Football team recognized by MaxPreps Tour of Champions

MaxPreps Travel Team presents football team with Tour of Champions trophy and banner

By Nick Nelson & Eli Soell

Tori Aerni, JagWire editor-in-chief

Two months after being named state champions, the football team is still celebrating the first athletic state title in school history.

On Wednesday, Feb. 3, at halftime of the boys basketball game, the football team was presented with a trophy after named to the 11th Annual MaxPreps Tour of Champions. This award is only given to 100 teams in the nation, 50 of them football teams. The team must win a state championship and be ranked highly in the MaxPreps National Rankings to be eligible.

The award was presented to the team by Kansas National Guard Master Sergeant Darren King.

Senior offensive lineman Tyler Shurley said receiving this honor was a result of the coaching staff and a competitive record.

“It’s difficult to go 12-1 whoever you play, but we beat the 6A state champions, Derby, St. Thomas Aquinas twice, and only narrowly lost to Staley,” Shurley said.  “Our coaching staff was a big part of earning the award. We easily have the best set of coaches in the state, and they helped us compete at a level that ended up with us being nationally acclaimed.”

For head coach Joel Applebee, the life lessons that have come from the award are more satisfying than winning the award itself.

“What I’m most proud of these kids is they’ve learned that in life: If you work hard, great things will happen,” Applebee said.

For Shurley, this honor was a bonus to all of the success he already had this season.

“It’s just a testament to the work that we put in this season and how dominant of a team we were,” Shurley said. “I was already satisfied with a state championship, but being nationally recognized and ending up ranked 74th in the nation was really the cherry on top to an already amazing season.”

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