— An area first
Simon’s part-time work might have helped pave the way for a guy who blocked for him all that time to be the first offensive lineman ever to be honored as either a Player of the Year or MVP — University of Tulsa-bound Rob Boyd, like Simon, a four-year starter for the Wolverines.
“Honestly it does feel weird considering this usually goes to a skill guy,” Boyd said. “This guy (Simon) pushed me every day in the locker room to be the player I was and it was a pleasure blocking for him.”
“I never dreamed an OL would get this but for him to get the recognition it just shows people pay attention to 2A football. He’s been a dominating force up front and obviously being a guy who is going D1 speaks for itself,” Tyler said.
A pair of Hornets
Hilldale, one of three schools with five All-Phoenix selections off a 3A quarterfinal squad, had two of the primary award winners in linebacker Josh Giem (168 tackles, 11 for losses, two forced fumbles and three pass breakups), voted the Large School Defensive Player of the Year, and wide receiver Bradley Campbell, the Newcomer of the Year.
“It’s sweet. A lot of good players are out there,” said Giem, who is on several D2 program radars.
His coach Chad Kirkhart believes that list starts with Giem.
“When you consider the qualities people think a linebacker needs to have, Josh has all of those but first and foremost, he's a good, natural tackler and has been since he's been a part of this team for three years,” Kirkhart said. “He's always around the football.”
Campbell had a growing spurt of a few inches that encouraged him to return to a game he hadn’t been a part of since his freshman year. He responded as a junior by catching a team-leading 30 passes for 594 yards and defensively, had 43 tackles, five interceptions and five pass breakups as a safety.
“Last summer I got to playing catch and talked myself into coming back,” he said. “It’s been crazy.”
“We knew before that he had good hands and he showed that,” Kirkhart said. “I think he'll only get better and I’m glad he's got another year.”