Mill Valley receiver Talley, De Soto lineman Kellner named as finalists for respective Simone awards
Mill Valley junior Logan Talley and De Soto senior Marshall Kellner were both named as finalists for one of the five Thomas A. Simone awards on Tuesday in Arrowhead Stadium's Hall of Honor.
Talley was selected as one of four finalists for the Otis Taylor Award, which goes to the most outstanding wide receiver/tight end in the Kansas City area. Kellner was tabbed as one of four finalists for the Bobby Bell Award, which is given to the most outstanding small-class lineman/linebacker in the Kansas City area.
Talley hauled in 91 receptions for 1,254 yards and 11 touchdowns while helping the Jaguars to a 7-5 record and an appearance in the Class 5A sub-state title game. The Mill Valley wideout was the only junior out of four finalists.
"This year we had a lot of juniors — I believe 10 starters on defense," Talley said in an interview with longtime Kansas City sports anchor Brad Porter. "So next year we'll have a lot of experience so we'll be able to go out there and get it done next season."
The Mill Valley wideout enjoyed playing with a chip on his shoulder over the course of the season since he felt there was a sense of doubt for a lot of people that the Jaguars wouldn't make another long postseason run.
"We had a lot of inexperience. We started off high in the rankings, but we lost that first game to St. James so that put a lot of doubt in peoples' minds," Talley told Porter. "Over the season, we gained experienced and we built up confidence. I definitely think next year we'll be better."
The other three finalists for the Otis Taylor Award are Park Hill wide receiver Ronnie Bell, Blue Valley Northwest tight end Jackson Heath and Raytown wideout Dominic Gicinto.
Kellner also guided his team to the sub-state championship game, as the Wildcats finished the season with a 10-2 record — the only two losses coming to eventual Class 4A-I champion Bishop Miege.
The De Soto senior right tackle did not allow any sacks or quarterback hurries, and tallied 92 pancake blocks.
"We were definitely confident. We knew we returned a lot of starters and we've been playing together for years since middle school," Kellner told Porter of what it took to win a Frontier League title. "We knew that we were a talented group, and we've been playing our opponents a while and we knew that if we executed that we could get it done."
While Kellner enjoyed being a crucial part of De Soto's explosive offense, he had just as much fun watching the second and third units step in for the starters when the games got out of hand. Kellner is excited to see what is in store for those younger players going forward.
"I think our success definitely helps with their confidence. We had a bunch of younger guys get in," Kellner said to Porter. "A lot of games were kind of over at halftime, so they had a bunch of experience going in. They did really well when they went in, so I have confidence in them."
Kellner was joined by Miege linebacker Dylan Downing, Harrisonville defensive end Nick Kruse and Platte County defensive end Michael Smith as a Bobby Bell Award finalist.
The Otis Taylor Award and Bobby Bell Award winners will both be announced at 10 p.m. on Dec. 5 at the high school of the Simone Award winner, which is given to the most outstanding player in the Kansas City area. The four Simone Award finalists are Bell, Lee's Summit West running back Phillip Brooks, Blue Valley North quarterback Graham Mertz and Staley quarterback John Raybourn.
The Frank Fontana Award (most outstanding small class player) and Buck Buchanan Award (most outstanding large class lineman/linebacker) winners will also be revealed at the ceremony on Dec. 5. The Frank Fontana Award finalists include St. Joseph-Lafayette quarterback/defensive back Diego Bernard, Platte County quarterback Tanner Clarkson, Bishop Miege quarterback Carter Putz and Center quarterback Amaun Ryan. The Buck Buchanan Award finalists are Blue Valley Southwest linebacker Nick Allen, William Chrisman defensive lineman Daniel Carson, Blue Springs offensive/defensive lineman Daniel Parker and Park Hill linebacker Brighton Ramirez.