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8-Man Top 8: Garrett Maltbie

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  • Garrett Maltbie (right) is pictured with teammate Jett Vincent at last summer's Kansas Pregame cover shoot. (Photo: Joey Bahr Photography)
    Garrett Maltbie (right) is pictured with teammate Jett Vincent at last summer's Kansas Pregame cover shoot. (Photo: Joey Bahr Photography)

Throughout early to mid-December Kansas Pregame contacted 8-Man football coaches in an effort to name the third annual 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 15th 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.

Garrett Maltbie, QB/DB, 6-1, 180, Canton-Galva

In his freshman campaign, Canton-Galva’s Garrett Maltbie found himself on a loaded roster with an experienced quarterback in senior Landon Everett, meaning it was going to take patience as he waited for his shot. He eventually got it in a big way, taking over for Everett in the state semifinals against Madison and helping the Eagles to maintain a big lead on the way to a 46-6 victory.

After that season as a backup behind Everett, during which the Eagles won an 8-Man I state championship, Maltbie took over the mantle of signal caller as a sophomore, and from there gave them a three-year stretch with only four losses and over 7,000 yards of total offense.

It took little time for Maltbie to establish himself as one of the state's best offensively, going 72 of 118 for 1,313 yards and 24 passing touchdowns to just four interceptions, along with 59 rushing attempts for 823 yards and 15 more scores. 

Defensively, Maltbie also made an impact with 36.5 tackles from the defensive backfield.

Maltbie connected often with All-State junior receiver Tyson Struber – who committed to Kansas State after the 2021 season – and helped lead Canton-Galva to the state quarterfinals before they faced their first loss in nearly two years to Madison. The Eagles finished the season 10-1.

In Maltbie’s junior season he again had a strong presence defensively, recording a career high 41 tackles, but the work he did with his arm is what stood out.

Matlbie went 110 for 179 passing with 2,090 yards and 33 TDs to only two interceptions, adding another 763 yards with 21 TDs on 100 carries on the ground. All this in spite of the fact that he missed two games with a leg injury

The Eagles finished 9-2 and were again in contention for a state championship, but lost twice to Little River, first in Week 6, 60-52, and again in the state semifinals, 76-68.

Along with switching from 8-Man I to 8-Man II, Maltbie entered his senior season without the comfort of Struber to target, but benefitted from the addition of All-State receiver Jett Vincent who transferred from Wheatland-Grinnell to join a strong cast of pass catchers that the senior signal caller helped to orchestrate near perfectly with Cason Mastre, TJ Koehn, and Vincent each accounting for at least 397 yards receiving led by Mastre’s 975 yards and 19 touchdowns on 40 receptions.

“Garrett had complete control of our offense this year,” head coach Shelby Hoppes said. “Checks, protections, fronts, and any other calls were all done at the line of scrimmage by him. He was able to get everyone on the same page pre-snap and still be able to do his job of being a playmaker post snap which made my job as a play-caller easier this year.”

What resulted was one of the most efficient passing attacks in the state with Maltbie going 85 for 138 for 1,722 yards and 29 TDs with only one interception, giving the senior an incredible QB rating of 234.3. He added another 593 yards and 20 TDs on 64 carries. His phenomenal numbers again came in spite of missing two games to injury, this time his knee.

Matlbie’s well-oiled control of the Eagle offense wasn’t something that occurred spontaneously, either.

“Garrett has always had arm talent but what impressed me the most this year was his dedication to our scheme and playbook,” Hoppes said. “He took the time and effort to study and learn everything and it was like having another coach on the field.”

Defensively Maltbie added 34 tackles to a defense that allowed the opposition to reach double-digits just three times all year long, with a 66-36 win over Little River and a 58-12 win over St. John’s-Beloit/Tipton as the only regular season exceptions.

Another key factor besides Maltbie’s continued mastery of the Eagle offense was a change in his role in the locker room.

“Leadership was also a focal point of Garrett’s going into this season,” Hoppes said. “He wanted to be more of a vocal leader in the locker room and on the field and he was able to do that.”

Once in the playoffs, the Eagles outscored opponents in their first three matchups by a combined total of 174-14, including a 52-6 win over a talented Lebo team.

"Garrett was tough to defend because he was such a dual-threat QB,” Lebo head coach Brian Hadley said. “In our playoff game with them I was blown away with his throwing accuracy.  Didn’t matter if it was a deep ball or a five yard hitch, it was right on the money.  He is probably the best QB we have faced during my time coaching at Lebo.”

In the state semifinals Canton-Galva met up with defending 8-Man II champs Axtell, who entered the game on a 24-game winning streak, and despite giving them by far their closest contest since their 2021 Week 3 win over Hanover, fell 36-32 in what was a de facto state title game.

Despite the loss, Maltbie put together a three-year résumé few can contend with, including a 30-4 record as a starting quarterback and three deep playoff runs on top of the state championship during his freshman season. He piled up 5,229 passing yards, 2,252 rushing yards and 145 total touchdowns.

After his senior year wraps Maltbie intends to major in Agronomy, and although college programs have shown interest, he isn't currently planning on continuing his football career next year.

“When you look at any level of football, quarterback is the most important position on the field and we have been lucky enough since I’ve been head coach at Canton-Galva to have two Player of the Year and All-State guys in Landon Everett and Garrett Maltbie,” Hoppes said. “Replacing guys of their talent level is almost impossible. Garrett’s been a three year starter and an all-state player in each of those three years. The void he will leave is about as large as it gets but that’s what makes the coaching profession so fun. Now it’s the challenge of finding and developing the next Landon or Garrett and we have guys that are very willing to step up and take on that challenge.”