Varsity Football

All-Metro football: The area’s best players for 2018 as picked by The Eagle

All metro football team from left : front row,  Caleb Grill, Maize, Preven Christon, Maize, Nic Devore, Maize, Scott Valentas, Kapaun. Second row, Tom Beason, Goddard coach, Bryce Atkinson, Derby, Dax Benway, Derby, Hunter Igo, Derby, Tre Washington, Derby, Jackson Syring, Derby, Josh Carter, Northwest, Breece Hall, Northwest, Dhimani Butler, Goddard, Zeke Howell, Goddard, Tyler Kahman, Campus, Clay Cundiff, Bishop Carroll. Back row, Isaac Keener, Derby, Quinton Hicks, Campus, Mason Fairchild, Andale, Scott Easter, Andale, Cody Fayette, Maize South, Regan Jones, Northwest,  Javon Wheeler, Northwest,  Marcus Hicks, Northwest, Seth Falley, Campus. (November 28, 2018)
All metro football team from left : front row, Caleb Grill, Maize, Preven Christon, Maize, Nic Devore, Maize, Scott Valentas, Kapaun. Second row, Tom Beason, Goddard coach, Bryce Atkinson, Derby, Dax Benway, Derby, Hunter Igo, Derby, Tre Washington, Derby, Jackson Syring, Derby, Josh Carter, Northwest, Breece Hall, Northwest, Dhimani Butler, Goddard, Zeke Howell, Goddard, Tyler Kahman, Campus, Clay Cundiff, Bishop Carroll. Back row, Isaac Keener, Derby, Quinton Hicks, Campus, Mason Fairchild, Andale, Scott Easter, Andale, Cody Fayette, Maize South, Regan Jones, Northwest, Javon Wheeler, Northwest, Marcus Hicks, Northwest, Seth Falley, Campus. (November 28, 2018) The Wichita Eagle

After careful selection based on coaches’ nominations and preps reporter Hayden Barber’s input, The Wichita Eagle has announced the 2018 All-Metro high school football team.

Offense

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All Metro offensive team, front row from left: Regan Jones, Northwest quarterback, Breece Hall, Northwest running Hall, Tre Washington, Derby running back, Tyler Kahman, Campus receiver, Caleb Grill, Maize punter, Back row left to right: Prevon Christon, Maize receiver, Javon Wheeler, Northwest offensive line, Cody Fayette, Maize South offensive line, Bryce Atkinson, Derby offensive line, Seth Falley, Campus offensive line, Nic Devore, Maize offensive line, Clay Cunduff, Bishop Carroll tight end. (November 28, 2018) Bo Rader

Reagan Jones - Wichita Northwest

Quarterback, Junior, 6-1, 180 pounds

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Regan Jones, Northwest quarterback

Jones’ arrival at Northwest changed the complexion of the program.

Without a true quarterback, coach Steve Martin would have turned to running back Breece Hall to take the snaps. Jones transferred from Andover Central, and was outstanding. He was one of the state’s top dual threats with 2,414 passing yards with a school-record 31 touchdowns and 1,393 rushing yards and 20 scores.

“It means everything,” Jones said. “All the hard work has paid off. All that time of transferring and getting to know the offense and everything, it paid off and it has gone really well.”

College: Undecided

Wichita Eagle's 2018 All-Metro selection, Northwest's Reagan Jones

Breece Hall - Wichita Northwest

Running Back, Senior, 6-2, 215 pounds

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Breece Hall, Northwest running back

In the illustrious history of City League players, Hall is one of the best.

Finishing his Northwest career with 4,516 yards in three seasons, Hall put up back-to-back 2,000-yard years and helped the Grizzlies reach their second state championship game. As a senior, he earned his second Top 11 selection after running for 2,127 yards and 29 touchdowns. He also added 588 receiving yards with eight more scores.

“That was what I wanted to leave my mark as was to be one of the greatest if not the greatest City League running backs, and I feel like I almost fulfilled that,” Hall said.

College: Iowa State (verbal)

Wichita Eagle's 2018 All-Metro selection, Northwest's Breece Hall

Tre Washington - Derby

Running Back, Junior, 5-10, 195 pounds

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Tre Washington, Derby running back.

On arguably the state’s best team, Washington came up largest on the biggest stages.

