Topeka High’s Ky Thomas and Seaman’s Sam Payne headline The Capital-Journal’s 2018 All-City football Top 11, earning offensive and defensive player of the year honors.

Thomas, a 6-foot, 195-pound junior running back, was named to the Top 11 for the third straight season and is the offensive player of the year for the second straight year after leading Topeka High to a city-best 9-2 record and a share of the Centennial League championship.

Payne joins Thomas as the lone Top 11 repeaters off the 2017 All-City team and was named the defensive player of the year after recording more than 100 tackles for the second straight season for the 5-5 Vikings.

The city coach of the year also is a repeater, with Topeka High’s Walt Alexander tapped again this season after his Trojans went 6-0 against city opponents, outscoring the opposition by an average of 39.7 points in those games.

Alexander’s Trojans put a city-high four players on the Top 11, with senior running back Jacqez Barksdale, senior defensive end Grant Cooney and junior quarterback Da’Vonshai Harden joining Thomas on the team.

Washburn Rural, which posted a 7-3 record, put three seniors on the Top 11 — linebacker Tyler Ladson, quarterback Jordan White and receiver Preston Williams.

Payne is joined on the Top 11 by Viking two-way senior lineman Jared Kerr while Shawnee Heights senior receiver/defensive back Tyce Brown and Hayden two-way lineman Daniel Hernandez also earned spots.

Shawnee Heights sophomore quarterback Hunter Wohler was named the city offensive newcomer of the year this season while Hayden sophomore linebacker Will DeVader was named defensive newcomer of the year.

Wohler compiled 1,060 yards of total offense, scored 12 touchdowns and threw for three TDs while DeVader was in on 113 tackles for the Wildcats.

All-City capsules:

JACQEZ BARKSDALE, Topeka High — Barksdale, a 6-0, 225-pound senior running back, rushed for 1,316 yards on 109 carries in nine games for the 9-2 Trojans, averaging 12 yards a carry. Barksdale, a first-team All-Centennial League pick, moves up to the Top 11 after being named to the All-City first-team offense as a junior.

“I think the most important thing with him is understanding that he has a certain unique skill set that a lot of kids don’t have with his strength and power,’’ Alexander said. “He really got downhill and learned how to be a physical back, and something that we were really pleased with this year is that he was so physical blocking. He had a really good year.’’

TYCE BROWN, Shawnee Heights — Brown, a 6-0, 180-pound senior, did a little bit of everything for the 5-5 T-Birds, playing receiver, defensive back, returning punts and punting. Brown, an All-United Kansas Conference first-team selection, caught 24 passes for 417 yards, rushed for 118 yards on 18 carries and scored six touchdowns. Defensively Brown had 89 tackles and two interceptions.

“Tyce’s high football IQ and tremendous ability to make plays on both sides of the ball contributed to him leading the team in tackles and receptions,’’ Shawnee Heights coach Jason Swift said. “He was a leader by voice, work ethic, drive to compete and preparedness for every Friday night. As a three-sport athlete Tyce had an exceptional year and career on the field for Shawnee Heights.’’

GRANT COONEY, Topeka High — A 6-6, 235-pound senior, Cooney was a leader for the Trojans’ defense as a defensive end. Cooney was an All-Centennial League first-team pick for the 9-2 Trojans, who advanced to the 6A state quarterfinals. He moves up to the Top 11 after earning All-City defensive honors last season.

“He’s got a great motor,’’ Alexander said. “He’s very fast, he’s long, he’s very intelligent and very coachable. Coach (Tony) Canacari does a good job with the fundamentals with those D-ends and his effort plays are really good, and with his length it’s hard to get away from him.’’

DA’VONSHAI HARDEN, Topeka High — The 6-3, 198-pound junior has helped the Trojans go 17-4 during his two seasons as starting quarterback, including a 9-2 mark this fall. Harden accumulated 1,602 yards of total offense in ’18 and had a hand in 22 touchdowns rushing and passing. Harden received All-Centennial League honorable mention this season after being named the city offensive newcomer of the year as a sophomore.

“I couldn’t be more pleased with how much he’s grown in a year,’’ Alexander said. “He’s gotten so much better and next year he’ll even be better. He’s a tremendous athlete.’’

DANIEL HERNANDEZ, Hayden — The 5-10, 192-pound senior was a standout up front on both sides of the ball for the 7-3 Wildcats, who won a district championship and went to the second round of the 3A playoffs. Hernandez was in on 64 tackles with a team-high seven sacks. Hernandez received All-City honorable mention as a junior.

“Daniel was a very hard-working young man who grew into a leadership role in our program and excelled both on and off the field,’’ Hayden coach Bill Arnold said.

