The 57th annual Wichita Eagle Top 11 football team. Front row, from left: Milton Braasch, SM East; Breece Hall, Wichita Northwest; Brody Kooser, Derby; Dylan Downing, Miege; Carter Putz, Miege; Dalton Kuhn, Smith Center. Back row: Braden Howell, Carroll; AJ Vang, Goddard; Joe Michalski, Aquinas; Coach Dusty Trail, Carroll; Broc Ginavan, Frontenac; Graham Mertz, BV North. Chris Neal Topeka Capital-Journal
The 57th annual Wichita Eagle Top 11 football team. Front row, from left: Milton Braasch, SM East; Breece Hall, Wichita Northwest; Brody Kooser, Derby; Dylan Downing, Miege; Carter Putz, Miege; Dalton Kuhn, Smith Center. Back row: Braden Howell, Carroll; AJ Vang, Goddard; Joe Michalski, Aquinas; Coach Dusty Trail, Carroll; Broc Ginavan, Frontenac; Graham Mertz, BV North. Chris Neal Topeka Capital-Journal

Varsity Football

The Eagle’s 57th annual Top 11 football team

Eagle staff

December 02, 2017 05:43 PM

UPDATED December 03, 2017 08:56 PM

MILTON BRAASCH

SM East, RB

Regarded as one of the best players in Kansas, Braasch averaged 7.3 yards per carry as a senior. He racked up 1,626 yards on the ground with 27 touchdowns. Braasch was an All-Sunflower League selection in 2016 and was named the league’s Player of the Year this fall. He has committed to Colgate.

Coach Dustin Delaney: “Milton’s one of the best players I’ve ever coached anywhere. He was a four-year varsity player for us, and he just brings a tremendous work ethic, tremendous physicality and just an all-around great player and a great kid.”

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Miege's Dylan Downing
Chris Neal Topeka Capital-Journal

DYLAN DOWNING

Miege, LB

Downing, a junior, has been a stalwart defensive player at powerhouse Miege over the past two seasons. In his career, Downing has complied 280 tackles and 25 tackles for losses. He made 142 total tackles, nabbed a pair of interceptions, forced three fumbles and blocked two punts. He capped off the season with another state championship.

Coach Jonathan Holmes: “Dylan stepped up as the leader of our defense. As a junior he was looked at as the leader of what we wanted to do on defense. He set the strength and was in charge of making our checks. To see a junior step up in the role is hard to find. He is a smart player with great instincts that was always on the right spot.”

Frontenac's Broc Ginavan
Chris Neal Topeka Capital-Journal

BROC GINAVAN

Frontenac, DE

Ginavan played a versatile role in Frontenac’s success. He is a three-year starter at defensive end but has earned time on the offensive side of the ball at receiver, tight end and fullback. As a senior, Ginavan got to the quarterback eight times, broke up a couple of passes, caught an interception and forced a pair of fumbles. He has a scholarship offer from Wyoming.

Coach Mark Smith: “He was the focal point of both the offense and defense and was a nightmare matchup for offensive lineman and defensive backs. His work ethic and leadership were key attributes that led to a huge season in 2017. Broc seemed to have his best games in the biggest moments and always had a few highlight reel plays on both sides of the ball.”

Wichita Northwest's Breece Hall
Chris Neal Topeka Capital-Journal

BREECE HALL

Wichita Northwest, RB

Hall was Northwest’s most dynamic playmaker in its 10-2 season, eventually losing to Derby in the state semifinal. Hall has more than 2,000 rushing yards in his career for an average over 10 yards per carry. He also has 32 touchdowns. He has a scholarship offer from Iowa State.

Coach Steve Martin: “He was a weapon anywhere he was on the field. If we shifted him out of the backfield as a receiver, eyes had to automatically go to him. When he touched the ball, anywhere he was on the field, it could go for six.”

Carroll's Braden Howell
Chris Neal Topeka Capital-Journal

BRADEN HOWELL

Carroll, QB

Howell was the driving force of Carroll’s high-powered offense, accounting for more than 70 percent of its production en route to a Class 5A championship. Howell scored six touchdowns in the state championship victory over St. Thomas Aquinas. He finished the season completing 62 percent of his passes for a total of 3,086 yards and 33 touchdowns to go along with 708 rushing yards and seven touchdowns.