In the Panthers’ 24-16 Class 6A state championship win over Blue Valley North, Washington scored every touchdown, which helped him finish 2018 with 1,836 yards and 24 touchdowns. Washington’s selection marks the third straight year a Derby running back has been All-Metro.

“It’s amazing,” Washington said. “You got all the great people and athletes around this area here, so it feels great to be selected as one of them.”

College: Undecided

Wichita Eagle's 2018 All-Metro selection, Derby's Tre Washington

Preven Christon - Maize

Receiver, Junior, 6-0, 175 pounds

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Preven Christon, Maize receiver

Christon was the most athletic receiver in the Wichita area in 2018.

Finishing with 56 catches for 890 yards and 11 scores, Christon was the top option on a potent, well-rounded Eagle offense. The Eagle offense was predicated on quick passes, but Christon added a constant deep threat. Christon helped set school history in 2018 as Maize reached the Class 5A semifinals and won a record 10 games.

“It’s been great just knowing you set school history is just amazing to us,” Chiston said. “Working hard through the summer, it’s amazing to us.”

College: Undecided

Wichita Eagle's 2018 All-Metro selection, Maize's Preven Christon

Tyler Kahmann - Campus

Receiver, Senior, 6-3, 200 pounds

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Tyler Kahman, Campus receiver

Kahmann is one of the Wichita area’s most successful multi-sport athletes.

Succeeding in basketball and baseball, Kahmann was instrumental to Campus’ record season at receiver. Campus won its first home playoff game in school history, 57-7 over Wichita South. Kahmann finished 2018 with 35 catches for 694 yards and 14 touchdowns.

“It’s an amazing honor,” Kahmann said. “I’ve always wanted to be All-Metro. I worked really hard to run my routes better and go (Randy) Moss people.”

College: Undecided

Wichita Eagle's 2018 All-Metro selection, Campus' Tyler Kahmann

Clay Cundiff - Bishop Carroll

Tight End, Senior, 6-4, 240 pounds

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Clay Cundiff, Bishop Carroll tight end

Before Cundiff’s season ended with a foot injury, he was arguably the best pass-catchers in Kansas.

With remarkable size, Cundiff presented a friendly target for the Carroll quarterbacks, which helped him to 19 catches for 303 yards and six touchdowns in six games. He scored in every game he played. Cundiff’s play this season helped boost his recruiting profile, and during the year, he flipped his verbal commitment from Kansas to Wisconsin.

“(My season) was cut short, and that’s unfortunate, but my team, some other kids stepped up, and they did good,” Cundiff said.

College: Wisconsin (verbal)

Wichita Eagle's 2018 All-Metro selection, Carroll's Clay Cundiff

Bryce Atkinson - Derby

Offensive Line, Senior, 6-2, 220 pounds

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Bryce Atkinson, Derby offensive line

Coach Brandon Clark called him the best offensive lineman on the championship Derby team.

Atkinson was a work horse for the Panther offense, which produced 5,574 yards of total offense. But he was not alone. Kevin and Ronnie Washington earned All-League honors to go along with Atkinson, who marks the sixth Derby offensive lineman on the Eagle’s All-Metro team in the past seven years.

“We had Coach Clark down there with us every day, and he was always on our butt all practice,” Atkinson said. “That helped out a lot.”

College: Undecided

Wichita Eagle's 2018 All-Metro selection, Derby's Bryce Atkinson

Nice DeVore - Maize

Offensive Line, Senior, 6-1, 270 pounds

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Nic Devore, Maize offensive line

While the Maize defense and quarterback Caleb Grill earned much of the credit for the Eagles’ success in 2018, DeVore and the offensive line was quietly one of the best in Kansas.

Maize attacked in many ways this season, finishing with a 3,000-yard passer, 890-yard receiver and 1,200-yard running back in junior Caden Cox. DeVore was the Eagles’ top lineman this season and said he created memories in 2018 he won’t soon forget.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for our team,” DeVore said. “We had a lot of kids step up, made our team better, brought each other up with them. I hope it carries on.”

College: Undecided

Wichita Eagle's 2018 All-Metro selection, Maize's Nic DeVore

Seth Falley - Campus

Offensive Line, Senior, 6-3, 280 pounds

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Seth Falley, Campus offensive line

Falley has been waiting for this selection.

