Sports in Kansas has released it's Non-Senior Player of the Year Honorees, honoring the top player on offense and defense in the state that's not a senior. It's also fitting that these two earned it as they were teammates and in the same class at Bishop Miege for two seasons before Mertz left to Blue Valley North this school year.
2017 Sports in Kansas Non-Senior Offensive Player of the Year
Graham Mertz, Blue Valley North, Jr. QB
Mertz had one of the best years in the state passing for 3,684 yards with 45 touchdowns to just six interceptions on the season. His biggest accomplishment was leading the North Mustangs to their first ever state football title by doing that on a 90-plus yard drive at the end of the game to take the title over Derby on a 19-yard quarterback keeper. He showed just how important the word opportunity is. What if he hadn't of left Miege? Maybe no title for BV North and perhaps no Wisconsin offer. He was being recruited and offered before he even started a high school game, but he took advantage and made the most of his opportunity as a starter and is likely to be one of the nations top players next season. Mertz is perhaps the best quarterback prospect in the state in all classes but if he would have stayed at Miege it's likely in the scenario he would have still been the backup and we wouldn't have figured out how good he was until 2018. Mertz was labeled a back-up to eventual all-classes player of the year Carter Putz, but lets face it, it's like having Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady on the same team, they both needed to be playing. The two along with Braden Howell of Carroll were the three best quarterbacks on Friday nights in Kansas this fall. Mertz threw for 462 yards and four touchdowns in the title game. Over the playoffs he had 1,204 yards with 14 touchdowns to just one interception. Mertz is a Wisconsin commit with his senior season left to play. In addition to being named the Non-Senior Player of the Year he also took home 6A Player of the Year honors from Sports in Kansas.
BVN Gridiron Club would like to congratulate Graham Mertz on earning the 6A Player of the Year & Non-Senior Player of the Year from Sports in Kansas. BVN Gridioron Club Supporting BVN Mustang Football.
2017 Sports in Kansas Non-Senior Defensive Player of the Year
Dylan Downing, Bishop Miege, Jr. LB
The 6-foot-1, 225-pound, junior, has been one of the top linebackers in the EKL over the last two seasons and still has one season left to play. He led a loaded cast of players on the Miege defense with 142 tackles this year and do remember many Miege players sat the second half due to blowouts. Downing also forced three fumbles and had two interceptions. He is also one of the best punters in the entire state and had a 45.9 average, however Miege punted just 16 times this season. It's hard to believe they even punted that many times with how they dominated competition on the way to their fourth consecutive 4A-I state title. Downing will be a four year starter next fall as a senior and has already racked up 272 tackles in his three year career. He was also a Non-Senior pick last season at Sports in Kansas as sophomore. His brother, Dawson, now a running back at Mizzou, was also a multiple time all-state honoree for us at Sports in Kansas.
All-Classifications Non-Senior Offensive Player of the Year Finalists
Jax Dineen, Free State (6A), Jr. RB
Breece Hall, Wichita Northwest (6A), Jr. RB
Daniel Jackson, Bishop Miege (4A-I), Soph. WR
Graham Mertz, BV North (6A), Jr. QB
Ky Thomas, Topeka (6A), Soph. RB
All-Classifications Non-Senior Defensive Player of the Year Finalists
Josh Carter, Wichita Northwest (6A), Jr. LB
Dylan Downing, Bishop Miege (4A-I), Jr. LB
Javier Derritt, Aquinas (4A-I), Jr. DL
Marcus Hicks, Wichita Northwest (6A), Jr.. DL
Alex Totta, Blue Valley (6A), Jr LB