Welcome to the fourth watch list for the Varsity Kansas Player of the Year award, something I have created for this high school football season.
It’s pretty simple: the best offensive players who make the biggest plays in the biggest games will be rewarded. Varsity Kansas will publish a new watch list every Monday at 7 p.m. and ultimately crown the Player of the Year on Monday, Oct. 30.
Disclaimer: Players must be in Sedgwick, Butler and Harvey counties to be ranked.
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1. Blake Sullivan, Goddard senior QB (LW: 1)
Week 4 recap: After Goddard’s offense rolled for 92 combined points in the first two weeks of the season, it was held to 21 points or less for the second straight week by Eisenhower’s defense. While Sullivan struggled through the air (4 for 19 for 43 yards and two interceptions), he came through with 204 yards on the ground and a pair of touchdowns in Goddard’s 20-3 victory over its rival to improve the No. 1 team in Class 5A to 4-0.
Season stats: 33 for 74 passing (45 percent) for 589 yards (147.3 yards/game) with 6 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. 82 rushes for 596 yards (149.0 yards/game, 7.3 average) and 9 touchdowns.
Looking ahead: Goddard (4-0, No. 1 in 5A) at Salina South (1-3) on Friday.
2. Braden Howell, Bishop Carroll senior QB (LW: 2)
Week 4 recap: Carroll cruised to a 30-0 victory over East last Thursday to improve to 4-0 and maintain its No. 2 ranking in Class 5A, as Howell completed 17 of 24 passes for 244 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Since the thrilling opening-week shootout win over Northwest, Howell has played in three straight blowouts. He’ll have a monumental task this Friday when Carroll takes on Derby.
Season stats: 64 for 100 passing (64 percent) for 1,049 yards (262.3 yards/game) with 11 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. 32 rushes for 129 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Looking ahead: Bishop Carroll (4-0, No. 2 in 5A) at Derby (3-1, No. 3 in 6A).
3. Breece Hall, Northwest junior RB (LW: 3)
Week 4 recap: Can anyone stop Hall this season? In his debut season, the junior has already rushed for more than 800 yards after exploding for a career-high 246 yards on just 14 carries and three total touchdowns in Northwest’s 54-14 thrashing over West to improve to 3-1. Hall will have a test this Friday as undefeated Kapaun has featured a stingy defense so far this season.
Season stats: 75 rushes for 803 yards (200.8 yards/game, 10.7 average) and 7 touchdowns. 5 catches for 64 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Looking ahead: Northwest (3-1) at Kapaun Mt. Carmel (4-0) on Friday.
4. Brody Kooser, Derby senior RB (LW: 4)
Week 4 recap: Kooser had another big game, as he rushed for 181 yards on just 10 carries and three touchdowns in Derby’s runaway 61-18 victory over Hutchinson to hand the Salthawks their first loss of the season. Derby will try to knock off another undefeated team at home this week, as Carroll comes to Derby this Friday.
Season stats: 63 rushes for 578 yards (144.5 yards/game, 9.2 average) and 11 touchdowns. 1 kickoff return touchdown.
Looking ahead: Derby (3-1, No. 3 in 6A) vs. Bishop Carroll (4-0, No. 2 in 5A) on Friday.
5. Nick Channel, Kapaun Mt. Carmel senior RB (LW: 7)
Week 4 recap: Kapaun’s defense has registered three straight shutouts and allowed just six points on the season, which has made for a light workload for Channel as the featured back. Kapaun simply hasn’t needed to lean on him like it will in the last four games of the season. On just seven carries in a 49-0 win over South on Friday, Channel finished with 165 yards and three touchdowns.
Season stats: 56 rushes for 543 yards (135.8 yards/game, 9.7 average) and 8 touchdowns. 4 catches for 114 yards and 1 touchdown. 1 special teams touchdown.
Looking ahead: Kapaun Mt. Carmel (4-0) vs. Northwest (3-1) on Friday.
