2013 All-Area Football Team Profiles

12/5/2013

Nnadozie (Dozie) Ekweariri

Nnadozie (Dozie) Ekweariri

Garden City, Sr.

5-9, 140, DB

Not the biggest defensive back for coach Brian Hill's Buffaloes during the 2013 season, Ekweariri was nonethless one of the most fearsome tacklers on the defensive side of the ball.

Ekweariri finished the Buffs' 8-4 season with 58 unassisted tackles, second best on the team, and assisted on 38 others. He had 11 tackles for loss, recorded one sack, forced two fumbles, recovered one of them, intercepted three passes and had nine pass breakups.

A first-team all-Western Athletic Confernece selection, he was named the Buffs' defensive most valuable player and was elected as a team captain.

Among the season highlights for Ekweariri were game-ending interceptions against Hutchinson and Woodward, preserving victories over those teams.

------

Most memorable moment of the 2013 season: Winning the Hatchet Game against Dodge City and beating Wichita Heights in the second round of the 6A state playoffs.

Favorite athlete: Devin Gardner, Univ. of Michigan football player.

Favorite food: Lasagna.

Favorite class in school: Biology.

Peson I most admire: My mom.

If I could meet one person, it would be: Barry Sanders or Ben Carson.

Favorite pastime: Playing ping-pong, hanging out with the bros.

College I plan to attend: University of Kansas.

Area of intended study: Human biology.

Season highlights: Beating Hays 35-0 to win WAC; defensive player of the game vs. Woodward, Okla.; Game-ending interceptions vs. Hutchinson and Woodward, Okla.

AJ Erives

Ulysses, Sr.

6-0, 245, OL

Oftentimes the football world makes heroes based on statistics.

Often overlooked are the linemen whose contributions make those statistics possible.

AJ Erives is such a player, a 6-foot, 245-pound offensive lineman who helped the Ulysses Tigers to an 8-2 season.

Big plays from players like fellow all-area teammate Ian Rudzik (1,987 yards, 26 touchdowns) are only possible when all the holes are opened for him, and Erives was one of the reasons the holes were there.

Having big brother Chase Rudzik and Erives playing the left side of the line definitely made a difference in his big season, Ian Rudzik said.

"It was a big advantage because they're so big and strong that they could open up huge holes," he said.

Erives said he approached each game with the mindset to beat his opponent on every play.

"I knew my backs were going to pay for it if I didn't," he added.

Other teams knew how effective the Ulysses left line was, Erives said, but it was still hard to defend against the Tiger running attack.

"A lot of times we'd just keep going that same way, and teams just couldn't stop it," he said.

"AJ has always been a big kid with good feet who has been a two-year starter at left tackle for us, but this year he really did a nice job of playing physical," coach Jason Kenny said. "He can move and make every block, but we want our kids up front to finish their blocks and play with a nasty attitude, which AJ did for us."

Kenny attributes Erives' success to a good work ethic in the weight room.

"He came to practice every day with a blue-collar approach to work hard and get better, which is exactly what we want our offensive linemen to do," he said. "I always tell our bigger linemen-type kids when they are young that practice is always harder on them, but if they will persevere they will dominate when they are older and that is exactly how AJ developed."

------

Most memorable moment of the 2013 season: Beating a team and ending their 40-game regular season winning streak.

Favorite athlete: Kobe Bryant.

Favorite food: Italian.

Favorite class in school: Science.

Person I most admire: My mother.

If I could meet one person, it would be: J. Cole.

Favorite pastime: Rapping with my boys, Joey Camargo and Chase Rudzik.

College I plan to attend: Undecided.

Montana Fuller

Garden City, Sr.

6-3, 250, OG

One of the main reasons Garden City's offense was so productive was the blocking and leadership provided by Fuller.

Fuller didn't get the benefit of the four-year Brian Hill program, but in the short time he was on the roster, he made the most of it. After transferring to Garden City from Lakin for his junior year, Fuller wrestled the last half of the 2013 season for the Buffs and established himself as one of the top 285-pounders in Class 6A.