JARED KERR, Seaman — Kerr, 6-3, 270 pounds, was a standout for the 5-5 Vikings as an offensive and defensive lineman. Kerr received second-team All-Centennial League recognition on both sides of the ball. He received All-City honorable mention as a junior.

“Jared has worked to become an outstanding football player,’’ Seaman coach Glenn O’Neil said. “Has fought through personal tragedy (the loss of both parents) and has shown perseverance and maturity well beyond his years. Jared is an outstanding student and an even better person.’’

TYLER LADSON, Washburn Rural — A 6-0, 215-pound senior, Ladson was a standout linebacker for the Junior Blues and also saw duty at running back after Rural suffered injuries at that position. Ladson, who received All-City honorable mention as a junior, was a second-team All-Centennial League pick this season after leading Rural with 95 tackles.

"Tyler was not only our statistical leader on defense, he was also a leader by his actions,'' Washburn Rural coach Steve Buhler said. "I have always admired his work ethic and his physical play and how that attitude affected his teammates.''

SAM PAYNE, Seaman — A 5-9, 195-pound senior running back/linebacker, Payne is a two-time All-City Top 11 pick after being named the city defensive newcomer of the year as a sophomore. A first-team All-Centennial League pick at linebacker the past two seasons, Payne was in on 114 tackles this fall, his second straight season with more than 100 tackles.

“Heart and soul of the Seaman defense for two years, totaling 224 tackles in his last two seasons,’’ O’Neil said. “Sam was a player that studied film constantly and was looked up to by his teammates for filling the leadership role. He will be very hard to replace and will be missed as person as much as a player.’’

KY THOMAS, Topeka High — Thomas, a 6-0, 195-pound junior, was named to the All-City Top 11 for the third straight year and named the city offensive player of the year for the second straight season after recording his third straight 1,000-yard rushing season. An All-Centennial League first-team pick at running back and returner, Thomas rushed for 1,651 yards and scored 21 touchdowns in 10 games this fall.

"It's very tough when you come out as a freshman and have the kind of year he had because then you're a marked guy, but to be able to do it three years in a row and to be able to repeat that over the course of time proves that he's a pretty solid running back and a good player,'' Alexander said.

JORDAN WHITE, Washburn Rural — Also a first-team All-City pick in basketball last season, the 6-1, 200-pounder compiled 2,219 yards of total offense this fall for the 7-3 Junior Blues, rushing for 896 yards and nine touchdowns and passing for 1,323 yards and 12 TDs. White, who received All-City honorable mention as a junior, was named the All-Centennial League first-team quarterback.

"Jordan has been one of the most impactful players this program has had in my time at Rural,'' Buhler said. "His competitiveness and character as a young man, along with his natural ability, make him one of the best to have worn the blue and white.''

PRESTON WILLIAMS, Washburn Rural — Williams, a 6-2, 215-pound senior wide receiver, moves up to the Top 11 this season after being named to the All-City offense as a junior. Williams, a two-time third-place finisher in 6A wrestling, was named a first-team All-Centennial League receiver after catching 26 passes for 453 yards and nine touchdowns.

"Preston has become one of the best receivers I had the privilege to coach,'' Buhler said. "He has sure hands, and if there was a circus catch that needed to be made you could be sure he would make it.''


Name, school ... Pos. ... Ht. ... Wt. ... Cl.

Jacqez Barksdale, Topeka High ... RB ... 6-0 ... 225 ... Sr.

Tyce Brown, Shawnee Heights ... WR/DB ... 6-0 ... 180 ... Sr.

Grant Cooney, Topeka High ... DE ... 6-6 ... 235 ... Sr.

Da’Vonshai Harden, Topeka High ... QB/DB ... 6-3 ... 198 ... Jr.

Daniel Hernandez, Hayden ... OL/DL ... 5-10 ... 192 ... Sr.

Jared Kerr, Seaman ... OL/DL ... 6-3 ... 270 ... Sr.

Tyler Ladson, Washburn Rural ... RB/LB ... 6-0 ... 215 ... Sr.

Sam Payne, Seaman ... RB/LB ... 5-9 ... 195 ... Sr.

Ky Thomas, Topeka High ... RB/DB ... 6-0 ... 195 ... Jr.

Jordan White, Washburn Rural ... QB/DB ... 6-1 ... 200 ... Sr.

Preston Williams, Washburn Rural ... WR ... 6-2 ... 215 ... Sr.


Name, school ... Pos. ... Ht. ... Wt. ... Cl.

Preston Williams, Washburn Rural ... WR ... 6-2 ... 215 ... Sr.

Brian Wright, Topeka West ... WR ... 5-9 ... 160 ... Sr.

Brent Hart, Seaman ... Line ... 6-2 ... 240 ... Sr.

