Trenton has seven spots on media group's Class 2 northwest squad
By PAUL STURM, C-T Sports Editor
Players from three C-T-area high school teams outside of Chillicothe have the lion’s share of the 30 Missouri Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association all-district 11-man football squads for the northwestern and northeastern quadrants of the state in 2017.
Marceline, upset in its district final, snared a whopping 12 berths – each for different players – on the Class 1 team for the northeast district. That’s one more than eventual state champion Monroe City had on the squad.
By contrast, Hamilton – which might have repeated as state champ, if not for the injury to cinch All-Stater LaTroy Harper that kept him out of the district final – has only a half-dozen selections on the northwest all-district team. In sharp contrast to basketball, the two districts have about the same number of 11-man teams.
Also making a notable haul in the northwest district was Trenton in Class 2. Despite only a 4-6 record for the season, the Bulldogs benefitted from there being only six Class 2 schools in the northwest district to gain seven all-district berths.
Rounding out the area recognition ranks are three Brookfield Bulldogs in northeast Class 2 and two Polo Panthers in northwest Class 1.
The roll call of non-Chillicothe C-T-area all-district 11-man football selections includes, in Class 1, Hamilton’s Kenny Pulley, Tyler Trosper, Garrett Trosper, Cale Whitt, LaTroy Harper, and Derek Dixon and Polo’s James Fleener and Patrick Covey. Trenton has seven selections – Lathan Croy, Colton Colston, Mason Owen, Cole Schilling, Jadan Whitney, Carson Radcliff, and Hunter Dugan to the Class 2 all-district contingent.
In the northeast district, Marceline’s Class 1 group includes seniors Trevor Ganaway, Colton Jenkins, John Stelplugh, Noah Wright, Gabe Kelly, Rylan Chrisman, and Levi Terrell, juniors Chase Billups, Nathan Sayre, and Clayton Stallo, and sophomores Alex McCauslin and Cullen Bruner. Brookfield’s Class 2 picks are senior Khalil Walker and juniors Brooks Baker and Evan Fay.
Carrollton also is a Class 2 school included in the northwest district, but its head coach did not respond to two requests for information on any Trojans he felt should deserved consideration. As a result, no Carrollton players gained inclusion.
The teams were selected at recent membership meetings in the two regions. While the northeast team was released late last week, the northwest district honors squad was announced today. As a general guideline, a player’s inclusion on the northwest district team is limited to either an offensive or defensive position.
Hamilton’s half-dozen all-district picks all are repeat selections from 2016. One is a third-time choice and one made it an all-district clean sweep for his high school career.
Defensive lineman Garrett Trosper, a 5’10”, 255-pounder, again was the anchor of that line, helping the Hornets gain a share of the KCI Conference title before losing to Princeton-Mercer in the district final.
He had five sacks and 11 total stops behind the line of scrimmage among his 67 overall tackles – 47 of which were credited as unassisted, according to head coach Caleb Obert.
Young brother Tyler – a 5’10”, 245-pounds junior – was called “our most dominant offensive lineman” by Obert, leading to his selection on that side of the ball after being tabbed on the defensive line a year ago.
While G. Trosper is saluted a fourth time on the district level, Harper picks up the laurel a third time, although this time at running back. An All-State wide receiver as a sophomore and junior, he’ll be a strong candidate for that status in the offensive backfield – either as a running back or all-purpose back – in 2017.
The jackrabbit-quick 6’1”, 185-pounds senior star rushed for 1,990 yards and 32 touchdowns, threw for 703 yards and 10 scores on 44-of-68 accuracy, and caught 12 passes for 302 yards and another five TDs.
Pulley, another senior, stood out on both sides of the ball as a guard and linebacker, his coach says. The 5’10”, 215-pounder was an unanimous all-KCI choice at both spots and is slotted on the “O” line on the all-district club.
With a strong line and linebacking corps in front of him on run defense and relatively-limited passing attacks to face, Dixon didn’t put up particularly notable statistics at cornerback. However, in his signature game of the season, he had an interception and three solo tackles when the Hornets clinched their share of the KCI Conference title with a 56-16 shellacking of eventual state semifinalist East Buchanan in the regular-season finale.
Senior Dixon was second-team all-KCI Conference, facing a mix of Class 1 and Class 2 opponents.
Junior 6’3” tight end Cale Whitt also made the regional elite list after blocking well and snagging about 15 passes for about 25 yards.
In Class 2, Trenton defensive lineman Mason Owen, a 6’, 225-pounds senior repeat pick, made 60 unassisted tackles and helped on 63 more, had 14 tackles for loss, recovered a fumble, forced two, and made an interception, according to stats provided by head coach Brandon Boswell. He was an unanimous all-Grand River Conference-East Division.
Colton Colston, a 6’1”, 175-pounds senior, also repeats, but as a wide receiver this time after being a defensive back pick in ’16. He caught 25 passes for 455 yards and eight touchdowns, stats show.
Another repeat pick from THS’ Bulldogs is junior linebacker Jadan Whitney, who last year was cited on the offensive line. The 5’9”, 201-pounder also was unanimous all-GRC-E after being in on 133 total tackles – 59 unassisted. He made 10 stops behind the line of scrimmage.
Cole Schilling also flipped sides of the ball in being recognized for his play in 2017. The 6’2”, 197-pounds senior was chosen for his offensive line play this year after being on the “D” line a year ago. He helped THS rush for over 2,500 yards this fall.
Yet another repeater from Trenton is 6’2”, 189-pounds senior Lathan Croy, chosen again as the all-purpose back. The THS quarterback threw for just over 800 yards with 10 touchdown tosses and rushed for another 387 yards and seven scores.
Rounding out the THS all-district contingent are 6’1”, 165-pounds junior running back Carson Radcliff and senior defensive back Hunter Dugan, a 5’9”, 143-pounds senior.
Radcliff ran for 1,236 yards and eight TDs.
Polo’s Fleener, a big, physical defensive back at 6’2”, 193 pounds, was in on 93 tackles his senior year, causing a couple of fumbles, recovering one, and intercepting three balls. He also earned five sacks on blitzes, according to coach Kyle Ross, and was first-team all-GRC-E.
Teammate Covey is honored as the top kick returner after running two kickoffs and two punts each back for scores. Two others were called back, due to penalties. The 5’9”, 155-pounds senior averaged only 30 yards on his seven punt runbacks and 29 yards on kickoffs.
Marceline’s standouts are highlighted by senior running back Chrisman’s 1,633 rushing yards with 32 TDs, junior quarterback Billups’ 2,300 air yards on 66 percent accuracy with 22 scores and only four interceptions, senior wideout Terrell’s 54 catches for 992 yards and 14 scores, and defensive lineman Ganaway’s 65 total tackles – 41 solo and 39 behind the line.
Brookfield’s Baker made it as both an offensive lineman and defensive lineman with top tackler Walker at linebacker and Fay on the offensive line.