Journal-World All-Area Football Team
Player of the year:
Brad Strauss, Lawrence
A senior who did everything asked of him by the Lions coaching staff, Strauss not only quarterbacked LHS to an 8-3 season with 2,278 passing yards, but led the team in rushing (743 yards), made 55 tackles and two interceptions at safety, blocked an extra point on special teams and served as Lawrence’s punter.
Coach of the year:
Bob Lisher, Free State
The Firebirds’ head coach since the school’s inception, Lisher’s 2012 team proved to be one of the best in the program’s 16 seasons of existence. Lisher’s career coaching win total reached 108 as Free State finished 10-2 and advanced to the Class 6A state semifinals behind its, at times, dominating defense.
Nick Becker, Eudora — The Cardinals senior began the season as a tight end before moving over to right tackle, but still had 248 receiving yards and five touchdowns in Eudora’s run-first offense. On the defensive line, Becker accounted for 82 total tackles and 6.5 sacks as EHS finished as 4A’s runner-up.
Kharon Brown, Lawrence — As the most experienced offensive lineman on the LHS roster, the senior provided much-needed guidance on offense. When the Lions were on defense, Brown wreaked havoc as a nose guard, busting through blockers and working for 75 tackles and four sacks.
Gabe Cleveland, Eudora — Although the senior running back missed a three-game chunk of the Cardinals’ 12-2 season, he ran for 833 yards and 10 touchdowns as EHS advanced to its second straight 4A title-game appearance. At linebacker, Cleveland led Eudora with 108 total tackles.
Markis Hill, Eudora — The senior’s versatility showed as he shifted from fullback to tight end late in the season. Hill proved an offensive threat wherever he lined up, with 521 rushing yards, 226 receiving yards and 11 total touchdowns. He also recovered three fumbles at linebacker and made 103 tackles.
Tye Hughes, Free State — Tough, fast and strong on the perimeter, the Firebirds’ go-to senior receiver became one of the top pass-catchers in the Sunflower League and finished the season with 35 receptions, 601 yards and 10 touchdowns. He gave FSHS a special teams weapon, too, as he averaged 17.8 yards a punt return.
Erick Mayo, Lawrence — No matter what side of the football the LHS senior lined up on, Mayo made a difference for the Lions, who finished 8-3. At wide receiver, Mayo hauled in 37 catches for 643 yards and 10 touchdowns. At cornerback, his speed helped him pick off four passes.
Kyle McFarland, Free State — The senior proved to be one of the Sunflower League’s elite defensive backs, with four interceptions, as FSHS went 10-2. But McFarland made even more plays at quarterback, with 1,582 passing yards and 19 touchdowns and 755 rushing yards with seven scores.
Cody Stanclift, Free State — A physical presence on the line, the Firebirds senior established himself as a marquee blocker on offense and made a habit of beating double teams on defense, where he made 33 solo tackles (nine for loss) an interception and recovered a fumble.
Brad Strauss, Lawrence — A rare precision passer (completing 61 percent of his 267 throws) who could burn defenses with his legs, too, the LHS senior threw 24 touchdown passes, rushed for 14 more and accounted for 274.6 yards a game for the Lions.
Dayton Valentine, Baldwin — An All-Frontier League first-teamer at tight end and defensive end, the Bulldogs senior was the team’s best blocker and receiver, with 309 receiving yards and two touchdowns. Defensively, Valentine had 45 solo tackles, five sacks, six tipped passes, four forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries.
Marcus Allen, Bishop Seabury; Tyler Andrew, Perry-Lecompton; Bryce Boland, Veritas Christian; Cornell Brown, Baldwin; Dakota Cop, McLouth; Riley Davis, Perry-Lecompton; Zack Griffiths, De Soto; Andrew Harvey, Veritas Christian; LJ Hatch, Mill Valley; Shane Hillman, Wellsville; Knute Holden, Mill Valley; Cole Holloway, Tonganoxie; Matt Horton, McLouth; Shane Levy, Tonganoxie; Thomas Miller, Tonganoxie; Cory Peoples, Ottawa; Eric Shin, Bishop Seabury; Joe Simpson, Bishop Seabury; Colton Stark, Baldwin; Zach Turpin, Perry-Lecompton; Marc Walbridge, McLouth; Skyler Windmiller, Mill Valley.