Week 2: Player of the Year watch list
Welcome to the second 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 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.
Watch List: Week 1 | Week 2
1. Blake Sullivan, Goddard senior QB (LW: 2)
Week 2 recap: Sullivan diced up Derby’s defense for 187 passing yards on just 12 completions and 156 rushing yards to account for six touchdowns in Goddard’s 50-20 romp over the two-time defending champions (he even added an interception on defense). Sullivan looked unstoppable running the read-option and showcased his dual-threat ability that makes him one of the best quarterbacks in Kansas.
Season stats: 21-35 passing (60%) for 355 yards (16.9 average) with 6 touchdowns and no interceptions. 34 rushes for 288 yards (8.5 average) and 5 touchdowns.
Looking ahead: Goddard (2-0, No. 2 in 5A) at Andover (1-1) on Thursday.
2. Braden Howell, Carroll senior QB (LW: 4)
Week 2 recap: After rescuing Carroll from a deficit in its season-opening win over Northwest, Howell delivered a second strong performance to begin the season in a 48-24 victory on the road over Salina South. Howell did the heavy lifting early, throwing for 269 yards and four touchdowns without an interception, as Carroll’s defense put the game away late with two interceptions returned for touchdowns.
Season stats: 33-56 passing (59%) for 582 yards (17.6 average) with 6 touchdowns and 1 interception. 21 rushes for 111 yards (5.3 average) and 2 touchdowns.
Looking ahead: Carroll (2-0, No. 3 in 5A) vs. West (2-0) on Friday.
3. Cody McNerney, Collegiate senior QB-DB (LW: 6)
Week 2 recap: Collegiate fell behind 20-14 in the third quarter to Hoisington, then McNerney took over the game. He scored three straight rushing touchdowns, including two from more than 20 yards out, to move Collegiate to 2-0. McNerney finished with 156 passing yards and a touchdown to go along with 163 rushing yards on just 12 carries with three touchdowns.
Season stats: 21-41 passing (51%) for 409 yards (19.5 average) with 5 touchdowns and no interceptions. 23 rushes for 254 yards (11.0 average) and 4 touchdowns. 1 defensive touchdown.
Looking ahead: Collegiate (2-0, No. 1 in 4A II) vs. Buhler (1-1, RV in 4A I) on Friday.
4. Jayden Price, Mulvane senior QB-DB (LW: 7)
Week 2 recap: After cruising in Week 1, Price had to kick into high gear to pull off a thrilling 42-38 victory over Rose Hill in what turned into a shootout. When Mulvane needed him, Price delivered in the biggest way with long touchdowns (he had throwing TDs of 66 and 59 yards, then a 96-yard TD run). Price pulled off a 250-200 stat line, as he threw for 252 passing yards on 14 completions with two touchdowns and 222 rushing yards on 20 carries for two rushing touchdowns. Oh yeah, and he got an interception on defense.
Season stats: 26-41 passing (63%) for 388 yards (14.9 yards) with 4 touchdowns and 1 interception. 32 rushes for 283 yards (8.8 average) and 3 touchdowns.
Looking ahead: Mulvane (2-0, RV in 4A I) at Andale (2-0, RV in 4A I) on Friday.
5. Breece Hall, Northwest junior RB (LW: 8)
Week 2 recap: Hall once again was the focal point of Northwest’s tempo offense, as it has now shifted toward a primarily running attack with Hall as its lead weapon and Roy Johnson serving as the change-of-pace for the second punch. Up against one of Class 5A’s best defenses, Hall torched Heights for 210 yards on just 14 carries and three touchdowns in Northwest’s 37-20 win to get back to 1-1 on the season.
Season stats: 41 rushes for 402 yards (9.8 average) and 4 touchdowns. 3 catches for 13 yards (4.3 average) and 0 touchdowns.
Looking ahead: Northwest (1-1, RV in 6A) at Great Bend (1-1) on Friday.
