Through the Uprights: Mike Lavieri 9/15

By Mike Lavieri PrepsKC staff writer
Posted: September 15, 2015 - 7:11 PM

It’s never too early to take a peek at potential Simone Award winners. Fort Osage quarterback Skylar Thompson is the front-runner for anybody on the Missouri side of the state line, but we’ll look at potential winners from Kansas.

Lawrence High’s J.D. Woods is my front-runner in Kansas. Through two games, he’s run for 285 yards and eight scores. If Lawrence continues its dominance, Woods could eclipse the 2,000-yard mark on the season.

He rushed for more than 1,600 yards last season on a Lions team that went 5-5 and lost in the first round of the playoffs.

Bishop Miege’s Dawson Downing is right up there after his week one performance where he ran for 254 yards and five touchdowns. In week two he only ran for 34 yards and one touchdown.

Downing will need to be more consistent if he wants to have a chance at the award. Great weeks followed up by so-so weeks aren’t going to cut it when players like Woods are consistently rushing for 100-plus yards and three scores.

Mill Valley’s Logan Koch and Christian Jegen are also deserving of a look.

Koch through two games has passed for 376 yards and six touchdowns. He’s also run for 187 yards and three touchdowns. Koch is able to beat teams with his arm and his feet.

It helps that Koch has a receiver like Jegen to throw to. He has scored twice so far and has recorded 169 receiving yards.

Jegen is a playmaker on offense and is capable of making the big plays when needed, but I think he’s a better defensive back, and I think that’s what he’ll play in college. He has terrific hands and is a ball hawk. If he were to play offense, he’d most likely be in the slot.

Bonner Springs’ Connor Byers and Shawnee Mission North’s Will Schneider are long shots in my book, but deserve to be mentioned.

Byers, like Koch, can make plays with his arm and his feet, but he also plays defensive back, returns and kicks punts. He’s a do-it-all player that will be an asset at the next level because of his versatility. I think if Byers was at a larger 5A or 6A school, he’d get a little more love.

Schneider has started every game he has played at the high-school level, which currently stands at 21 and counting. He has a strong arm and is very accurate, but where he falls short is the Indians aren’t consistently winning like the other programs listed.

It will be interesting to see how things shake out the next 85 days.