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Area 11-man high school football teams have 31 with league honors

Marceline leads with 10, including trio of 2-way first-teamer in Lewis and Clark. Polo surprisingly next with eight. Hamilton has three in four first-team all_KCI spots

Paul Sturm
Chillicothe News
C-T area high school football

By PAUL STURM, C-T Sports Editor

Five of the seven 11-man high school football teams covered annually by the Constitution-Tribune have had a total of 31 separate players tabbed for some level of postseason conference recognition thus far.

The Midland Empire Conference, of which Chillicothe is a member, has not selected its all-conference gridiron teams yet. Additionally, no information has been received on whether the Missouri River Valley Conference, of which Carrollton is a member, has yet chosen its league-elite squads and, if so, which Trojans were voted to it.

Confirmed thus far is that coaches in the Grand River, Clarence Cannon, KCI, and Lewis and Clark conferences have selected and announced their choices for 2020 loop honors.

Not at all surprisingly, the most individual honors reaped to date by an area club is the 11 all-Lewis-and-Clark players honored from the conference-champion Marceline Tigers. Several of those 11 were recognized at more than one position, paced by juniors Nathan Cupp and Hunter Nelson being first-team on both sides of the ball and classmate Wyatt Molloy being honored on defense and special teams.

The school with the second-most all-conference picks is a bit surprising, however.

The Polo Panthers, who ascended to 3-8 overall this fall after being unable to claim a triumph in either 2018 or ’19, have eight players who opposing Grand River Conference East (11-man) Division coaches thought highly enough of to list on their respective ballots. One Panther – senior placekicker Killian Roark – received sufficient support for a first-team berth.

While it had a relatively-limited five players voted to the all-KCI teams, Hamilton: Penney did put three of those five – Fisher Nixdorf, Sawyer Morrow and Andrew Rich – in a total of four first-team spots. Nixdorf was voted to both lines.

Clarence Cannon coaches voted four Brookfield Bulldogs to the all-CCC squads, led by senior 2-way first-teamer Dawson Baker on the offensive line and at defensive end/outside linebacker.

The fifth C-T-area team with some all-conference honorees is Trenton. The winless Bulldogs had two second-team all-GRC-E picks and one honorable mention.

Marceline, led by Molloy’s, Nelson’s, and Cupp’s dual recognition, holds down seven all-L&C first-team positions. Rounding out that group is placekicker Sam Gillman.

Nelson was chosen to the top conference squad at running back and linebacker, Cupp on both lines, and Molloy at defensive back and kick returner.

Gaining all-Lewis and Clark second-team berths were defensive lineman Brendon Catron, linebacker Mason Barnett, quarterback Jacob Stallo, and offensive linemen Landon Gardner and Hunter Quinn, along with Jace Bixenman as a kick returner.

Bixenman and Gillman both are third-team defensive backs and Bixenman also gained a third-team spot at wide receiver.

In addition to its players’ honors, third-year MHS head coach Mark Ross was voted by his peers as conference coach of the year.

Hamilton: Penney’s Hornets have sophomore Nixdorf cited on both all-KCI lines, with senior Morrow joining him on the offensive side as a running back and junior Andrew Rich alongside at defensive end.

Hornets junior Tucker Ross was voted second-team quarterback and honorable mention at linebacker, while Rich was second-team tight end in addition to his first-team defensive nod. Jared Potts, a PHS sophomore, is second-team at linebacker.

Morrow was voted on twice more besides as a running back, where he projects as likely to be All-State a third time. He got honorable mention in the secondary and as a punter.

Polo’s unlikely haul, led by booter Roark, includes three senior 2-way picks.

Gavin Fitzwater was tabbed second-team at wide receiver and honorable mention as a defensive back. Cody Blackwell is second-team as an offensive “athlete” (multi-position back) and honorable mention at linebacker. Grant Mellon is second-team on the “D” line and honorable mention on the “O” line.

PHS senior Logan Chapman gained second-team recognition for his play at tight end.

Also gaining honorable mention were Andrew Stone on the offensive line, David Brown on the defensive line, Mason Chapman at linebacker, and Ty Claypole in the secondary. Of those, Stone and Chapman are juniors and Claypole a sophomore.

The GRC-E coaches liked the defensive play of Trenton senior Royce Jackson enough that he was voted second-team at end. Bulldog sophomore Coleman Griffin was voted second-team punter and senior Kaden Spencer got honorable mention as a kick returner.

In the Clarence Cannon, Brookfield’s Baker is joined on the all-league list by senior Trace Alexander as both second-team defensive lineman and running back and senior Derek Liebhart as second-team defensive back and kick returner and honorable mention quarterback.

Rounding out the Bulldogs’ all-conference contingent is junior Trent Polley as an honorable mention linebacker.

No information has been received, as yet, on any postseason laurels for any of the C-T-area’s four 8-man squads – Southwest Livingston, Braymer/Breckenridge, Norborne/Hardin-Central, and Keytesville/Mendon: Northwestern. It is not known whether the small, loosely-affiliated Central River Conference in which the latter three participated will generate an all-conference team.