6-1, 195, Sr., QB
Hays High Indians
While there were highs and lows for Hays High this season, one consistent was senior quarterback Alex Delton. The Kansas State University football commit entered the year as one of the most talked about players in the state and more than lived up to the hype. He led the Indians to a 7-2 record, including a perfect 4-0 mark in WAC play and was named the conference's Player of the Year.
"We didn't end how we wanted to. It was kind of a disappointing season. But we had so much fun together," Delton said. "I think our record does not show how good we really were as a team, but it is what it is. But it's cool to have people around the state think highly enough of me to give me certain awards. That's really cool."
Delton's main threat was his speed, making him near impossible to catch if he got in the open field. He finished with a WAC-best 1,519 yards rushing with 17 rushing TDs, his ability to break the big run proving to be a game changer week after week. He was also an underappreciated passer, finishing second in the WAC with 1,402 yards, completing 55.2 percent of his throws, with 13 more scores through the air to go with seven interceptions.
5-8, Jr., QB/DB/S
It was fairly easy to see that when Dinkel was playing well, the offense was playing well for the Knights.
That's a statement that was echoed by ninth-year Victoria coach Doug Oberle several times through the season.
"Our offense is going to go as Brady goes," Oberle said after Dinkel led the offense in a second-half surge against Wallace County in the Eight-Man Division II sub-state title game. "In the first half, it didn't go very well. In the second half, it got much better. It's a credit to him. He remained cool, and he was able to finish for us."
Dinkel's play at quarterback in his first full season at the position is a big reason why the Knights enjoyed so much success.
Dinkel finished with 1,052 passing yards with 20 TDs to five interceptions, and rushed for 970 yards with 19 rushing scores.
Dinkel, who started the latter half of his sophomore season after an injury to starter Sam Ottley, completed about 53 percent of his passes. In the title game against Attica-Argonia, the junior rushed for just 32 yards, but scored three first-half TDs, and passed for 61 yards and another score.
On defense, Dinkel was a force as well. He was fifth on the team in tackles.
6-0, 205, Jr., DE/QB/RB
Norton Community Bluejays
As a sophomore, Dole played in nine games at quarterback, throwing for 360 yards and four touchdowns with five interceptions. He also rushed for 467 yards and nine TDs.
This season, Dole looked to play a more natural position for the Bluejays, but injuries changed that. Dole started the season at fullback, but when injuries came to freshman QB Jace Ruder, and junior Quinton Porter, Dole once again was back under center, and helped the Bluejays to a 10-1 mark.
"He's a very athletic kid and a tremendous runner," Bluejay coach Lucas Melvin said. "He's got a very strong arm, just doesn't have a ton of touch with it. He was forced back into it, but another great example of a team player.
"He said whatever is going to be best for the team," Melvin added. "He probably would have preferred to stay at fullback. He knows that's where probably his natural position is if he wants to choose to go play after high school."
Still, Dole made the most of it. He was second on the team in rushing with 965 yards and scored 18 rushing TDs, and completed 33 of 84 passes for 512 yards and seven TDs to four interceptions. Before switching, Dole also had 76 receiving yards and one receiving TD. Dole ended up a first-team MCL selection at running back, and was a unanimous pick on the first-team defense at the end.
On defense, he recorded 36 tackles (11 for loss) and 4.5 sacks.
5-11, 152, Jr., QB/S/P
Wallace County Wildcats
The Wildcats enjoyed yet another undefeated run through the regular season, falling to the eventual Eight-man Division II state champion Victoria, 28-12, in the state semifinals to finish 11-1. Gfeller did more watching than anything last season as he backed up his older brother, Kyle. But this season the junior quarterback took the reins and picked up right where his brother left off.
"Eric is the type of kid (that) refuses to lose at any cost," Wallace County coach Jeff Hennick said. "During the first round playoff game he actually fractured his hand and continued to play with it. He just wanted it taped so that he could endure the pain. Eric is not a kid to want all the attention. If anything, he wants the attention to go to his team and he is always encouraging his line and running backs to continue to make big plays."
Gfeller was a dynamic dual threat for the Wildcats, completing 43 of 87 passes for 660 yards with 11 touchdowns and only two interceptions. He was second on the team with 883 yards rushing and 20 TDs, his 31 total scores best on the team.
