Basehor-Linwood’s Ryan Murphy a finalist for Otis Taylor Award
Gardner Regardless of the sport, Ryan Murphy always has taken individual accolades in stride.
That’s been the case with honors such as All-Kaw Valley League honors in football and basketball. His focus always has been on the team’s success.
Still, one particular individual honor brought a smile to his face recently when Murphy — a junior wide receiver on the Basehor-Linwood football team — was named as one of four finalists for the Otis Taylor Award.
The award is part of the Simone Awards, and it recognizes the top wide receiver or tight end in the Kansas City metro area.
Murphy understood the significance of the honor, so it meant a lot more to him.
“It means a lot more than all-league or stuff like that because this is the whole metro area,” Murphy said. “It was really big just to even be mentioned with some of the other names that are here. It’s a big award.”
Joining Murphy as finalists for the award were Tre Parmalee of Bishop Miege, Sam Sealer of Lee’s Summit (Mo.) and Trevor Voglesmeier of Raymore (Mo.) Peculiar.
Sealer was named the winner of the Otis Taylor Award during the Simone Awards ceremony Tuesday morning at Gardner-Edgerton High School.
Of the eight awards presented —including the Kansas and Missouri Coach of the Year awards and a media award — the Otis Taylor Award might be one of the most difficult ones to be nominated for.
“In this award especially, he’s not just competing against the small class (schools),” BLHS coach Steve Hopkins said. “The Otis Taylor Award is the only award here where it is all classes, so to be even a finalist when it’s all classes may be an even greater accomplishment than winning a small class award.”
Although he didn’t win the Otis Taylor Award, Murphy was named to the first All-Simone Team.
Murphy had a sparkling résumé this year despite missing most of two games with injuries. He made 47 catches for 1,0007 yards, including a game-high 245 yards in a 42-26 victory against Piper in the season-opener.
Hopkins credited Murphy’s exposure on Metro Sports, in particular the Bobcats’ televised victory against Turner, with helping him earn the respect of other coaches who voted for him.
Almost all of Murphy’s catches came on the receiving end of passes thrown by twin brother, quarterback Colin Murphy.
“Almost the first thing he said (after finding out he’d been named a finalist) was ‘I wish it could’ve involved Colin,’” Hopkins said. “That was really kind of cool. We talked about it, and he said, ‘If we didn’t have a good team, then we don’t get these awards.’ That’s where I think Ryan understands the bigger picture, and not a lot of kids do.”
This marks the second straight year Basehor-Linwood has had a player up for an award at the Simone Awards ceremony. Last year, quarterback Brandon Leppke was a finalist for the Fontana Award, which goes to the top small class player in the metro area.
The Simone Award for the metro area’s top football player went to Gardner-Edgerton’s Bubba Starling. Shane Hartzler of Kearney (Mo.) won the Fontana Award. The Buck Buchanan Award for the top big class lineman or linebacker went to Evan Boehm of Lee’s Summit (Mo.) West. The Bobby Bell Award for the top small class lineman or linebacker went to Tyler Ewy of Louisburg.
Rockhurst’s Tony Severino was named the Missouri Coach of the Year while Blue Valley’s Eric Driskell was named the Kansas Coach of the Year. Nick McCabe of 810 AM radio was named the Gordon Docking Media Award winner.