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Here are the athletes who impressed us the most during Week 8 of the high school football season

Wyatt D. Wheeler, Amanda Sullivan, Stephen Terrill  |  Springfield News-Leader

Some of the brightest stars in the area continued to shine during the second-to-last week of the 2020 high school football season.

While it was impossible for us to report on every game and every player in the area, we encourage readers to submit standout athletes to News-Leader reporter Wyatt Wheeler at [email protected]. Those athletes will be considered for future articles. 

Here are the athletes who impressed us the most on Friday night:


Colton Burney, Logan-Rogersville

In the times he was needed most, he delivered.

Colton Burney could be considered one of the main contributors to limiting Marshfield’s offense on Friday night.

Throughout the game, he broke up four deep passes and had one interception. His work on defense prevented at least three scoring opportunities for the Blue Jays, and head coach Mark Talbert is recognizing his efforts in key situations.

Burney said he’s worked closely with Talbert to ensure his sport isn’t given to him just because he’s a senior. He’s spent time working in practice to gain experience and deliver in situations when he’s needed most.

Daylon Kanengieter, Marshfield

Senior Daylon Kanengieter’s stats are enough to prove he’s good enough to carry his team on his back.


The star running back was responsible for 32 of his team’s carries against Logan-Rogersville. He had 214 rushing yards and was only tackled for a loss once on the very last one of the game.

He also had one reception that prevented a loss on the play. He helped his team to 14 rushing first downs and scored both of the Blue Jays’ touchdowns.

Dupree Jackson, Webb City

There were a lot of big producers in Webb City’s 48-13 win over Ozark, but none bigger than junior running back Dupree Jackson.

Coming into the season, Jackson was the third running back option for head coach John Roderique. Now he’s shifted himself into a spot that is parallel to star back and Kansas State commit Devrin Weathers.

“It doesn’t really have to do with a single person,” Jackson said of himself and his fellow backs. “We do it together.”

Jackson stole the show against Friday night, gaining 130 yards on the ground and two touchdowns. His second touchdown came shortly after a 51-yard run that put the Cardinals six yards from the goal line just two minutes into the second half. He finished the drive two plays later with a six-yard touchdown run.

Cole Gayman, Webb City

Senior quarterback Cole Gayman had 68 rushing yards, two rushing touchdowns and 120 passing yards on the night. The 68 rushing yards almost matches his 73-yard total from the previous seven games. 

His running style is as hard-hitting as any of his backs. His first touchdown run saw him wrapped up by three Ozark defenders four yards from the goal line and he still managed to get the ball across for a score.

He got better as the game went on, too.

“There were a few times there in the first half where he was a little hesitant,” Roderique said. “We talked through that, and he’s one of those kids that needs to develop a little more confidence because he’s a really good runner.”

Dylan Nelson, Nixa

Among the many standouts for Nixa on Friday night was the play of defensive lineman Dylan Nelson. 

Nelson was in on multiple sacks throughout the evening and was a big run-stuffer who helped keep the Eagles’ dreams of a shutout alive and well until the final whistle. 

“That joker plays so hard and we probably get more out of him than any player out here,” head coach John Perry said. “He plays as hard as he can play every single play and he’s a senior who has paid his dues and has had a great year.”

Steven Ward II, Nixa

Every time Steven Ward II steps onto a football field, there’s a pretty good chance he’s going to be the most impressive player out there. 

He might be the best player in southwest Missouri and he was able to do pretty much anything he wanted to on Friday night. 

Ward finished the game with a rushing touchdown, two interceptions, a sack, multiple tackles for a loss and he disrupted a punt that caused Carl Junction to turn it over on downs deep in its own territory. 

“He’s just the best athlete on the field,” Perry said. “He’s just a special kid.”

We tried to spread it out and not put Ward in this weekly article again, but his performance was simply just too good. 

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