Down to the Final Four

By PrepsKC staff
Posted: December 9, 2018 - 9:44 PM

Tonight the finalists for the Simone Awards was announced on FOX4. The awards will be handed out 6 p.m. Sunday Dec. 16 at Olathe West High School.

The finalists for the 36th Annual Thomas A. Simone Memorial Award, which is given annually to the most outstanding football player in the Kansas City metropolitan area, are:

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.

CJ Price, sr., RB/LB, North Kansas City – The Hornets tailback was a big reason behind North Kansas City’s best season in decades. He rushed for 3,022 yards and 38 touchdowns on 314 carries as the Hornests finished the year 9-2 with losses to only Raytown in the regular season and defending Missouri Class 5 champion Staley in the district title game. Price finishes his career with more than 5,000 yards rushing. He also played defense for the Hornets and lined up at every position except defensive finishing with 43 tackle, four tackles for loss and one interception.

Daymonn Sanchez, Sr., RB, Olathe North – Sanchez was the workhorse of an Olathe North team that went 9-3 and advanced to the Kansas 6A semifinals falling to Blue Valley North 51-49. He finished the season with 2,413 yards rushing on 272 carries scoring 29 touchdowns. Sanchez also had three touchdown receptions in his nine passes caught during the season. He was named the Sunflower League Most Valuable Player and was third in the state of Kansas in total rushing yards.

Tank Young, Soph., running back, St. Thomas Aquinas – It was a breakout season for Young as he rushed for 2,075 yards in 10 games of action. The sophomore led Aquinas to its first-ever football state championship as the Saints defeated Wichita Northwest 49-28. Young had 332 yards and four touchdowns in the championship game after missing the semifinal game the week before. For the season he averaged 9.7 yards per carry and finished with 26 touchdowns.

The 27th 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:

Adetomiwa Adebawore, Sr., DE, North Kansas City – The senior finished the season with 64 tackles, 24 tackles for loss and 10 sacks leading the Hornets to a 9-2 record which was their best in decades. He was also the Suburban White Conference Defensive Player of the Year.

Danielson Ike, Sr., OL, Rockhurst – He anchored one of the top offensive lines in the city. Rockhurst finished the season 11-3 falling to CBC in the Missouri Class 6 state championship game.

Joe Michalski, Sr., OL, St. Thomas Aquinas – The top offensive lineman on the first Aquinas team to win a state championship. Saints also set a school record for rushing. He is committed to Oklahoma State.

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

Brison Cobbins, Jr., RB, Bishop Miege – Finished his junior season with 1,300 yards and 23 touchdowns on 205 carries. He was first-team EKL and helped lead the Stags to their fifth straight Kansas Class 4A state championship.

Dylan Mussett, Sr., QB, Basehor-Linwood – The senior threw for 2,335 yards and 21 touchdowns while rushing for another seven TDs. He helped the Bobcats to a 10-2 finish advancing all the way to the Class 4A semifinals where they lost to Bishop Miege.

Kellen Simoncic, Sr., QB, Smithville – Finished the season with 2,428 yards with 27 touchdowns. Simoncic helped lead the Warriors to their first district title in 18 seasons and a trip to the semifinals for the first time in more than three decades.

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 will be given to the best lineman/linebacker in Missouri’s and Kansas’ smallest four classes (MO 1-4, KS 1A-4A). The finalists are:

Brian Boyd, Sr., LB, Smithville – The senior was all over the field finishing the season with 125 solo tackles with eight of those behind the line of scrimmage. Boyd helped the Warriors to the Missouri Class 4 semifinals as they finished 12-2 on the season.

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.

Jace Friesen, Sr., DL, Basehor-Linwood – Was the anchor of the Bobcats defensive line finishing with 80 total tackles with 22 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks for the Class 4 semifinalist.

Chopper Mordecai, Sr., LB, Kearney – Amassed 93 total tackles with 72 of those coming all by himself. He added in 15 tackles for loss along with seven sacks and three forced fumbles for an 8-3 Kearney team.

The 11th Annual Otis Taylor Award will be given to the top tight end/wide receiver in the metro area. The finalists are:

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.

Keenan Garber, Sr., WR, Lawrence Free State – Was a touchdown and yardage machine finishing with 814 yards and 17 TDs on 34 catches for a 10-1 Lawrence Free State team.

Dylan Gilbert, Sr., WR, Platte County – Had a huge year that ended with him setting the all-time receiving mark at Platte County. He finished with 1,171 yards and 15 touchdowns on 71 receptions.

Garrett Thompson, Sr., WR, Smithville – Another key member of Smithville’s semifinal team finishing with 1,139 yards and 16 TDs on 66 receptions.

Winners of the of the Simone, Fontana, Buchanan, Bell, Taylor, Nathan Stiles Inspiration Award, Lifetime Achievement Award, Chiefs Coach of the Year and IL Players of the Year will be announced at the 36th Annual Simone Awards ceremony 6 p.m. Sunday, December 16 at Olathe West High School.