Varsity Football

The 2017 Wichita Eagle All-Metro football team

By Taylor Eldridge

teldridge@wichitaeagle.com

November 30, 2017 05:06 AM

UPDATED November 30, 2017 05:06 AM

OFFENSE

Carroll’s Thomas Helton.
Fernando Salazar The Wichita Eagle

Never miss a local story.

Sign up today for a free 30 day free trial of unlimited digital access.

WR

Thomas Helten

Carroll

6-4

185

Sr.

Finished with 64 receptions for 1,044 yards and 11 touchdowns and had his best game of the season in Carroll’s 38-28 victory over Aquinas in the 5A title game with 13 catches for 187 yards and a touchdown.

Carroll coach Dusty Trail on Helten: “He always had the physical ability, but Thomas was just so much more consistent this year in attacking and in his route running and becoming a more physical receiver. When people tried to jam him, he was able to release and get into his routes quicker. He had such confidence going up and attacking the ball in the air and you could see how far he came in the state title game.”

Trinity Academy's Caden Williams.
Fernando Salazar The Wichita Eagle

WR

Caden Williams

Trinity

6-4

185

Sr.

Caught 80 passes, in just nine games, for 1,220 yards and 19 touchdowns. Averaged 136 receiving yards per game.

Trinity coach Jared McDaniel on Williams: “He goes up and gets balls that have no business getting caught and he comes down with them. That’s the most impressive thing about Caden, just his ability to go up and get the football. He’s a great route runner and he is so good at finding the open space. He was huge for us this year.”

Derby's Evan Clark.
Fernando Salazar The Wichita Eagle

OL

Evan Clark

Derby

6-3

270

Sr.

Missed three games to injury, but was a dominant force on a Derby offense that averaged better 46 points. Was a major factor in the Panthers’ run to another state championship game appearance.

Derby coach Brandon Clark on Clark: “He’s not just a really, really good offensive lineman, he’s a great athlete in general and a true leader for us. He’s a kid who you can tell really enjoys the game of football. He came to practice every day with a smile on his face and he was ready to do his job and block people. He lifted up the spirits of all of our players because they knew all he wanted to do was serve his team.”

Collegiate's Mac Copeland.
Fernando Salazar The Wichita Eagle

OL

Mac Copeland

Collegiate

6-5

255

Sr.

Copeland turned in another standout season playing both ways for an undermanned Collegiate team. But the KU oral commit was at his best in his natural position on the offensive line.

Collegiate coach Mike Gehrer on Copeland: “His greatest attribute was his tenacity and his work ethic. He was constantly working all the time to be the best possible player he could be. He has the physical tools, but really he just out-worked everybody. That’s always been his No. 1 attribute all along. No matter how big or strong he is, he’s always working to be bigger and stronger. He has that relentless work ethic and he set a great example for our kids this season on the field and off.”

Andale's Grant Fairchild.
Fernando Salazar The Wichita Eagle

OL

Grant Fairchild

Andale

6-3

205

Sr.

A tenacious football player who was Andale’s best two-way player en route to the 4A I championship game. A great lineman, but a better linebacker, where he led Andale with 84 tackles and five sacks.

Andale coach Dylan Schmidt on Fairchild: “When it came time to make a play, Grant was our go-to guy. The guy was always around the ball and he’s just a complete football player. Offensively, we were able to move him around and play him at three different positions. We could plug him in anywhere and he would get the job done for us. Whether it was offense, defense, special teams, he was a guy who never left the field. We certainly would not have had the season we did without him.”

West's Casey Glann.
Fernando Salazar The Wichita Eagle

OL

Casey Glann

West

6-1

215

Sr.

Graded out above 90 percent every week for West, while also playing defense and contributing two sacks. Returned from a season-ending knee injury suffered his junior year for a standout senior season.

West coach Weston Schartz on Glann: “He was just a relentless blocker. When we had to get a first down and needed a block, he was the guy we went to to get the job done. He’s always been under-sized, but that never mattered to him. Just a very tough blocker and he can pull really well. He was just a complete lineman for us and we really missed him last year when he wasn’t available.”

Goddard's A.J. Vang.
Fernando Salazar The Wichita Eagle

OL

AJ Vang

Goddard

6-2

280

Sr.

