Following is The Hays Daily News 2019 All-Area Football Team.
HDN All-Area Super 11
Jaden Atwood, Smith Center, 6-foot, 160 pounds, jr., RB/DL
Atwood was a force in Smith Center’s patented wishbone attack, rushing for 1,635 yards and 15 touchdowns to help the Redmen reach the Class 1A state title game for the third straight year. Atwood had a team-high 181 carries on the season, averaging 9.0 yards per attempt. He went over 100 yards in 11 of the 12 games he played on the season, missing the state championship with an injury. He ran for a season-high 231 yards on just 14 carries in Week 2 against Class 2A runner-up Norton. On defense, Atwood logged 84 tackles with 10 stops for loss. Atwood’s honors for his junior included a first-team All-Mid Continent League selection and first-team All-Class 1A honors by The Topeka Capital-Journal and Kansas Football Coaches Association.
Hayden Brown, Hays High, 5-11, 175, sr., RB/WR
Brown was the Indians’ top source of offense throughout his senior season, compiling 1,138 yards — 826 yards rushing and 326 yards receiving. He accounted for 13 total touchdowns — eight rushing, three receiving, one kickoff return TD and one passing TD. Brown was a big reason why the Indians won their third playoff game and first since 1993. He rushed for 106 yards and two touchdowns in the playoff victory at Goddard-Eisenhower. His top highlight of the year might have been a 6-yard touchdown reception in overtime to help the Indians pull out a 13-12 win over Liberal early in the season. Brown was a first-team All-Western Athletic Conference selection for the second straight year and was named All-Class 5A by the Kansas Football Coaches Association. He will represent the Indians in the Kansas Shrine Bowl this summer.
Jared Casey, Plainville, 6-1, 220, sr., RB/LB
(HDN Defensive Player of the Year)
Casey didn’t let an early-season injury derail his senior season. He suffered a broken hand in the third game of the season against TMP-Marian and sat out the next two games. He made up for lost time, rushing for 139 yards and four touchdowns in his first game back. He helped the Cardinals to a 10-2 season and another appearance in the sub-state championship game. Casey led the Cardinals with 109 tackles. He rushed for 1,268 yards, averaging 8.5 yards per carry. His best offensive outing was in the season opener against Norton in which he ran for 213 yards. Casey was a first-team Class 1A All-State selection by The Topeka Capital-Journal and was third-team All-State overall by The Capital-Journal. He was first-team Class 1A by the KFBCA and The Capital-Journal, a first-team All-MCL pick and selected to play in the Kansas Shrine Bowl. Casey has committed to play football for the University of Kansas.
Jordan Finnesy, Plainville, 6-1, 180, sr., QB/DB
A dual threat, Finnesy combined for 2,238 yards of offense — 1,215 on the ground and 1,023 through the air in 12 games. He accounted for a total of 32 touchdowns for the Cardinals. He recorded a team-high four interceptions on defense while notching 82 tackles. Finnesy rushed for at least one touchdown in every game and had nine TDs on the ground over the Cardinals last four games. He ran for a season-high 143 yards with three touchdowns on just seven carries in a 53-21 playoff win over Ell-Saline. His best game through the air was a 10-for-16 performance with three touchdowns and no interceptions in a 43-0 win against Ellis in Week 7. He was a first-team selection on the All-MCL team and was first-team Class 1A by The Topeka Capital-Journal and KFBCA.
Gaven Haselhorst, Hays High, jr., 6-0, 215, DE
Haselhorst enjoyed a huge season for the Indians from his defensive end spot, ranking second in the WAC with 113 tackles, including 22 stops for loss. He also forced two fumbles and had two fumble recoveries. Haselhorst notched 12 tackles in the Indians’ playoff win over Goddard-Eisenhower. He had 10 tackles and a fumble recovery in the Indians’ second-round playoff loss to Maize South. “Gaven Haselhorst has to be one of the most electric and physical and play-making defensive linemen in the state,” Hays High coach Tony Crough said after the Indians’ win over Eisenhower. Haselhorst was a first-team All-WAC selection.
