Kern, Robbins nab first-team honors
When the Kaw Valley League announced its all-league teams on Monday, Lansing High coach Bill Pekarek was a little miffed.
"We think there should have been more," he said, referring to the Lions having just two first-team selections despite winning a share of the league championship and posting the best record in school history at 9-2.
Coaches are not permitted to vote for their own players.
"We played every league school and we only lost to one of those schools (Mill Valley), so I just think we should have had more people on the first team," Pekarek said.
Perry-Lecompton, which Lansing beat in the bidistrict championship game, had nine players on the first team. Tonganoxie, which LHS beat in the season-opener, had five players on the top unit.
Senior defensive end Ryan Robbins was one of Lansing's first-team selections. He led the squad with 12 sacks and also had 98 tackles, 40 of them solo.
"He doubled his sack quota from last year, and we didn't see as much passing this year," Pekarek said of Robbins' numbers. "Last year we saw a lot of teams running shotgun and passing on almost every down. We didn't see teams doing that this year. They were trying to run the ball, so that's a pretty good stat. Plus, he did block a lot of balls."
Robbins also was a second-team choice at wide receiver and kicker after catching 22 passes for 396 yards and four touchdowns. He made most of his extra points and nailed a 37-yard field goal in the 31-28 victory against Perry.
Senior linebacker David Kern was Lansing's other first-team selection. He was fourth on the team with 72 tackles and third on the team with three interceptions. Kern also was the Lions' top receiver and earned honorable mention honors as a tight end. He caught 26 passes for 416 yards and six touchdowns.
"David Kern should have been an all-league (first-team) player as a tight end," Pekarek said.
Senior quarterback Matt Warner was named to the KVL second team despite throwing for 1,405 yards and 17 touchdowns. He also rushed for 170 yards and four touchdowns.
"Matt Warner threw for more yards than anybody in the league and he should have been the first team quarterback," Pekarek said. "The Perry kid (first-teamer David Foltz) outrushed him by about 150 yards and threw for 400 less yards than he did, so I just think Matt should have been on the first team."
Another player who Pekarek felt was snubbed was junior linebacker Joe Kohl. Kohl was one of the most menacing linebackers in the league this fall as he collected a team-high 138 tackles, had five interceptions and recovered four fumbles. Kohl was a second-team choice.
Senior Logan Ryan was a second-team selection as both an offensive and defensive lineman. He was fifth on the team with 64 tackles and second with three sacks.
"He improved as the season progressed, and he did the same last year for us," Pekarek said. "I think as the season progresses he plays a little bit better and in the bigger games he gets better."
Junior cornerback J.T. Collins garnered honorable mention status after picking off four passes and tallying 36 tackles. Senior Lance Fink was an honorable mention choice at fullback after leading the team with 706 yards rushing and eight touchdowns on 133 carries. He also caught nine passes for 158 yards and two touchdowns.
Three offensive linemen - seniors Brian Cordes, Jordan Pratt and Chris Clemmons - also were named honorable mention all-league after anchoring an offense that averaged 5.17 yards per play and almost 275 yards per game.
"Clemmons and Pratt have been two-year starters there, and Pratt played against some pretty big people from time to time," Pekarek said. "He's not a very tall person, but he won a lot of those battles.
"Cordes had his best season by far, and he probably was our most consistent guy in making sure he got his block," Pekarek added. "He was just a better football player this year."