A four-year starter at center and was left alone to block 1-on-1 for all of the season. He graded out at 89 percent for his career and finished with 121 pancakes, helping lead Goddard to a 28-7 record the last three years.

Goddard coach Scott Vang on Vang: “AJ is just a physical and dominant blocker at center. We basically left him alone to do his own thing. He took care of every nose guard we played and having a physical presence like that in the middle of your line that can be left alone 1 on 1 is such a luxury that you generally don’t have.”

Carroll's Braden Howell.
Fernando Salazar The Wichita Eagle

QB

Braden Howell

Carroll

6-2

185

Sr.

Accounted for more than 70 percent of Carroll’s offensive production, throwing for 3,086 yards with 33 touchdowns and 10 interceptions to go along 708 rushing yards and seven touchdowns. Led Carroll to 5A championship.

Carroll coach Dusty Trail on Howell: “What’s stood out the most about Braden’s development is how far he’s come mentally. He’s always had the physical attributes even when he was a young player for us. He threw the ball well, had good feet, could move around. But the mental aspects of the game and the leadership aspects of the game were what he was struggling with. This year he came so far in both of those and he really just took his game to another level this season.”

Kapaun’s Nick Channel.
Fernando Salazar The Wichita Eagle

RB

Nick Channel

Kapaun

6-1

200

Sr.

The all-time leading rusher in Kapaun history after rushing for 1,388 yards with 16 touchdowns this season. Was also a two-way force for the Crusaders, adding three sacks and an interception at linebacker.

Kapaun coach Dan Adelhardt on Channel: “He’s played more games than any player in Kapaun Mt. Carmel history and that speaks for itself. He never left the field. Injury, sickness, whatever it was, he never missed a game and never missed a down for us. He’s what every coach would want as the ultimate football warrior. I knew we had to get the ball to him this year and we just gave it to him and let him go. It was fun to watch.”

Northwest's Breece Hall.
Fernando Salazar The Wichita Eagle

RB

Breece Hall

Northwest

6-2

200

Jr.

In his first season starting, Hall became Northwest’s single-season rushing leader with 1,907 rushing yards (more than 2,000 in total) to go along with 30 overall touchdowns.

Northwest coach Steve Martin on Hall: “What makes Breece so special is that he has the ability to go through you or around you. He’s one of the best running backs I’ve ever coached. He’s the complete package, but what stands out about him is his vision. But really he has everything in his repertoire and he made us look really good on offense this season.”

Derby's Brody Kooser.
Fernando Salazar The Wichita Eagle

RB

Brody Kooser

Derby

5-10

185

Sr.

Powered Derby back to the 6A title game with 1,802 rushing yards and nearly 30 total touchdowns (including two kickoff returns). In Kooser’s two years starting, he finished with 2,916 rushing yards and 55 touchdowns.

Derby coach Brandon Clark on Kooser: “He has such a great attention to detail. The last couple of years he’s had more than 5,000 yards of all-purpose yards and touched the ball a ton of times. He’s only fumbled it away four times in the last two-plus years. It’s just little things like that. And then he also has the vision that not too many running backs have. He can read blocks so well and he knows the exact right time to plant and make his cuts.”

Sedgwick's Brayden Francis.
Fernando Salazar The Wichita Eagle

K

Brayden Francis

Sedgwick

5-11

160

Sr.

Made seven of eight field-goal attempts and had 13 touchbacks as a kicker. Also the all-time leading receiver at Sedgwick after totaling 65 receptions for 1,209 yards and 19 touchdowns this season.

Sedgwick coach Jeff Werner on Francis: “He was just an outstanding playmaker offensively and he scored 19 touchdowns for us this season at wideout, then he would turn around and after he scored the touchdown he would kick the extra point for us. He was a legitimate field goal threat. We knew anytime we were within 40 yards, we were going to score. And then on defense, he was our top corner and we could put him in man and cover the other team’s best player. He’s been our best player for the past two years and we hate to see him go.”

DEFENSE

Northwest's Marcus Hicks.
Fernando Salazar The Wichita Eagle

L

Marcus Hicks

Northwest

6-5

245

Jr.

Delivered on the hype built up this summer by producing 10 sacks, 59 tackles, and 18.5 tackles for loss on a Northwest team that made the 6A semifinals.