6. Brody Kooser, Derby senior RB (LW: 1)
Week 2 recap: Derby fell behind 22-0 on the road to arguably the best defense in Class 5A, which drastically changed the game script for Kooser. The Lions did contain Kooser about the best any defense has in the last two years, but he still put up a solid stat line of 10 carries for 60 yards and a touchdown. Kooser’s drop isn’t so much about what he didn’t do, but more about the big games the others above him had. Look for a big game from Kooser in the home opener this Friday against Maize.
Season stats: 28 rushes for 183 yards (6.5 average) and 4 touchdowns. 1 kickoff return touchdown.
Looking ahead: Derby (1-1, No. 3 in 6A) vs. Maize (2-0, RV in 5A) on Friday.
7. Nick Channel, Kapaun senior RB-LB (LW: 5)
Week 2 recap: Kapaun has yet to establish its passing game, but it hasn’t mattered because Channel has excelled so much in his move to the feature back in the offense. The senior followed up an impressive debut with another great outing against a stingy Andover defense, as Channel produced 180 rushing yards on 19 carries and two touchdowns to help Kapaun move to 2-0. He’s also one of Kapaun’s best defenders at linebackers, which helped shut out Andover in a 21-0 victory.
Season stats: 28 rushes for 319 yards (11.4 yards) and 5 touchdowns. 1 catch for 8 yards (8.0 yards) and 0 touchdowns. 1 fumble return touchdown.
Looking ahead: Kapaun (2-0, RV in 5A) vs. East (1-1) on Friday.
8. Parker Roth, Hesston junior RB-LB (LW: UR)
Week 2 recap: Hesston rebounded from an opening-week loss to Garden Plain with a nice 37-22 victory over Halstead and Roth once again delivered a big game. Roth was a workhorse, carrying the ball 24 times for 265 yards and two touchdowns and adding three catches for 29 yards. As Hesston transitions to a new quarterback, expect the team to lean heavily on Roth moving forward.
Season stats: 41 rushes for 446 yards (10.9 yards) and 5 touchdowns. 5 catches for 57 yards (11.4 yards) and 0 touchdowns.
Looking ahead: Hesston (1-1) at Larned (1-1) on Friday.
9. Federico Harvey, Campus senior QB-DB (LW: 3)
Week 2 recap: After exploding onto the scene last week with 6 touchdowns on offense and 3 interceptions on defense, Harvey finished with 201 passing yards and 88 rushing yards as Campus lost 21-20 at home against Valley Center. Harvey still has that monster performance against Arkansas City, but will have to follow it up in Week 3 on the road against Salina South.
Season stats: 32-46 passing (70%) for 504 yards (15.8 yards) with 9 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. 25 rushes for 136 yards (5.4 yards) and 1 touchdown.
Looking ahead: Campus (1-1) at Salina South (0-2) on Friday.
10. Micah Grover, Cheney senior QB (LW: UR)
Week 2 recap: Cheney has outscored its opponents 123-48 to begin the season and Grover has excelled running first-year coach Shelby Wehrman’s new run-centered offense. Grover has maintained his passing game, as he threw for 243 yards on 12 completions for three touchdowns and added 87 yards on the ground and two more touchdowns. Cheney is off to a great start, which should continue this week against Medicine Lodge.
Season stats: 25-39 passing (64%) for 448 yards (17.9 yards) with 6 touchdowns and 0 interceptions. 20 rushes for 149 yards (7.5 yards) and 6 touchdowns.
Looking ahead: Cheney (2-0, RV in 3A) at Medicine Lodge (1-1) on Friday.
Quarterbacks: Sam Hardin, Trinity; Caleb Grill, Maize; Chance Whitehead, Augusta; Deante Edwards, Heights. Running backs: Shakur Johnson, West; Nick Dooley, Garden Plain; Max Domnick, Maize South; Roy Johnson, Northwest. Wide receivers: Trent Scheer, Cheney; Damion Wells, South; Zach True-Owen Beason, Goddard; Dalton Cross, Valley Center; Drew Ellis, Mulvane; Thomas Helten, Carroll; Reese Nebel, Hesston; Brayden Francis, Sedgwick.