Graham Mertz wins the Simone Award

Sunday the 36th Annual Thomas A. Simone Awards were held at Olathe West High School.

The winners of five individual awards were announced along with several other honors

The winner of the Thomas A. Simone Award given annually to the most outstanding football player in the Kansas City metropolitan area, is Graham Mertz, Sr., QB, Blue Valley North – Graham Mertz just completed one of the most impressive seasons in Kansas football history. The senior threw for 4,008 yards along with a state record 51 touchdowns. He completed 61 percent of his 419 passes while only throwing 10 interceptions. He added four touchdowns on the ground and led Blue Valley North to the Kansas Class 6A title game where they lost to Derby. Mertz was a finalist last season as he led the Mustangs to their first-ever trip to the state championship game and the first-ever title.

The 27th Annual Buck Buchanan Memorial Award given to the best lineman/linebacker in Missouri’s and Kansas’ top two classes (MO 5-6, KS 5A-6A) is Von Young, Sr., LB, Fort Osage – Led Fort Osage to the Class 5 state championship game finishing the season with 107 total tackles with 12 tackles for loss and six sacks. He also forced three fumbles and had four interceptions from his middle linebacker position.

The 20th Annual Frank Fontana Award given to the most outstanding small class (MO 1-4, KS 1A-4A) football player in the metro is Spencer Stewart, Sr., QB, Platte County – Had a huge season to help Platte County finish 10-2 on the season. Stewart finished with 2,941 yards and 38 touchdowns.

The 19th Annual Bobby Bell Award given to the best lineman/linebacker in Missouri’s and Kansas’ smallest four classes (MO 1-4, KS 1A-4A) is Dylan Downing, Sr., LB, Bishop Miege – The senior led Miege to its fifth straight state championship season finishing with 110 total tackles, 72 of those solo with 12.5 tackles for loss. Downing also had 3.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and five interceptions.

The 11th Annual Otis Taylor Award given to the top tight end/wide receiver in the metro area is Cameron Burt, Sr. WR, Blue Valley North – Set the Kansas state single season yardage record with 1,838 to go along with 101 catches and 21 TDs in 13 games helping the Mustangs to their second straight trip to the Kansas Class 6A finals.

In addition to these awards the 8th Annual Nathan Stiles Inspiration Award, honoring the memory of the Spring Hill standout football player who died in 2010 after collapsing on the field, was given to Blue Springs High School coach Kelly Donohoe. The Wildcats coach has touched countless lives in his community and that community has rallied around him as he battles cancer.

Two lifetime achievement awards were given to retiring Free State Coach Bob Lisher and longtime contributor to the Simone Awards and the Simone Foundations Moe Lago.

Also the Interscholastic League Players of the Year David Wilson of East and Jermaine Hamilton-Jordan of Lincoln College Prep. The All-Simone Team selected by PrepsKC was also recognized.