Gfeller also was second on the team with 62 tackles and led the Wildcats with seven interceptions.
6-2, 235, Soph., OL/DL
Norton Community Bluejays
A dominant offensive and defensive lineman for the Bluejays, Green recorded a team-best 86 tackles (22 for loss) and three sacks. He also helped pave the way for Norton backs to gain more than 3,300 yards on the ground.
First-team both ways on the Mid-Continent League team, Green also earned all-state honors from both the Topeka Capital Journal and Wichita Eagle.
He was the top tackler on a defense that gave up just 70 points outside of its 55-20 playoff loss to perennial power Scott City in the Class 3A playoffs.
"He's so athletic and quick for his size," Norton coach Lucas Melvin said of Green. "You're not able to block him one-on-one. There are times he just wreaks havoc in the backfield."
Green, just a sophomore, is also a state wrestling medalists. He defeated Phillipsburg's Luke Jacobs for third place in February for the bronze at 220 pounds in the Class 3-2-1A state wrestling championships at Gross Memorial Coliseum.
6-7, 230, Sr., OL/DE
If Jacobs' height doesn't make him stand out, his play on the field for the Panthers did. Jacobs, also a state placer in Class 3-2-1A as a wrestler, made the most of his senior year on the football team.
In his second year as a starter, Jacobs was key on both the offensive line and at defensive end.
He was a first-team unanimous selection in the MCL as an offense lineman and first-team selection at defensive end.
In addition, when the team gave out its team-voted postseason awards last week, Jacobs earned the leadership award, along with the iron-man award.
"On the field, he was a guy that got it done for us," Phillipsburg coach J.B. Covington said.
Phillipsburg set a school record with 10 wins, and played in the program's first sub-state championship game, falling a win short of the state title game with a loss to Brookville/Ell-Saline.
Jacobs was part of an offensive line that paved the way for 3,949 rushing yards by the Panthers with 52 total rushing touchdowns. Then on defense, Jacobs was second on the team with 64 tackles (six for loss), and nine sacks for a loss of 20 yards. He also recovered two fumble and caused one.
"We had talked about moving him to a tight end position, but he was just too good on the offensive line," Covington said. "Between him and (senior Ian Chestnut), we ran right behind those two guys a lot."
Jacobs is among the favorites this winter at 220 pounds in Class 3-2-1A wrestling. Covington also said he nearly has Jacobs talked into participating in track where he thinks he can easily be a 200-feet javelin thrower.
Fort Hays State University is on Jacobs' radar, Covington said, for football.
5-9, 160, Sr. RB/DB
A first-team unanimous selection in the MCL, Lennemann has always had a great deal of speed. Case in point, he helped Phillipsburg to a 3A state track and field title last spring with a win in the 200-meter dash and ran legs of title-winning 4x1 and 4x4 relay teams.
The one thing that helped this fall, though, for the 10-win Panther football team, was his adaptation as a running back.
"The thing that made the biggest difference this year was his ability to run through some tackles," Panther coach. J.B. Covington said. "To stick his nose up in the hole a little bit harder.
"He's always been able to hit the holes quick, but the problem was he wasn't really good at reading blocks."
That changed this season. Lennemann used his speed and patience to rush for 1,478 yards on 138 carries. He scored 22 touchdowns, and had eight games of 100 rushing yards or more. He helped Phillipsburg to a school-record 10 wins, and play in the Panther program's first sub-state championship game.
As a defensive back, where he also was a first-team MCL selection, Lennemann had four interceptions and 13 passes defended with one interception return for a score. He also recorded 26 tackles (one for loss), and recorded a sack. As the Panthers' kick and punt returner, Lennemann averaged 25.6 yards per kick return with a 90-yard touchdown, and had five punt returns for a 9.2 average.
"We really fell like he developed at the running back with the ability to be a little more patient," Covington said. "Once he read the blocks, his acceleration was the fastest we've had out of anyone here."
6-1, 175, Sr., QB/DB
Ness City Eagles
Ness City won the Eight-man Division I state title with a perfect 13-0 record in 2012 before taking a step back in 2013, finishing 5-4 with Tanner McMillen at quarterback. But he responded in his senior season, leading the Eagles to a 9-3 mark in 2014, making it to the state semifinals before a 32-0 loss to eventual state champ Claflin-Central Plains.
