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 10th 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.
Jett Vincent, WR/DB, 6-3, 185, Canton-Galva
In his four years playing football at the high school varsity level Jett Vincent has played for two teams, Wheatland-Grinnell and Canton-Galva, and the lanky wide receiver and safety managed to find nothing but success.
In the first of his three years attending Wheatland he teamed up with his brother, 2022 graduate Trey Vincent, to create one of the most explosive quarterback/receiver tandems in the state.
As a freshman, Jett was used more defensively, tallying 52 tackles and a ridiculous 13 interceptions, along with 11 pass deflections and two fumble recoveries for a Thunderhawk team that advanced to the second round of the playoffs before getting knocked out by Thunder Ridge to finish the season 8-2.
During his sophomore year the offensive numbers began adding up as he pulled in 44 receptions for 809 yards and 15 touchdowns to complement another dominant defensive performance where he recorded 79 tackles, 1.5 tackles-for-loss, nine interceptions, seven pass deflections, and a forced fumble.
The Thunderhawks put together another solid season with an 8-3 record and a trip to the state quarterfinals.
Vincent then led Wheatland-Grinnell to even greater heights as a junior, catching 67 passes from his older brother for 1,341 yards and 19 touchdowns. The older Vincent was among the best passers in the state in his senior campaign, throwing for 2,442 yards and 28 touchdowns.
Defensively, the younger Vincent also won his first of two eventual Sports in Kansas 8-Man II Defensive Player of the Year awards with 103 tackles, two tackles-for-loss, and six interceptions.
The Vincent brothers – who played for their father, Wheatland head coach Jesse Vincent – led the Thunderhawks all the way to the state championship, before they were eventually defeated by a dominant Axtell squad, and finished with an 11-2 mark.
That state title game was the last one for either of the brothers in a Wheatland-Grinnell uniform. Trey committed to play his freshman football season at Ottawa University, while life led Jett and family to Canton-Galva.
“I think it's just a God thing”, Vincent said prior to the season. “Dad got a good job there and I’m making the move.”
The move couldn’t have come at a more pivotal time for the Eagles, who were coming off a 9-2 8-Man I state semifinal finish in 2021, but said goodbye to 2022 Kansas State football commit Tyson Struber. The move allowed them to swap out one of the best receivers/defensive backs in the state for another.
“Anytime you can add a talent like Jett to a roster it's going to be a difference maker for your team,” Canton-Galva head coach Shelby Hoppes said. “Obviously Tyson was one of the best to do it at our level, so filling that void is almost impossible and we were lucky enough to add Jett who will end his career as an 8-Man all-time great as well.”
Canton-Galva dropped from 8-Man I in 2021 to 8-Man II for the 2022 season, and the return of senior All-State quarterback Garrett Matlbie meant Vincent again had one of the 8-Man’s best signal callers throwing him the ball.
The results of Vincent’s addition were immediate. The senior exploded in the season opener against Little River – the team that knocked the Eagles out of the playoffs the season prior – but it came in a different role for Vincent who ran the ball 24 times for 344 yards and eight TDs to go with 5 for 7 passing for 187 yards and two touchdowns as the senior filled in for the injured Maltbie. He also recorded 11 tackles on defense.
“Jett is fast, athletic, and physical,” Little River head coach Kevin Ayers said. “I was really impressed with how much ground he could cover from his free safety position. He’s definitely a ball hawk.”
Canton-Galva won the game in a shootout, 66-36.
The Eagles continued to count on Vincent’s versatility throughout the season, and while he would complete just 7 of 11 passes for 182 yards and three TDs while awaiting the return of Maltibe, he led the team in all-purpose yards with 1,447 and touchdowns with 22 total on the season.
Defensively Vincent earned his second Player of the Year nod with 61.5 tackles, 1.5 tackles-for-loss, 23 pass breakups, and eight interceptions - four of which he returned for TDs.
“You have to know Jett to understand fully, but with him there was never a ‘new guy’ feel to his move,” Hoppes said. “He was able to join us for our summer weights program and go through our summer team bonding events we have and he connected right away with the guys and was able to step into a leadership role for us from day one.”
After allowing 36 points in the season opener to a team that went on to take second in 8-Man I, the Vincent-led defensive unit allowed only one game in double digits – a 58-12 win over St. John's-Tipton – before reaching the state semifinals, where they were narrowly defeated by back-to-back 8-Man II champs Axtell, 36-32.
Axtell went on to defeat Thunder Ridge in the finals 76-28, and the next closest margin of victory besides their four point win over Canton-Galva was by 46.
Along with many accomplishments over his career, Vincent’s 36 career interceptions surpassed the 8-Man record held by Bennington’s Gunner Boss (1985-88), who finished his career with 31 interceptions, per KansasFootballHistory.com.
“Jett can impact a game from just about every position on the field,” Hoppes said. “He’s dynamic and extremely explosive with the football in his hands but I feel his biggest impact is on the defensive side. He’s a ball hawk from his free safety position which is why he broke all the interception records. He is also physical down the hill sideline to sideline which makes him so dangerous defensively.”
In early December, Vincent made the decision to commit to Colorado State University over other DI, DII, and JUCO programs giving Canton-Galva the rare consecutive seasons producing a Division I signee.
Adding to the excitement for the Vincent family is his brother's decision to transfer from Ottawa to Colorado State prior to this current semester, where the brothers will reunite as members of the CSU Rams football program.