Indians sweep top WAC football awards
Hays High swept the top awards on the All-Western Athletic Conference football team.
Gaven Haselhorst was defensive player of the year, Jordan Dale offensive player of the year and Tony Crough coach of the year.
The WAC-champion Indians landed 13 players on the all-conference team released Thursday with eight first-team selections.
Haselhorst, a senior defensive end and Kansas State commit, was joined on the first team-defense by senior defensive end Trey Adams, junior linebacker Gavin Meyers and senior safety Tucker Veach.
Junior running back Dylan Dreiling, junior receiver/running back Jaren Kanak and junior offensive lineman Gavin Nutting joined junior quarterback Dale on the first-team offense.
Junior defensive lineman Carson Spray, senior linebacker Dalton Dale and senior defensive back Brett Orth were second-team picks on defense. Junior receiver Carson Kieffer and senior tight end Bryce Salmans earned second-team honors on offense.
Haselhorst, one of the top defensive players in the state, logged 77 tackles in eight games and led the lead the league in sacks (6), forced fumbles (4) and tackles for loss (32).
“I think the fact that we’ve just all been playing together for so long made a big difference for us,” Haselhorst, a 6-1, 230-pounder, told Brett Marshall for WACathletics.com. “The defense was the strength of our team and our secondary started to play way more aggressively, which allowed us to be more aggressive in the pass rush.”
Dale was thrust into duty at quarterback after Dreiling was out of the lineup in Week 2 against Great Bend. He answered the call with a 229-yard rushing effort on the ground and four touchdowns.
He finished the season with 482 yards rushing and completed 39 of 71 passes with three touchdowns and four interceptions.
“I think our offense as a whole made a lot of improvement over last year,” Dale told wacathletics.com. “I don’t know if, or how much, I got better. If you’d told me at the start of the year that I would be player of the year, I would not have believed you.”
Hays High has improved in each of three seasons under Crough, who guided the Indians to a 5-3 overall record in 2020 with a 4-0 mark in WAC play.
“I think we’d seen this coming,” Crough told wacathletics.com. “We had a lot of seniors who had been playing since they were sophomores. That’s a lot of experience and you have that hope of things coming together. This year, we made a move more in the right direction.”
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