Kpreps 2012 Players of the Year

Jan 28, 2013

Share This Story:


We’ve reviewed our notes from the season, analyzed the statistics, studied video, and consulted with all of our contributors. It wasn’t easy, but the result is this list of the offensive and defensive players of the year for each classification.

Keep checking back as we’ll conclude our postseason awards with the announcement of the finalists and eventually the winner of the Dylan Meier – Get Busy Livin’ Player of the Year Award. 

Class 6A


Brett Sterbach, Shawnee Mission West, RB, senior – While Shawnee Mission West’s run to the 6A State Championship was a complete team effort, it was Sterbach that stole the majority of the headlines.  And for good reason.  The 5-foot-7, 165-pound senior became the first running back in school history to rush for more than 2,000 yards in a season. He carried 322 times for 2,228 yards and scored 22 times.  His 273-yard performance in the state championship victory over Hutchinson capped a brilliant two-year career out of the Viking backfield. Sterbach was named a Kpreps 6A All-State running back and was picked as a Top 11 player by The Topeka Capital-Journal and The Wichita Eagle. He also earned 6A honors by each of those publications and All-Metro honors from The Kansas City Star.


Will Geary, Topeka High, DL, senior – A two-time Kpreps Class 6A All-State selection on the defensive line, Geary was a huge part of the best season in Trojan football history.  The 6-foot-1, 305-pound senior registered 104 tackles, including 15 tackles for loss and four quarterback sacks in leading Topeka High to a 9-2 record and the schools’ first-ever playoff victory. Geary also was a dominant force on an offensive line that paved the way for more than 3,000 rushing yards. Geary was named the defensive most valuable player of the Centennial League this season, and also received Top 11 recognition by both The Wichita Eagle and The Topeka Capital-Journal.

Class 5A


Zeke Palmer, Bishop Carroll, QB, senior – Palmer was the catalyst of a Bishop Carroll offense that averaged more than 52 points per game.  He completed an astounding 71.5 percent of his 221 pass attempts on the season, throwing for 2,333 yards and 22 touchdowns against only a pair of interceptions.  Palmer was also a threat out of the backfield tallying more than 530 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns. Palmer earned Kpreps All-State recognition at quarterback in Class 5A and was named a Top 11 player by The Topeka Capital-Journal and The Wichita Eagle.


Zach Befort, Bishop Carroll, DL, senior – Bishop Carroll was so dominant in Class 5A this season that it only makes sense that the Golden Eagles have both the offensive and defensive players of the year.  Befort led the Carroll defense with 83 tackles, including 28 tackles for loss and six quarterback sacks.  The 6-foot-3, 250-pound defensive lineman was in the Bishop Miege backfield all day during the 5A state championship game and registered three tackles for loss and two sacks.  Befort was a Kpreps Class 5A All-State selection on the defensive line and received Top 11 honors from The Wichita Eagle.

Class 4A


Holton offensive line – Maybe this is a bit of an unfair pick given all the great individual performances across the state, but how can we not recognize a group that was so dominant in their run to an undefeated state title?  The Holton offensive line paved the way for 5,459 rushing yards and 71 touchdowns this season out of the Barta Bone.  Nineteen Wildcat rushers combined to average 7.3 yards per attempt and two, junior Drake Ewing (1,317) and senior Cameron Karn (1,269) topped the 1,000-yard mark. 

Just as several backs carried the ball for the Holton offense, several linemen cleared their path. Those contributing include a Kpreps 4A All-State selection in Brandon Schumann (5-10, 265, Sr); centers Grant Mercer (6-1, 185, Sr) and Kyle Mick (5-9, 155, Jr); guards Dalton Beightel (5-10, 235, Jr) and Bradley Hooper (5-10, 260, Jr); tackles Cooper Allen (5-10, 280, So), Jake Riederer (6-3, 255, Jr), and Cooper Zeller (6-1, 260, Jr); and tight ends Tyler Burdiek (6-3, 220, Sr), Ryan Haefke (6-4, 200, Sr), and Dylan Wheeler (6-1, 195, Jr).


Trent Tanking, Holton, LB, senior – One of the best linebackers in the state, Tanking has been a fixture on the Wildcat defense for the past three seasons.  During his senior campaign, the 6-foot-2, 220-pound senior logged 135 tackles, nine tackles for loss, and five quarterback sacks. As a team, Holton allowed less than ten points per game and posted four shutouts. Tanking was a Kpreps All-State selection at linebacker and was named a Top 11 performer by The Topeka Capital-Journal and the Wichita Eagle. He also received 4A All-State honors from both of those publications.

Class 3A


Tanner Wood, Conway Springs, QB-RB, senior – There were a lot of great individual efforts in Class 3A this season, but Wood stands out with his 2,709 rushing yards and 39 touchdowns.  He also stands out because at 6-foot-5 and 240 pounds, he’s probably not the ideal type of ball carrier in a single-wing offense based on deception.  Nonetheless, Wood caught everyone’s attention with his state-record 659-yard and nine touchdown rushing performance in the Cardinals 84-56 win over Chaparral. Wood, who has verbally committed to Kansas State, also logged more than 100 tackles from his linebacker position where he was a Kpreps 3A All-State selection as a junior in 2011.  This season, his All-State recognition came on the offensive side of the ball.  He was also recognized as a Top 11 performer by The Topeka Capital-Journal and The Wichita Eagle.


Blake Baird, Silver Lake, LB, senior – A Kpreps All-State selection at linebacker, Baird (6-0, 200) led the Eagles with 151 tackles, 12 sacks, and an interception during his senior season.  He averaged nearly 11 tackles per game and registered 12 stops in the 3A state championship game last fall.  Silver Lake allowed just over nine points per game in 2012. As a junior in 2011, Baird made 104 tackles, three sacks, and recovered three fumbles. Baird also received 3A All-State honors at linebacker by both The Topeka Capital Journal and The Wichita Eagle.

