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 third 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.
Jayden Garrison, RB/QB/WR/DB, 6-2, 180, Little River, Sr.
Senior Jayden Garrison and his Little River teammates righted their wrongs from the 2019 football season in a big way.
After being defeated by Wichita County 74-38 in the quarterfinals of the 2019 8-Man, Division I playoffs, Little River had the good fortune of earning a rematch with Wichita County in the 2020 State Championship and the opportunity would not be wasted.
Little River took the game 70-58, winning their first title since 1999. The win was thanks in large part to Garrison’s efforts.
Garrison would finish the title game with 236 rushing yards and four touchdowns while also completing all four of his pass attempts for 70 yards and another touchdown.
As if that wasn’t a big enough day for the versatile athlete, Garrison added three receptions for 53 yards and a receiving touchdown.
During his senior year, Garrison piled up 2,679 total yards with 48 total touchdowns accounted for. He made an impact in all phases of the game: passing, rushing, receiving, and returning. His production on the offensive side of the ball led him to earn all-state honors from multiple outlets.
Defensively, Garrison uses his athleticism all over the field. He finished his senior season with an impressive 86 total tackles and three sacks from the defensive backfield.
The all-around performance earned Garrison the most votes of any player in Kansas Pregame's first ever Top 8 chosen by the 8-Man coaches of Kansas.
When asked about the season's considerable success, Garrison pushed all credit away from himself.
“It was a lot of fun," Garrison said. "Great group of guys that built a lot of relationships that will last a lifetime. The whole team didn’t miss a day in the weight room over the summer. We all worked hard for the same goal and put a lot of time and effort into this season.”
This basketball season will also be a big one for Garrison. After averaging 23.2 points, 5.9 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.3 steals per contest during his junior year, and earning 1A Player of the Year, Garrison has high expectations coming out of the winter break.
The 2020 State Tournament was cut short due to COVID-19 with Little River in the semifinals set to play perennial power St. John.
“Making it to the final four in basketball was a great accomplishment," Garrison noted. "Just devastating we didn’t get to finish it off. Obviously the goal [for this season] is to have fun and enjoy my last season at Little River. But the ultimate goal is to go back to state and win the title. We have a lot of work to do, but it should be a fun year.”
At the moment, Little River is ranked first in the state in 1A, Division I, and won all five of its games prior to the holiday break by double-digit margins.
In addition to the Top 8 recognition, Garrison was recently picked to play for the West squad in this summer's Kansas Shrine Bowl.
Garrison is joined in the Top 8 by teammate Graham Stephens. Look for his profile in the coming days.