When Dalvin Warmack won his first Simone Award in 2012, the assembly and presentation in front of his classmates at Blue Springs High School caught him off guard.
This year, when the Wildcats running back became the first two-time winner of the award, which is presented to the best big-class football player in the metro area, he had an idea he might be the recipient of the most sought after honor in the two-state region as voted on by the Greater Kansas City Football Coaches Association members and a 12-member media committee.
“Last year I was clueless. I walked into the gym, saw the television cameras and all the students and thought, 'What is going on?' This year, I kind of had an idea,” said Warmack, who rushed for 2,223 yards, averaged 8.9 yards per carry and scored 30 touchdowns on the ground.
“Coach (Kelly) Donohoe told me yesterday we were going to an assembly in Gardner-Edgerton (the home school of Simone finalist Traevohn Wrench), but I also heard we were having an assembly here at Blue Springs, so I had a clue – but I wasn't sure.”
When Donohoe, who won his third Simone Coach of the Year Award – and second in a row – overheard Warmack's comments his smiled, and said, “Dalvin knew I was full of (bull). I think everyone knew he was going to win this award.”
One of Warmack's biggest fans is Anthony Simone, the founder of the award that honors his late son Tommy, who died in an accident while crossing the street and being struck by an emergency vehicle in 1983.
“Dalvin deserves this award, and I'm so pleased he is the first two-time winner in the 31-year history of the Simone Award,” Simone said after he and his family posed for photos with Warmack and the Simone Award in the Blue Springs gym. “There are four words on the trophy: ‘Love. Friendship. Courage. Champion.’ And Dalvin personifies each of those traits. He's so humble and appreciative of everything that has come his way. We are so honored that he is part of the Simone family.”
When asked about the past two memorable seasons, when his Wildcats won two Class 6 state titles and finished with a 27-1 overall record – including this year's 14-0 mark – Donohoe seemed a bit overwhelmed.
“We may never have another run like this as long as I'm at Blue Springs High School,” Donohoe said. “Dalvin is just a special kid and a special player. We knew that for a long time, and now everyone knows it.
“We had the Simone winner, Elijah (Lee) won the Buck Buchanan Award (please see related story) and Kaleb (Prewett) and Khalil (Davis) and Darrius (Shepherd, who was also a Otis Taylor Award finalist for the second straight year) were on the Simone Team. One day, I think we'll all look back and realize what a special time this is in the history of this program.”
No one in the gymnasium was as proud of Warmack as his little brother Trevon, a junior center who opened many of the holes big brother burst through during the season.
“We didn't think about it or talk about it during the season,” Trevon said, “but I wanted my big brother to win this award again. I thought he deserved it, and I'm so proud of him. He's a great player and an even better brother.”
After doing countless interviews, signing enough programs for kids to fill a warehouse and posing for more photos than Gisele Bundchen, Warmack finally took the time to reflect on his memorable senior season and his second Simone Award.
“I feel like a little kid whose dream has come true,” said Warmack, who has verbally committed to play college ball at Kansas State next year. “Seeing Elijah win the Buchanan Award, and Coach win the Coach of the Year Award and all my teammates be a part of the Simone Team, makes it a great day.
“I wasn't as surprised this year as I was last year, but this year is even more special because our team went into the season with a big target on our back and we were able to accomplish something no team in the area had ever done – winning back to back state championships.
Warmack thanked his teammates, coaches, fans, fellow students and administrators and everyone else whom he said made his prep career a special one.
“This award,” he said, “is just the perfect ending to a great career at Blue Springs High School.”