He used some of that leverage skill and agility for his blocking, providing holes for Greyson Tempel and Jared Koster, while protecting Tempel on passing downs.

Opposing coaches in the Western Athletic Conference recognized his skills, honoring him with a first-team all-WAC honors. This despite struggling through with a leg injury that will keep him off the wrestling mat for December, giving him time to heal and rehab before returning in January.

------

Most memorable moment of the 2013 season: Beating Hutchinson in districts.

Favorite athlete: Steve Mocco.

Favorite food: Italian.

Favorite class in school: College English.

Person(s) I most admire: My parents.

Favorite pastime: Playing rec football.

College I plan to attend: Undecided.

Area of intended study at college: Business.

Honors: First-team all-WAC, Maize offensive player of the game. Having 19 knockdowns against Liberal.

Warren Kropp,

Scott City, Sr.

6-0, 190, TE/DE

Warren Kropp got a chance to play on a team that won a state title last year and got to the semifinals this year.

He's experienced success on teams that went 25-2 in that time span.

He was a 2012 and 2013 first-team all-league defensive end and added tight end this year.

"He is a very tough-minded, physical player," coach Glenn O'Neil said. "He led by example, played through injuries and expected his teammates to give the same type of effort that he did, a true leader by example."

This season the senior tight end caught 12 passes for 188 yards (15.7 yards per catch). He also scored a touchdown on the only rush he had all season. As a defensive end, Kropp had 92 total tackles, 42 of them solo. Nineteen of his tackles were for losses totaling 67 yards. He also forced four fumbles (recovering one) and had five sacks.

Add to that 88 tackles last year (37 solo, 51 assists) and 19 (9 and 10) as a sophomore, and that adds up to 199 total tackles in three seasons on successful Beaver squads.

"He set the edge on our strong side of the defense with very good technique and by using his leverage to his advantage," O'Neil said. "He will be tough to replace."

------

Most memorable moment of the 2013 season: Winning the Phillipsburg and Conway Springs games. We really came together and proved to people we were not a joke.

Favorite athlete: Dan Gable.

Favorite food: Chicken-friend steak.

Favorite class in school: Biology.

Person I most admire: My father.

If I could meet one person, it would be: God.

Favorite pastimes: Hunting, fishing, hanging out with friends.

College I plan to attend: Colby Community College, then Wichita State University.

Area of intended study at college: Physical therapy.

Gage McAtee

Lakin, Sr.

5-9, 175 RB/LB/KR

When opposing coaches schemed to play Lakin, they always had one person in particular to target.

Gage McAtee, or "Mr. Versatile," was all-everything for the Broncs. The senior running back, defensive linebacker and special teams returner, had an individual season that would be the total for many teams.

The senior speedster accounted for 2,254 all-purpose yards and scored 22 touchdowns his final year as a Bronc. He carried the ball 151 times for 1,402 yards. That works out to more than 9 yards per carry and 140 yards per game. As a rusher, he scored 15 TDs. As a punt and kickoff returner, McAtee racked up 660 yards and four scores. He also caught three touchdown passes. On defense, McAtee had 35 solo tackles, 47 assists and two interceptions.

McAtee was rewarded for his season by being named first-team all-league in all three of his specialties — running back, linebacker and return specialist.

"Gage is one of the most talented and complete football players I have had the pleasure to coach," Lakin coach Jeff Fuss said. "It doesn't matter whether he is on offense, defense or special teams. If he is near the ball something good is going to happen. It was no surprise to our staff when the kids voted him our team's MVP for the year."

For his high school career, McAtee ran the ball 344 times for 2,621 yards and 22 touchdowns. He amassed 4,854 all-purpose yards and scored 36 TDs.

McAtee would like to play football at the collegiate level, but has yet to decide where.

------

Most memorable moment of the 2013 season: Beating Cimarron in district play.

Favorite athlete: Adrian Peterson.

Favorite food: Steak.

Favorite class in school: Weights.

Person I most admire: My brother Reed.

If I could meet one person, it would be: Adrian Peterson.

Favorite pastime: Playing football at the park with my older brother's friends.

College I plan to attend: Undecided.

Area of intended study at college: Wildlife management.

