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Blue Valley Northwest QB Mikey Pauley wins Simone Award as KC’s best football player

·3 min read
KC Star file photo

Newly minted state champion quarterback Mikey Pauley added the Kansas City metro’s highest individual football honor to his resume on Tuesday, winning the annual Simone A. Award as the area’s best player.

Pauley, who helped lead Blue Valley Northwest to its first Kansas Class 6A high school football championship late last month as a senior, was awarded the honor during an assembly at the Overland Park high school.

The Huskies knocked off three-time defending state champion Derby 41-21 on Nov. 27 at Emporia State to earn the title and finish 12-1. Pauley, also recently selected as the MaxPreps Kansas Player of the Year, scored four rushing touchdowns and threw for a fifth that afternoon, all in the first three quarters.

Other finalists for the 2021 Simone Award, the 39th overall, included quarterback Tre Baker of Lee’s Summit North, Liberty North quarterback Sam Van Dyne and Lawrence Free State quarterback/safety Jet Dineen. All but Van Dyne are seniors.

Pauley started the last couple of games during his freshman year, when Northwest finished 0-9. He was one of this year’s seniors who played on that 2017 team.

He recently credited coach Clint Rider for orchestrating the program’s 180-degree turn, saying, “We believed him and what he was saying and really attacked what his game plan was, especially in the weight room, and we really just put together a great program, starting with my class.”

Pauley, this year’s Simone winner and a state champion, had just about as much to do with that about-face. And his coach, who on Tuesday won the Chiefs Eric Driskell Coach of the Year award, returned those warm feelings when Pauley was announced as a Simone finalist.

“So happy for you @mvpauley44,” Rider tweeted. “If I got a thousand ballots, I’d vote Michael Vincent Pauley 1,001 times for good measure!”

A multi-sport star, Pauley will play baseball starting in the 2022-23 school year for the Nebraska Cornhuskers. He’s also signaled a desire to keep playing football for the Huskers in Lincoln.

The original Simone Award was created in 1931 by Dr. D.M. Nigro and bestowed until his death in 1976. The award was reinstated in 1983 by Anthony Simone and his wife as a tribute to their son, Tommy.

The winner is determined through votes from the Greater Kansas City Football Coaches Association, high school head coaches around the metro and select members of local media organizations.

Past winners include recently retired Royals outfielder Bubba Starling (a former quarterback at Gardner Edgerton), K-State quarterback Skylar Thompson, former NFL quarterback Josh Freeman, and Drew Lock, the former Mizzou star from Lee’s Summit who now plays for the Denver Broncos.

Past Thomas A. Simone Award winners

1983: Jeff Kelso, Park Hill

1984: Shawn Long, Grandview

1985: Craig Phillips, Lee’s Summit

1986: Tim Ryan, Rockhurst

1987: Kenyon Rasheed, Rockhurst

1988: Derrick Hart, Schlagle

1989: Jeff Handy, Blue Springs

1990: Kevin McIntosh, Hickman Mills

1991: Andy Murray, Blue Valley

1992: Nate Minnis, Blue Springs

1993: Jason Thoren, Lawrence

1994: Eddie Brooks, Blue Springs South

1995: Arland Bruce III, Olathe North

1996: Ladell Betts, Blue Springs

1997: Josh Brewer, Olathe North

1998: Sean Doyle, Rockhurst

1999: Brandon Shelby, Rockhurst

2000: Darren Sproles, Olathe North

2001: Maurice Mack, Olathe North

2002: Jim Bouknight, Olathe North

2003: Michael Keenan, Oak Park

2004: Chase Coffman, Raymore–Peculiar

2005: Josh Freeman, Grandview

2006: Zack Rampy, Blue Valley

2007: Nathan Scheelhaase, Rockhurst

2008: Blaine Dalton, Blue Springs South

2009: James Franklin, Olathe North

2010: Bubba Starling, Gardner Edgerton

2011: Evan Boehm, Lee’s Summit West

2012: Dalvin Warmack, Blue Springs

2013: Dalvin Warmack, Blue Springs[1]

2014: Drew Lock, Lee’s Summit

2015: Skylar Thompson, Fort Osage

2016: Julian Ross, Staley

2017: Ronnie Bell, Park Hill

2018: Graham Mertz, Blue Valley North

2019: Arland Bruce, Olathe North

2020: Conrad Hawley, Raymore-Peculiar

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