Daniel Hernandez, Hayden ... Line ... 5-10 ... 192 ... Sr.

Reid Holthaus, Shawnee Heights ... Line ... 6-5 ... 230 ... Jr.

Jared Kerr, Seaman ... Line ... 6-3 ... 270 ... Sr.

Kort Mattison, Washburn Rural ... Line ... 6-4 ... 215 ... Jr.

Jordan White, Washburn Rural ... QB ... 6-1 ... 200 ... Sr.

Jacqez Barksdale, Topeka High ... RB ... 6-0 ... 225 ... Sr.

Jaylen Carter, Washburn Rural ... RB ... 5-10 ... 158 ... Jr.

Ky Thomas, Topeka High ... RB ... 6-0 ... 195 ... Jr.

Da’Vonshai Harden, Topeka High ... Athlete ... 6-3 ... 198 ... Jr.

Gregorio Leonardo, Topeka High ... Kicker ... 6-0 ... 176 ... Jr.

Ky Thomas, Topeka High ... Returner ... 6-0 ... 195 ... Jr.


Name, school ... Pos. ... Ht. ... Wt. ... Cl.

Grant Cooney, Topeka High ... Line ... 6-6 ... 235 ... Sr.

Trey Pivarnik, Hayden ... Line ... 6-2 ... 180 ... So.

Andrew Schmidtlein, Hayden ... Line ... 5-8 ... 224 ... Jr.

Zyree White, Shawnee Heights ... Line ... 6-0 ... 205 ... Sr.

Will DeVader, Hayden ... Linebacker ... 5-8 ... 175 ... So.

Carson Klingerman, Topeka High ... Linebacker ... 6-0 ... 198 ... Sr.

Tyler Ladson, Washburn Rural ... Linebacker ... 6-0 ... 215 ... Sr.

Sam Payne, Seaman ... Linebacker ... 5-9 ... 195 ... Sr.

DeAndre Anderson, Topeka High ... Back ... 5-9 ... 176 ... Sr.

Tyce Brown, Shawnee Heights ... Back ... 6-0 ... 180 ... Sr.

Shawn Marquis, Washburn Rural ... Back ... 5-8 ... 180 ... Jr.

Logan Gage, Topeka High ... Punter ... 6-0 ... 174 ... Sr.


Hayden: Tegan Abbey, jr.; Brady Bohannon, sr.; Diego Carr, so.; Cole Chisham, jr.; Kade Grunert, sr.; Cade Pavlik, jr.; Mac Piles, sr.; Evan Prohaska, sr.; Skyler Specht, so. Highland Park: Michael Langley, sr.; Jai Shaun Spicer, sr.; Malaki Stepp, sr. Seaman: Drayton Foster, jr.; Brock Hillebert, sr.; Kobe Jones, sr.; Blake McCann, sr.; Jake Spence, sr.; Brayden Vawter, jr. Shawnee Heights: Timirance Adams, jr.; Dayvion Canady, sr.; Braeden Casto, sr.; Donavan DeLeon, sr.; Chase Eklund, jr.; Davion Gardenhire, jr.; Chris Glenn, sr.; Eian Lewis, sr.; Derek Magnett, sr.; Freddy Maisberger IV, sr.; Eli Penrod, sr.; Manuel Salamanca, so.; Santiago Soto, sr.; T.J. Swietek, sr.; Hunter Wohler, so.; Jayson Zuperku, jr. Topeka High: Dominic Berry, jr.; Jalen Blackwell, sr.; Sunseer Bland, sr.; J.P. Deeter, fr.; Donyel Evans, jr.; Cameron Harris, sr.; Connor Harris, sr.; Evan Hayes, sr.; Dylan Kennedy, sr.; Mekhi Miller, fr.; E’Monte Neal, jr.; Michael Reffner, sr. Topeka West: Joe Fuqua-Bejarano, sr.; Jason Eck, sr.; Clifton Holloman, so.; Hunter McDaniel, sr.; Jeff Mudoga, sr. Washburn Rural: Joey Blakesley, jr.; Drew Bortz, jr.; Caden Cress, sr.; JC Crowl, sr.; D’Anthony Fulton, sr.; Nathan Gentine, sr.; Bryce Hill, sr.; Drake McCall, jr.; Michael McCartney, jr.; Rashan Ross, jr.; Cortez Sanders, jr.; Eric Schnurr, so.; Karson Younger, sr.

Offensive player of the year — Ky Thomas, Topeka High

Defensive player of the year — Sam Payne, Seaman

Coach of the year — Walt Alexander, Topeka High

Offensive newcomer of the year — Hunter Wohler, Shawnee Heights

Defensive newcomer of the year — Will DeVader, Hayden