One of the only four-year starters in Campus history, Falley has been a key to the Colts’ steady improvement in recent years. Felley finished with 33 pancake blocks in 2018 and did not allow a sack in either of his final two years as a Colt. He said earning All-Metro was quite the honor.

“I’ve been working really hard for this,” Falley said. “I was really hoping to get it last year, but I really made sure this year I got it. I just wanted to show out for my team and my city.”

College: Butler Community College (verbal)

Wichita Eagle's 2018 All-Metro selection, Campus' Seth Falley

Cody Fayette - Maize South

Offensive Line, Junior, 6-6, 287 pounds

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Cody Fayette, Maize South offensive line

Fayette jumped onto the scene in 2018.

A Division I recruit, Fayette was a key to Maize South’s midseason turnaround. The Mavericks started 0-3 with losses to Wichita Heights, Andover and Valley Center. With their season in jeopardy, Maize South won six straight, including a double-overtime win over state runner-up Goddard.

“It was definitely with our seniors,” Fayette said. “They had a mentality after the 0-3 loss that we had nothing to lose. We had a mentality of going out there and whipping on people.”

College: Undecided

Wichita Eagle's 2018 All-Metro selection, Maize South's Cody Fayette

Javon Wheeler - Wichita Northwest

Offensive Line, Junior, 5-10, 214 pounds

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Javon Wheeler, Northwest offensive line

Although undersized, Wheeler showed an outstanding motor for one of the top offenses in Kansas.

The Grizzlies averaged a state-high 558.8 yards of offense per game, and Wheeler was one of the biggest reasons. Northwest had outstanding playmakers in 2018, including a pair of All-Metro selections, but the holes Wheeler created helped propel the Grizzly stars to new heights this season.

“I just have to hand it to coach (Zach) Westhoff for making us the best O-line in the state,” Wheeler said.

College: Undecided

Wichita Eagle's 2018 All-Metro selection, Northwest's Javon Wheeler

Jackson Syring - Derby

Kicker, Senior, 6-1, 165 pounds

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Jackson Syring, Derby Kicker

Syring easily could have been a linebacker selection, but his kicking changed the game for Derby.

He finished with 47 tackles and a pair of sacks as an anchor on the Derby defense, but his kicking was an equal contribution. Syring scored 83 points for Derby this season, including a key field goal in the Panthers’ state title win. He also finished with 646 punt yards, including a long of 57 in 2018.

“Kicking is a big part of the special teams game,” Syring said. “I wouldn’t want to kick to any of these dudes that are here, especially Breece Hall, but it’s probably going to go to the back of the end zone every single time.”

College: Johnson County Community College (verbal, baseball)

Wichita Eagle's 2018 All-Metro selection, Derby's Jackson Syring

Defense

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All Metro Team, defense (front row from left): (November 28, 2018) Scott Easter, Andale defensive back, Dax Benway, Derby, defensive end, Josh Carter, Northwest, linebacker, Jackson Syring, Derby kicker, Dhimani Butler, Goddard linebacker. Back row from left: Hunter Igo, Derby, defensive back, Isaac Keener, Derby defensive end, Mason Fairchild, Andale defensive end, Marcus Hicks, Northwest defensive end, Scott Valentas, Kapaun defensive back, Quinton Hicks, Campus linebacker, Zeke Howell, Goddard nose guard. Bo Rader The Wichita Eagle

Mason Fairchild - Andale

Defensive Line, Senior, 6-5, 250 pounds

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Mason Fairchild, Andale defensive end

In the storied history of Andale football, coach Dylan Schmidt calls Fairchild one of the program’s best.

Excellent on both sides of the ball, opponents had to account for Fairchild wherever he lined up, which helped him to a Top 11 selection to go along with his spot on the All-Metro team. Andale was one of the best teams in Kansas, finishing with an 11-1 record and outscoring opponents 552-90.

“You’ve been working all your high school career to get your team wins, and team wins can obviously can translate into awards and such, and obviously it did for me,” Fairchild said.

