Sixteen Dierks football Outlaws and their head coach have received postseason awards after a season that saw the Outlaws pick up their third straight conference title.
Head Coach Paul Ernest was named 3-2A Coach of the Year for the 9-1 regular season with senior Rylan Hill named the district’s Outstanding Quarterback, senior Eli Sharp as Outstanding Running Back and senior Andrew Hill as Outstanding Special Teams Player.
The three senior players also earned status as an All-Star nominee and were selected as All-District players.
The Outlaws’ All-State players this season were Sharp and junior Kason Jewell, who also was named All-District. Outlaws making the All-District list included sophomores Jordan Hill, Juan Salazar, Grayson Kersey and Kason Dougan; seniors Jacob Sims and MacKay Smith; and juniors Rustin Simmons and Hayden Stephens.
Earning honorable mention for All-District were juniors Jake Kight and Matt Barbre and seniors Sawyer Stapp and Landen Mounts.
Sharp earned his honors despite missing two and a half games due to injury. He still finished the year with 673 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns on 81 carries while catching 31 passes for 592 yards and seven touchdowns. Sharp also returned five kickoffs for 266 yards and two touchdowns. On the defensive side, Sharp contributed 39 tackles and one interception from his secondary position. This was the second consecutive season for Sharp to earn All-State honors.
Junior Kason Jewell led in the trenches from his left tackle position where he accumulated 38 pancake blocks, 72 “big blocks” and graded out at 93% not giving up a sack all year, according to Coach Ernest. Switching to nose from defensive end halfway through the year, Jewell became a nuisance for opposing offenses disrupting 26 snaps to go along with his 67 tackles (37 solo), four sacks, two forced fumbles and fumble recovery.
Senior Quarterback Hill rejoined the football program for his senior season. Though slowed by injury causing him to miss four games, Ernest said Hill still managed to complete 62% of his passes and accumulate 1,693 yards and 19 touchdowns. Hill also rushed for 173 yards and two touchdowns on limited carriers.
Senior Andrew Hill grabbed 35 passes for 608 yards and seven touchdowns as well as accumulating 54 tackles from his safety position with an interception and a fumble recovery. His eight punts for 356 yards and 44.5-yard average earned him an All-Star nomination as well as Outstanding Special Teams Player and All-Conference.
Senior Mackay Smith contributed all around for the Outlaws, according to his coach. Smith grabbed 15 passes for 184 yards and a touchdown while accumulating 19 tackles, 13 pass breakups and three interceptions on defense.
Senior Jacob Sims rotated from linebacker to defensive tackle throughout the year. He accumulated 90 tackles (46 solo) with two interceptions earning him All-Conference.
Senior Landen Mounts played defensive end for the Outlaws despite giving up a size advantage each week. Mounts contributed 57 tackles (31 solo) with a sack and a forced fumble earning him All-Conference Honorable Mention.
Senior Sawyer Stapp anchored the right side of the offensive line from his tackle position giving up just two sacks on the year, grading at 87% with nine pancake blocks and 31 “Big Blocks.”
Junior Rustin Simmons missed four games due to injury but accumulated 453 yards rushing on just 66 carries for a 6.9 ypc average and five touchdowns as well as a receiving touchdown. Defensively, Simmons anchored the defense from his linebacker position accumulating 66 tackles (45 solo), two sacks, two pass break-ups and a forced fumble.
Junior Hayden Stephens moved from guard to center where he graded out at 94% with 21 pancake blocks and 36 Big Blocks earning him All-Conference honors.
Junior Matt Barbre rejoined the football program and found a home at left guard where he graded out at 88% with 43 pancake blocks and 31 Big Blocks. Barbre contributed on the defensive line as well totaling 13 tackles earning All-Conference Honorable Mention.
Junior Jake Kight earned All-Conference Honorable Mention from his defensive end position where he totaled 50 tackles (30 solo) and a sack.
Sophomore Jordan Hill earned All-Conference recognition for his play all over the field playing running back, receiver, quarterback and linebacker. As a running back, J. Hill accumulated 824 yards and 10 touchdowns on 128 carriers averaging 5.9 ypc. As a quarterback, J. Hill led the Outlaws to three conference wins completing 64% of his passes for 124 yards and 2 touchdowns. Defensively, J. Hill played outside linebacker where he accumulated 58 tackles (43 solo), three pass breakups and a forced fumble.
Sophomore Juan Salazar proved to be a reliable target in the passing game catching 15 passes for 303 yards and 3 touchdowns. Coach Ernest said Salazar played outside linebacker on defense where he contributed with 27 tackles (15 solo) and a timely game sealing sack against Poyen.
Sophomore Grayson Kersey may very well be the unsung hero of the Outlaw offense, according to Ernest. From his H Back position, Kersey played a vital role in both the run and pass game for the Outlaws while scoring two touchdowns on just three receptions. Defensively, Kersey was all over the field from his linebacker position totaling 96 tackles (63 solo), one sack, one forced fumble, two pass breakups and two fumble recoveries.
Sophomore linebacker Kason Dougan led the Outlaws in tackles accumulating 116 tackles (59 solo), three sacks, two pass breakups, two forced fumbles and an 87-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown. Dougan also handled the place-kicking duties for the Outlaws.