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Through the Uprights: Mike Lavieri 10/21Photo Credit: Mike Lavieri

Tank Young made his case on Friday night for why he should be the Simone Award winner.

The St. Thomas Aquinas running back ran for 303 yards and three touchdowns on 52 carries in a 45-32 victory against Bishop Miege to give the Saints a perfect regular season and the Eastern Kansas League title.

The stat line is impressive regardless of the week, but what makes it even more impressive is that it came against Bishop Miege. That’s what the Metro’s best players do – they deliver in the biggest moments of the biggest games.

On the season, Young has rushed for 1,243 yards and 19 touchdowns.

There’s still plenty of season left on both sides of the state line, but with Kansas concluding its regular season next week, what better time to look at the front runners aside from Young for the award in the Sunflower State.

Devin Neal, Lawrence
The west side of the bracket in 6A is absolutely bonkers right now as there are seven teams that are 6-1 or better, including Lawrence. A big reason for that is Chesty Lions running back Devin Neal, who tallied four scores and 154 yards in a 35-10 victory over Olathe North on Friday.

Neal is up to 1,005 yards and 18 scores for the year.

If Lawrence has an opportunity to knock off Derby and successfully does it, there’s no doubt it’s because Neal played a role. If this happens, Neal will probably be among the 10 finalists for the award.

Arland Bruce IV, Olathe North
On the sideline opposite of Neal on Friday night was Olathe North’s Arland Bruce IV. While Bruce lines up under center, he’s only thrown 23 passes this year. Where he destroys teams is with his legs. He’s run for 1,366 yards and 21 touchdowns.

He’s the reason Olathe North is 5-2 and a real contender to represent the east side of the bracket in the 6A championship.

Ty Black, Shawnee Mission Northwest
Coming into week 7, only Basehor-Linwood’s Chase Torkelson had thrown for more yards than Shawnee Mission Northwest’s Ty Black. It helps that Black has wide receiver Ty Lindenman to throw to, and Black has thrown 12 of his 15 touchdowns to Lindenman.

The Cougars are sitting at 5-2 with their losses being to Lawrence and Gardner-Edgerton.

Tyler Bowden, Lawrence Free State
The Firebirds suffered an early loss to Olathe East and maybe dropped off the radar. Since that time Free State has won five straight and Bowden has led the way. The junior has rushed for 1,266 yards and 18 touchdowns of his own.

Free State is 6-1 heading into this week’s showdown with undefeated Lawrence.

Honorable Mention: Teven McKelvey, Gardner-Edgerton
Gardner-Edgerton quarterback Tevan McKelvey can sure pack a statbook when he needs to, but with weapons like Tayezhan Crough and Tyler Goetzmann, McKelvey doesn’t have to shoulder the load.

If the Simone went to the most valuable player, McKelvey is certainly the most valuable to his team.

The Blazers are a missed extra point away from being undefeated.