In mid-December Kansas Pregame contacted 8-Man football coaches in an effort to name a first ever Top 8 team of seniors for both divisions of 8-Man football in Kansas. After an overwhelming response from coaches, and once all the votes were tallied, 16 players were selected.
This is the second of 16 individual player profiles highlighting the Top 8 selections in each division and released in no particular order. Look for more in the coming days.
Hunter Engle, RB/DE, 5-11, 205, Madison, Sr.
Hunter Engle will leave Madison’s football program having made a lasting impact. Alongside head coach Alex McMillian, and a talented group of teammates, Hunter helped bring the program back to its rightful place as a state power.
Over the course of his prolific four years as a starter, Engle recorded 288 tackles,16 sacks, eight forced fumbles, nine fumble recoveries, 13 pass deflections and an interception. He received all-league and all-district attention as early as his freshman year before bigger honors down the road.
After going 5-4 during Engle’s freshman year, the Bulldogs would go 31-3 over his final three seasons, all losses coming in the playoffs. During both his junior and senior campaigns, Madison was knocked out in the semifinals by the eventual state champions. In a career highlighted largely by winning, Engle pointed out the joy it brought, along with the bitter pill of coming so close to a championship in consecutive seasons.
“Obviously going to sub-state back-to-back years is very special, and not many people get to experience that,” Engle said of his experience during his final two playoff runs. “I was very fortunate to be a part of two extremely talented teams that made it that far. That being said though, it’s extremely disappointing to get that close to something you’ve dreamt of since you were a kid and then just let it slip away. I am very thankful for all the memories I made in those games.”
Despite his reflection on the loss, the success throughout Engle’s football career is undeniable. With all the talk of his ability on the defensive side of the ball, it should not be forgotten how talented Engle is offensively.
During his senior season at fullback, he accounted for 682 yards and 21 rushing touchdowns on 51 carries and added 243 receiving yards and four touchdown receptions as well.
His value as a protector is also not to be understated, as he had played varsity tight end during his freshman year before transitioning to the backfield where he often was utilized as a devastating lead blocker.
“My mindset while running the ball is very similar to my mindset at defensive end,” Engle noted. “It’s just a simple ‘that’s what I’m doing and no ones going to stop me.’ I’ll do whatever it takes to get in the end zone or to make a crucial tackle. No matter what I’m doing, I just always try to be the best on the field.”
Engle was named honorable mention All-State by the Wichita Eagle and Topeka-Capital Journal his sophomore year before getting a spot on the first team during his junior and senior seasons. He also was named Sports in Kansas 8M-I Co-Defensive Player of the Year along with Wichita County’s Manny Chavez.
Engle’s mind is still not made up on what he will be doing after his senior year. With an impressive 3.9 GPA and his abilities on the gridiron, he has a considerable number of opportunities to sort through.
Coach McMillian said regardless of Engle’s post-high school plans, his work ethic will lead him to success.
“Hunter always worked his butt off the weight room, even winning the 198 state powerlifting championship as a sophomore,” McMillian said. “He not only was a force on the field, but he also took care of business in the classroom and is an outstanding role model for the community of Madison. He was just a pleasure to coach, everything you want as a player on a football team. Great football player...even better human being.”