Coach Dusty Trail: “We’re losing a lot. His leadership, obviously that’s gonna be a big loss for the team. He just did a great job this year. And interestingly enough, that was one of his weakest parts of his game last year was the leadership aspect of it. He worked hard on that. … From Week 1, his leadership – his positive leadership – was a big key to our success.”

Derby's Brody Kooser
Chris Neal Topeka Capital-Journal

BRODY KOOSER

Derby, RB

Much of Derby’s success over the past two seasons has come through Kooser’s feet. He has rushed for 3,827 yards during his career, including more than 1,800 in 2017. He accounted for 30 touchdowns in his senior season, breaking the school record, and averaged almost 140 rushing yards. He remains uncommitted.

Coach Brandon Clark: “The past couple of years, he’s been a rock for us. We can always count on him. He never made mistakes. Out of all the carries he had as a running back, return man, in 2 1/2 years, he only fumbled four times. He was just a guy we always knew we could count on.”

Smith Center's Dalton Kuhn
Chris Neal Topeka Capital-Journal

DALTON KUHN

Smith Center, OL/DL

A four-year starter, Kuhn became one of the most well-known players in Kansas. Over his career, he has accrued multiple honors with the stats to match. In 2017, he made 95 tackles, 20 of which went for losses, while dominating on the offensive line as well. Kuhn stacked up 23 pancake blocks as the team ran for 4,401 yards, scoring a state-leading 664 points. He holds offers from Fort Hays State and Kansas State.

Coach Darren Sasse: “He’s meant a ton to us for four years now. I realize this is about Dalton, but that whole senior class has been that way, and he’s been one of those seniors that really led us this year. What I think is impressive about him as anything is his willingness to do anything. We had him on kickoff team, and he led us in kickoff tackles. A guy that big going down the middle of the field and making plays, running down return guys is an impressive thing to see.”

Blue Valley North's Graham Mertz
Chris Neal Topeka Capital-Journal

GRAHAM MERTZ

Blue Valley North, QB

Mertz was one of the highest-profile recruits in Kansas in 2017, earning offers from Minnesota, Kansas and Wisconsin, which he has committed to. As a junior, Mertz tore up defenses. By the midseason mark, he had already thrown 23 touchdowns on 1,604 yards and a 62-percent completion percentage. He helped lead Blue Valley North to a 9-4 record and the Class 6A title.

Coach Andy Sims: “He came in and was voted a captain by his teammates, so I think that probably sums up everything that he’s about more than anything else. He’s a good football player, we knew that, but I think anytime you can be voted a captain, I think that says a lot about your work ethic and leadership and what your teammates think about you.”

Aquinas' Joe Michalski.
Chris Neal Topeka Capital-Journal

JOE MICHALSKI

St. Thomas Aquinas, OL

Michalski has made his presence felt in 5A football. Only a junior, he has become one of the most dominant offensive linemen and has led the charge for one of the most prolific running offenses. Behind Michalski, Aquinas made it to the state championship game. Texas State has offered him a scholarship.

Coach Randy Dreiling: “Joe’s just a dominating O-lineman on a run-oriented team. He’s been a first-team all-league guy for two years, and he’s only a junior. He’s a great athlete.”

Miege's Carter Putz
Chris Neal Topeka Capital-Journal

CARTER PUTZ

Miege, QB

A two-sport athlete, Putz became one of the leaders in Miege’s state championship season as the senior quarterback. Putz threw for 2,844 yards and 38 touchdowns in 2017, only turning the ball over five times. He was a three-year starter and nearly eclipsed 10,000 passing yards with 124 touchdowns to show for it. He has committed to play baseball at Notre Dame.

Coach Jonathan Holmes: “It takes a special player to be a QB. Carter was able to bring a consistent winner and leader during his career as our QB. His leadership is what sets him apart from others. As a senior he took control of the team and wanted to finish his career 13-0. He was asked to do a lot with our offense. He was able to read defenses and make the checks he had to make.”

