Player of the Year: Adonis Ameen-Moore, Mullen, Jr.
As always, there was no shortage of contenders for top honors in the big schools. Certainly, many fine seasons were turned in around the state, but the stout junior running back proved his considerable worth when the games mattered most. For the second consecutive season, the 5-foot-11, 200-pound Ameen-Moore was selected the MVP of the state championship game, in leading the Mustangs to consecutive titles.
In five postseason games, Ameen-Moore rushed for 881 yards and nine touchdowns, to finish the season with 1,644 yards and 22 scores. Both totals certainly would have been higher had Ameen-Moore not sat out the second half of many blowout games during the regular season. He will enter his senior season having already rushed for 4,239 yards and 55 TDs.
Honorable mention: QB Gavin Glanz, Arvada West, Sr.; QB Nate Grimes, Pomona, Sr.; LB Chris Martin, Grandview, Sr.; DE Nduka Onyeali, Mullen, Sr.; RB Tyler Pace, Pomona, Sr.; QB Ben Schumacher, Fairview, Sr.; K Kip Smith, Legacy, Sr.; QB Zach Thenell, Bear Creek, Sr.
Player of the Year: Mitch Griebel, Heritage, Sr.
Simply, Griebel did it all for the Eagles in leading them to their first state title. His skills were on full display in the championship game when at quarterback he accounted for 283 total yards. He passed for 152 yards and two TDs, while rushing for 131 yards and three more scores. At defensive back, he also had a sack and an interception. On the season Griebel (6-foot, 180 pounds) passed for 2,047 yards and 34 TDs while adding 1,275 rushing yards and 16 TDs. He totaled 64 tackles and five interceptions defensively. In addition, he tied the state mark for most touchdown passes in a half with six against Kennedy.
Honorable mention: RB Steffen Bunting, Greeley West, Sr.; RB/DB Josh Chance, Pine Creek, Sr.; QB Jake Johnson, Longmont, Sr.; LB Dylon Johnston, Standley Lake, Sr.; RB/DB Quinton Lawson, Fountain-Fort Carson, Sr.; WR/DB Wes McKenzie, Liberty, Sr.; RB/LB Jordan Passehl, Montrose, Sr.; RB Phillip Rhodes, Mesa Ridge, Sr.; QB Drew Sandlin, Rock Canyon, Sr.; TE/DL Eric Shannon, Wheat Ridge, Sr.
Player of the Year: Austin Hinder, Steamboat Springs, Sr.
Hinder entered the season with the pressure of being tabbed as the state’s top college prospect, and he did nothing to discount that status. The 6-foot-5, 185-pound quarterback had the Sailors ranked No. 1 all season and led them to a state runner-up finish. In being selected Gatorade’s state player of the year, Hinder passed for 2,205 yards and 25 touchdowns, while accumulating 889 yards and 14 TDs on the ground.
Honorable mention: QB Brock Berglund, Valor Christian, Jr.; RB Aaron Blevins, Falcon, Sr.; LB Josiah Flack, D’Evelyn, Sr.; RB Conner Glenn, Windsor, Sr.; QB Max Lerille, Pueblo Central, Sr.; DL Nick Miller, Mountain View, Sr.; OT/DT Danny Ramirez, Valor Christian, Sr.; QB Taylor Shaffer, Pagosa Springs, Sr.; QB/DB Kalvin Winter, Conifer, Sr.
Player of the Year: Tyler Jackson, Kent Denver, Sr.
When a player leads the state in rushing and touchdowns scored, it’s hard not to take notice. Jackson carried the Sun Devils to the state title game, before being wrapped up by Faith Christian’s top-ranked defense. Along the way, Jackson rushed for 2,859 yards and 34 TDs, which included eight games of 200 or more yards. His best effort came against Bennett, when he rushed for 310 yards, and in the playoffs he averaged 233 yards an outing before the title game. Jackson also scored five touchdowns in a game twice this season.
Honorable mention: QB/LB Landin Caswell, The Academy, Sr.; DL Colton Emich, Holy Family, Sr.; DB Dylan Markley, Olathe, Sr.; RB Alex Ortega, Erie, Sr.; LB Richard Rush, Faith Christian, Sr.; QB Micah Twedell, Faith Christian, Sr.; RB/DB Nicky Ufkes, Aspen, Jr.
Player of the Year: Matt Brown, Limon, Sr.
Players in the smaller schools have to be versatile, and no player in the state did more for his team than Brown. State coaches noticed, too, selecting him as both the top quarterback and linebacker in the classification. He was one of the state’s better punters, too. At 6-foot-3, 195-pounds, Brown certainly was a physical presence on both offense and defense. He led the Badgers to the state semifinals, passing for 1,435 yards and 16 TDs, while rushing for 1,018 yards and 20 scores. Defensively, he collected 79 tackles and five interceptions. Brown averaged nearly 41 yards per punt and also returned punts and kickoffs for Limon.
Honorable mention: QB Casey Gillenwater, Paonia, Jr.; LB Kendall Monasmith, Akron, Sr.; RB/DB Joel Rhoades, Yuma, Sr.; QB/DB Ryan Spor, Hotchkiss, Jr.; OL/DL Austin Traphagan, Yuma, Jr.; RB/DB Jake Van, Rye, Sr.; QB/DB Mitch Wills, Yuma, Sr.
Class A 8-Man
Player of the Year: Bryar DeSanti, Merino, Sr.
Despite his 5-foot-6, 150-pound stature, no player was bigger on the field than DeSanti. The top running back for the undefeated state champion Rams, DeSanti rushed for 258 yards and three TDs and also caught a touchdown pass in the title game against defending champion Dayspring Christian to earn game MVP honors. (Note: Merino does not provide season statistics.) DeSanti has been selected to participate in the All-State Football Game next summer.
Honorable mention: QB/DB Wyatt Barber, Merino, Sr.; QB/LB Cody Miles, Soroco, Sr.; QB/DB Michael Moore, Dayspring Christian, SR.; RB Shane Reed, Miami-Yoder, Sr.; RB/DB Michael Salgado, Holly, Sr.; WR/DB Brett Stone, Genoa-Hugo/Karval, Sr.; LB Tim Wunder, Dayspring Christian, Sr.
Class A 6-Man
Player of the Year: Logan Ramseier, Idalia, Sr.
Teammate Luke Terrell, a standout on defense, also could have been the pick, but Ramseier gets the nod for his big postseason. Ramseier, a running back, totaled 581 yards rushing and nine touchdowns in three playoff games. That included 220 yards and two scores in the title game against defending champion Hi-Plains. On the season Ramseier rushed for 1,418 yards and 21 TDs and added 288 yards receiving, with three more TDs.
Honorable mention: Camron Jeffryes, Briggsdale, Jr.; Matt Myers, Deer Trail, Jr.; Karson Kuntz, Otis, Sr.; Kraig Tagtmeyer, Hi-Plains, Sr.; Luke Terrell, Idalia, Sr.