Darrien Holloway, Osborne, 6-0, 175, sr., RB/DB
Holloway helped lead the Bulldogs to an undefeated season and the fourth state title in program history. Holloway rushed for 1,295 yards and 24 touchdowns in 12 games. He missed Osborne’s playoff win over South Barber but returned next week for the semifinal, rushing for a season-high 195 yards and three touchdowns in a 52-26 win over Hutchinson Central Christian. In the Eight-Man Division II state title game, Holloway went for 130 yards on 20 carries with two touchdowns. On defense, he logged 72 tackles with two interceptions for the season. Holloway was a first-team Eight-Man Division II All-Class selection by the Topeka Capital-Journal.
Kade Melvin, Norton, 6-0, 180, sr., QB/DB
(HDN Offensive Player of the Year)
Melvin amassed 3,082 yards in his standout senior season for the Bluejays, who reached the state championship game for the first time since 1989. Melvin threw for 1,875 yards and 12 touchdowns while rushing for 1,207 yards and 19 TDs. Melvin made several key plays in Norton’s 10-8 Class 2A semifinal win over previously-unbeaten Hoisington. Melvin recorded 71 tackles and three interceptions on defense for the season. Melvin rushed for a season-high 172 yards and four touchdowns in a 34-32 playoff win against Conway Springs. His best game through the air was in Week 6 against Thomas More Prep-Marian, completing 11 of 15 passes for 228 yards and two touchdowns. Melvin was a first-team All-MCL selection, a first-team All-Class 2A pick by the Topeka Capital-Journal, and was named to the KFBCA Class 2A team. He was selected to represent the Bluejays in the Kansas Shrine Bowl.
Gavin Meyers, Hays High, 6-2, 215, sr., LB
Meyers was the WAC’s leading tackler with 116 stops. He recorded 13 tackles for loss, two sacks, three forced fumbles, one interception, five pass breakups and one blocked kick. "When you turn everything right in to Gavin Meyers, who’s an absolute monster back there, it makes it pretty tough to move the ball,” HHS coach Tony Crough said. Meyers’ top games included a 14-tackle outing in Hays High’s 45-20 win over Wichita South and an 18-tackle effort in the Indians’ 13-12 overtime victory at Liberal. He was a first-team pick on the All-WAC team. Meyers is already receiving Division I interest, with offers from Colorado and Kansas State.
Joel Montgomery, Smith Center, 6-1, 180, sr., OL/DL
Montgomery paved the way for the Redmen’s rushing attack at center. The Redmen relied heavily on the senior center after losing two starting linemen to injury during the season. He helped the Redmen amass 337.4 yards per game on the ground. On defense, Montgomery led the Redmen with 108 tackles. He logged 17 tackles for loss. Montgomery recorded six double-digit tackle performances, including 11 stops against Plainville in the sub-state championship game. He was a first-team All-Class 1A selection by Topeka Capital-Journal and KFBCA. He will represent the Redmen in the Kansas Shrine Bowl
Reece Struckhoff, Thunder Ridge, 5-10, 190, sr., QB/RB/DB
Struckhoff put together one of the most prolific seasons in Kansas Eight-Man history. He set single-season Eight-man records in touchdowns scored (52) and points (352). He rushed for 2,167 yards, averaging nearly 14 yards per carry. He ran for over 200 yards five times and went for 305 yards in the Longhorns’ quarterfinal playoff loss to Hutchinson Central Christian. On defense, Struckhoff racked up 166 tackles. He had a season-high 26 tackles in a 48-22 win over Hill City in Week 3. Struckhoff was a first-team Eight-Man Division II selection by the Topeka Capital-Journal.
Judson Wiltfong, Norton, 6-5, 220., sr., OL/DL
Wiltfong was a huge force on the defensive line, racking up 156 tackles, including 26 tackles for loss and 10 sacks. He also had 28 quarterback hurries, two fumble recoveries and a safety. Wiltfong recorded nine double-digit tackle performances. Wiltfong and the offensive line helped the Bluejays run for nearly 200 yards per game. He had 16 tackles in the Bluejays’ 10-8 victory over Hoisington in the Class 2A semifinals. He helped the Norton defense allow just 17.9 points per game. Norton finished 9-4, a five-win improvement from the year before. Wiltfong was a first-team Class 1A selection by The Topeka Capital-Journal and KFBCA. Wiltfong has committed to Fort Hays State.
