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 seventh 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.
Kayde Rietzke, QB, 5-9, 165, Wichita County, Sr.
Senior quarterback Kayde Rietzke leaves behind a legacy as Wichita County’s most prolific offensive player in school history. The Indians switched to the Spread offense under new coach Brant Douglas prior to Rietzke's sophomore season and it would help to launch a career that would see him amass 4,692 yards passing, 90 touchdown passes and 64 rushing touchdowns, all school records. Douglas and Rietzke catapulted the Indians to one of the most successful three-year football runs in school history, going 28-6 the last three years with semifinal and state final appearances the last two falls.
During his senior campaign, Rietzke filled up the stat sheet with 1,865 passing yards and 36 touchdown passes, both school records. He accompanied that with 1,464 rushing yards and another 26 touchdowns on the ground, with his rushing touchdown figure yet another school record.
Don’t let these considerable numbers fool you into thinking there is anything inefficient about Rietzke’s game either. He finished the season with a 130.6 QB rating and a 71.8 completion percentage, along with averaging 10.5 yards per carry on the ground.
“I’d definitely say I’m a dual-threat QB,” Rietzke said. “I think teams had to prepare for both me as a running back and as a passer. I really took pride in my development as a passer over the past few seasons. If I play football at the next level, I’d like to continue playing QB.”
As a unit, the Indians were incredibly successful, making it to the state championship game last fall before falling short to Little River in a shootout, 70-58. In a game that saw more points scored than any other 8-Man title game in state history, Rietzke finished with 226 passing yards and 194 rushing yards and accounted for six total touchdowns.
“Getting to play with this group of guys has been incredible,” Rietzke said. “A lot of these guys I have played with for 10 years. I’ve made memories and relationships that I’ll have for the rest of my life.”
Rietzke, who maintains an impressive 3.93 GPA, is still up in the air on his post-graduation plans, but he has some idea on the direction he would like to go.
“I currently don’t have any college plans set in stone. I have been talking to some coaches about playing football, but I’m not sure yet if it’s what’s best for me. I do believe I want to go into education and possibly become a coach someday.”
Based on Rietzke’s body of work in the classroom and on the field, he would make a fine addition to either profession.
“Kayde is a great football player and he was a fellow captain on the team,” teammate and fellow 8-Man Top 8 selection Manny Chavez said. “As my quarterback, him and I are very close and we had the same goal and that was to win. A lot of the times in the summer it was him and I that put together little ‘captain’s practices,’ he has a great work ethic and never missed a day of weights, all around great guy and football player. He’s a great vocal leader and he is willing to do whatever it is to win.”