Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Area Football: 11 6A, 5A 4A Players to Watch

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Area Football: 11 6A, 5A 4A Players to Watch

Article excerpt

BEAU BAUMGARDNER, EMPORIA

6-0, 190, senior DB

A three-year starter in the secondary for Emporia, Baumgardner earned first-team All-Centennial League honors last season after making a team-high 98 tackles, nearly 20 more than any other Spartan. He also picked off four passes and recovered a pair of fumbles. Baumgardner has an offer from Emporia State.

MALIK BERRY, FREE STATE

6-4, 225, senior QB/SS

Berry moved into the starting quarterback job last year and enjoyed a big season in helping Free State to a 10-1 record. Berry threw for 1,136 yards and 22 touchdowns and also ran for 518 yards and five scores. A rare two-way starter for the Firebirds, he also played strong safety. Berry is getting interest from several FBS schools including Nebraska, Kansas State, Kansas and Missouri.

TURNER CORCORAN, FREE STATE

6-5, 270, senior OL

Regarded as not only the state’s top lineman recruit but top overall recruit as well, Corcoran is a three-year starter for Free State and has been an anchor for the Firebirds’ offensive line, earning first-team All-Sunflower League honors the past two seasons. Corcoran has committed to Nebraska and owns a 350 squad, 255 bench and 255 clean.

KADE FUNSTON, ABILENE

6-1, 255, senior OL/DL

Funston is a four-year starter at guard for Abilene and enters his second year starting both ways. Last year, he was a first-team All-North Central Kansas League selection on offense and defense and had 53 tackles, eight sacks and two fumble recoveries.

DAMIAN ILALIO, MANHATTAN

6-2, 245, junior DL

Ilalio was a key part of a Manhattan defense that was one of the stingiest in the state, allowing 13.1 points per game. Playing alongside All-Class 6A pick David Hernandez, Ilalio earned second-team All-Centennial League honors. He was also a state qualifier in wrestling, placing sixth at 285 pounds in Class 6A.

HAYDEN PAULS, EMPORIA

6-5, 270, senior OL

One of the state’s top linemen, Pauls had multiple FBS offers from the likes of Nebraska, Iowa, Oklahoma State, Kansas State and Kansas before committing to Iowa State over the summer. …

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