Firm football commitment was key to ‘Cats’ Murphy developing into a finalist for the Fontana Award
Lee's Summit, Mo. Colin Murphy’s path to Tuesday’s Simone Awards ceremony at Lee’s Summit West High School began a year ago.
It was last year after Murphy’s junior season of football at Basehor-Linwood that Bobcats coach Steve Hopkins said Murphy laid the foundation for a senior season where he blossomed into one of the top football players in Kansas City.
“Right after his junior season is when he really decided he wanted to be a quarterback,” Hopkins said. “It was not just about being a football. It was not just about having success. He wanted to be THE leader of the team, and that real transformation took place after his junior season. That’s what made him and made us as a team more successful than we ever would have been.
Murphy put together a senior season that held up statistically with the top players in the metro area, and his status as a finalist for the Fontana Award proved he belonged among the best at the Simone Awards ceremony.
The Fontana Award goes to the top small-class player in the metro area.
Murphy completed 146 of 231 passes for 2,609 yards and 23 touchdowns and also rushed 93 times for 420 yards and 13 touchdowns while leading the Bobcats to a 10-1 record and a third straight Kaw Valley League championship.
“I wanted to be the quarterback, I wanted to be the leader,” Murphy said of his senior season. “I wanted it all on my shoulders.”
Platte County (Mo.) quarterback Krae Kelso won the Fontana Award after throwing for 16 touchdowns and 1,639 yards and also rushing for 16 touchdowns and 1,121 yards this season. Kelso was a Fontana Award finalist in 2010 as well.
Other finalists were Liberty (Mo.) North running back Antwynn Beavers and Richmond (Mo.) running back Gabe Vandiver.
Even though he didn’t win the Fontana Award, Murphy said he was humbled to be a finalist.
“It’s a great honor to have my name read with all of the other great names here,” he said.
Murphy admitted he was anxious when the finalists were called forward in the gym that was packed with a standing-room-only crowd.
“I was kind of anxious. I already had a speech planned out if I won,” he said.
Murphy is the third straight BLHS player to be a participant at the Simone Awards ceremony. Twin brother Ryan Murphy was a finalist for the Otis Taylor Award for the top wide receiver/tight end in the metro area in 2010, and quarterback Brandon Leppke was a Fontana Award finalist in 2009.
Lee’s Summit West’s Evan Boehm was the Simone Award winner for being the top big-class player. He also was the Buck Buchanan Award winner for the top big-class lineman/linebacker. Travis Britz of Harrisonville (Mo.) was the Bobby Bell Award winner as the top small-class lineman/linebacker. Bishop Miege’s Tre Parmalee won the Otis Taylor Award as the top wide receiver/tight end in the metro area.
Other awards went to Olathe South’s Jeff Gourley as the Kansas Coach of the Year, Greg Bechard of Staley (Mo.) as the Missouri Coach of the Year, Deron Clisso of PrepsKC for the Gordon Docking Media of the Year Award, Julius Foster and Carlos Green of Lincoln (Mo.) Prep as the inaugural Kimble Anders Unsung Hero Award winners, and Shawnee Mission East coach Chip Sherman with the inaugural Nathan Stiles Inspiration Award.