Several from Eastern Jackson County high schools are up for the top awards for Kansas City metro area high school football players.
The semifinalists for the Simon Awards were announced Tuesday and several local athletes were named to the lists for the five awards, including the Simone Award itself, which is awarded to the top player in the metro area.
Blue Springs senior lineman Daniel Parker and William Chrisman senior defensive end Daniel Carson are among the top 10 semifinalists for the Buck Buchanan Award, which goes to the top lineman or linebacker in the metro area.
Parker, who has verbally committed to Missouri, has helped lead Blue Springs (11-2) into the Class 6 Show-Me Bowl state championship game, playing both on the offensive line and defensive line. He was named to the Class 6 all-state offensive line last year and has helped lead the Wildcats to 4,485 total yards this season and averaged nearly 209 yards rushing a game. On defense, Parker has been a force up front with 34 tackles, including 20 tackles for loss and 16 sacks, and two forced fumbles, and was named the Suburban Big Seven Defensive Player of the Year.
Chrisman’s Carson was named the Suburban Middle Six Defensive Player of the Year and has more than 20 offers from major college football programs, including Ohio State, Missouri, Texas, Notre Dame, Oklahoma and Miami. He recorded 73 tackles and had six sacks and 17 tackles for loss for the Bears, who finished 7-4.
Grain Valley senior quarterback Tate Collum is a semifinalist for the Frank Fontana Award, which goes to the top small-class player in the metro area. Collum led the Eagles to a 9-3 record, a Missouri River Valley Conference West title and a Class 4 District 6 runner-up finish by accounting for 29 touchdowns. He completed 131 of 200 passes for 1,648 yards and 14 touchdowns with just three interceptions, and he had 99 carries for another 525 yards and 15 scores.
Blue Springs seniors Caleb Marquez and Tre Wheaton were named semifinalists for the Otis Taylor Award, which goes to the top receiver or tight end in the metro area.
Marquez has played as a hybrid tight end/fullback on offense and a hybrid linebacker/defensive end on defense to help lead the Wildcats to Saturday’s Class 6 state championship game. He has 36 receptions for 411 yards and five touchdowns, and has run for 138 yards and eight TDs on 33 carries.
Wheaton has been one of the Wildcats’ top playmakers on offense, with 42 receptions for 689 yards (16.4 yards per catch) and six touchdowns. He’s added 176 yards rushing and one touchdown on 25 carries (7.0-yard average). He also has a 95 yard kickoff return for a touchdown.
Four Suburban Conference players are among the top 10 for the Simone Award, including Park Hill senior wide receiver Ronnie Bell (also a Taylor Award semifinalist), Staley senior quarterback John Raybourn, Liberty senior running back/defensive back Robert Rawie and Lee’s Summit West senior running back Phillip Brooks (see the related fact box for all of the semifinalists for each award).
After a vote by the members of the Greater Kansas City Football Coaches Association and a select media panel, the finalists and the All-Simone Team will be announced at 7 p.m. Nov. 28 at Arrowhead Stadium's Chiefs Hall of Honor. The winners will be announced on Dec. 5 at the school of the Simone Award winner.