By BRETT MARSHALL
Keith Curran of Garden City High School and Ron Baker of Scott City High School have been honored by the Kansas Football Coaches Association with first team selections in their respective classes.
Curran, a 6-3, 225-pound linebacker/defensive end for the Buffaloes, was named to the Class 6A first team defense at the linebacker spot while Baker, a 6-3, 190-pound quarterback/defensive back/punter, was chosen to the Class 3A first team at defensive back.
The KFBCA is a state-wide organization and to be selected to the team, a player's coach must be a member of the organization and the player must be a senior.
Both Curran and Baker were named last month to The Telegram's 2010 All-Area Top 11 team.
Baker earned Player of the Year honors in leading the Beavers to an undefeated regular season and to the second round of the Class 3A playoffs.
"Ron was an exceptional high school player," O'Neil said recently of his all-around player. "He probably could have played three different positions on offense and been all-league on all three."
This past season, Baker rushed for 359 yards and scored eight touchdowns; he passed for 967 yards and 11 TDs while throwing just two interceptions. On defense, Baker accounted for 41 solo tackles, 28 assisted stops and had five interceptions. His punting duties saw him average 41.2 yards per boot.
"The record's always nice to look at (22-2 as the starting quarterback) when you go back and look at the losses to end the season," Baker said. "You've got to be proud of them. They were close games. Collegiate, Smith Center. You shouldn't be sad, but I am."
Baker has announced that basketball, though, will be the sport he chooses to play at the collegiate level.
Curran was a first team selection to the Western Athletic Conference team while Baker earned first team honors from the Great West Activities Conference coaches.
In his final season with the Buffs, Curran was instrumental in a tough defense that helped carry the team to four consecutive victories in the last half of the season. The Buffaloes earned their first Class 6A playoff berth in five seasons and Curran was one of the main reasons.
The 6-3, 225-pounder was a terror on defense, striking fear into opposing teams and coaches as they devised offensive schemes to run and pass away from him.
He registered 66 tackles, 14 of them for losses and had four sacks. Used sparingly as a rusher and receiver, Curran still had 1 touchdown rushing and 1 receiving touchdown despite touching the ball only four times.
For Curran, it was a positive way to cap off his career at GCHS.
"I couldn't have asked for a better senior year," Curran said. "It felt like a fresh start for me even though I was there for three years. It felt good to help put Garden City on the football map."
Curran is hoping to be admitted to one of the service academies and if the Air Force or Naval schools aren't available, he plans to consider Kansas State University or Butler Community College.