2018 Sports in Kansas 6A Offensive Player of the Year
Graham Mertz, Blue Valley, Sr. QB
Mertz, a Wisconsin commit, is arguably the most high-profile quarterback ever in Kansas history. Mertz earned offers from virtually every top program in the country. He transferred from Bishop Miege before his junior season and led Blue Valley North to a state title last year and runner-up in the rematch to Derby this fall.
Mertz was hurt part of the season but still led the Mustangs to a 9-4 mark for the second straight year. In 2017, he passed for 3,684 yards and 45 scores. This season, he threw for 3,886 yards and helped Cameron Burt set a state record with 1,838 receiving yards. As well, Mertz set a state record with 51 passing TDs this season.
He broke the record set by Miege’s Carter Putz, who Mertz backed up before he transferred.
In addition to Burt, Mertz also had Amauri Pesek-Hickson, who has committed to Michigan. Pesek-Hickson accounted for 932 rushing and 812 receiving yards with 22 total scores.
Congats to Blue Valley North senior quarterback Graham Mertz on his back to back 6A Player of the Year honor from Sports in Kansas. BVN Gridiron Club is a proud supporter of Mustang football. Congrats on another outstanding season. 2017 6A State Champs, 2018 6A State Runner-Up.
2018 Sports in Kansas 6A Defensive Player of the Year
Isaac Keener, Derby, Sr., DL
Last season, Keener was of many Derby defensive players who suffered injury. The Panthers finished as Class 6A runner-up to Blue Valley North but permitted 27.4 points a contest, the most allowed for the program since 2010 when they allowed 32.8 a game.
This year, Keener was healthy as the Panthers permitted 7.9 points a contest and went 13-0 with a championship victory in a rematch versus Blue Valley North. It marked Derby’s best scoring defense since 1994 when the Panthers also went 13-0 and won the state title.
The Panthers allowed just 342 rushing yards and challenged the state record for fewest rushing yards permitted in a season.
Teams rushed for 39.3 yards a game and 1.6 yards per carry. Kenner finished with 83 tackles (43 solo), 25 tackles for loss and 12 sacks, all easily team-bests for the Panthers. In the final, Derby defeated BVN, 24-16, a team that averaged 45.8 points a contest in all other games.
Sports in Kansas 6A Offensive Player of the Year Finalists
Graham Mertz, BV North Sr. QB
Cameron Burt, BV North Sr. WR
Daymonn Sanchez, Olathe North Sr. RB
Ky Thomas, Topeka, Jr. RB
Jax Dineen, Free State, Sr. RB
Kevonate McDonald, Manhattan Sr. RB
Sports in Kansas 6A Defensive Player of the Year Finalists
Isaac Keener, Derby Sr. DL
Quinton Hicks, Campus, Sr. LB
David Hernandez, Manhattan Sr. DE
P.J. Spencer, SM East, Sr. DE
Keenan Garber, Free State Sr. DB