College: South Dakota (verbal)

Wichita Eagle's 2018 All-Metro selection, Andale's Mason Fairchild

Marcus Hicks - Wichita Northwest

Defensive Line, Senior, 6-6, 245 pounds

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Marcus Hicks, Northwest defensive end

Hicks was the player you did not want to see getting off the bus.

At 6-foot-6, 245 pounds, he is one of the most daunting players to block in Kansas. That translated to the field. He finished with 84 total tackles, including 45 solo with 26 going for losses, seven sacks and a pair of forced fumbles. He was key to making Northwest history in 2018 and helping create an elite culture.

“It’s amazing coming from a program our sophomore year at 6-4 to being 12-1,” Hicks said. “It sucks losing in the state championship, but it was amazing to be able to reach it.”

College: Oklahoma (verbal)

Wichita Eagle's 2018 All-Metro selection, Northwest's Marcus Hicks

Zeke Howell - Goddard

Defensive Line, 6-0, 190 pounds

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Zeke Howell, Goddard nose guard

Howell didn’t tip the weigh scale too much, but he changed the game in 2018.

Finishing with 18 sacks, 75 tackles with 21.5 going for losses. Howell was outstanding for an underrated Goddard defense that led the Lions to a state championship appearance. He used his eye-popping speed and slashing through the middle of the offensive line.

“Most people wouldn’t think I’m a defensive line guy, but the coaches whipped me up into shape and got me to where I am today,” Howell said.

College: Undecided

Wichita Eagle's 2018 All-Metro selection, Goddard's Zeke Howell

Isaac Keener - Derby

Defensive Line, Senior, 6-2, 245 pounds

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Isaac Keener, Derby defensive end

Keener spent only a year in Kansas, but he made the most of it.

Coming from Kentucky, Keener was one of the top players not only in Wichita but all of Kansas, earning a spot on the Eagle’s Top 11 team. He finished the 2018 season with 83 tackles, including 25 for losses with a dozen sacks in just 29 quarters because of blowout scores. He was the game-wrecker of the Derby defense.

“Back in Kentucky, we lost a lot,” Keener said. “Going to Derby, now I know what winning feels like.”

College: Undecided

Wichita Eagle's 2018 All-Metro selection, Derby's Isaac Keener

Dhimani Butler - Goddard

Linebacker, Junior, 5-11, 220 pounds

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Dhimani Butler, Goddard linebacker

Paired with another high-caliber linebacker in Kam’Ron Gonzalez, Butler shined in 2018.

Butler finished the Lions’ championship-game season with 106 tackles, including 64 solo with three sacks and four forced fumbles. Butler flies to the ball and has the power to bring down any ballcarrier. He didn’t have any game with fewer than six tackles and was a key to Goddard reaching the 4A final.

“It feels really good breaking all the people’s expectations of our team and having a great year,” Butler said.

College: Undecided

Wichita Eagle's 2018 All-Metro selection, Goddard's Dhimani Butler

Josh Carter - Wichita Northwest

Linebacker, Senior, 5-10, 210 pounds

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Josh Carter, Northwest linebacker

Few leaders were better than Carter.

Coach Steve Martin called Carter the glue to the Grizzlies outstanding 2018 season, and it showed. Carter finished with 136 tackles. He had more than 10 in eight of Northwest’s 13 games. When things started going south for the Grizzlies, Carter was always the first to rally the team and helped them to a 5A championship game.

“It starts every morning at zero hour, being there and being consistency,” Carter said. “Just working with my teammates, they respected me and I respected them.”

College: Undecided

Wichita Eagle's 2018 All-Metro selection, Northwest's Josh Carter

Quinton Hicks - Campus

Linebacker, Senior, 6-2, 230 pounds

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Quinton Hicks, Campus linebacker

Campus has started to become a genuine contender in the Wichita area, and Hicks was a big reason.

Hicks was key on both sides of the ball in 2018 with 431 receiving yards and five touchdowns to go along with 104 tackles, nine sacks and three forced fumbles. He was an outstanding leader for the Colts as a four-year starter, which helped him to back-to-back first-team All-League selections.

“This is the best record I’ve ever had in the four years I’ve played,” Hicks said. “I’m just glad to play with all the kids in my class. We’ve been playing together since seventh grade, and it’s the best we’ve done in a long time.”