"He was our starter last year at QB and did some great things for us, but just lacked some experience and consistency as a junior," Ness City coach Chris Bamberger said. "I gained a lot of trust in him this season and felt comfortable putting Tanner in positions to make plays. He provided a whole different dimension to our offense. He was a joy to coach, as were all of his classmates."
McMillen completed 97 of 157 attempts for 1,166 yards and 15 touchdowns with eight interceptions. He easily led the team in rushing as well, carrying the ball 152 times for 1,122 yards with 21 rushing TDs.
6-4, 230, Sr., FB/DE
La Crosse Leopards
Schmidt missed the majority of his junior season after suffering a knee injury in Week 4. His return this season was a major boost to the La Crosse football team. At 6-foot-4 and 230 pounds, Schmidt is easily one of the most physically gifted athletes in the area and his ability to dominate on the field proved it.
His main forte was defense, where he had 77 tackles, including 12 for loss, for the 9-2 Leopards, which fell 28-12 to eventual runner-up Ell-Saline in the Class 2-1A state quarterfinals. Schmidt was a menace to quarterbacks as well, where he had 12 sacks.
"Sheldon was a huge part of (our) team's success," La Crosse coach Jon Webster said. "His ability to control one side of the defense allowed us to do a lot of different things with other guys. He developed into a nice offensive weapon as the season went on and gave us big play potential every time he touched the ball."
Schmidt was an effective fullback for the Leopards, rushing for 871 yards and 14 touchdowns, with a 6.7-yard average per rush. He also caught nine passes for 177 yards and three TDs.
6-0, 190, Jr., QB/DB/P
If nothing else stands out, just look at 34 passing touchdowns compared to only six interceptions. But that's not the only impressive line for Tiernan, the third-year starter at quarterback for 10-2 Osborne.
Tiernan completed 71 percent of his passes, 152 of 214 for 2,153 yards, averaging 14.2 yards per completion and 179.4 yards per game, carrying a season quarterback rating of 131.1.
And he was the Bulldogs' third-leading rusher with 514 rushing yards and nine touchdowns, pushing him to 43 total scores for the year.
Tiernan was one of several to step up to bigger roles this season for the 2013 Eight-Man Division I state champion Bulldogs following the graduation of playmakers Kenton Ubelaker and Maverick LeRock. And, the junior nearly guided Osborne back to Newton to defend its title. The only Bulldog losses were to eventual runner-up Hanover -- once in district play, the other in the sub-state title game.
He's come along "as well as any quarterback," said Steve Tiernan, Jake's father and head coach. "Even by that second year they've started, it's amazing how (quarterbacks) have grasped the game or grasped the offense."
A defensive back, he also grabbed four interceptions and a fumble recovery to go along with 5.6 tackles per game. Also the team's punter, he had 11 punts for an average of 29.2 per kick with a 58-yarder and one inside the 20.
Jake Tiernan put together a remarkable season that got started with near tragedy when Steve Tiernan suffered near-fatal injuries in motorcycle accident just prior to the start of the school year and football season.
"These guys really helped out quite a bit," Jake Tiernan said midseason about his teammates. "Football took my mind off quite a bit of that -- really helped."
6-2, 195, Sr., TE/LB/K
The favorite target for junior quarterback Jake Tiernan in Osborne's offense, Wolters was a go-to guy when the Bulldogs needed a play.
The tall tight end recorded 75 receptions for 1,010 yards and 18 touchdowns, averaging 84.2 receiving yards per game, and 13.5 yards per catch.
It was the second straight season Wolters led the Bulldogs in receiving yards and receiving TDs as he built a rapport with Tiernan the last two seasons.
"Just try to run great routes," Wolters said in a midseason interview. "This line helps give that time to run those great routes, and Jake puts a good ball on me. I'm a little bigger tight end, but wouldn't catch anything without the line, and Jake throwing a good ball."
Wolters also was the Bullldogs' top tackler from his linebacker spot, averaging 11 per game with 132 total tackles and five for loss.
He managed one sack and grabbed three interceptions as well and returned one fumble he caused for 17 yards. He also averaged 34.8 yards on 10 kickoffs.