Blake Richmeier

Holcomb, Jr.

6-2, 215 RB/LB

"When you look at Blake, you think football player."

That's how Holcomb coach Jerry Johnson describes his leading running back, Blake Richmeier.

The junior rushed for 507 yards and five touchdowns and was second on the team in tackles with 105 as a linebacker.

He was one of three returning players from a 2012 squad that got to the second round of the state playoffs, which made him one of the leaders of a younger 2013 Longhorns team that got that far once again.

And when senior back Corey Roth went down for the season in the sixth game, it was Richmeier who assumed the role of Atlas in the backfield to take away much of the the pressure from quarterback Heath Tucker, forcing teams to keep their eyes on the 6-1, 215-pound force that refused to be brought down without a fight.

"He is a big, strong kid that likes to play physical, the way the game is meant to be played," Johnson said.

Richmeier was named all-league linebacker and honorable mention running back.

------

Most memorable moment of the 2013 season: Beating Meade by 1 point in the opening game.

Favorite athlete: Collin Klein.

Favorite food: Oreos and milk.

Favorite class in school: Strength and conditioning.

Person I most admire: My dad and my grandpa.

If I could meet one person, it would be: Larry Bird.

Favorite pastime: Hanging out with family and friends.

Ian Rudzik

Ulysses, So.

6-2, 225, RB/LB

He is only a sophomore, but No. 33 of Ulysses has already built a reputation of being the best ball carrier in the area.

This past season, a healthy Rudzik helped power the Tigers to an 8-2 record.

The running back ran the ball 206 times for 1,987 yards. That's 9.65 yards a carry, or 198.7 yards a game, which included 26 touchdowns.

The highlight of the season (and probably of his short high school career) occurred in the Goodland game.

Of the team's 11 touchdowns, in a 75-34 win, Rudzik scored seven, a personal best. He also rushed for 467 yards (another personal best) on just 26 carries (17.96 yards per carry).

Last year he made a name for himself as an imposing freshman.

Playing in just nine games (he suffered an injury that kept him out of games four and five), Rudzik carried 165 times for 1,187 yards and 15 touchdowns in 2012.

In just two years, he has run 371 times for 3,174 yards and 41 touchdowns. As a linebacker, Rudzik had 34 total tackles (17 solo) and 16 this season.

------

Most memorable moment of the 2013 season: Getting personal records in yards and touchdowns in the Goodland game.

Favorite athlete: Rob Gronkowski.

Favorite food: Japanese.

Favorite class in school: Biology.

Person I most admire: My father.

If I could meet one person, it would be: Tom Brady.

Favorite pastime: Hunting.

Dustin Tempel

Garden City, Sr.

5-11, 170, WR/DB

One can only imagine that after spending your entire lifetime growing up as one of a set of triplets, that it should be no surprise that Dustin Tempel knows all about what his brother Greyson might be thinking.

That could explain how the brothers became the most dynamic and productive quarterback-wide receiver combination in Garden City High School history.

Dustin was one of Greyson's two favorite receivers this season, catching a career-high 58 passes for 973 yards and just missing that coveted 1,000-yard mark that would have given the Buffs two such wideouts this year. He caught nine touchdown passes, with his longest reception being 58 yards.

Dustin also leaves the Buffs as the all-time leader in receptions (97) and all-time receiving yards (1,565).

But his value to the Buffs didn't stop there. He also played cornerback and was a punt/kickoff returner as well, utilizing his speed and shifty running ability.

Defensively, Tempel recorded 24 solo tackles and 13 assisted. He had two tackles for losses while recovering one fumble and breaking up 15 passes. Many times, opposing teams threw to the opposite side of Tempel.

He returned 10 punts for an average of 18.9 yards, including one for a touchdown and had 15 kickoff returns for a 12.2 average. He earned first-team all-Western Athletic Conference honors as a wide receiver.

------

Most memorable moment of the 2013 season: Getting the Hatchet back from Dodge City.

Favorite athlete: Adrian Peterson (Minnesota Vikings RB).

Favorite food: Spaghetti.

Favorite class in school: English.