Class 2-1A


Chris Hardaway, Meade, QB, senior – A Kpreps All-State selection at quarterback, Hardaway provided incredible balance to Meade’s traditionally run-heavy offense. As good as running back Trevin Wiens was (1,654 yards, 27 TDs), it was the dual-threat of Hardaway that made this Meade team special.  He rushed for 1,157 yards and 16 touchdowns and completed 62 percent of his passes for 1,178 yards and 19 scores.  In the state championship game, he threw two touchdown passes in the final three minutes to lead the Buffaloes to their second 2-1A state championship title in the past three seasons. In the win over Centralia, Hardaway accounted for 208 yards of offense and the final two scoring drives to rally the Buffs from down 25-14.

For his career, Hardaway finished with 2,267 yards rushing and 35 touchdowns, 1,905 yards passing and 29 scores, and over 100 tackles and 12 interceptions. He was a Kpreps All-District selection at quarterback and defensive back in 2012 as well as receiving the same honors as a DB in 2011.  Hardaway received All-State honors as a defensive back by both The Topeka Capital Journal and The Wichita Eagle this past fall.


Kip Keeley, La Crosse, LB, senior – Keeley is a two time Kpreps Class 2-1A All-State selection at linebacker.  This season, the 6-foot-3, 210-pound senior registered 96 tackles, two sacks, and two interceptions on a Leopard defense that allowed only 12.5 points per game.  On the offensive side of the ball, Keeley had his most productive season of his high school career.  He rushed 124 times for 1,047 yards and 16 touchdowns and caught 28 passes for 516 yards and five scores as a fullback. For his career, Keeley rushed for more than 2,500 yards and 35 touchdowns, had nearly 900 receiving yards and six scores, and logged 265 tackles and 11 interceptions.

Kip is a two-time All-District selection by Kpreps at both running back and linebacker and was named the District 5 defensive MVP this season. He was a 2-1A All-State selection at linebacker by The Topeka Capital-Journal and The Wichita Eagle in 2012.

8-Man Division I


Cole Becker, Marmaton Valley, RB, senior – Becker was a standout player for a Marmaton Valley team that went 10-1 and reached the state quarterfinals.  The 5-foot-10, 190-pound senior averaged over 200 yards rushing per game and finished with 2,236 yards and 36 touchdowns.  The Wildcat offense averaged more than 54 points per game.  Becker was also strong from his linebacker position with 90 tackles and an interception.

Becker earned Kpreps All-State as a running back in 2012 and as a linebacker in 2011.   He was also a Kpreps All-District selection on both sides of the ball in each of the past two seasons.  Becker was named the offensive and defensive MVPs of the district in 2012 in addition to being named the district defensive MVP in 2011. He also received All-State recognition as a linebacker by The Topeka Capital-Journal this past fall.


Dalton Gantz, Ness City, LB, senior – Gantz was the leader of 8-Man’s most dominant team this past fall.  The 6-foot, 200-pound running back and linebacker helped Ness City to a 13-0 season and the Division I state title.  The Eagles dominated their opponents by an average score of 49 to 5.  Gantz registered 90 tackles, a sack, and two interceptions for the Eagle defense which surrendered only 70 points all season and posted five shutouts.  On the offensive side of the ball, Gantz carried 142 times for 1,155 yards and 23 touchdowns.  He also had 289 yards receiving and a pair of scores.  
Gantz was named to the Kpreps 8 Man-I All-State team as a linebacker in 2012, and has received Kpreps All-District honors the past three seasons at linebacker and the past two seasons at running back. He has been the Kpreps district defensive MVP the past two seasons and was also named the district offensive MVP this past fall. Dalton also received 8-Man All-State honors as a running back by The Wichita Eagle and as a linebacker by The Topeka Capital Journal.

8-Man Division II


Kyle Hammond, Colony-Crest, QB/RB, senior – Hammond complete a stellar four-year career as a starter for the Lancers by leading Crest to the state quarterfinals.  This past fall, he rushed for 2,020 yards and 38 touchdowns, completed 62 percent of his passes for 1,119 yards and 12 scores, had 160 receiving yards and three touchdowns, and registered 118 tackles on defense.  Oh yeah, he also kicked, punted, and returned kicks for the Lancers too. 

During his career, the 6-foot-1, 210-pound Hammond rushed for 5,775 yards and 102 touchdowns, threw for 2,628 yards and 39 scores, had 377 yards receiving and seven touchdowns, and made 355 tackles on defense.  He scored 806 career points, including 288 points this past season.  He has earned Kpreps All-District honors the past three years on offense and the past two on defense.  Hammond has been selected as the Kpreps District MVP on offense each of the past three seasons.  He also was a Kpreps 8 Man-II All-State Selection on offense this past season. 


Cole Brady, Chase, DB, senior – Brady put up incredible numbers on both sides of the ball during his senior season, but his dominance in the defensive secondary earns him this spot.  The 6-foot, 180-pound Brady registered 91 tackles, five tackles for loss, and intercepted 12 passes.  He totaled 400 interception return yards on the season and took two picks back for touchdowns. On offense, Cole carried 250 times for 1,990 yards and 36 touchdowns to lead the Kats to a 7-3 record and a playoff spot. 

Brady was a Kpreps All-State selection at defensive back, and a two-time Kpreps All-District pick at running back and linebacker. He also was given 8-Man All-State honors by both The Topeka Capital-Journal and The Wichita Eagle.

Use your Facebook account to add a comment or start a discussion. Posts are subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment.