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Kansas National Football Foundation Scholar-Athletes Announced

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Coach Bill Snyder Family/Sunflower Chapter honors 11

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Eleven Kansas high school senior football players have been selected by the Coach Bill Snyder Family/Sunflower Chapter of the National Football Foundation as 2022-23 scholar-athletes as a result of their performance on the field, in the classroom and through community involvement.

“Congratulations to these outstanding young men,” chapter board member Bernie Kish said. “Kansas is blessed with outstanding and talented youth, so to narrow it down to these 11 student-athletes tells you just how accomplished they are. We thank them for their contributions athletically, as students and through volunteering in their communities.”

These awards recognize excellence in academics, football and community leadership as selected by the chapter board of directors. The honorees had to be nominated by their head coach. The list includes: 

Sam Becker Defensive Line, McPherson High School
First team all-state selection by Wichita Eagle and KFBCA…Team Captain…Sports in Kansas finalist for Class 4A defensive player of the year…2023 Kansas Shrine Bowl selection…Member of MHS National Honor Society and Honor Roll…Wendy’s High School Heisman winner…Active in the school and community including four years on student council, KAY club, Basketball, USD 418 Community Visioning Committee, Catholic Youth Ministry, Meals on Wheels, United Way, Food for NuManna Volunteer….Will attend Friends University and major in Mechanical Engineering and play football.

Michael Bergeron, Defensive Back, Mill Valley High School
A top 11 selection by the Wichita Eagle…Finished his senior season with 64 tackles with three for a loss as Mill Valley won its fourth consecutive Class 5A state championship… Sports in Kansas 5A defensive player of the year…2023 Shrine Bowl selection…On the MVHS football leadership council…Two time Class 5A first team all-state selection…Member of Mill Valley National Honor Society and Honor Roll…Volunteers at Forever Dog Shelters, Harvesters Food Bank, Junior Jag Camps and youth flag football coach…Plans to study accounting and play football at Kansas State University.

Dylan Birge, Center/Guard, Olathe West High School
A top 22 pick by the Wichita Eagle as a senior…Finalist for Class 6A offensive player of the year…Was a semifinalist for the Buck Buchanan Award (top lineman in Kansas City – metro area)…All-state first team as a junior and a senior…A 2023 Kansas Shrine Bowl selection…Member of the Olathe West National Honor Society and Honor Roll…Active in community and school including Fellowship of Christian Athletes and recipient of Olathe West Citizenship Award….Also volunteers for the Miracle League and Angel Tree – 4L Foundation…Will attend the University of South Dakota, majoring in Business and will play football.

Landon Boss, Quarterback/Linebacker, Osage City High School
Class 2A Defensive Player of the Year by Sports in Kansas….2023 Kansas Shrine Bowl Selection…Three time, first team all-state Class 2A selection…Career stats of 8,174 total yards offense and 116 touchdowns…Standout in basketball and track, owner of school record in the shot put …Active in his school and community as he participates in Fellowship of Christian Athletes, youth coaching, community service projects and a mentor for outdoors and hunting activities…In line to be class Salutatorian…Will attend Butler County Community College, major in Wildlife Management and play football.

Harrison Brunk, Wide Receiver, Inman High School
First team all-state Class 1A selection by the Wichita Eagle and Kansas Football Coaches Association…Was a finalist for Class 1A offensive player of the year by Sports in Kansas as he owns the all-classes record for receiving yards in a state title game (243)…Inman was runner-up in Class 1A in 2022…Active in the school and community, also competing in track and basketball…Member of Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Covenant Leaders Bible Camp, Lions Club events, Food Bank of the Rockies…Class valedictorian…Will attend Kansas State University and major in computer science and engineering.

Nolan Freund, Quarterback/Punter/Kicker, Kingman High School
Top 33 selection by the Wichita Eagle as Kingman went 12-1 and Class 2A runner-up…First team all-state as QB and owns more than 10 school records including career and single season rushing touchdowns, passing yardage, points and wins…2023 Kansas Shrine Bowl selection…Active in numerous school and community organizations including 11 years in 4-H, Catholic Youth Ministries, National Honor Society, STUCO and annually performed 25-plus hours of community service such as cleaning up trash, assisting with cancer patients, and more…Will attend Cloud County Community College, study business and play baseball. 

Keller Hurla, Quarterback, St. Marys High School
Top 11 selection by Wichita Eagle and KFBCA...Class 1A first team all-state selection & offensive player of the year in Class 1A according to Sports in Kansas…2023 Kansas Shrine Bowl selection…Engineered final drive to score in final seconds to defeat Inman 44-41 to win state title…National Honor Society & Completed Kansas Scholar curriculum…Active in school and community as he also lettered in basketball, baseball, track and golf…STUCo, Senior Class President, Treasurer…Youth camp volunteer…Immaculate Conception Catholic Heart Week…Will study business and play football at Washburn next year.