Northwest coach Steve Martin on Hicks: “I think everybody was waiting to see what he was going to be able to do this year and he delivered. He had a great offseason in the weight room and he continues to amaze us with his work ethic and what he does on and off the field and how humble he is.”

Maize South's John Moses.
Fernando Salazar The Wichita Eagle

L

John Moses

Maize South

5-10

190

Sr.

Delivered 101 tackles from his defensive end position on a stingy Maize South defense, while adding 11 sacks and 14 quarterback hurries from his weakside spot.

Maize South coach Brent Pfeifer on Moses: “John’s motor is just unbelievable. He had such a high knowledge of the game and has such a good ability to get off the ball. His first step was just phenomenal. He’s an amazing football player and he will be a lot of fun to watch do work at the next level.”

Heights' Dalen Williams.
Fernando Salazar The Wichita Eagle

L

Dalen Williams

Heights

6-3

215

Sr.

Explosive athlete who finished second all-time in Heights history in career sacks after tacking on 6.5 more in his senior season. Also finished with 67 tackles and 15.5 tackles for loss playing everywhere on the line.

Heights coach Terry Harrison on Williams: “I think the most impressive thing about Dalen is just his length and athleticism. He has such a great speed rush and did a lot of work in the weight room to get more explosive. You put all of those things together and it all kind of came together for his senior year and he put together a standout season.”

Goddard’s Justin Amaro.
Fernando Salazar The Wichita Eagle

LB

Justin Amaro

Goddard

5-11

200

Sr.

Emotional leader of Goddard’s defense and produced team-leading 91 tackles, three sacks and 17 tackles for loss roaming the middle of the field for the 11-1 Lions as a senior.

Goddard coach Scott Vang on Amaro: “Justin is such a great leader. He was the quarterback of our defense and he was able to diagnose things on the field. He would come off and talk to our (defensive coordinator) and tell him what he was seeing and what we needed to fix. He’s one of the best kids I’ve ever been around and honestly he was the heart and soul of our whole team this season. He got everyone on the team fired up and just made us what Goddard football was this year.”

Northwest's Josh Carter.
Fernando Salazar The Wichita Eagle

LB

Josh Carter

Northwest

5-10

205

Jr.

The definition of a ball-hawking middle linebacker. Finished with a team-high 136 tackles, including 12 for a loss, to go along with three sacks and an interception.

Northwest coach Steve Martin on Carter: “Josh is the heart and soul of our football team, no questions asked. He is one of the best leaders I’ve ever seen and he does it in a commanding way. It’s great when you have a player like him who can lead by example. He’s a great teammate and a great player and was just a ball hawk everywhere on the field for us this season.

Carroll's Riggs Robben.
Fernando Salazar The Wichita Eagle

LB

Riggs Robben

Carroll

6-2

235

Sr.

A physical presence in the middle of Carroll’s championship-winning defense. Led the team with 119 tackles, including 31 for a loss, to go with eight sacks, two safeties, and a forced fumble.

Carroll coach Dusty Trail on Robben: “He was a stalwart for us this entire season. He started out playing at a very high level and we didn’t see a drop-off in his play throughout the year. He was so consistent and made good decisions on the field. He started for us as a sophomore, so that tells you physically that he was already at that level. Then he added more of a leadership aspect this year and combined with his knowledge, that really made him stand out for us.”

Maize's P.J. Smith.
Fernando Salazar The Wichita Eagle

LB

PJ Smith

Maize

5-10

210

Sr.

Leader of the turnaround on Maize’s defense this season, as the Eagles finished with a 9-2 record. Was named the defensive MVP in the AV-CTL I.

Maize coach Gary Guzman on Smith: “He was our biggest difference-maker, without a doubt. He played really well for us and played so hard. I think his play was contagious and it really got us playing at a different level on our defense. He plays so fast and so hard, just a very intense and tenacious style. He brought

Andale’s Parker Bruce.
Fernando Salazar The Wichita Eagle

DB

Parker Bruce

Andale

6-1

185

Sr.

A two-way threat for Andale who was at his best in the secondary, coming up with 10 interceptions, three forced fumbles, and three fumble recoveries this season to help lead Andale to a 12-1 season.