Coach of the year — Steve Tiernan, Osborne
Returning for his second stint as Bulldogs’ head coach, Tiernan guided the Bulldogs to a perfect season in his first year back at Osborne. It was Osborne’s fourth state title in program history and the second under Tiernan, who also coached Osborne to an Eight-Man championship in 2013. Osborne outscored its opponents 610-180 on the season. In the Eight-Man Division II playoffs, the Bulldogs defeated Sharon Springs (56-8), Sylvan-Lucas (40-6), South Barber (28-20), Hutchinson Central Christian (52-26) before capturing the title with a 34-26 win over Axtell. Tiernan has four state championships in his career, also guiding Baileyville B&B to championships in 2008 and 2010. He owns a career record of 174-32 in 17 seasons as a head coach.
11-man first team
Brock Brown, sr., La Crosse
Trenton Colby, sr., Smith Center
Colby Dreiling, sr., TMP-Marian
Christien Hawks, jr., Norton
Griffin Kugler, jr., Smith Center
Aaron Kurth, sr., Colby
Michael Showalter, sr., La Crosse
Calvin Stapp, sr., Colby
Brandon Vacura, sr., Norton
Konnor Pfeifer, so., Ellis
Tucker Veach, jr., Hays High
11-man second team
Trey Adams, sr., Hays High
Hagan Booi, jr., Colby
Brian Carbajal, sr., Ellis
Cody Crawford, sr., Plainville
Hunter Morgan, sr., La Crosse
Landon Rinehart, jr., Colby
Jonah Ruder, jr., Norton
Ty Sides, jr., Phillipsburg
Dante Smith, sr., Norton
Charlie Timmons, jr., Smith Center
Ellis Slack, sr., Oakley
11-Man third team
Ethan Abell, jr., Oakley
Leyton Cure, jr., Goodland
Kade Harris, fr., TMP-Marian
Blake Herrmann, sr., La Crosse
Weston Pfeifer, sr., TMP-Marian
Peyton Rathbun, jr., Plainville
Jonah Smith, jr., Plainville
Colton Shoemaker, sr., Smith Center
Brell Spiess, sr., Smith Center
Luke Wahlmeier, sr., Norton
Lucas Webster, jr., La Crosse
Eight-Man first team
Jesse Baxter, jr., St. Francis
Shadryon Blanka, jr., St. Francis
Brady Dinkel, sr., St. Francis
Kirk Huser, sr., Victoria
Dalen Journigan, sr., Hill City
Connor Goheen, sr., Osborne
Hunter Price, sr., WaKeeney
Steele Wolters, sr., Osborne
Eight-Man second team
Joseph Ferguson, sr., Thunder Ridge
Adam Krien, jr., St. Francis
Harlan Obioha, jr., Hoxie
Colton Neitzel, jr., St. Francis
Jayvon Pruitt, jr., Victoria
Jett Vincent, fr., Wheatland-Grinnell
Wylie Weems, sr., Hoxie
Trevor Zarybnicky, jr., Wheatland-Grinnell
Eight-Man third team
Justice Clarke, jr., Hill City
Riggs Reneberg, sr., Thunder Ridge
Tra Barrientes, jr., Sylvan Lucas
Beau Batchman, sr., Sylvan-Lucas
Hector Rodriguez, sr., Ness City
Dillon Dunn, sr., WaKeeney
Rylan Basart, so., Stockton
Mason Schurr, so., Osborne
Eight-man honorable mention
Gage Conyac, sr., Stockton; Cody Presler, so., Hill City; Cooper Desormiers, jr., WaKeeney-Trego, Jayce Nider, sr., St. Francis; Dawson Kempt, sr., Oberlin, Kobi Shubert, jr., WaKeeney-Trego, Jose Guzman, so., Ness City, Nate Cruz, sr., Logan-Palco; Jace Schoen, so., Lakeside; Dylan Weimer, sr., Hoxie; Gunner Yocum, sr., Northern Valley; Brendon Sammons, jr., Northern Valley; Weston Schmidt, sr., Triplains-Brewster, Evan Garman, sr., Osborne, Alex Van Patten, sr., Northern Valley; Grant Schoenrock, so., Victoria; Drayden Karlin, jr., Victoria; Hunter Mitchell, sr., Otis Bison; Seth Hoopingarner, sr., Otis-Bison, Ian Sparks, jr., Logan Palco; Bevin Gradig, sr., Otis Bison; Gavon Uehlin, jr., Oberlin; Marshall Hurlbut, jr., Sylvan-Lucas; Kilby Meyer, sr., Sylvan-Lucas; Easton Seib, sr., Ness City.