.”
Senior wide receiver
• Nachbar led Salina South to the Class 5A title game and a 10-3 record. He set single season and career records for receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns.
• He had 50 receptions for 1,182 yards, an average of 23.6 per catch. He also had 16 touchdowns. A big receiver with speed, defenses struggled to catch him and bring him down once he had the ball.
• Extremely athletic, Nachbar forced defenses to worry about him, whether the ball was coming his way or not. He made teams pay with or without double coverage.
Coach Sam Sellers: “When you get someone that’s 6-3, 185 pounds with a lot of athleticism at the Kansas high school level, it’s almost cheating. He can run past kids. He created a giant matchup problem. If you played him soft, we’ll throw it to him quick, he’ll make you miss or run you over. If you played him up tight, no one could really bump him, and he’d run right by him and go deep.
“ His emergence as a superstar really opened up our offense. I think our success running the ball came a lot from our passing game. We were able to exploit teams that were stacking the box.”
Senior tight end, defensive end
• Newell (6-3, 275), who has made an oral commitment to Nebraska, led Hiawatha (7-4) to the second round of the Class 3A playoffs.
• Had 76 tackles, 32 tackles for loss, 12 sacks, four forced fumbles, two blocked point-after attempts, a blocked punt and a defensive touchdown.
• A four-year starter, he set six Hiawatha records, including career tackles (257), career tackles for loss (105) and career sacks (33). He also blocked 12 kicks or punts in his career, and had 583 receiving yards and seven touchdowns.
Coach Chris Diller: “He started even as a freshman, and he made it a little easier on coaching because we could cut the field in half. With him on one side, you won’t run this way and we will overload the other side. That helped us play pretty solid defense that way.
“Some of the plays he’d make His sophomore year was when I bought into the fact that he was pretty good. I knew he was going to be good, but when he was at defensive end, he makes the play on the quarterback, who is running the option. He tackles the quarterback, who got the pitch off and then tackles the pitch man for a three-yard loss.”
Blue Valley West
• Led Blue Valley West to an 8-4 record and the Class 5A semifinals, where it lost to champion Blue Valley. BV West had beaten Blue Valley in the regular-season finale.
• Completed 108 of 230 passes for 1,833 yards and 13 touchdowns, while running for 935 yards and 16 touchdowns. He finished his career with 28 passing touchdowns, 43 rushing, along with 4,123 passing yards and 1,199 rushing yards.
• Also a three-year starter in basketball and baseball, playing in the 6A basketball title game in March and winning a 6A baseball title in May. He has made an oral commitment to play baseball at Kansas.
Coach Scott Wright: “When you’re 6-4 and 220 and you carry the ball, he’s incredibly physical. He creates a dynamic that the defense have a hard time with. And when he throws the ball, he’s got the best arm strength of any kid I’ve seen in 33 years. He puts the ball where it needs to be and he can throw 80 yards.
“ In the middle of the season we had seven starters out for three games. In those three games we lost by a field goal, in overtime and another on a touchdown late. The fact of the matter is, he carried us through that time when we could have just folded. He carried us through until we got our guys back and won five games in a row.”
• A two-time Top 11 selection, Smith (6-6, 296) had 83 pancake blocks. He was named the No. 1 offensive lineman nationally in the 2014 class by Tom Lemming. Has been selected to play in the Under Armour All-American game. Is one of three Midwest high school Lombardi Award finalists.
• Also a three-year starter at defensive lineman, Smith had 47 tackles and six sacks and in his career, he had 110 tackles and 11 sacks. Was 6A champ in the shot put and discus in May. Helped lead Olathe South to a Class 6A title in 2011.
• Smith has been offered scholarships by some of the nation’s top teams. Five of the top programs still on his list are TCU, Texas A&M, Notre Dame, Alabama and Arkansas. He plans to announce his decision on signing day.
Coach Jeff Gourley: “The one thing we identified toward the end of last year is he needed to have some agility work. Not that it was bad, but the thing he wanted to do most was improve. His level of improvement is minor because he’s so good to begin with.
“He took the quick-foot ladder and he did drills that will help him with pass protection at the next level, even though we don’t pass much. He worked on quick steps and footwork and he got a little bit faster. He got stronger, too, and I don’t know how that happened.”
Senior running back
• A two-time Top 11 selection, Wrench has made an oral commitment to Kansas. He had 2,091 rushing yards and 30 touchdowns. He finished with 6,917 career rushing yards, fourth in state history, and 93 rushing touchdowns.
• Wrench (6-1, 206) is a tough, physical runner and still started 32 straight games.
• He improved from his junior season by getting stronger and more powerful. He was a complete back in that he was a top-notch blocker in pass protection.
Coach Marvin Diener: “He has big-play potential every time he touches the ball. He’s a strong, powerful running back, and he’s as good as any I’ve ever been around, and I’ve been around some good ones.
“ He’s a complete back in that he can run inside, he can go outside. He’s very good at finding cutbacks, using his blockers. At 6-1, 205, he’s a great-looking kid, and he’s fast. He has the size and speed to play on Saturday, and hopefully more than that. He is really, really quality.”
• Warner, in his seventh season at Buhler, led the Crusaders to the Class 4A title, the school’s first in its first title-game appearance.
• Buhler went 13-1 this season and is 78-20 under Warner, the school’s winningest coach. He also coached at Liberal for two seasons, Marysville for 14 seasons and Burlingame for five. He has a career record of 199-81.
Senior Luke Berblinger: “He’s a player’s coach. He really just loves kids, and we’re all kind of buddies with him. I know it sounds weird because we respect him, but we can joke around with him, and I think that’s why he’s such a great coach.
“We made tons of adjustments for each team we played, especially in the playoffs. We all had a goal of winning state, and we all knew we could do it. He knew how hard we worked, and he told us to go get it.
“We’re all a big family. We spend a lot of time together in the summer, too, and we’d do anything for the guy next to you and for coach. We fought really hard to win for him.”