Andale coach Dylan Schmidt on Bruce: “Parker was absolutely unbelievable what he was able to do for us this season from a takeaway standpoint. He pretty much averaged one takeaway himself and that’s so impressive. That was probably one of our biggest keys to our success. He was just a guy who you could count on being in the right place at the right time always doing his job. I called him Mr. Steady.”

Valley Center's Dalton Cross.
Fernando Salazar The Wichita Eagle

DB

Dalton Cross

Valley Center

5-11

175

Sr.

One of the area’s leaders in interceptions the last two seasons, finished with six more this season and returned two of them for touchdowns as Valley Center’s lock-down corner.

Valley Center coach Caleb Smith on Cross: “Dalton grew up in a football house and he has a football mind and is one of the smartest, football-savvy players I’ve ever had. I think he just has a knack for the ball and he has that mentality of not being afraid to come down and hit anybody. He was a four-year starter for us, so he had a lot of Friday nights to get better.”

Campus' Federico Harvey Jr.
Fernando Salazar The Wichita Eagle

DB

Federico Harvey

Campus

6-1

155

Sr.

One of the rare players who played both ways in 6A, as he finished with a career-high seven interceptions in the secondary. Also threw for more than 2,100 yards and rushed for 700 yards with 31 total touchdowns at quarterback.

Campus coach Greg Slade on Harvey: “Federico is what I would call a quiet leader. He works extremely hard in the offseason in the weight room and he’s a rarity for these days being a three-sport athlete. He played a lot of downs for us on offense, defense, and special teams and he came up with some big, big plays for us on defense. Then at quarterback, I thought he really developed his passing game and he was so good at spreading the ball and spreading the wealth.”

Goddard's Ian McSwain.
Fernando Salazar The Wichita Eagle

DB

Ian McSwain

Goddard

5-10

170

Sr.

Finished with 46 tackles, six interceptions, and a fumble recovery from his safety position. Helped lead a Goddard defense that forced 27 turnovers and allowed 13.6 points per game.

Goddard coach Scott Vang on McSwain: “After the season he had last year, teams would not throw at him or even his general direction. He kind of got frustrated because he didn’t get a lot of chances this season. But he basically took care of our coverages in the back and he was able to adjust things on the fly. He grew into the position the last few years. I feel like he was a basketball player playing football when he first started, but now he’s a football player playing basketball.”

Andover Central's Clark Schoonover.
Fernando Salazar The Wichita Eagle

P

Clark Schoonover

Andover Central

6-1

185

Sr.

Was a two-way player for Andover Central, but made his biggest impact on special teams. Carried a 36.9 average on punts this season with 20 downed inside the 20, while he made seven field goals and had 86 touchbacks in his career.

Andover Central coach Tom Audley on Schoonover: “All spring and summer I’ll see him at our stadium trying to kick as often as possible. Our season was over weeks ago and just today I actually saw him out there practicing. He wants to be a kicker at the next level and I think he’s going to have a chance to do that. He was a great football player on offense and defense, but his real thing was kicking the ball. He was a true weapon for us in special teams.”

Carroll coach Dusty Trail.
Fernando Salazar The Wichita Eagle

COACH OF THE YEAR

Carroll coach Dusty Trail

After nearly two decades as an assistant, Trail assumed control of Carroll’s program after Alan Schuckman stepped down last winter. Trail guided the Golden Eagles to their fourth state championship in program history, as they topped off a 12-1 season with a 38-28 victory over St. Thomas Aquinas in the Class 5A title game.

Carroll coach Dusty Trail on his team: “I couldn’t have picked a better group of young men to be able to work with in my first year. They all believed in the program, believed in me and what we were trying to do and ran with it. I couldn’t have hand-picked a better senior class. They were a group of special young men who led in a positive way. They never gave up and always bounced back when something bad happen and it’s because of that leadership. It was just an awesome, awesome experience.”

The All-Metro Selection Process

This is the 14th year for All-Metro teams selected by The Eagle, recognizing the best high school athletes in team sports throughout Sedgwick, Butler and Harvey counties.

The Eagle sent nomination ballots to football coaches at the high schools in Sedgwick, Butler and Harvey counties. Coaches were asked to return the ballots with nominations of the best players within those counties that they saw this season, including their own players.

Taylor Eldridge selected the team after tabulating nominations, his own evaluation of players and additional input from coaches.