6. Jayden Price, Mulvane senior QB (LW: 9)
Week 4 recap: After losing its first game of the season, Mulvane bounced back in a big way by upending Collegiate 35-19 at home to improve to 3-1 behind another big effort from Price. The senior quarterback finished 9 of 22 throwing for 208 yards and four touchdowns, then added 83 rushing yards and another score. He has found a good rapport with receiver Drew Ellis, who has 23 catches for 480 yards and six touchdowns this season.
Season stats: 43 for 82 passing (52 percent) for 731 yards (182.8 yards/game) with 9 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. 70 rushes for 444 yards (111 yards/game, 6.3 average) and 6 touchdowns.
Looking ahead: Mulvane (3-1) vs. Maize South (3-1, No. 5 in 4A I) on Friday.
7. Sam Hardin, Trinity senior QB (LW: 10)
Week 4 recap: Hardin has his best game to date, throwing for 316 yards and four touchdowns and added 111 rushing yards in Trinity’s 29-28 victory over Chaparral at home. Not only did Hardin put up a monster game, but he led the two-minute drill to score the needed touchdown with 14 seconds left then added the go-ahead two-point conversion as well. He threw three touchdowns to Caden Williams, who now has 28 catches for 479 yards and seven touchdowns this season.
Season stats: 67 for 113 passing (59 percent) for 1,110 yards (277.5 yards/game) with 12 touchdowns and 1 interception. 71 rushes for 370 yards (93 yards/game, 5.2 average) and 3 touchdowns.
Looking ahead: Trinity (2-2) vs. Conway Springs (4-0, No. 3 in 3A).
8. Parker Roth, Hesston junior RB (LW: 5)
Week 4 recap: For the first time this season, Roth was bottled up by the Nickerson defense as Hesston took a 47-21 loss to fall to 2-2 on the season. Roth finished with 14 rushing yards on 12 carries and 44 receiving yards on three catches.
Season stats: 72 rushes for 675 yards (168.8 yards/game, 9.4 average) and 8 touchdowns. 11 catches for 139 yards (12.6 average) and 1 touchdown.
Looking ahead: Hesston (2-2) at Smoky Valley (3-1) on Friday.
9. Cody McNerney, Collegiate senior QB (LW: 6)
Week 4 recap: Collegiate is now on a two-game slide after its 35-19 loss at Mulvane, although McNerney did finish with 271 passing yards on 14 of 39 throwing and three touchdowns to go along with 60 rushing yards. The offense hasn’t clicked in recent weeks and the Spartans have another tough test this Friday at Wellington (3-1).
Season stats: 54 for 114 passing (47 percent) for 935 yards (233.8 yards/game) with 10 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. 57 rushes for 303 yards (75.6 yards/game, 5.3 average) and 4 touchdowns.
Looking ahead: Collegiate (2-2) at Wellington (3-1) on Friday.
10. K’Vonte Baker, Heights junior QB (LW: 8)
Week 3 recap: Baker had another big game as Heights rolled to a 40-14 victory over Southeast to win its second straight game after an 0-2 start. Baker threw for a touchdown, then added 183 rushing yards and two touchdowns in his second game of the season.
Season stats: 5 for 13 passing (38 percent) for 67 yards with 1 touchdown and 0 interceptions. 32 rushes for 635 yards (317.5 yards/game, 19.8 average) and 10 touchdowns.
Looking ahead: Heights (2-2) vs. North (0-4) on Friday.
Others to watch
Quarterbacks: Austin Anderson, Northwest; Cameron Cox, Hesston; Caleb Grill, Maize; Micah Grover, Cheney; Federico Harvey, Campus; Dalton Kraus, Halstead; Matt Pauly, Garden Plain; Tyler Trudo, Eisenhower.
Running backs: Max Domnick, Maize South; Nick Dooley, Garden Plain; Riley Petz, Cheney; Sawyer Simon, Andale.
Receivers: Owen Beason, Goddard; Tyler Brown, Derby; Drew Ellis, Mulvane; Thomas Helten, Carroll; Quinton Hicks, Campus; Cody Layton, Clearwater; Reese Nebel, Hesston; Jax Reynolds, Northwest; Trent Scheer, Cheney; Caden Williams, Trinity.