The Thomas A. Simone Award organizers go to great lengths to keep the winner in the dark. That can be a challenge, since the award ceremony takes place at the recipient’s school, usually in front of hundreds of students, dignitaries and live TV cameras.
This year’s presentation took place Dec. 6 at Staley High School, where Falcons running back Julian Ross accepted the 34th Simone Award, which goes to the top high school football player in the Kansas City area. Considering he rushed for 2,257 yards and 37 touchdowns for the 10-3 Falcons this past season, Ross’ selection didn’t come as much of a surprise.
Ross wasn’t the only Northland player honored at the ceremony. Kearney senior quarterback Anthony Pritzel received the Frank Fontana Award, given annually to the top small-class player. Fellow Bulldog and linebacker Ethan Luft, took home the Bobby Bell Award, which goes to the best small-class lineman or linebacker.
Park Hill senior defensive end Chester Graves won the Buck Buchanan Memorial Award as the best lineman or linebacker in the Kansas City area. Graves was also one of the four Simone Award finalists.