Goddard's AJ Vang
Chris Neal Topeka Capital-Journal

AJ VANG

Goddard, OL

Vang started since he was a freshman under his dad and coach, Scott Vang. Vang piled up 139 career pancake blocks for an average of 3.8. He was a two-time all-league selection. During his final three seasons, the Lions went 28-7 while Vang was on the line. He has received several Division II offers.

Coach Scott Vang: “He can easily bully anybody in front of him all by himself. It’s been good to have him, plus he’s kinda been like a coach on the field. It’s been good to have a kid in the middle of the offensive line that knows what’s going on. It’s kinda been the story of our team. We’ve had a bunch of kids that get it.”

Carroll coach Dusty Trail
Chris Neal Topeka Capital-Journal

DUSTY TRAIL

Carroll coach

In his first season as coach, Trail led the Golden Eagles back to the 5A championship game, beating St. Thomas Aquinas for the school’s fourth title. Trail was an assistant under Carroll legend Alan Schuckman for 22 years before earning the job upon Schuckman’s retirement. Carroll went 12-1 in his first season, losing only to eventual 6A runnerup Derby.

Trail: “It’s a pretty awesome feeling. It’s reassuring I guess would be the word to describe it. It’s reassuring that you’re making some good decisions. You’re moving the program in the right direction, but really this year is a testament to the program itself.”

Top 11 football selection process

Top 11 and All-Class football teams are selected by The Wichita Eagle with the help of coaches across Kansas.

Every coach in the state is sent an online ballot to return to The Eagle by the end of the season. Coaches may nominate their own players and players from other teams. They also are asked to supply statistics and comment on players they nominate.

The teams were selected by Taylor Eldridge. He tabulated nominations from the ballots and received additional input from coaches and other media members.

The Eagle’s Top 33 selections

Top 11

Player

School

Pos.

Ht.

Wt.

Yr.

Milton Braasch

SM East

RB

6-0

220

Sr.

Dylan Downing

Miege

LB

6-2

215

Jr.

Broc Ginavan

Frontenac

L

6-4

220

Sr.

Breece Hall

W. Northwest

RB

6-2

200

Jr.

Braden Howell

Carroll

QB

6-1

190

Sr.

Brody Kooser

Derby

RB

5-10

185

Sr.

Dalton Kuhn

Smith Center

L

6-2

225

Sr.

Graham Mertz

BV North

QB

6-4

205

Jr.

Joe Michalski

Aquinas

DL

6-4

270

Jr.

Carter Putz

Miege

QB

6-0

190

Sr.

AJ Vang

Goddard

OL

6-2

285

Sr.

Second 11

Player

School

Pos.

Ht.

Wt.

Yr.

Jack Blumer

Marysville

QB

6-3

180

Sr.

Jack Burns

Miege

OL

6-3

285

Sr.

Josh Carter

W. Northwest

LB

5-10

205

Jr.

Evan Clark

Derby

OL

6-3

270

Sr.

Javier Derritt

Aquinas

DL

6-2

275

Jr.

Demarcus Elliott

Garden City

DL

6-3

290

Sr.

Dante Jackson

Lawrence

QB

5-8

150

Sr.

Marshall Kellner

De Soto

OL

6-3

285

Sr.

Riggs Robben

Carroll

LB

6-2

235

Sr.

Wyatt Seidl

McPherson

DL

6-3

230

Sr.

Ivan Webb

KC Schlagle

RB

6-0

200

Sr.

Third 11

Player

School

Pos.

Ht.

Wt.

Yr.

Justin Amaro

Goddard

LB

6-0

205

Sr.

Colton Beebe

KC Piper

OL

6-4

310

Jr.

Miles Emery

BV North

DL

6-5

235

Sr.

Marcus Hicks

W. Northwest

DL

6-5

245

Jr.

Grant Fairchild

Andale

LB

6-3

205

Sr.

Justin Finnigan

SM East

OL

6-2

270

Sr.

Daniel Jackson

Miege

E

5-11

180

So.

LeeRoi Johnson

Tonganoxie

DL

6-2

275

Sr.

Blake Sullivan

Goddard

QB

6-0

195

Sr.

Ky Thomas

Topeka

RB

6-0

177

So.

Alex Totta

Blue Valley

LB

5-10

175

Jr.