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Kansas Pregame 6-Man Top 6: Derek George

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  • Kansas Pregame 6-Man Top 6: Derek George (Photos by Everett Royer,
    Kansas Pregame 6-Man Top 6: Derek George (Photos by Everett Royer,

In mid-December, Kansas Pregame contacted 6-Man football coaches in an effort to name a second annual Top 6 team of seniors for 6-Man football in Kansas.

This is the first of six individual player profiles highlighting the Top 6 selections released in no particular order:

Derek George, FB/OL/DL, 6-0, 205, Natoma

Natoma’s Derek George is among the most feared defenders in 6-Man football. The defensive lineman racked up a dizzying 162 tackles, 14 tackles-for-loss, 13 sacks, three interceptions, four caused fumbles, seven fumble recoveries and returned two of those fumbles along with one of his interceptions for touchdowns.

“Derek is the heartbeat of the Natoma Tigers defense,” coach Tyler Masters said. “Derek's ability to rally to the ball, no matter where it is, is the best I've seen as a coach. Derek loves to hit people on the field, like hard hits, and has forced a lot of fumbles because of that.”

George’s numbers were a major factor in Natoma’s 9-0 season. The Tigers defeated Ashland in the semifinals 67-18, a game the senior dominated with 22 tackles, a fumble recovery and a forced fumble. While he didn’t record a sack in the contest, his constant pressure was enough to keep the Blue Jays offbeat all game long.

Natoma finished as the 2021 Wild West Bowl champions after dominating Cunningham 60-12 in the title game.

Masters - who guided Natoma to the championship despite taking over as head coach in the playoffs after a rare late season coaching change - saw George alter the course of many games during his four years on the staff.

“Derek's ability to rush the quarterback is so impressive that other teams might not even have the opportunity for their offensive play to develop,” Masters said. “His pressure on quarterbacks is relentless throughout the game.”

The D-lineman’s attitude in general is also an asset to any coach who appreciates old school toughness.

“My favorite part of defense has just got to be getting to hit somebody,” George said. “Football is really the only way that you get a chance to hit someone and not get in trouble. Probably what makes me stand out is just being able to rally to the ball on just about every down.”

While he hangs his hat on the defensive side of the ball, George makes an important offensive impact as well, rushing for 341 yards and nine touchdowns on just 38 carries and also delivering crucial blocks that often opened up lanes for teammates.

“Derek never takes a play off, both on offense and defense,” Masters said. “He gives his 100 percent on every single play, all the way up to the official's whistle. As a coach, I've never ever had to worry about Derek missing a tackle. Derek makes such a defensive impact in games that opposing coaches will give up on any plays to his side of the field, but his sheer determination and ability to rally to the ball still enables Derek to make defensive plays in that situation.” 

Despite dominating in most contests, the 9-0 dream season wasn’t all a cakewalk for the Tigers. George and company had a close game against Cheylin in Week 6 where they narrowly escaped with an eight-point victory. 

Masters also recalled the 53-50 victory over Northern Valley in Week 2.

“For Kayden (Martinez) and Derek, the one time that really sticks out in my mind is the Northern Valley game,” Masters said. “Two of our junior starters had to sit this game out, so the seniors really had to step for the win. The whole game came down to a last second field goal attempt by Northern Valley to win the game by one point. The kick was blocked, and all of our defensive players except Kayden Martinez and Derek George immediately started running off the field, thinking the game was over and we had already won. In actuality, NV could still pick the ball up and score for a touchdown. The NV ball carrier was slowed down by Kayden Martinez, and stopped on the half-yard line by Derek George to hold our lead by three and win the ball game. This was the closest game of our season, and these two seniors really stepped up to get the win.”

College football is still potentially in the cards for George, but after football he plans to attend Manhattan Tech to become an electrical lineman - not to be confused with the electric lineman he proved to be on Friday nights through his high school career. 

“Derek George is a young man of few words, but when he speaks, people listen,” Masters said. “Derek George was a leader by example for our boys.”