Varsity Football

Meet the top 100 football players in the Wichita area ahead of the 2019 season

Derby tops Maize in battle of unbeaten district leaders

The Derby Panthers high school football team beat Maize 35-21 on Friday. Here are highlights.
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The Derby Panthers high school football team beat Maize 35-21 on Friday. Here are highlights.

The Wichita area produced five of Kansas’ top 11 players last year and welcomes back eight All-Metro selections from 2018.

Here are the top 100 high school football players in the Wichita area ahead of the 2019 season, as ranked by Varsity Kansas and The Eagle.

1. Tre Washington - Derby, RB, Sr.

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Derby running back Tre Washington celebrates one of his three touchdowns in Saturday’s 6A championship game in Emporia. (Nov. 24, 2018) Hayden Barber The Wichita Eagle

The most electrifying player in the Wichita area, Washington was an All-Metro selection last year with 1,836 yards and 24 touchdowns. He will contend for a Top 11 spot this season.

2. Cody Stufflebean - McPherson, TE/DL, Sr.

Verbally committed to Kansas State, Stufflebean’s size and strength at 6-foot-4, 235 pounds is tough to match. His versatility as a pass-catcher and pass-rusher make him a constant threat.

3. Reagan Jones - Wichita Northwest, QB, Sr.

Jones transferred to Northwest from Andover Central and became an All-Metro quarterback in doing so. He threw for 2,414 yards and a school-record 31 touchdowns while rushing for 1,393 yards and 20 more touchdowns.

4. Preven Christon - Maize, WR, Sr.

Wichita high school football: Preven Christon
Maize junior receiver Preven Christon shushes the crowd after scoring a pivotal touchdown in the Eagles’ state semifinal game against Wichita Northwest on Friday. (Nov. 16, 2018) Hayden Barber The Wichita Eagle

Christon is a big play waiting to happen. Last year he earned All-Metro honors after catching 56 passes for 890 yards and 11 touchdowns. His production will be critical to Maize’s success in 2019.

5. Alex Conn - Derby, OL, Sr.

Perhaps the prospect with the highest ceiling in the Wichita area, Conn is verbally committed to Nebraska after earning several high-profile Division I offers. He will anchor the Derby offensive line.

6. Quinton Stewart - Salina Central, TE/DL, Sr.

Almost a carbon copy of McPherson’s Cody Stufflebean, Stewart is verbally committed to Oklahoma State and can play on both sides of the ball. With running back Taylon Peters gone, Stewart is key.

7. Dhimani Butler - Goddard, LB/RB, Sr.

Butler earned All-Metro honors last season with 106 tackles, three sacks and four forced fumbles. He worked alongside former Lion Kam’Ron Gonzalez. Now the lights are on him.

8. Trevion Mitchell - Maize South, DB, Sr.

Mitchell is one of the biggest recruits in the area. At 5-10, he has the length of a Division I cornerback and the skill to match. He will be a leader for the Mavericks ahead of a promising 2019 season.

9. Grant Adler - Derby, QB, Sr.

Derby football quarterback Grant Adler
Derby’s Grant Adler looks for a receiver downfield during the Panthers’ fall practice. Hayden Barber The Wichita Eagle

Adler will likely be the comeback player of the year in the area. He broke his arm in Week 4 last year at Bishop Carroll. Now he returns to lead the Derby offense toward another state title.

10. Cody Fayette - Maize South, OL, Sr.

Fayette is a returning All-Metro offensive lineman verbally committed to South Dakota. At 6-6, 287 pounds, Fayette might be the largest athlete in the area after Northwest’s Marcus Hicks’ graduation.

11. Caden Cox - Maize, RB, Sr.

Cox took a bit of a backseat last year to Top 11 quarterback Caleb Grill and AVCTL I first team running back Tre Washington of Derby. Now is his time to break out and lead the Maize offense.

12. Zeke Howell - Goddard, DL/RB, Sr.

Howell was one of the oddest and most inspiring stories of the area last year. At 6-0, 190 pounds, he was a better fit at linebacker than nose tackle, but he earned All-Metro honors with 18 sacks and 21.5 tackles for losses.

13. Scotti Easter - Andale, DB/WR, Sr.

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Hayden Barber The Wichita Eagle

A captain and returning All-Metro cornerback, Easter is set to lead Andale past the state semifinals in 2019. He finished his junior year with a team-high 95 tackles and three interceptions.

14. Tyler Dorsey - Derby, DL, Sr.

Replacing Top 11 selection Isaac Keener on the Derby defensive line will be difficult, but Dorsey has the skill and size. He earned AVCTL I first team honors last year.

15. Cavion Walker - Derby, WR, Sr.

Coach Brandon Clark has been pleased with the progress of his senior receiver this fall. Walker has taken up a leadership role and expanded his game after earning several offers this summer.

16. Mac Brand - Andale, LB/RB, Sr.

Brand is one of Andale’s glue guys. Playing both ways and serving as a captain, Brand is one of the most valubale players in Class 3A. He was named AVCTL IV Defensive MVP last year.

17. Jacob Karsak - Derby, TE, Sr.

Karsak suffered a gruesome leg injury on the opening kickoff of last year’s 6A title game. He is back and will be a key piece to a Derby offense spoiled with talent.

18. Davin Simms - Derby, WR, Jr.

Simms jumped on the scene last year for the Derby offense. He earned AVCTL I second team honors and was one of the more explosive players in the area.

19. Aiden Niedens - Bishop Carroll, QB, Jr.

Bishop Carroll high school football: Aiden Niedens
Aiden Niedens, Bishop Carroll sophomore quarterback, recovers after getting his helmet knocked off during the Golden Eagles’ 28-14 win at Kapaun on Friday. (Oct. 5, 2018) Hayden Barber The Wichita Eagle

Niedens was doubted when he was named the starter after senior Cade Becker and junior John Honas were injured last year. He showed he can play, leading Carroll to a regional title.

20. Javon Wheeler - Wichita Northwest, OL, Sr.

With all the talent on the Northwest offensive last year, coach Steve Martin called Wheeler the engine. Wheeler was an All-Metro selection last year and City League first team honoree.

21. Jack Wiens - Wichita Northwest, LB, Sr.

Wiens was overlooked at Andover Central. He was one the top tacklers in Kansas with 135 last year but earned AVCTL II second-team honors. He is now at Northwest along with fellow former Jaguar Reagan Jones.

22. Jakob Feil - McPherson, DB/WR, Sr.

Feil is a rising stock player and one of the most valuable returners in the area, especially to the McPherson defense, a group that helped win 11 games last year. Feil’s leadership will be huge.

23. Cole Diffenbaugh - Mulvane, RB, Sr.

Diffenbaugh might be the fastest player in the area. A state qualifying sprinter in Class 4A, he will bring that speed to the field for his senior season, looking to be the difference for a Mulvane offense that has great potential.

24. Mason Thrash - McPherson, LB, Sr.

McPherson leans on Thrash a lot in the second level of the defense. Thrash understands the game well and leads his defense accordingly. He earned AVCTL III first team honors last year.

25. Kyle Haas - Maize, DL, Jr.

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Hayden Barber The Wichita Eagle

Haas is already one of the strongest players in Kansas, and he has two seasons left, including 2019. He is a game-wrecker in the heart of the Maize defensive line and a national champion wrestler.

26. David Kemp - Andover, K, Jr.

There are high school kickers. Then there is Kemp. More than capable of hitting from more than 50 yards, Andover has a real weapon from anywhere on the opponents’ side of the field.

27. Zion Jones - Wichita Northwest, WR, Sr.

Northwest had one of the best receiving corps in Kansas last year. Many of them are gone, but Jones is back. He was selected to the City League first team last year and will need a strong connection with quarterback Reagan Jones this year.

28. Collin Mackey - Eisenhower, QB, Sr.

If Mackey can stay healthy, his upside is one of the best quarterbacks in Kansas. Mackey has perhaps the best arm in the area, but concussions and a broken leg have kept him on the sideline more often than not.

29. Blake Mitchell - Goddard, TE, Sr.

Mitchell is a matchup nightmare for defenses. He is far too tall for defensive backs and has enough speed to get behind linebackers. Goddard struggled to score points at times last year. With all assets back, its shouldn’t in 2019.

30. Jamar Martin - Wichita Northwest, RB/DB, Sr.

Wichita Northwest high school football: Jamar Martin
Northwest junior defensive back Jamar Martin celebrates with the turnover spear after an interception in the Grizzlies’ 56-0 win over the Blue Aces on Thursday night. (Sept. 6, 2018) Hayden Barber The Wichita Eagle

Martin was one of Northwest’ top cornerbacks last year. He has spent fall camp as the No. 1 running back. If he is the starter Sept. 6 against Carroll, he will have All-American-sized shoes to fill, replacing Breece Hall.

31. Trey Degarmo - Andover Central, LB, Sr.

Degarmo returns to Andover Central this season as the last of the Jaguars’ big three linebackers. Sam Thomas graduated, and Jack Wiens transferred to Northwest. That puts a lot of production on Degarmo’s shoulders.

32. Mason Edwards - Maize South, RB, Sr.

Edwards is a power back who has picked up some scholarship offers after earning AVCTL II second team honors and performing well at camps. Edwards’ experience will be valuable to Maize South’s offensive production this year.

33. Eli Fahnestock - Andover, QB, Jr.

Fahnestock has more potential than most. Last year, he was the Eagle’s No. 10 player in the area ahead of last year, but injuries stalled his production.

34. Andrew Hanlin - Maize, DB, Sr.

Hanlin is one of the potential rising stars in AVCTL I ahead of his senior season. Active on the camp circuit, he has started to turn heads and will headline the Maize defense.

35. Ethan McMillan - Bishop Carroll, OL, Sr.

Carroll doesn’t bring back a lot of starters on offense outside of the four coming back on the offensive line. McMillan will contend for an All-Metro spot this year as the leader of that group.

36. Max Bullinger - Bishop Carroll, TE, Sr.

Bullinger is looking to replace All-Metro tight end Clay Cundiff, who is now at Wisconsin. Cundiff was out for most of the second half of the 2018 season, so Bullinger has experience coming into 2019.

37. Kevin Washington - Derby, OL, Sr.

The importance of Washington’s return to Derby’s starting lineup cannot be understated. With all the talent coming back on the offense, the Panthers’ offensive line will be under big expectations all year.

38. Kaeden Hoefer - Goddard, WR, Sr.

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Hayden Barber The Wichita Eagle

Hoefer is one of the most dynamic offensive weapons coming back this season. Mostly playing out of the slot, he is a top target for quarterback Kyler Semrad. He earned AVCTL II second team honors last year.

39. Xavier Bell - Andover Central, WR, Sr.

Known for his All-Metro basketball selection, Bell might contend for a spot on the All-Metro football team this year, too. Bell has the explosiveness to go up and get a deep ball.

40. Larry Cherry - Wichita Southeast, DB/RB, Sr.

Southeast has struggled at times in the City League in recent years, but Cherry is almost without question its biggest source of hope. A versatile asset, Cherry has an outstanding knowledge of the game.

41. Tanner Cash - Clearwater, QB, Jr.

Cash is one of the rising stars in the area and a big reason for Clearwater fans to come to games this year. The Indians’ signal-caller has a rocket arm and an outstanding running ability.

42. Carter Morrow - Goddard, WR, Sr.

Working alongside Kaeden Hoefer, Morrow is another vital target for the Goddard offense. At 6-4, he is a red zone threat and has the speed to break away from defenses, too.

43. Peyton Henry - Andover, RB, Sr.

Henry might be the best pass-catching back in the area this year. Holding a Division I offer, Henry’s production across the field will keep Andover in a lot of games this year.

44. Colin Shields - Maize South, QB, Jr.

Shields, like many of the junior quarterbacks in the area, has wildly high potential. Last year, he earned AVCTL II honorable mention. If his accuracy improves, Maize South will become a real contender.

45. Parker Wenzel - Eisenhower, RB, Sr.

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Hayden Barber The Wichita Eagle

Wenzel is one of the most underrated players in the area. Playing in the option offense last year, he didn’t shine as brightly as he could have. Wenzel offers a nice blend of speed and power.

46. Kyler Semrad - Goddard, QB, Jr.

Semrad has come a long way since replacing former Goddard quarterback Blake Sullivan in the state playoffs. Now with a year under his belt, he is poised for greatness as Goddard eyes a state title.

47. Zach Saville - Maize South, DL/OL, Sr.

Saville’s importance to Maize South is obvious. A two-way contributor, Saville is a great asset for the Mavericks. He earned AVCTL II honorable mention last season.

48. Ty Garrett - Salina South, WR, Sr.

Garrett had several breakout games last year, but Salina South had little to show for it. The Cougars figure to improve from a one-win season, and Garrett will be a key.

49. Calvin Benefiel - Maize South, DL, Sr.

Benefiel landed on the AVCTL II second team last year. He can terrorize quarterbacks if left one-on-one, which makes him and fellow senior Zach Saville a great pair.

50. Chance Omli - Eisenhower, WR, Sr.

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Eisenhower’s Chance Omli Hayden Barber The Wichita Eagle

Along with quarterback Collin Mackey and running back Parker Wenzel, Omli completes a nice trio for the Eisenhower offense. He earned AVCTL II second-team honors last year.