John Niesen, Wide Receiver, St. James Academy
A two-time, first team Class 4A all-state selection…State leader in receiving yards for all classes in 2021…Selected to All-Simone Team for Greater Kansas City-metro…Two-time state champion in track in the 4 x 400…National Honor Society and Honor Roll member…Scored a 31 on his ACT…Active in his school and community lettering also in basketball and track…volunteered as a an academic tutor and was foster care community volunteer. Participated in toy drives for children, BREATHE and respite care volunteer…Pro-Life Ambassador and Service Day Volunteer for St. James Academy…Will major in accounting and play football at Northwest Missouri State next year.

Jalen Rice, Linebacker, El Dorado High School
Class 4A first team all-state linebacker by KFBCA and Wichita Eagle…Named a Blue-Gray High School All-American…A 2023 Kansas Shrine Bowl selection…Team Captain…Member of EHS National Honor Society and Honor Roll and school recipient of Heisman Scholarship…Active in community and school as a Numana volunteer, Red Cross Blood Drive organizer, Habitat for Humanity, Link Crew Leader, Childcare Volunteer, EHS baseball letterwinner…Will attend Hutchinson Community College major in physical education and compete in football.

Keenan Schartz, Quarterback, Manhattan High School
A top 11 pick according to the Wichita Eagle and consensus first team Class 6A all-state selection…Playing for his father, led Manhattan High to a Class 6A state title with a 21-20 win over Gardner-Edgerton…First state football title in 34 years…Manhattan High went 13-0…A 2023 Kansas Shrine Bowl selection…A dual threat with 1,344 passing yards, 1,148 rushing yards and 30 total touchdowns…2023 Kansas Shrine Bowl selection…Member of MHS National Honor Society and Honor Roll…Member of St. Thomas More Youth Group, volunteers for local youth sports camps, collects food for local food pantries…Will major in business and play football at Washburn.

Grady Seyfert, Offensive/Defensive Tackle, Beloit High School
A top 11 selection by the Kansas Football Coaches Association and a top 22 selection by the Wichita Eagle…A 2023 Kansas Shrine Bowl Selection…Three time first team Class 2A all-state selection and two-time Class 2A defensive player of the year according to Sports in Kansas…Recorded 50 tackles for loss as a junior and senior…Member of BHS Honor Society and Honor Roll…Member of chess, science, history and foreign language clubs at BHS…Was the lead in the school play as a junior and senior…President of Student Council as a senior…Plans to study education and play football at the University of Kansas.

These student-athletes will be honored at the annual chapter awards dinner, this year conducted May 10 in Manhattan.

Sponsors of the chapter and its activities include Dillons Food Stores, Bill Geiger and the Geiger Foundation, Jim Schroeder and Great Western Manufacturing. Joe and Brady Flannery and Weaver's Department Store.

About the Coach Bill Snyder Family/Sunflower Chapter NFF
The Kansas Chapter received its National Football Foundation Charter Nov. 25, 1991 at halftime ceremonies of the Kansas-Missouri football game. It then evolved into the Jayhawk Chapter and later transitioned to the Sunflower Chapter. In 2020, it was renamed the Coach Bill Snyder Family Sunflower Chapter. Its mission is to recognize outstanding high school seniors who excel on the gridiron, in the classroom and as leaders in their schools and communities. More than 315 high school football players from the state of Kansas have been honored by the chapter since its inception in 1991.

About the National Football Foundation
Founded in 1947 with early leadership from General Douglas MacArthur, legendary Army coach Earl "Red" Blaik and immortal journalist Grantland Rice, the National Football Foundation (NFF) is a non-profit educational organization that runs programs designed to use the power of amateur football in developing scholarship, citizenship and athletic achievement in young people.

About the NFF Chapter Network
The NFF Chapter Network, spread across 120 outposts in 47 states, serves as the pulse of a nationwide effort to encourage leadership, sportsmanship and academic excellence among America’s young football players. The first meeting to discuss the formation of chapters was held by the Cincinnati Club in 1954, and today more than 12,000 passionate members carry on the legacy of the early pioneers, which is simply to Build Leaders Through Football. Collectively, they host more than 300 events each year, reaching more than 500,000 football players at 5,000 high schools.

Coach Bill Snyder Family/Sunflower Chapter National Football Foundation / PO Box 3015 / Lawrence, Kan. 66046 / 785-864-0703