Two days after the high school football season ended in Missouri and Kansas, the Thomas A. Simone Awards committee announced the finalists for its annual postseason awards.
Blue Valley senior quarterback Matthew Dercher, Park Hill senior defensive end Chester Graves, Staley senior halfback Julian Ross and Shawnee Mission North senior quarterback Will Schneider are the four finalists for the Simone Award, the top honor of the bunch, which is presented to the most outstanding player in the Kansas City metro area. The winner will be announced Dec. 6.
Dercher led Blue Valley to its second straight Kansas Class 6A runner-up finish. He threw for 3,136 yards and 35 touchdowns this fall and also rushed for 200 yards and five scores.
Graves, the lone defensive player up for the award, had 126 tackles, including 25 for loss and six sacks. He is the Park Hill record-holder for career sacks and tackles for loss.
Ross rushed for Staley records of 2,257 yards and 37 touchdowns and led the Falcons to the Missouri Class 5 semifinals. He topped 200 yards six times in 13 games.
Schneider, a four-year starter at Shawnee Mission North, set a Kansas high school state record for career passing yards with 8,901. He threw for 3,035 yards and 31 touchdowns this season and helped the Indians to their first Kansas Class 6A playoff victory since 2003.
The other finalists:
▪ Buck Buchanan Award (best lineman/linebacker): Graves, Blue Valley senior Michael Maffry, Blue Springs junior Daniel Parker, Raymore-Peculiar senior Anthony Payne.
▪ Frank Fontana Award (top small-class player): Platte County senior Justin Mitchell, Kearney senior Anthony Pritzel, Bishop Miege junior Carter Putz, Center junior Amaun Ryan.
▪ Bobby Bell Award (best small-class lineman/linebacker): Bishop Miege senior Colin Grunhard, Platte County senior Derek Kohler, Kearney senior Ethan Luft, Center senior John Taylor, Basehor-Linwood junior TJ Williams.
▪ Otis Taylor Award (top wide receiver): Bishop Miege senior Jafar Armstrong, Kearney senior Jess Davis, Belton senior Nick Snider, Blue Valley senior Harrison Van Dyne.