51. Scott Grider - Halstead, RB, Sr.

52. Shomari Parnell - Andover Central, QB, Sr.

53. Collin Koester - Conway Springs, RB/QB, Sr.

54. Nalell Kapten - Goddard, DB, Sr.

55. Easton Hunter - Andale, QB/DB, Sr.

56. Kale Schroeder - Sedgwick, WR/DB, Sr.

Sedgwick high school football: Hooper and Kale Schroeder
Sedgwick senior quarterback Hooper Schroeder (left) tosses the ball to his junior receiver and brother Kale Schroeder. The Cardinals are 3-0 so far in 2018. Hayden Barber The Wichita Eagle

57. Darrius Cooper - Wichita Northwest, LB, Sr.

58. Peyton Winter - Conway Springs, RB, Sr.

59. Tristin Reasoner - Wichita Northwest, OL, Sr.

60. Harper Jonas - Andover, TE, Sr.

61. Justin Powell - Bishop Carroll, DB, Sr.

62. Matt Pauly - Garden Plain, ATH, Sr.

63. Dalton Nichols - Bishop Carroll, DB, Sr.

Bishop Carroll high school football: Dalton Nichols
Bishop Carroll junior cornerback Dalton Nichols returns a kickoff against Wichita Northwest during the Grizzlies 23-22 win over the Golden Eagles on Friday night. (Aug. 31, 2018) Hayden Barber The Wichita Eagle

64. Terry Ginyard - Derby, DB, Sr.

65. Mark Hedstrom - Trinity Academy, WR, Sr.

66. Connor Hall - Andover, DL, Sr.

67. Phoenix Smith - Bishop Carroll, DL, Sr.

68. KJ Hampton - Maize, WR, Sr.

69. John Honas - Bishop Carroll, QB, Sr.

70. Isaac Hilt - Wellington, LB, Jr.

71. Matthew Beyer - Mulvane, OL, Sr.

72. Keaton Robertson - Maize, DL/LB, Sr.

Maize high school football: Keaton Robertson
Maize junior defensive end Keaton Robertson sacks Campus senior quarterback Evan Kruse during the Eagles’ 21-0 win over the Colts on Friday night. (Sept. 14, 2018) Hayden Barber The Wichita Eagle

73. Camden Jurgensen - Maize, QB/WR, Sr.

74. John Nowak - Garden Plain, LB, Sr.

75. Ben Purvis - Bishop Carroll, OL, Jr.

76. Kenny Fehrman - Wellington, DL/OL, Jr.

77. Zac Block - Cheney, TE, Sr.

78. Jarius Kennedy - Kapaun Mt. Carmel, DB/QB, Sr.

Kapaun high school football: Jarius Kennedy
Kapaun’s Jarius Kennedy cuts back a run during the Crusaders’ 55-26 loss to Wichita Northwest on Friday. (Sept. 28, 2018) Hayden Barber The Wichita Eagle

79. Jerimiah Brown - Wichita West, LB, Sr.

80. Caden Parthemer - Andale, LB, Jr.

81. Isaiah Canidy - Wichita West, OL, Sr.

82. Mason Lacey - Sedgwick, TE, Sr.

83. Iverson Bello - Chaparral, LB/RB, Sr.

84. R.J. Bethea - Andover Central, DL, Sr.

85. Kendall Norrod - Maize, LB, Jr.

86. Doug Grider - Halstead, LB, Jr.

87. Joe Williams III - Wichita North, RB, Sr.

88. Cayden Winter - Andale, DL, Jr.

89. Josh Sanders - Wichita Heights, RB, Jr.

90. Jacob Younkman - Wichita Northwest, LB, Jr.

91. Nate Harding - Maize, OL, Jr.

92. Houston Griffitts - Salina Central, OL, Sr.

93. Riley Petz - Cheney, DB, Sr.

94. Tyler Kohls - Augusta, DB, Jr.

95. Daylon Harris - Wichita South, WR, Sr.

96. Carson Wheeler - Maize, LB, Sr.

97. Eli Rowland - Andale, RB, Jr.

98. Jake Fredrickson - Buhler, OL, Sr.

99. Quintin Thomas - Wichita Southeast, QB, Sr.

100. Quentin Saunders - Wichita West, LB, So.


The selection process

Preps reporter Hayden Barber selected these players based on questionnaires sent to coaches, last year’s performances and his own personal evaluation and knowledge of Wichita area high school athletics.

Related stories from Wichita Eagle

Wichita Eagle preps reporter Hayden Barber brings the area updates on all high school sports while adding those hard-to-find human-interest stories on Wichita’s student-athletes.