College: South Dakota State (verbal)

Wichita Eagle's 2018 All-Metro selection, Campus' Quinton Hicks

Dax Benway - Derby

Defensive Back, Senior, 6-0, 175 pounds

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Dax Benway, Derby defensive end

There were few more confident and respected defensive backs in Kansas.

Benway was one of the many senior leaders on the championship Panthers and helped the Derby defense to its fifth title. Coach Brandon Clark put Benway on the best receiver, and he came through most often. He finished with 27 tackles and six interceptions from his corner spot.

“That means a lot to me,” Benway Said. “Growing up with these guys since sixth grade and playing football with them forever, it’s pretty awesome.”

College: Undecided

Wichita Eagle's 2018 All-Metro selection, Derby's Dax Benway

Scotti Easter - Andale

Defensive Back, 6-1, 175 pounds

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Scott Easter, Andale defensive back

Easter’s name was constantly in conversation about the Andale defense as one of the Indians’ most clutch players.

Easter led the Indians with 95 tackles and three interceptions. Coach Dylan Schmidt said Easter often took the opponents’ top receivers and was still outstanding in Andale’s run defense. Easter said he never thought about winning awards like an All-Metro selection, so to be named was a surprise.

“I played with a lot of juniors that were on varsity defense since third grade,” Easter said. “It’s amazing to keep playing with them this year, and what turns out is we roll people, and that’s pretty awesome.”

College: Undecided

Wichita Eagle's 2018 All-Metro selection, Andale's Scotti Easter

Hunter Igo - Derby

Defensive Back, Senior, 6-0, 165 pounds

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Hunter Igo, Derby defensive back, quarterback

Igo was Derby’s heart.

Thrown into the starting quarterback spot, Igo was outstanding with more than 1,000 passing yards and 900 rushing yards. While he led the Derby offense, he was still a presence in the Panthers’ secondary, playing center field against any deep threat. Igo was named to the Eagle’s Top 11 in 2018.

“It’s pretty amazing, especially seeing players in this class from all over the Wichita area going places,” Igo said. “It’s pretty cool being with them.”

College: Undecided

Wichita Eagle's 2018 All-Metro selection, Derby's Hunter Igo

Scott Valentas - Kapaun Mt. Carmel

Defensive Back, Senior, 6-3, 195 pounds

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Scott Valentas, Kapaun defensive back

Valentas is one of the most respected players in the Wichita area.

A Kapaun captain, Valentas was a key all over the field for the Crusaders, finishing with 66 tackles and four interceptions to go with 782 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns. He averaged 6.2 yards per carry, and he wasn’t originally part of the Kapaun offense.

“I’m going to remember all the practices and games with my teammates, the warm-ups,” Valentas said. “All the things that made me laugh, made me smile, made me angry. I’m going to remember it all.”

College: Columbia (verbal)

Wichita Eagle's 2018 All-Metro selection, Kapaun's Scott Valentas

Caleb Grill - Maize

Punter, Senior, 6-3, 180 pounds

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Caleb Grill, Maize punter

Grill was one of the most valuable players to his team in 2018.

Although he is one of three Maize Eagles named to the All-Metro team, Grill was key to the Maize offense with 3,122 passing yards, and when the Eagles were stopped, his punts often flipped the field and allowed the Maize defense a lot of errors before its opponents reached the red zone.

“I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for my teammates,” Grill said. “Credit them first and then the coaches for making me better every single day. Once they put me out there, I just wanted to make plays. I wanted to win games for our team, and these awards are just extra.”

College: South Dakota State (basketball)

Wichita Eagle's 2018 All-Metro selection, Maize's Caleb Grill

Tom Beason - Goddard

Coach of the Year

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Tom Beason, head coach Goddard

In his first year as Goddard coach, Beason took the doubted Lions to the Class 4A championship game.

Goddard lost to Bishop Miege in the title game, but beat the likes of undefeated McPherson, Wellington and Andover Central to get there. The Lions suffered a pair of losses in 2018, but Beason and his staff worked to re-create the Goddard offense midseason.

“We may not be the most talented team, and we may not be the most talented football staff,” Beason said. “But we wouldn’t put our community behind anybody. We have more support, more love shown to us than anybody else is going to have out there.”

Wichita Eagle's 2018 All-Metro selection, Goddard's Tom Beason

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