The 2020 high school football regular season has been over for a few weeks now, and All-SEK.com has selected its standout Chanute players.
2020 All-SEK players for the Blue Comets include senior running back Ryker Donovan, senior kicker Tyson Lucas, senior wide receiver Garrett Almond, junior offensive lineman Nathan Cunningham, sophomore kick returner and running back Rawley Chard, freshman defensive lineman Kedric Emling, sophomore linebacker Ty Leedy, and freshman defensive back Kaiden Seamster.
Donovan, who amassed 59 rushes for 254 yards and a touchdown, said he was happy about the selection – the second time he was named All-League.
“It feels great. I put the work in and really grinded this year, senior year,” he said. “I mean I have a couple colleges looking at me so, that’s something to put on the resume.”
Chanute dealt with the same issues as most other teams in the country, and didn’t play football for two weeks due to players testing positive for COVID-19 or going into quarantine. It was an unusual setback for the team, but given the circumstances, it was expected.
“It was really difficult. We dealt with COVID and an extreme amount of injuries,” Donovan said. “It was tough. ... It was really tough, but I made the best out of it as I possibly could.”
Indeed he did. In the first game back on Oct. 2 after the two-week break in action, Chanute dominated Independence 53-14. In that game, Donovan ran the ball 13 times for 110 yards and a touchdown.
With his explosive plays and exceptional statistics, he earned the attention of some colleges. Highland and Coffeyville community colleges, as well as the University of St. Mary in Leavenworth, have contacted Donovan. But he said he won’t make his decision until after Christmas.
“It’s definitely different than my freshman, sophomore and junior years,” he said. “I spent all summer, every day in school, on off days and weekends, just spending time getting in the weight room, getting faster, stronger, because once I started getting noticed by colleges, I realized I need to work harder. It’s like do a good job next year if I do commit somewhere, so it’s a way different perspective. I didn’t really think about it that much the last three years, then it just started hitting me like, ‘Wow, I need to work hard to be able to go to the college I want to go to and do that stuff.’”
Lucas has also been working hard, realizing that this is his last year as a high school player. He said he was grateful to be selected as an All-SEK kicker.
“It feels good; it’s been one of my goals this year,” he said. “It’s just one of my personal goals. It’s just something along the way I wanted to strive for. I knew I could do it.”
The senior kicker was 4 of 8 on field goals, with a 42-yarder versus Pittsburg being his longest on the year. Lucas also executed a 39-yard field goal. He was 14 of 18 on extra points, amassing a grand total of 26 points.
Punting-wise, Lucas booted 24 times for 790 yards, with a 32.92 average in seven games. Three times he punted within the 20, and a 52-yard punt was his longest in the 2020 season.
Lucas’ favorite moments this season were two 30-yard field goals – one versus Coffeyville, one versus Bishop Miege – and the 42-yard FG against Pitt.
Lucas will play for Independence Community College next year, and the actual signing will take place in the very near future.
“I’m mainly going to spend a lot of time in the weight room and a lot of time on the field,” he said. “Right now, about the track, I can’t get out there. But whenever that’s finished, then I will practice.
“We had a really good season overall. We had a lot of guys who showed lots of potential. And then we struggled with injuries all year, so that kind of put us back a little bit, but it was a good year overall.”
That was due to the All-SEK selections playing well for all of the 2020 campaign. Almond accrued 27 catches for 381 yards and five touchdowns as well as 38 rushes for 157 yards and a touchdown; Cunningham opened holes and pass-blocked to the best of his ability; Chard had 15 carries for 35 yards, but five returns for 230 yards (38.33 a game) and two touchdowns; Emling mustered up 49 tackles, including 15 solo, 34 assisted and seven tackles for loss; Leedy led the team in tackles with 77 overall, including 26 solo, 51 assisted, and had four tackles for loss and one forced fumble; and Seamster put up 17 tackles, including six solo, 11 assisted, one interception, one fumble recovery and one defensive touchdown. As quarterback, Seamster went 22 for 56 for 405 yards, four touchdowns, one interception and had an 81 rating, while Donovan as a linebacker had 55 tackles, including nine solo, 46 assisted and produced one forced fumble.
“It was full of highs and lows, and I enjoyed the time I got with the kids and I’m glad we got to have a season first of all, because there was some doubts early on and nobody really knew whether we were going to get to have a season or what was going to happen,” CHS head coach Clete Frazell previously said. “So I’m really thankful for (that), especially with our senior kids that got to play a football season and even though it was hampered by quarantines and some key injuries and things like that, at the end of the day, I’m still really happy they got to play.”