Person I most admire: My father.

If I could meet one person, it would be: Payton Manning (Denver Broncos QB).

Favorite pastime: Playing peewee football with my friends.

College I plan to attend: Undecided.

Area of intended study: Business.

Honors: 1st team all-WAC wide receiver and set four school records; shutting out Hays; beating Hutchinson and Wichita Heights.

Caleb Tramp

Garden City, Jr.

6-5, 205, WR

Tramp became one of the go-to receivers for Greyson Tempel during the Buffaloes' march to the Class 6A semifinals.

The 6-5, 205-pound junior utilized his height and soft hands to be on the receiving end of 55 passes from Greyson Tempel, accounting for 1,102 yards (20.0 avg.), a school record 12 touchdowns and putting him in fourth place on the GCHS all-time receiving list in just one season. His longest reception of the season was 69 yards. His per game average was 106.2 yards.

The sure-handed Tramp saw some spot duty at defensive end, but it was on the offensive side where he was the biggest threat for the high-scoring Buffs. He caught the game-winning touchdown against Wichita Northwest in the final minute to advance the team to the second round of the 6A playoffs.

------

Most memorable moment of the 2013 season: Going against Wichita Northwest in the first round of the playoffs and getting the game-winning touchdown.

Favorite athlete: Kyrie Irving, Michael Jordan or Calvin Johnson.

Favorite food: Mashed potatoes and pizza.

Favorite class in school: Physics.

Person I most admire: My mom.

If I could meet one person, it would be: Michael Jordan.

Favorite pastime: Playing basketball.

Area of intended study at college: Engineering.

Honors: All-WAC wide receiver.

Heath Tucker

Holcomb, Sr.

6-3, 175 QB/DB

For Holcomb's Heath Tucker, high school football was a wild, but rewarding ride.

Coming into a starting position as a freshman receiver, Tucker was one of the most feared receivers in the area for the next two seasons, until hip surgery sidelined him midway through his junior year.

This year, the speedy Tucker, fully healthy, started at quarterback and defensive back, as well as handling most of the punts, kickoffs and kickoff returns.

Coach Jerry Johnson said of his versatile player, "Heath is one of the best football players that I have ever coached. He is a difference maker on both sides of the ball."

At 6-3, 180 pounds, Tucker played almost every down of the season, except for most of the third game of the season when he went out with a slight concussion.

Looking at his numbers, though, it seems as though he never missed a beat.

Tucker completed 63 of 110 passes (57.3 percent) for 1,091 yards and eight touchdowns. He also led the team in rushing, with 1,040 yards on 161 carries (6.46 yards per carry) and 14 TDs, including a long run of 86 yards. Defensively, he was second on the team with 50 solo tackles and third with 20 assists. He also tied for interceptions with two.

------

Most memorable moment of the 2013 season: Making it as far as last year's team when nobody thought we could.

Favorite athlete: Denard Robinson, Johnny Manziel.

Favorite food: Mom's biscuits and gravy.

Favorite class in school: Advanced PE.

Person I most admire: Older brother Scott.

If I could meet one person, it would be: Kirk Hinrich.

Favorite pastime: Hanging out with loved ones.

College I plan to attend: Undecided.

Area of intended study at college: Engineering.

comments powered by Disqus
I commented on a story, but my comments aren't showing up. Why?
We provide a community forum for readers to exchange ideas and opinions on the news of the day.
Passionate views, pointed criticism and critical thinking are welcome. We expect civil dialogue.
Name-calling, crude language and personal abuse are not welcome.
Moderators will monitor comments with an eye toward maintaining a high level of civility in this forum.

If you don't see your comment, perhaps you ...
... called someone an idiot, a racist, a moron, etc. Name-calling or profanity (to include veiled profanity) will not be tolerated.
... rambled, failed to stay on topic or exhibited troll-like behavior intended to hijack the discussion at hand.
... included an e-mail address or phone number, pretended to be someone you aren't or offered a comment that makes no sense.
... accused someone of a crime or assigned guilt or punishment to someone suspected of a crime.
... made a comment in really poor taste.

MULTIMEDIA