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Simone Finalists Announced

By Simone Awards, 11/28/16, 8:00PM CST


The 2016 finalists are revealed for the Simone Awards

Thomas A. Simone Award Finalists


The finalists for the 34th Annual Thomas A. Simone Memorial Award, which is given annually to the most outstanding football player in the Kansas City metropolitan area, are: 

Matthew Dercher, Sr. QB, Blue Valley – The EKL Offensive Player of the Year threw for 3,144 yards and 35 touchdowns. Led the Tigers to the 6-A title game and an unbeaten EKL championship.

Chester Graves, Sr. DE, Park Hill – Two-time conference Defensive Player of the Year. Over 25 FBS offers. Also a Buck Buchanan Award finalist for the second time. 

Julian Ross, Sr. RB, Staley – Rushed for school records 2,257 yards and 37 touchdowns. Added 277 yards and 4 touchdowns on 15 catches. Suburban White Conference Offensive Player of the Year.

Will Schneider, Sr. QB, Shawnee Mission North – Threw for 8,901 yards in his career, a new Kansas state record. Had 3,035 passing yards and 31 touchdowns this season. First-Team All-Sunflower League QB.


Buck Buchanan Award Finalists

The 25th Annual Buck Buchanan Memorial Award will be given to the best lineman/linebacker in Missouri’s and 

Kansas’ top two classes (MO 5-6, KS 5A-6A). The finalists are: 

Chester Graves, Sr. DE, Park Hill – Also a 2015 Buchanan finalist. Had 126 tackles, 82 solo, with 25 tackles for loss and six sacks. Holds the Park Hill single-season and career records for TFL and sacks. 

Michael Maffry, Sr. LB, Blue Valley – 183 tackles, 1 sack, 3 tackles for loss and 3 interceptions. Two-time All-Simone Team selection. Was EKL Defensive Player of the Year.

Daniel Parker, Jr. OL, Blue Springs – Did not allow a sack while registering 65 pancake blocks. Unanimous first-team all-conference performer. Has multiple major college football scholarship offers.

Anthony Payne, Sr. DL, Raymore-Peculiar –Finished with 80 tackles, 8 sacks and 13 tackles for loss. Was a first-team all-state selection last year. Committed to play for Kansas State.


Frank Fontana Award Finalists


The 18th Annual Frank Fontana Award will be given to the most outstanding small class (MO 1-4, KS 1A-4A) football player in the metro. The finalists are: 

Justin Mitchell, Sr. QB, Platte County – Threw for 2,544 yards and 27 touchdowns. Also averaged nearly 39 yards per punt. Had a 22-6 record in three years as starting QB. Suburban Blue Co-Offensive Player of the Year.

Anthony Pritzel, Sr. QB, Kearney – Finished with nearly 2,500 passing yards and 26 touchdowns for the state finalists. Also ran for nearly 1,000 yards and 18 touchdowns. Suburban Blue Co-Offensive Player of the Year.

Carter Putz, Jr. QB, Bishop Miege – Threw for 3,264 yards and a school-record 50 TDs for the state champion Stags. Had only 3 interceptions and completed over 71% of his passes. First-Team All-EKL. 

Amaun Ryan, Jr. QB, Center – Completed 77% of his passes, finishing with 2,257 yards, 32 TDs and 3 interceptions. Two-time all-conference pick and the 2016 WCC Offensive Player of the Year. 


Bobby Bell Award Finalists

The 17th Annual Bobby Bell Award will be given to the best lineman/linebacker in Missouri’s and Kansas’ smallest four classes (MO 1-4, KS 1A-4A). There was a tie for fourth place so the Bell Award’s five finalists are: 

Colin Grunhard, Sr. OL, Bishop Miege – Four-year starter, started 50 straight games. Two-time First-Team All-EKL and an all-state selection last year. Played every offensive line position at different times this season.

Derek Kohler, Sr. OL, Platte County – Three-year starter and four-year letter-winner. First-Team All-Suburban Blue. Was a Third-Team All-State pick by the coaches last year. Missouri State commit. 

Ethan Luft, Sr. LB, Kearney – Had 172 tackles, including 107 solo stops. Set a school record with 21 solo tackles in the Class 4 Quarterfinals. 2015 Second-Team All-State. Suburban Blue Defensive Player of the Year.     

John Taylor, Sr. LB, Center – Finished with 133 tackles, 24 tackles for loss and 6 sacks. Led defense that allowed just 9 points per game. Two-time First-Team All-WCC pick.   

TJ Williams, Jr. LB, Basehor-Linwood –Tallied 80 tackles, 16 tackles for loss and 1 interception for the 11-1 Bobcats who advanced to the Class 4A-I Semifinals. 

Otis Taylor Award Finalists

The 9th Annual Otis Taylor Award will be given to the top tight end/wide receiver in the metro area. The finalists are: Jafar Armstrong, Sr. WR, Bishop Miege – Had 54 catches for 1,277 yards and 21 TDs. Had 8 catches for 222 yards and 3 TDs in the state title game win. Set a new state record with 45 career receiving TDs. MU Commit.

Jess Davis, Sr. WR, Kearney – Had 83 receptions for 1,539 yards and 18 TDs. Two-time First-Team All-Suburban Blue. Set eight different single-game, season and career receiving school records.  

Nick Snider, Sr. WR, Belton – Tallied 1,254 yards on 90 catches with 17 touchdowns in just 11 games. Also ran for 135 yards and 5 TDs.  

Harrison Van Dyne, Sr. WR, Blue Valley –Finished with 67 receptions for 1,096 yards and 12 touchdowns. First-Team All-EKL receiver, also returns punts and starts at CB. 

More About Simone Awards

The Simone Awards are voted on by the member head coaches of the Greater Kansas City Football Coaches Association (GKCFCA) and a 12-member media committee. 


Bryan DeLong of Center and Eric Driskell of Blue Valley were recognized as the Spectrum Sports Missouri and Kansas Coaches of the Year. Former Blue Springs South head coach Greg Oder was recognized with the Lifetime Achievement Award.  Travis Martin of Lincoln Prep and Michael Brown of East were given the Interscholastic League Offensive and Defensive Player of the Year Awards.  Also, the 7th Annual All-Simone Team was announced and is attached.   


All of these individuals will also be recognized, as well as winners announced of the Simone, Fontana, Buchanan, Bell, Taylor, Nathan Stiles Inspiration Award and Gordon Docking Award for excellence in high school sports reporting, at the 33rd Annual Simone Awards ceremony Tuesday, December 6, at 9:45 AM.  Media will receive notification of the ceremony’s location Monday afternoon.